Being smart with your money doesn’t mean making yourself poor! If you need to have all of the things that other people have so you’re not feeling deprived, OR if you think being smart with your money means being cheap and staying perpetually poor, you’re completely missing the point! Here’s how to have a richer mindset!
Frugal Living Doesn’t Mean Choosing Poverty
You sure have a nice house for someone who’s really cheap. I would think you lived in a shack and not a $144,000 house. Your business must be doing well. Not that you don’t deserve it, but it doesn’t match up with your poverty mindset and kind of misleading as a business owner promoting frugal living. I know lots of really poor people and they sure don’t have a house like that or TRULY can’t afford it. I still like your books but you lost a lot of credibility. Sally
Actually, Sally, it’s because we are frugal that we can afford it. I find it very interesting how people think that if you live frugally you can’t ever own anything nice. Frugal living is about spending the money you do have wisely. We have been working very hard since we were first married to be completely debt free, including our house. As Mike said, “The entire point of living frugally is so that you don’t have to be poor anymore” or, in mom’s case, even if you do live on a true poverty level income, you can still have nice things.
We are able to live on one income because we don’t waste our money on things like:
frequently eating out
extra kids activities
going on vacation (We recently had our first real family vacation after 16 years of marriage.)
We set our heat at 64 so we can save on our heating bill and we have our air conditioner set at 78 to save on electricity
We buy 95% of our clothes second hand
We don’t buy brand new cars
We only have a pre-paid cell phone (costing a total of about $100/year.)
For many years, our income was a very low income, too. In spite of the fact that we were only earning $22,000 a year (averaged) for the first 5 years we were married, we still paid off $20,000 in debt and medical bills. I know people earning three times that amount with half the amount of debt who have claimed bankruptcy. There’s no reason for it!
All these things add up big time so that we even have our house 75% paid off now!
I hear all the time from people who say you are so “lucky” that you can stay at home with your kids and don’t have to work. Luck has nothing to do with it. It takes hard work and sacrifice! I see tired and worn out mom after mom who “wishes she could be a stay home mom but just can’t“. They spend $100 a month getting their hair and nails done. They are driving a brand new car. They eat out constantly because they are tired and live in houses that are way out of their budget. In the end they are working for things that aren’t even going to be there in a few hours, let alone a few years.
The entire point of living frugally is that you choose not to spend money on things that aren’t important or won’t last so that you can spend your money on things that will last. For us, the important thing is being there for our kids and providing a secure and peaceful home for them. Mike and I hardly ever fight over money because money isn’t an issue for us.
When we were first married we made the choice to live within our means and that meant living in some very bad houses that we could afford instead of “nice” house we couldn’t so that later (now) we can have a nice house to live in without being stressed out. I know many couples who were married about the same time we were, had twice the income and chose to get the nice house first. Now they are fighting constantly over money, always yelling at their kids because they are stressed out, and on the verge of bankruptcy, all because they chose to buy things they can’t afford.
Another point I want to make is that some “poor” people are making themselves poor. I’ve known many “poor” families. Many of them are always paying their bills late and live in run down houses, both parents are working and the kids are a mess, and they’re just so “poor” they can barely make it.
The problem is when you start looking at the true picture, all five family members have a cell phone, they have a collection of 500+ DVD’s, multiple video game systems, eat out every day (it’s “just the dollar menu” “it’s just one delivered pizza”) and drink nothing but sodas. This is a case where the family has it set in their minds that they are “poor” so they are going to spend $20 here and there to make themselves feel better to the point that they spend literally thousands of dollars on junk every year instead of improving their financial position.
So, actually, I think it gives us even more credibility that frugal living does work!
Sally, your mindset is one of the reasons so many people don’t want to be frugal– because they think that means they must be poor and deny themselves everything. They don’t want to do that and they are also worried about what others would think of them.
