Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thrifty Living Series 2012, Part Two



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.Well, just a couple months after I left my job in 2008 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.


39 comments:

Lisa~A Cottage To Me said...

You are an inspiration! We have been married 28 yrs. I have been an at home Mom all but 7 1/2 of those years, with the last 4 1/2 being at home again. 2 daughters in college and 1 a junior in H.S. Times are so very tight for us as well, yet we feel so lucky. There are so many in our area too who aren't as fortunate. But, I can always learn from others going thru similar challenges. I will follow you thru your series and hopefully pick up a tip or two. thank you for sharing!

ImSoVintage said...

It is amazing how so many people correlate money with happiness. Happiness comes from within. Yes, I am one of those who lost everything. A daughter with a catastrophic illness, loss of my job, a husband who became mentally ill and left me with nothing but debts.....well, you get the picture. I am 61 and reinventing myself. Every day is a new day that I embrace with a new found happiness. I learned how to live frugally a long time ago and have never looked back, even in times of prosperity. I love recycling and reusing. It makes me feel good about myself and our earth. Congrats to you and your family for your frugal living ways.
Laura

Ricki Jill Treleaven said...

You are wise beyond your years, I tell ya! :D We were blessed because we were introduced to Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace when we were still in our twenties. His strategies work, and I am thankful we started early because when I was 33, our youngest was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Her therapies became too time consuming for me to continue teaching, so I had to quit. In spite of the increased expenses of therapies not covered under insurance, we were committed to paying off our mortgage by the time we both turned forty, and we met that goal. We also bought our state's prepaid college tuition contract for both girls when they were both babies, which has helped with educational expenses. I never thought I would be a stay at home mom, but one never knows when circumstances will change and suddenly you are a one income family. It has become harder lately with inflation, so i am grateful for this series because we could use all the help we can get!

Your contentment is so apparent in your blog, and you get it. Money does not make you happy, yet spending what you do not have makes you miserable. The key is finding contentment and blessings with what you have, which is what you do, Elaine :D

xoxoxooxxo,
Ricki Jill

Ginger Zuck said...

I admire you Elaine for all you do. You are truly one of my blog hero's and I am serious. I alway check in on you because you give such good and honest advise. I am enjoying your series so much, you are really an inspiration for us all. I know that five years ago when I lost my husband so suddenly to cancer, that life is just too short to kill yourself to a job and so, I chose not to return to corporate america and stop killing myself with a long commute and extremely stressful job, so I now work part time, local and live very frugal and have to watch every penny that I spend. So I am always looking for ways to cut expenses. Thankss for all your great advise.

Denise said...

This is so well-written, Sunny; I agree with everything you've said. We've been blessed at our house, as well, and I appreciate having been a stay-at-home mom. I've been following your blog for quite a while now. I enjoy your posts.

Hope you have a great day!

Denise at Forest Manor

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a wonderful post! You really are an inspiration for so many. It's a challenge to raise a large family, I know! You have some great ideas for making it work at it's best! ♥

Leslie said...

Elaine, thanks for sharing some of your personal story with us! I can relate in different way, too. Of course being a hair stylist married to a medical student automatically means a financial struggle! But my wonderful father-in-love actually lost his job of nearly 20 years back in September. He's such a savvy businessman and relying on the Lord to direct his steps. He is doing all "the right things" but a new one hasn't come yet. Being 60 and unemployed has been difficult for him. God is good, and is giving them wisdom to make the necessary changes in their lifestyle for this transition.
You are a wonderful Mom, and I'm so glad you guys are happy--b/c like you said it's about more than the money!
:) Leslie

Olive Cooper said...

Elaine, thanks for sharing your story and how you manage your family. Paying for college, even with savings, has been a real shock, for me. It continues to be shocking in fact. CC and I both wear thrift store and garage sale clothes but one could never tell. Olive

c. Joy said...

I worked for a while, then stayed home with children. I once thought I got my worth from my paycheck and job title. Now I see that sheltering a friend, having time for my family and actually having time to pray and a little time for myself has made our life so much more peaceful and friendly. No money could buy that.

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

I think it is wonderful that you are staying home with your children. It sounds like you are living the way our parents or we were raised. you did with what you had, glad to have a home to call your own, a backyard garden etc.
I am sure it is a challenge with the rising cost of things.
Thanks again for these thrifty posts!

Claudia said...

Thanks for your honesty, Elaine! We are all in this together and I look forward to more advice from you in future posts.

xo
Claudia

Cozy Little House said...

You are the youngest of us, and I am in full admiration that you learned these things long before I did! I love when mothers can stay home with their children, as I think it instills more self-confidence later on. My ex had no concept of saving. If he wanted it, he bought it. No matter what credit card he had to put it on, and of course was never paid off at the end of the month. Thankfully at the moment he is paying the ones racked up by all the expenses when he automatically looked to me for my credit cards to pay for major things. I swallowed hard each time, but handed it over. Now feel like an idiot. But in that time, don't think I could have done differently with him the way he was.
Brenda

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Elaine the huge changes you made, and the sacrifices for your family, are so worth it.

