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The Financial Year of the Mason Jar

Mrs. C8j is an avid reader of many diverse sites and trawling Pinterest and such (where you can find Big Cajun Man as well), and she thinks that the new big exciting thing in personal finances and budgeting for this year is the Mason Jar.

As a Small Cajun Man, when I grew up, Momma C8j (my mother) had lived through rationing in the UK (and WWII) so she was very frugal and very careful with all kinds of food so we had an entire pantry full of mason jars for canning of:

  • Tomatoes that Momma C8j had grown in the garden and then used throughout the year in all kinds of wonderful sauces, soups and stews.
  • Strawberry, and Raspberry Jam, which she bought at the Jean-Talon market in large quart baskets when they were in season, and we enjoyed fresh jam all year round.
  • Some lovely pears and homemade fruit cocktail, again from the market when in season, so we had this for the winter.
Mason Jar and Budgeting
Behold the Wondrous Mason Jar, for Tomatoes and Cash?

Growing up, I viewed the mason jars as a part of life and a way to ensure we had tasty food all year-’round. Momma C8j is the ultimate frugal lady. She worked hard to stretch a dollar as far as she possibly could (I wish that were genetic, but I never quite got the hang of it).

Later on, when I got to University, a Mason Jar was used to hold Long Island Iced Teas, Bloody Caesars, or the like. It was an odd site for me, seeing the frugal masonry jar being used as a liquor container, but, life changes.

Now mason jars are an entire bloody industry. You can buy candles that reek of cinnamon, cranberries or other obnoxious odours, in a masonry jar, absolutely not a frugal usage of this divine device.

Returning to Mrs. C8j’s (my wife) observation, the main new exciting use of the humble mason jar is for budgeting and saving money. Strangely enough, Big Daddy C8j (my late father) used a mason jar to hold his spare change (but that was because we had so many of the darn things), so I guess he was way ahead of his time, but I digress.

Many years ago, our friend Gail Vaz-Oxlade had her show “YOU SPEND TOO DAMN MUCH MONEY YOU MORON!” (I think it was called that, I might be mistaken), but she used the humble mason jar as a way to budget and segregate your funds to ensure you didn’t misspend your money on the wrong thing (they were all labelled carefully). This seems to be the new “In Vogue” way of budgeting (I guess Gail was ahead of her time too).

I think this is an interesting “thinking differently” idea for folks who are used to living out of their wallets and using their debit cards (i.e. use cash only and segregate that into specific “pots”), but I am now wondering if maybe I should be buying stock in Corning or whoever makes these mason jars? Will there be a sudden shortage due to the glut of budgeting folks (and malodorous candles)?

The budget however you like, but if you use mason jars as your methodology and you fail, do not blame the humble mason jar, it is the Symbol of Frugality to me, and should be held in great esteem!

Welcome the year of the Mason Jar.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom

    I made those Gail jars with a budget for my parents once. At their request. I think that they use them to hold tea now…

    Not surprised to hear of another Mason Jar use on Pinterest…

  2. As part of my quest for financial independence, I’ve gradually happily embraced frugality, doing many of the things you describe from days gone by: I get bushels of tomatoes and large quantities of fruit at Atwater Market in the fall, and enjoy shelves lines with tomato sauces and paste, pickles, beets, corn, jams galore! It’s satisfying, better quality food, and leaves more money for my investments. Triple win.

  3. Does this mean Mrs. C8j is filling jars with cash and paying cash everywhere, or does it mean she is making preserves? Either way, sounds like a smart idea for saving money or making tasty jars of stuff.

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