Being poor and frugal living are two totally different things. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Being poor means you have nothing at all. You can be extremely rich and live frugally because being frugal means being careful or a wise steward of your money. If you want to throw in being cheap, that means you can have money but you are stingy with it. Some of the wealthiest people in the world got there by frugal living, doing things like driving used cars, and many of them still do these things. They don’t do these things because they are poor but because they are wise and living frugally.
Also, you can’t judge a person’s financial condition by appearances. I wear top of the line name brand label clothing and shoes. My whole outfit if bought new would be worth $150 or more. I carry a “never been used” leather wallet which was priced $50 at the store and a leather purse priced at $60. But I was given my outfit as a hand me down and I paid $1.98 for my shoes. The wallet cost one dollar and the purse cost a dollar. I got them both at a garage sale with the tags still on them. I look like I have a lot of money, but I have very little.
Tawra’s home looks very nice too, not because she spent a lot of money but because she worked hard to get good deals and she and Mike did a lot of hard work doing things like painting the house and putting in the fence themselves. Even all of the furniture in her home except for her bed and couch was either given to her or was something she bought for almost nothing at a garage sale and refinished herself.
I’m not telling you this because I feel I need to justify myself or Tawra but to tell you that it is not wise to judge people by their outward appearances. Sometimes when we don’t have all of the information, it is easy to jump to conclusions about people that simply aren’t true.
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You rock! Frugality doesn’t mean poverty. It is wise stewardship.
Keep up the good work and the great newsletter!
BEING FRUGAL ALSO DOESN’T REALLY MEAN CHEAP EITHER. DIANA I HAVE SHOPPED THRIFT STORES FOR OVER 50 YRS, RAISED 4 KIDS WHO WERE GLAD TO HAVE NEW CLOTHES, EVEN USED ONES. WE WERE NOT POOR, JUST OUR WAY OF LIVING. ONE YEAR I REMADE 3 WOMEN’S COATS FOR MY 3 DAUGHTERS. MY YOUNGEST WAS SO EXCITED THAT SHE WAS WEARING HER AUNT JAN’S HIGH SCHOOL COAT. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK. LOVE THE NEWSLETTER. THANKS FOR ALL THE WORK YOU PUT INTO IT.
Hi Just wanted to say thank you for this post. I am getting motivated in purging what we don’t need and to keep on thinking about what we really need verses want when we purchase things. It’s been a learning experience for a long while but we push through.
I stay at home because it make financial sense and it has become a godsend to be with my kids. As for the single parents I can not comment on your lives because it is not mine as they can not comment on mine either. Just try your hardest for what works for you and never mind what others think. if you don’t agree with someone ok.. but don’t defend yourself or get upset if they don’t know your circumstance. People are bitter and will try to make you the same way.
Enjoy your life and live it. Things are not of importance…. you are.
YEs, poor people have a certain mind-set and frugal one’s have a different mind-set. I know poor people who are offended if someone says they can find great things at a thrift store. I shop there all the time.
Also, one of the most frugal people I know about is Warren Buffet. He drives a used station wagon and lives in a nice, but not extravegant house.
I’d rather have a frugal lifestyle and choose the things I want to indulge in (we travel), than a poor mind-set that says you must accumulate things rather than saving to indulge in what you want, or need.
It is all about setting goals. Case in point. Our neighbors are from Guatemala– when they became US citizens– they were a family of 4 living in a 1 bedroom, falling apart apartment right near the train station in a crime ridden area, their kids went to very tough schools in the elementary level. They worked very hard, and saved, saved, saved. They bought the house next door (our neighborhood considered on the low end of middle class–but fabulous schools). Our kids are great friends. Anyway, they had to switch church congregations because the folks at their church ostracized them for turning on their kind. These were the same folks with a family full of cell phones, super cable packages, designer clothes etc. Some people might see their house and say–how dare they say they know what it is like to be poor. Those people have no clue.
Please talk to my wife because she equates frugalness with being cheap. I can’t get through t her!!!!
Beautifully said Jill!!!!
Well spoken, Ladies!!