You are a inspiration to all families, that this way of life can work.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Kris said...

I identify with so much of what you are saying Elaine! We too have worked very hard to "simplify" our lives. Hence the name I chose for my Blog. I also wish we had done this many years ago,. We find that we do not miss anything much. I do miss dining out some. We used to do a lot more of it. But I am an avid cook, and enjoy preparing our meals at home too. Living more simply actually adds to the quality of our lives. I am enjoying your series!!!
Hugs,
Kris

The Boston Lady said...

A pleasure to read and learn again Elaine! Thanks for sharing. And I scrolled down and saw your "prepper" post. We do the same things in FL for hurricane season - we are fortunate to at least have a warning for such weather. One thing I worry about if we make the move to CA is the earthquakes. Your post will stick with me and I'm going to forward it to my kids out there. Ann

Karen said...

I have teenagers at home, too, and am a stay-at-home mom. I'm looking forward to learning from you.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

This is such an interesting series. I came from Brenda's blog and then Dianes. With each post I see a little of myself, my family and our dynamics. How we are living today, how we try to save, and how difficult it is. I will come back to read more.
Susan

♥ Sonny ♥ said...

I so appreciate you and the other blog posters for sharing Yourselves and your lives- tips- hint- suggestions with us. I find myself reading and nodding- YES, it can happen to any of us and so we must begin quickly to help look after one another in whatever way we can.
We live simply and I am very grateful for all we have, as you said- for the little things. My child arrives safely from work to a safe happy home. She is young and yet Knows how blessed she is for this.
As long as we all have each other we can make it.
Blessings to you and yours
Sonny

Kerin said...

What a great post. I loved reading your thoughts and feelings.
It is a sacrifice of sorts to be a stay at home mom. And, of course with the economy being so awful...it makes it a bigger sacrifice.
But... in my humble opinion, the blessings have out-weighed the sacrifices.
There was a time that I had to work to help pay our daughters kidney transplant bills. Once we had that taken care of, I was able to stay at home.
I too try to make the most out of my sweethearts paychecks. It is a way that I can honor, and support the hard work that he does to take care of our family.
Besides....I've said it before... there is a great deal of satisfaction in making the most out of a dollar :)

Poppy said...

Elaine,

I too am a stay at home mom who is also running a daycare out of our home. It's a bit of a compromise as I can't completely decide how my day will go due to my business committment. But I am always so grateful to be home with my six children. My youngest (now 2yrs old) was my 40th birthday present. I can't imagine being away from her.

We make "sacrifices" by living frugally and yet, my children are happy and healthy. We live in an area of town that is generally well-to-do so we all see the materialism around us. The children struggle with it at times, wishing they had an Ipod like "so and so" or wanting a cell phone at the ripe old age of 9 years old. But my teenage boys are hard workers and seem to be focused more on gaining life experiences than gaining things. Hopefully this continues for them. I think sometimes we (society) have become slaves to our material belongings and end up missing out on the more important things in life. My hope is that when I die, I will be able to take my treasures with me because they will be in my heart and memories.

Of course we must have money to live. Even bartering can be taxed! So, it is still something we consider and try to hold onto as much possible for those necessities.

I'm very excited about this Thrifty series that you are participating in and look forward to next week's posting!

Have a great day!

RaShell

Poppy said...

Elaine,

I too am a stay at home mom who is also running a daycare out of our home. It's a bit of a compromise as I can't completely decide how my day will go due to my business committment. But I am always so grateful to be home with my six children. My youngest (now 2yrs old) was my 40th birthday present. I can't imagine being away from her.

We make "sacrifices" by living frugally and yet, my children are happy and healthy. We live in an area of town that is generally well-to-do so we all see the materialism around us. The children struggle with it at times, wishing they had an Ipod like "so and so" or wanting a cell phone at the ripe old age of 9 years old. But my teenage boys are hard workers and seem to be focused more on gaining life experiences than gaining things. Hopefully this continues for them. I think sometimes we (society) have become slaves to our material belongings and end up missing out on the more important things in life. My hope is that when I die, I will be able to take my treasures with me because they will be in my heart and memories.

Of course we must have money to live. Even bartering can be taxed! So, it is still something we consider and try to hold onto as much possible for those necessities.

I'm very excited about this Thrifty series that you are participating in and look forward to next week's posting!

Have a great day!

RaShell

Sweet Tea said...

I agree with everything you said. Living frugally teaches perspective, doesn't it?

sandy said...

Enjoying this Frugal Living series!
Thanks for sharing
sandy

Donna said...

I enjoyed reading your post, Elaine, and am enjoying this series. My husband lost his job two years ago so we've had major changes in our household too. We live much like you do and have are careful what we spend. Creativity comes in handy and learning to make do and also being content with the blessings we have.
Thanks for sharing.

