I don't really feel deprived. I just know I can't go out and do things that cost $, and I don't do retail shopping hardly ever... over the years it has gotten easier as we've had to live on much less income and you kind of learn as you go. I am lucky that my town always has cool free activities for our family to do. Like last weekend was the holiday parade, and one of the moms from our local group wanted us all to go out to brunch before hand, but 2 other moms said they couldn't swing it, so I offered to have a potluck brunch at my house and it was so yummy and fun!
I have always been crafty and artistic, so most of my gifts are homemade anyway, and I don't have to give many extended family gifts for the holidays b/c my whole side of the family is passed away, and DH's side are all crazy and we've decided to stay away from their toxicity for awhile so no gifts for them, lol! So really, it's all about the kids, which is how it has been with them the last few years at least, since everyone is struggling now.
I know I just don't/can't buy STUFF. IF I do, I'm looking at craigslist, ebay, pawn shops, good will etc first if I need a big item or clothes. I also LOVE to trade, and I trade everything from craft swaps to babysitting, to professional photography to food... and kids clothes are mostly hand me downs or trades, I did splurge about $50 on ebay this season for some winter coats, and 4 other clothes items, which is very unusual for me, usually people just give us clothes, or I trade for folks to make us dresses or cool tee shirts.
I can always find fun things to do, of course it sucks that I can't travel to friend's weddings, or for family vacations, but someday when we are making good $ we will travel again.
I also don't like that I can't put my kids in extracurriculars I want, but both have gotten scholarships from their schools for drama and jewelry club, so at least they have something to do. If I can get my paperwork together I will apply at the YMCA one of these days, too.. though we probably won't join unless they really lower the fees for us.
Try to find the FREE FUN out there- it's all around.. or go out and make your own fun, and you wont feel so deprived.
I also don't do much for me, myself, but this semester I did go to the salon at the community college and had my hair dyed, and got a free hair cut, and my eyebrows waxed. Next semester I want to go back for a massage and a facial.
We don't have savings, but I know that I can't just go and buy stuff I don't need either... just can't. I'd rather declutter anyway.. there is too much stuff here to begin with.
So recently I've been dealing with my DH's family; his mom and sister, who are just crazy and toxic and his mom came to visit saying she wanted to 'help' us and take care of the kids and clean so we could study- I didn't believe it, didn't want her here, we've been having alot of stress on our own and didn't need her.. so she took our kids out for the day, which was very nice, took them to chuck e cheese, told them she'd be here all wknd to spend time with THEM, and then immediately upon returning from her day out with them told us to take her home (an hour away and her car broke down so we would have to take her).. don't know what set her off this time, but I'm sure it's something DH or I did, who knows, she's sweet then sour.. so my son then asks, "why granma? Are we bad? Do you not like us??" And I just lost it.. I told her I am done and I am not going to talk to her again.. I'm really trying not to... she is not good for us.. she also told us that week we were horrible parents, bad students, and didn't deserve our children... so I cut her out and told her don't expect to come for Thanksgiving or Christmas.. and I'm serious. I am not one to talk this way, ever.. my family was not like this at all.. didn't fight, didn't blame or lay empty threats.. we talked about stuff and respected each other.. it makes me sad that this is the only grandparent in my kid's lives and now I have to cut her out of our lives to protect my children's mental health...
Then the sister's got on us.. the one she lives with called to see if 'only the kids could come over for thanksgiving' and the other one is sending me wretched horrible emails telling me she is going to fly down here and knock me out if I ever disrespect her mom again.. yup, they are all nuts.. so anyway.. sorry to dump all that but it really takes up so much time and energy in life to deal with drama freaks.. I really try not to associate with folks like that.. but again, they are so called family so it's complicated, although I've been a part of them for 8 years now and it's never changed, no matter how much I try to recreate the holidays and special times I had with my family, it just can't be done, so I'd rather create my own family from my friends, and for the first time I'm realising that is O.K. and I can let these folks go and be happy and not have to walk on eggshells just so my kids can have a grandparent.
So we are doing our own thanksgiving, our family, some of our bachelor friends, and my single mama friend who's kids are best buddies with my kids.. so no parents to impress or respect, and just good, lazy, eating fun. Got my free turkey from Ingles reward points, too.