My daughter and grandchildren live with me and I am saving for a house. I make $24,000 and support 4 people… we drive used cars and have benefited from garage/yard sales, too. God has blessed us with what we have. I think you ladies are doing a wonderful thing… using items others don’t need… I have gotten some great ideas from you on how to help my own family. It just doesn’t make sense to waste money, especially nowadays!
You have hit the nail on the head. We too are guilty in the past of claiming “poorness” when we have spent money way too foolishly. And, to be perfectly honest, we still do occasionally. We worked very hard for the past 5 years of our marriage to clean up credit history mistakes we brought into the marriage and some we made together as a married couple and it paid off when we finally bought our first house! We both drive older paid for vehicles and if not for our boys school uniforms – yes we insist on private school for our 4 children – nealy all their clothes are gifts or second hand as well. It have been well over a year since I have bought myself any “new” clothes. I cut my husbands hair every few weeks and shave the boys heads in the summer. I go to the stylist maybe twice a year myself. However, we choose to have cable tv, cell phones and a gym membership. Since this is our choice, we know we can’t complain about money or lack of.
So, again, well spoken ladies. I love your tips, love my Dining on a Dime cookbook and plan to purchase one for my mother for christmas this year too! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU both for all the tips and tricks, money saving advice, and your time in helping others like me…it is truly appreciated!
Bravo, Tawra & Jill. Thank for your wise words and for living what you preach. It encourages me to work harder at managing what we have instead of whining about what we don’t have. Grateful for you both!
Tawra and Jill,
You two are so wise! Thanks for the pep talk. I, too, know that it is possible to live a life of abundance on a limited budget. It’s all about priorities, discipline, and hard work. But the rewards are ever so great, and the example to our children is priceless.
Keep up the excellent work!
Very well said, Muriel.
Congratulations on your new home in Colorado. We live in Colorado as well. It is a great state! I completely agree with your assessment that being frugal does not mean being poor! My husband and I have made sacrifices so we can be self-employed and home-school our children. We spend lots of time together enjoying the great outdoors through camping, hiking, cycling, etc. But we don’t eat out often, our children do not have cell phones, ipods, wii, or any other electronic toy. We have chosen to invest ourselves in our children instead of over-priced, ethically-questionable, consumer-driven products or practices. We have found that some of our “friends” are very resentful of our lifestyle and actually try to undermine us by things they say or do. So, it is very refreshing to hear your testimony that frugality can help you live “well” in the true sense. Thank You!
I was one of the bankruptcies you have been talking about. I did it to myself, thinking that I had to “help” all my friends and relatives, and when I needed the help back, you can probably guess that they couldn’t/wouldn’t return the favor. I have learned to say “NO!” now, and am trying to save for various goals (more than one savings account)and I read and heed your advice! I agree that you shouldn’t judge anyone, ever, on appearances. Sounds to me like Sally needs to re-think her position!
Thank you for stating the difference between poor and frugal. If you have saved your money and want to spend it on a nice house, then its a great decision for you.
My husband and I have always been “frugal”, our results the same as yours. We could have spent lots of money but didn’t.I hope you can work one way of saving money into your column. DONT WATCH TV ! The more you watch the more the ads try to get you to buy buy buy ! When we used to watch, we would sometimes just get up and go out to eat !!! I would find myself thinking I was deprived because I didnt have a “whatsis”. Since we stopped watching TV, we rent movies on Netflix, one at a time, and read books. Our savings have been enough to have a comfortable retirement ( so far ) and help our kids a bit. We are also trying to train them, but so far the results are small…guess what, they spend their leisure time watching TV !!!!!
Very, very wise! I have given my TV away. My pupils(13-16yo) can hardly believe what they hear. The more necessary I think it is, also because it conveys a very important message:CHOICES NOT MADE IS ALSO A CHOICE.
I an a retired First Grade teacher. One day we were talking about what we do when school was out. I After TV was mentioned several times, one boy said that he only watches TV on Friday and Saturday nights (no school the next day) The other children ask him what he did. He replied, “I play”!
