Last night I made egg tacos for the first time ever. That’s what happens when you challenge yourself to whip up a magical dinner out of random ingredients in your kitchen (after using nearly a week’s budget on a dress ).
I did this one other time in my life and that was in my 9th grade home economics class. Ms. Mccullough assigned each team to create a balanced meal with the ingredients she’d left in our classroom fridge. We came up with a cheese popcorn salad served with a side of applesauce. We lost to the team that made cheese applesauce sandwiches with a side of popcorn.
You win some. You lose some. But the lesson from home ec that stuck with me fifteen years later is that being creative pays off. In home economics I also learned how to bake, sew and make boys do the dishes, basic stuff that’s imperative in this economy. Interestingly, we never had a lesson on how to actually balance a budget or where to find coupons, but the overarching theme always emphasized the need to take initiative, to think outside the box, to avoid waste and, ultimately, to stretch a dollar. Make the most of what you have was the course’s true proverbial description, which is why I now say - all I really need to know (about money) I learned in home economics.
Wal-Mart (Stock Quote: WMT), Home Depot (Stock Quote: HD) and Stop & Shop seem to agree. Home economics is in a revival, according to The New York Times, not so much in schools but in stores where shoppers can get free lessons on how to make ends meet. As consumer spending drops to historically low levels and personal budgets shrink, these moves make sense. Wal-Mart’s now hired a family financial expert for shoppers to ask questions about college planning and debt management. Grocery chains are showing consumers how to make inexpensive meals in the aisles and Home Depot has classes on how to slash energy bills.