Explaining a Frugal Lifestyle to Kids

Last updated 10/12/2019 |

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The questions haven't started quite yet, but I'm sure they will. When my children ask, "Mama, why do we live this way?" this is what I will tell them.

What is a frugal life?

It means we grow fruits and veggies in the front yard and the backyard. We compost, donate, and recycle. We play outside instead of going to amusement parks.

Explaining a Frugal Lifestyle to Kids: BrownThumbMama.com

We gladly accept hand-me-down clothes for grown-ups and for kids. We save our money and try not to buy useless things.

We teach you to take good care of your things, but we don't mind if your clothes get dirty or your socks get holes in them. You are a kid, and play is your job.

Explaining a Frugal Lifestyle to Kids: BrownThumbMama.com

Instead of putting chemical creams on every scratch, we use natural balms and essential oils.

We each choose one cause or one sport and that's where we focus our free time. We don't volunteer for everything that comes along and feel like we have to do every single activity in the world. We need time to be together as a family!

Explaining a Frugal Lifestyle to Kids: BrownThumbMama.com

Why do we live frugally?

We cook food from scratch and grow veggies in our garden because good nutrition is important for a healthy body. Spraying "9 essential vitamins and minerals" onto breakfast cereal doesn't make it healthy.

Explaining a Frugal Lifestyle to Kids: BrownThumbMama.com

We don't buy a lot of cheap plastic junk because we don't need it cluttering up our house, or filling up the landfill in a week.

Teaching you to garden and help in the kitchen is part of our family heritage. You might not remember Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma, but I'm passing on the gardening skills and recipes I learned from them.

Explaining a Frugal Lifestyle to Kids: BrownThumbMama.com

We use natural remedies so you don't get the idea that medicine or drugs is how you fix problems. There's a time and a place for medicine--and we use it when it's warranted--but not for every little sniffle.

We live frugally so that when you want to go roller skating, I just have to look at the calendar--not the checkbook.

Explaining a Frugal Lifestyle to Kids: BrownThumbMama.com


Explaining a Frugal Lifestyle to Kids: BrownThumbMama.com

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Hi, I’m Pam! I created Brown Thumb Mama to share my natural living journey, and help you live a greener life. Thanks for being here, and please check out the resources in my Natural Living Shop!


  1. Victoria on May 23, 2013 at 4:19 am

    I loved it when my nephews came over to our house, on 5 acres, and after seeing the raised garden beds, compost pile, recycling cans… they said, “So, you’re like hippies?” LOL

  2. Hannah White on March 12, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Good reminder for all of us! Thanks so much for sharing this with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday! Hope you come back and visit today!

  3. Lea H @ Nourishing Treasures on March 10, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! 🙂

  4. stellaonline on March 7, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    I adore every. single. word. of this post.

    I am trying to get my family to head in this direction, and to focus on being a family, instead of a conglomorate of co-habitation.


    Thank you for this. It puts into words everything my heart tells me is right for my family.

  5. Steph (The Cheapskate Cook) on March 7, 2013 at 5:14 am

    What a great reminder! Why – because we believe it’s best! Thanks for sharing on Healthy 2Day Wednesday 🙂

  6. The Provision Room on March 5, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    We are trying to teach our children to let their values instruct their desires and not the other way around. Hopefully we’ll have to answer a lot less WHY if their hearts embrace the truth.

    This is a great post! THANKS! (Stopping by from Eco Kids blog hop!)

  7. Kathy Shea Mormino on March 5, 2013 at 12:56 am

    Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!

    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick


  8. hsmominmo on March 4, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Thank you for this peek into your wonderful life!
    Our household motto is “Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, Do without”
    (stopping by from A Mama’s Story)

  9. honeysweetened.com on February 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    I love this! My kids haven’t asked either (the oldest is two) but I really like how you put it. I want to instill that we eat this way because it’s healthy, we grow our own food because it’s healthy and frugal, we’re frugal because God wants us to be good stewards of our money, He also wants us to be good stewards of the earth so we should take care of it — buy buying local and growing local. My kids also have food allergies that “forced” us into eating this way so I want to teach them how to take care of themselves.

  10. Kathleen | Becoming Peculiar on February 28, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    My daughter isn’t old enough to ask these questions, but I find it’s important to have answers for MYSELF. When I’m tired and bored and want to give up, and I ask myself, “Why am I doing this, again?” I need to have an answer ready.

    My answers are very similar to yours. For me, the biggest reason I care for the planet is because it’s how I care for my neighbours. Caring for the environment means protecting my neighbours and keeping their home healthy and safe.

    Great post!

  11. Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook on February 21, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Great post! I especially like that last line.

    My son is 8. I’ve found that he doesn’t ask “why” so much as he accepts that this is how we do things in our family. However, I have always done a lot of thinking out loud with him, so he has picked up a lot of the reasons. It’s interesting when he goes to a friend’s house and comes home and talks about what they do differently that he did or didn’t like–it can be a source of new ideas, an opportunity to explain why doing that might be fun but it’s not good for us, an opportunity to correct something he’s misunderstood (we might not have a thing because we parents happen to dislike it, not because it’s harmful), or just a time to agree that we are glad to be in this family instead of that one.

  12. Angela on November 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    So true. I love the answers you have. My kids often ask why too and I don’t always have the answer. This will help!
    Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday.

  13. Barb @ A Life in Balance on November 16, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Wonderful post! I love the last line, especially!

    Thank you for linking up to Motivation Monday, and I hope to read more of your posts!

  14. My name is Nicole Nolley on November 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    thinking ahead is Godly…”Who sits down to build a house without considering the cost, without a plan?” Kudos to you for preparing your fields for rain!…blessings Nicole

  15. Aubrey @ Homegrown and Healthy on November 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Love this 🙂 Sometimes the proof is obvious: we have a 10 year old daughter, and when she chooses to eat foods that are bad (low in nutrition, containing dyes or HFCS, etc) then she feels badly afterwards. We’ll walk her through the process, “How did those foods make you feel? Do you like that feeling? Would you prefer to eat foods that don’t make you feel that way?” so that later on we can reflect back to these conversations.

  16. Diane on November 13, 2012 at 4:10 am

    Wonderful, Pam. Your lifestyle is very inspiring and your children will certainly benefit from it. I admire you for your dedication.

  17. Anne Kimball on November 13, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Hi, I’m Anne from Life on the Funny Farm (http://annesfunnyfarm.blogspot.com), and I’m visiting from Natural Living Mondays.

    Wow, you’re my inspiration! I strive to be more “whole”, more organic, more homesteadery than I am. I’m working my way there, but I have a long way to go.

    Anyway, thanks for posting this. If you’ve never visited yet, I hope you can pop by my blog sometime to say hi…

  18. Nicole on November 12, 2012 at 6:29 am

    This was a great post and had me thinking about my how I will explain my lifestyle to my son someday.

  19. NikitaSamuelle on November 12, 2012 at 4:09 am

    Awesome post! <3

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Hi, I'm Pam!

I created Brown Thumb Mama to share my natural living journey and help you live a greener life. Thanks for being here! Learn more about me.