I have an idea! Check out DVD’s at the library. Show part of one night and finish it the next night or (full one) and cut out TV altogether. No satellite or Comcast bill ever.
Wow Sally have you got the wrong impression. I have come across several people like you (in the Christian realm) who think all Christians are supposed to be poor. I also know “poor people” who smoke, eat out and buy alcohol while saying how they can’t get ahead. I believe finances are about choices a person makes. Where you choose to spend your money determines how you live. I love coming to this website as I think Tawra is so wonderful and I am glad she can afford to have a nice place to live – via choices her family has made. We made a choice when we moved from a 3200 sq. ft home that we worked to pay for, to a 1200 sq. ft. home that allows us some freedom to do other things AND we are still not debt free or even close. (I tend to be a spender and filled with stuffits). But thank God for blogs like Tawras’ who helps me on my path to freedom. I believe financial freedom is about showing the world how you can have Great things DEBT FREE! if you save and practice self-control and set these great examples for your children.
Good luck to you Sally!
If you live in a $144,000 house because you have been frugal, worked hard, and sacrificed for years, then I say more power to you! There is too much gimme gimme these days and not enough NO!!!! You have not lost credibility, you have given many the incentive they need to do the same thing! Congratulations, and thank you for your site and your willingness to help others.
It is all so relative. In my city a $ 144 000 house would be rock-bottom cheap. Like it does not even exist…
I appreciated both Tawra’s and Jill’s reply especially where Jill mentioned that you shouldn’t judge by outward appearances. The thing I would like to note is that every person has different priorities and goals. We were all made with different likes and dislikes. There are things that are important to one individual and unimportant to another. For example, I enjoy having my nails done. I sacrifice in area of clothing for that. I don’t spend as much in clothing so that I can have that luxury. It may seem frivolous to one person but to me, it’s not. If it came down to it and financially I needed to spend that money elsewhere I would do it in a heartbeat. We all need to be in a place where we could give up a luxury for a necessity. I would never let my kids goes without something they needed just so I could get my nails done. We need to get our eyes off of everyone else and stop judging because we will never win the comparison game. We, including myself, need to be reminded of that. Well done, ladies!
Gretchen, I agree with you 1000%. I purchase attractive but non-designer clothes because I think the polished look of manicure and markup is more important that a luxury label. When I switched from regular weekly manis (chipped in two days, lamented for five) to powder gels (more than triple the price, but lasting perfectly for three weeks), I paid for it by… skipping dessert. And I dropped a dress size. Yes, financial freedom is the sum total of our (good) choices. The equation will be different for everyone, but in the end… the numbers all have to add up. We may each have different priorities, but we share similar principals.
When people say to me that they wish they could be a stay at home mom too, I ask them how much they make. Most respond around $20,000. Then I ask them what they make after taxes and they have no clue. I then ask them how much they pay for childcare, the figure is usually around $150 a week for one child or $200 a week for 2 children. Do the math
$20,000 – 30%=$14,000
Deduct child care expenses for one child=$7,800 a year
you are down to $6,800
Weekly gas expenses are $60 a week for $3120(this does not include weekend trips)
you are down to $2,880
Calculate wardrobe at $150 a season= $900
you are now down to 1,780
Divide that by 50 weeks
then divide it by 30 hours a week(most work part-time)
Is it really worth $1.34 an hour?
Single parents have to work, not a choice really. It is unsettling that the calculation you used is the reality for single-parent households. They lack the resources of free childcare (extended family) as part of a divorce. But some of tips offered on this site can be used still, such as shopping at garage sales, driving a used car (although the cost to maintain a used car with no husband is another issue). One could rely on public transportation if they live in an urban area, but that would mean making special arrangements to have bus stop at the childcare, then stopping to drop you off at work…not easily done is most areas.
The easiest way to be frugal…get married, stay married. It makes more frugal sense to be a stay-at-home mom, as one’s childcare fees would counter the agse earned from employment (in my experience).
Tracy I disagree with you on the get married part, you don’t get married to have better finances. My mom raised 3 kids as a single mom and did great. We always had food and clothes, we lived in a small house and played outside.