Hugs,
Donna

Brenda said...

I'm enjoying reading this series you all have started. We've been living the frugal life for quite awhile. I like what you said about not wanting to go back to the way you lived before, and being stewards of your money.
I look forward to reading more!

Estelle Cappellieri said...

Thanks to all of you for this great series. I think you're all quite brave and compassionate people to share your stories.

Cindy said...

I really enjoyed your story of why you live so frugally. You inspire me. I am a stay at home wife, so we only have one income. I have enjoyed hearing how you make it on one income and you have inspired me to live more frugally.
Thank you, my friend.
Hugs, Cindy

Jane@Cottage at the Crossroads said...

I am so enjoying this series, Elaine! Now I don't feel like I'm in the boat alone. We've made huge lifestyle changes as we try to live on my retirement income. It's been a challenge, but doable. I admire what you are doing for your family.

Donna Becker said...

Thanks for writing about your choices, Elaine. My DH and I have had a jolt recently that has forced us to look hard at our stewardship of resources. While I've been working toward more frugal choices for quite a while, it's only been lately that my efforts have been kicked into serious gear.
That seems to be the same for many folks that I've talked with about financial issues these days.
But none of can change the choices we've already made because they're in the past. What we can do now is better educate ourselves and make wiser choices. Wishing we'd done differently is really a wasted effort.
I'm disabled, so my effort comes at a cost. It certainly colors how I look at the past, the present and the future.
I'll delight in following your journey and sharing experiences with you! Onward! :-)

Debbie Kay said...

Reading your blog is sunshine for my soul my dear friend.

Smiles,

Debbie

Maura @ Lilac Lane Cottage said...

These are tough times and you and your family have made the best decision to live frugally...as best you can. Its tough to make such dramatic changes at first but it does feel good doesn't it! All the best to you and your family...it's going to be a good year.
Maura :)

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

This is a great post ;) :) My dad and I are really trying hard to live more frugally. It's especially important since we are both in between jobs. In the beginning it was harder, now it's a little bit easier. we don't always have the money to buy the things we want or need, however, we really are learning to make use of what we have at home FIRST, before we even think about spending money. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

Zuzu said...

"The improvement in our quality of life has risen immensely over the last few years."

Why is it that when I share this with others, they smile and think "yeah, sure." We lost our jobs when the .com bubble burst, and then our home. It has taken us 8 years to rebuild our lives, but in doing so, we have made substantial, positive changes. We are happy and content - and that is truly something money cannot buy.

I look forward to visiting you again!

~ Zuzu

Cindy said...

Hi Elaine.

My name is Cindy...and boy can I relate to being frugal. We moved out of our 2400 sq ft home (rented it to our daughter and family) and moved into our 40 ft 5th wheel.
I had never worked outside the home..raised and homeschooled 5 children...taught and coached..at private schools...but there was NO money under my name. My Hubbie of 35 yrs is a contractor..we had at one time 30 workers..for our tile and pool business...and then wham bam...the economy dove hard to the ground.After 2 long years of slowly letting our employees go...and closing the doors to the business and turning into the bank vehicles and equipment....well needless to say...we live Very ,Very...frugal. And I do love it!!!!!!

Me and Goodwill have become close friends....lol

I will now be following you and the group to smile...pray...and to learn. Thank you for doing this. My husband still has a hard time with me blogging about our situation. So I live it quietly....lol

Hugs from Texas Cindy from Rick-Rack and Gingham

Coastal Cottage Dreams said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. Money does not bring happiness, it just makes your survive! Nothing is wrong living frugally and cutting back! So many families should but they don't and then something dramatic happens and they are in deep trouble! I agree that happiness, family and health are more important than ever! Thanks for sharing!

Mary Ellen said...

You are being so wise to stay home for your child! We have always lived the frugal way as we were in business for ourselves. When God called us to full time ministry 6 years ago we were able to close up shop and leave as we were dept free!

bee blessed
mary

Sara Shay, Your Thriving Family said...

Sounds very much like us. Though I am 10 years behind. My parents just moved, my dad had watched our kids. But after childcare/preschool/gas I'd make $40 for a 7hr workday. I'd rather stay home with them and try to save or make that $40 from here.
1/3 of our income going, I know it will all work out . . .

Olga said...

I enjoyed reading this post. My family and I live a simple and frugal life too. It's nice to know that other people find happiness in simple living too.
I love growing my own vegetables and herbs even though I can afford buying them. But it's so much different when you put your labor into it, you definitely enjoy and appreciate it more.
I'm going to check other post in this series.

labbie1 said...

Isn't it great to see how wonderful life can be when we decide to live life rather than taking part in the rat race?

BTW, have you ever taken the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University? My hubby and I have coordinated classes 3 times and it really has helped us to keep on track!

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