For this week we are going into more detail of each of our lives and why we are on a path of frugality. If you have read my blog for any time you know I have been on this path for a few years but am earnest in my dedication to it. Frugality for us is born out of necessity. I explained last week that four years ago I left my job with the Federal Courts to come home full time to run this crazy house of ours.
I had not planned to retire so early, but at 40 found myself pregnant with our fourth child. My mom, who had cared for my other kids while I worked, had passed away and it really was not worth the money to pay for child care and commute into work any longer. We felt if we cut back, it was doable. Well, just a couple months after I left my job, the bottom of the economy fell out. Thankfully, my husband's job was not and has not been affected and trust me I know how very lucky we are, but the rapid rise in the cost of EVERYTHING it takes to live and our oldest starting college, squeezed our resources. We had some savings for college but my husband felt it was better to pay cash if we could and save the money for our other kids in case his income ever dropped in the future.
It has been tight. I have learned a great deal and wish I had lived like this all along. I now only use cash and am trying to pay off the bills we have as rapidly as I can. My long term goal would be to pay our mortgage off early as well. But one step at a time.
Before, we took several trips a year, nothing fancy but nice family trips, we ate out, I bought clothes when we needed them and I bought things for the house whenever I wanted. Those days are gone. I now find myself on a strict budget, couponing for things when I can, eating almost exclusively at home, growing as much of our produce as I can from our small city garden and really not buying myself much at all. If there is money in the clothing budget, it usually goes to the kids. They have far fewer new clothes than before but don't care. The improvement in our quality of life has risen immensely over the last few years. Living more simply, focusing on only the basics and just enjoying our home more as a result of our frugal life now, is the bonus. Money really cannot buy happiness but I also have seen very dear people and family members lose everything in the last few years. It can't buy happiness but it is a very necessary thing to have in order to survive.
We are ever conscience of the fact that we have been spared so far, this fate. It could happen to anyone. Loss of a job, death of a spouse, divorce or major illness can strike any of us. That is why my husband and I are committed to a different way of living. We want to be good stewards of our money and though it is tight right now, I hope it will be worth it in the long run. Honestly, I don't think I could ever go back to the way I lived before. I am happier now, content, satisfied with small things like my kids coming in at night safely and a trip to the store where I can stock our shelves and be here to care for the ones I love. I am so thankful for the privilege to be a part of this series and hope what we share will be helpful to you all.
Please visit Brenda at Cozy Little House, Claudia of Mockingbird Hill Cottage, Jen at Muddy Boot Dreams and Diane of Lavender Dreams and see what the other bloggers in this series are up to.
Time Travel Thursday
The Charm of Home
Show and Tell Friday
Homestead Barn Hop
Bowl Full of Lemons