Jan, while I agree some single parent families do fine, the vast majority of families living in poverty are headed by single parents. One of the best ways to ensure economic stability if for the parents to be married and remain together. This remains true regardless if only one or both parents are in the workforce.
Now, I’m not suggesting that someone should stay in a bad marriage, but it is a reality when we’re talking about families and children living in poverty.
I am also from a family with a single working mother and we had enough $ for lots of food, clothes and toys. But if she didn’t work full-time where would the money come from???
With a dead beat dad who paid no child support and little help from her family, we would be in poverty living off welfare. So she worked and I had daycare/babysitters (some were not “healthy” environments).
I agree with mom and dad being together makes it easier to have better finances (unless there is a partner with an expensive addiction or reckless spending habits).
I also agree that a couple should NOT stay together for finances if the relationship is unhealthy.
‘Tis true. People comment that to me all the time (I’ve been home more or less since having my first baby in 2006, except for 12 weeks I worked in 2007). My old job paid $25 an hour at the time. When I did the math, by the time we adjusted for the difference in family income tax and benefits, paid for (specialized) child care (my oldest is disabled), and paid for work expenses, I’d be working for about $5 a hour net. That’s 1/2 of minimum wage where I live. I figured for about $40 a day, I could find efficencies around the house so I could stay home. Almost 9 years and 3 more babies later, I’m sure glad I did.
I’m glad you took the trouble to stress the difference between being “cheap” versus “frugal”. Cheap is for selfishness, “frugal” is a lifestyle. Because we live “frugal” my husband and I can generously donate to our church and other charities…..Jann
Every word you say is so true. I’ve had people at work say it must be nice to own a farm…while I’m sitting eating my leftovers from home and they are eating takeout getting ready to go out for a smoke. They would whine about how they didn’t have anything to feed their kids while they sat there with their new “do” and stars painted on their fingernails.
Do they know we got here by living in a 10×50′ trailer with four kids. One bedroom was 5×6′–no lie. Two cribs wall-to-wall. Bunkbeds in the living room. No running water…went to mom’s to shower on Saturdays and fill up our water jugs. Saved our money and built a house ourselves on that 20 acres. Sold that and moved to the farm of our dreams. Now we are “retired”…working hard everyday to improve this place and leave something for our children…who are all building homes here paying as they go. So our legacy of frugality lives on. I ask them if they felt cheated as kds and they laugh and say how could they…they had horses,tree forts in the woods, acres and acres to roam. They learned how to work and entertain themselves without Wi’s and texting all day to friends and shopping at the mall. And I might add that we did all this with rarely a year of over $40,000 income and many years way way less. I worked night shifts so could homeschool during the day while DH worked. No babysitters for us….never could figure out why it is called babysitting when Dad stays home with the kids…aren’t they his equal responsibility???
Even here people think we are rich because we have all this land, a beautiful remodeled old farm house,etc. We got here pinching pennies and not buying into the rampant consumerism of most Americans. Buy what you need. Want what you have….DEE
Sally really needs to listen to Dave Ramsey and read his book. He is a millonaire many times over and still drives used cars. That is how he and his wife live and they have the frugal mindset. It is all about being smart with your money so you manage it and it doesn’t manage you.
I think Tawra is a perfect example of Dave Ramsey’s mantra: If you will live like no one else, later you can LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE!
WTG Tawra! (You, too, Jill!)
Sorry, but a $144K house may be nice in Kansas, but in the Denver area that would indeed be ‘cheap’ or in a really bad, drug-infested neighborhood. I commend Tawra’s frugality and common sense. My wife and I were the opposite end of the spectrum and are now digging out of our messed up finances – thanks in large part to Tawra (and Dave Ramsey!). We will be debt free by December. Thanks for the inspiration.
“Sorry, but a $144K house may be nice in Kansas, but in the Denver area that would indeed be ‘cheap’ or in a really bad, drug-infested neighborhood.”
