"Learning from the Lilkendeys" is a series about a family I had the pleasure of meeting in my teens. They were the butt of many a cheapskate joke but I love them dearly. And while we may have had our fill of making fun of their frugal ways, I can assure you they are the ones laughing as they enjoy early retirement and do whatever it is that pleases them most. You can read about how I met the Lilkendeys here.
The Lilkendeys are what many would call extremely frugal. This may be true but I also consider them extremely wise. While I know the Lilkendeys were saving for an early retirement it wasn’t an all consuming goal. Their every thought wasn’t about how to save to live later; they saved and lived in the now. They knew how to have fun, even on the cheap.
They always had friends over
There were always people in their home. They weren’t throwing parties every night but they were always up for chatting with somebody. I can’t remember how many times I walked into that house only to find two or three other neighbors there socializing with the Lilkendeys.
It wasn’t uncommon to walk in on a rockin’ band practice at their house either. Both Mr. and Mrs. Lilkendey could play instruments and neither was shy about singing in front of their friends. In return their friends weren’t shy either. No matter how much they probably should have been. In the years before Guitar Hero or Rock Band the Lilkendeys had their own version of a karaoke game night.
Volunteering for fun
Their recreation was not limited to home entertainment. The Lilkendeys had seen almost every band or act that came through our town without spending a dime. They did this by becoming volunteer ushers at the coliseum and amphitheater. Though they were working during the show they still got to enjoy the music. The best part about this gig was that they could pick and choose which events they wanted to see. I can't even fathom how much money this saved them over the course of the years they volunteered there.
They had fun toys
I know this doesn’t sound like the epitome of extreme frugality but they made it work. They owned a small boat and two motorcycles. And while I don’t know this for a fact, I would lay down money and bet none of these items were financed or even bought new. Of course, these items still cost money to acquire and maintain, but that's one of the reasons they were frugal; so they could spend money on the things they truly enjoyed. Many a weekend was spent traveling the open road together or enjoying the lake with their family.
The Lilkendeys most definitely enjoyed saving themselves some money, but they didn't forget to enjoy life too. It's one of the many reasons they are still my frugal idols after knowing them for so long. It's nice to think that my frugal ways might lead us to a similar place in life. At least I hope so.