BeingFrugal has been doing a series on '(Not) Keeping Up with Your Parents,' arguing that basically this is a myth...or we shouldn't be trying to do this in the first place!
This seems a tad bit amusing to me...what about those of us who didn't have much to keep up with in the first place?
My folks -- and I love 'em -- have been small farmers all their lives. They bought their 37-acre property in 1960 for $10,000. (Which at the time was a small fortune to them -- my dad was horrified when we paid $72,000 for a house in Colorado decades later.)
They scraped and figured and plotted just to keep food on the table (much of which we grew anyways) and clothes on our backs. Any extras, from trombones to football, had to be carefully planned for -- and much of that was paid by my brother's and my afterschool jobs. (He worked at the local tractor repair place, and I was a clerk at the hardware store through high school.) They finally paid the farm off not long before I graduated from high school, in 1976. (Yes, 15-plus years, for a $10,000 debt. Hey, farmers -- especially small-time ones -- make big bucks!)
Yet they've been happy, have helped many people, and today are debt-free and more than taking care of themselves. Even with my dad's cancer, they still insist on doing everything they can on their own.
If I can keep up with that, hey, I'll be a content woman.