I thought the same thing… LOL. You can’t even buy a trailer on rented lot here for that price, a 1/2 duplex will run you 200K!
yea I was sitting here wondering how a $144K house is considered “nice”. I guess it depends on where you are willing to live…..
I loved what you said about the poor mindset, and I agree with your wisdom on money. Keep it coming!
Love this post. It is obvious that Sally has some jealousy issues. It reminds me of the person who blasted Jill a couple of years back for having 50 Christmas gifts to wrap. I often feel this hostility from my daughter, my mother and my sister. They all work and can not understand why I don’t. They could not have jobs as well, but are not willing to do the real “work” it would take. My daughter refuses to use cloth diapers, and at this point to even begin potty training her two year old daughter. She does not hang out laundry and she does not cook. They eat a steady diet of take out pizza. She just bought a new car, has had car payments since she was 17, our fault as parents I admit. she and her husband wonder why they cannot buy a home of their own.
My mother is retirement age but refuses to retire saying that she would not be able to find anything to do with her time. But really I believe that it is because she would not be able to spend money as freely as she does now. She is a border line hoarder, and you can see things sitting all over her house still in the bags from the store,still with the price tag, some of it to never even be worn or used.
My sister has a disabled child and is a very high wage earner, a professional. She had to have a high standard of living for them. They have a three bedroom, two bath home with a pool. She uses her car in her job, so I know she needs a reliable one, but she has been making continuous car payments for years, because she trades in every couple of years. Her child is with caregivers more than with her, but after all, “she is a single mom and there is no other way.” I have been the butt of their jokes for so long. They will actually gang up on me and make snide remarks. It used to hurt, but I think it is jealousy. My reply now, ” I walk in abundance.” Because after all, isn’t that what I have through putting my faith in the Lord and then following through with action? My car is a 2003 and we could well afford to go out and buy a new one, but we choose not to. This one meets our needs and will give us more years of service. My husband is about to buy a used truck with about 300,000 miles on it to drive back and forth to work. It will only cost us around $2500 and he knows the owner and knows the history of the truck. We also bought a car from our neighbor for $1,000 a couple of years ago. Our son will start driving it this summer. We cook, do out own yard work,clean our own house, have a limited cable package for $20 a month. We eat out on Friday night, usually with a coupon. i have thought many times of going to work, just for the companionship of others if nothing else, but I know it will change our lifestyle and I don’t want that to happen. Having fibromyalgia and arthritis, I know the pain and exhaustion will set in and it will be more and more take out pizza, eating out, paying more for a gallon of milk just because it is more convenient. Sorry this is no long, but I had a lot to say on this subject. I really appreciate that you both are willing to tell your story and willing to deal with the criticism because of it.
I’m trying to understand why looking at a picture of your nice home translates into “you’re not frugal”. First of all, your home is in no way lavish or extravagant. If it was, I’d be asking how big your six-figure income was. :) Secondly, as you’ve said, you are able to afford something nice *because* of your frugality. I’ve never thought you had a “poverty mindset”. The message I’ve heard you speaking was – Live within your means. And then you gave us hundreds (if not thousands) of ideas to do just that.
Congratulations! Your hard work has paid off! You are now able to (as Dave Ramsey says) live like no one else, because you have lived like no one else.
What an incredible response. There is a scripture…Man looks on the outward apperance but God looks at the heart. It’s crazy, but people make such huge assumptions because of what things look like outwardly. I’ve been so blessed by this newsletter over the year that I’ve rec’d it. Thank you for exposing the mindset of poverty vs. frugality. I worked in a bank and most all my wealthy customers hardly ever had new cars or ultra fancy clothes.
Most people who purchase things they cannot afford is actually feeding some pain deep inside themselves.
I totally agree. Sally, our culture makes us look at a very different picture than what our Bible does. Most of the people that I know here in Chicago are very wealthy but very frugal. You would never know the wealth that they have when you would meet them in the grocery store or driving down the street. The ones that are losing their homes now or are claiming bankrupcy are usually the ones that look like they have wealth but don’t. (car is a lease (fleece) and thy rent furniture or don’t have any in the big house. Remember, it is the Lord’s money, we are just caretakers of it.
I’ve been pretty fugal all my life. I can relate well to comments like Sally’s…instead of her looking at a system that works for you, she is thinking its all cheap and fugal is poor. The definition of fugal is not spending all your earned income on things. Something I’ve had to learn. Things may help us temporiarly feel better, a bigger house, but I’ve learned that a larger house requires more cleaning and highier utility cost in the long run. Typically, now that I am unforunately not employed (self or for someone), I need to depend on God totally. HE has supplied all of our needs even housing. AMAZING. Yes, God is total amazing. I am not living in a dump either, a really nice neighborhood and great schools (we had a choice an academy or regular public). Yes, we don’t go out to eat much now, we drive used cars but we look rich yes, one of our cars looks brand new, my husband makes sure it looks beautiful. Even though we may be living on much less, I garage sale, rummage sale, Salavation Army purchases, & clearance shopping at major department stores, we look nice,,,sometimes people ask me, where did you purchase this purse? or shoes?…i tell them, i’m a bargain hunter. Most people are amazed at my finds & the cost I’ve paid. Things we don’t use, I donate to friends, to a church or non-profit. If the item is worn out, its tossed. I love being smart & fugal, & I like Tawara ‘love’ a beautiful environment. :)
I totally agree with you ladies. I’m a stay at home Mom and my husband is a sales man and we have a nice home. We live on a budget because it depends on how much he sales that month. So like you ladies I shop yard sales, goodwill, salvation army and thrift stores like most people shop Wal-mart or dept. stores. I truly enjoy the hunt of seeing what I can find. I use coupons to eat out and if I don’t have one I usually don’t go. For my DS birthday we have had great parties here at the house. They are big but I save things up all year. I shop after season sales for the candy and gift bags for the kids and for my sons gifts. My Mom and I make the food and the cake. Entertainment this year was the movie Toy Story 3. We moved the tv to the deck for the evening and the kids set out there among blankets and lots of pillows and watch the movie while eating corndogs, popcorn, bbq and hot chocolate. After the movie they had cake. Before they left they had a small bag and got to go to the candy bar I had set up in the dining room. The kids and parents said it was the best party they had been to. It didn’t cost me as much as some parents pay at these rest. or activity places. And my son and his friends want to know if we can do it again. So we are planning a Star Wars night. We went to Dollar Store and got some light up swords to hand out when they leave. The food will be homemade. So it will be a fun inexpensive evening.
Some people look at us and our home and think we are either rich or in debit up to our eyeballs. We have worked our way to where we are. First living in a single wide trailer, then a double now we have a nice brick home. The only payment beside water, electric,etc. we have is our home but hopefully before long that too will be history.
A lady told me one time if you look after your nickels and dimes the dollars will take care of their selves. And that’s very true.
I am very blessed to have had parents to teach me the value of the dollar and the value of entertaining friends in your home and having a great time without going crazy.
Brilliant ideas for children’s parties! Thank you.
Jill and Tawra,
I am sorry that you have people who continue to make you justify why you are frugal and yet have nice things. In my opinion, it is the people who make you justify that need to figure out why they are having a hard time making ends meet. I love your newletters and website. I’ve learned so much from you. Keep up the fantastic work. It is greatly appreciated.
I love your blog and I agree what both of you said about living within your means and there’s a difference between being cheap and being frugal!! I believe it’s learning to stretch your dollar and to be smart that is why you have nice things. I think you’re incredibly credible and I look forward to reading your newsletter because you give such great advice.
Sally will always live in a shack with her mindset I hope she read this past entry and took and can help broaden her views of things..She should read the Millionaire Next Door that will knock her socks off!!
God bless and keep living frugally!
I really love and appreciate your website,and especially the advise Today on living frugal and reaching your goals. I never thought it would be so valuable these days…Im learning to live this way and i enjoy it. Ive’ passed this website on to my daughter and will be sharing this with my friends and family members. Thank You so much.
Nadine in Nevada
You ladies are such an inspiration. I am working so hard to get my husband on the “Let’s Get Debt Free” bandwagon. I do believe he is beginning to come around — finally.
Keep giving us the great advice and keep your chin up!
You are totally correct Tawra and Jill. We make less than a lot of our friends, but we spend it differently and it makes us appear like we are much more wealthy. We don’t do all the electronic nonsense, just the basics; we don’t buy expensive foods or eat out all the time; we buy lots of things used, including vehicles; we don’t go on vacations several times a year (just because we deserve it); and we don’t give our children everything they want!
We own 42 acres, that I purchased the same day it went on the market. Got it for $800 an acre and now land around us is selling for $7000 an acre. But not us. We are only 5 years away from it being paid off. We have a 2400 sq ft shop, 1500 sq ft barn, many outbuildings, an 1800 sq ft home (that we moved from a very wealthy neighborhood) and only 5 more years! woohoo! Some of our friends have moved 3 and 4 times, each time getting a bigger home, in the same time we have built up our little farm and then complain that they will be in their 70’s before their home is paid off! Well duh!
And yes our kids didn’t always like it, but now that they are 18 and 21, they are getting in tune with our mindset. They never had a car pmt, only insurance. They didn’t have to keep working at a job during high school if they didn’t want to, because no new car sitting in the driveway. It gave them freedom and they DID like that.
Wish more people had “our” outlook on life and finances. Keeping up the Jones’ would be out of vogue and everyone would be a lot happier with each other and what they do have!
I have rambled long enough…good luck on the house hunting and keep being “poor or frugal”! It is the only way to have peace and freedom from outside stresses.
Sally’s comment sounds like sour grapes to me. I agree with you, Tawra, that your nice home increases your credibility!
I appreciated Tawra’s and Jill’s gentle reply to Sally as well as Tawra’s openness to share what their income was. I find that I am not necessarily learning new ideas as we have practiced the same for many many years living well on very little income. I do like the occasional recipe, however. One must decide what is most important and live from that vision with great diligence and self denial. Continue on with persistence, kindred ladies.
Thank you for your honest comments. My husband and I are FINALLY realizing that our being frugal is not a punishment, but something we praise God for. We’ve been slowly getting ourselves out of debt, and really thinking twice and three times before spending that “$20 to make us feel better”. Almost immediately we feel guilty, thinking we could have gotten the weeks worth of staples with that $20! We are thriving each time we pay more than the minimum on our credit card and continue to “chop down” on it. My husband even got some free items from his job to fix up and sell – last night he suggested we use the proceeds to chop down on the credit card! Its such a feeling of freedom to actually be able to tithe, save some and have enough to pay the bills and just a little more left over. Its a test of faith for sure, but we believe this is the only way to live now. Thanks for all you do – I LOVE your emails and website. It has changed our way of thinking about money forever!
Dave Ramsey says that budgeting is all about telling your money where to go instead of letting your money tell YOU where to go/ controlling you. It’s so true! We are currently working to pay off debt and it is so freeing! My girls often say, oh we’re too poor to do that, or have this new gadget, etc. I always reply that we actually could do a lot of those things, but we are choosing to use our money differently and are Choosing NOT to have that new gadget or those new clothes.
I agree, frugal is not another word for poor. The whole point of frugal is so that you are Not Poor! On the outside, many people may look like they are rich because they have all of the newest, nicest posessions, houses, and cars. In reality, most are carrying a TON of debt and are slaves to that debt.
I love your newsletter and website. Keep up the wonderful Frugal living and advice!!!
At first, Sally’s post sounded more that a little mean-spirited, but I sense that she’s locked onto a “hamster-wheel” that is proving difficult to get off of. Her pain shows between the lines.
This said, I never embarrass people in public, or online, if I can help it. Tawra, you and Jill make excellent points in your rebuttals. However, the fact that you were “correcting” Sally in open forum, you diminished those points by directing them to her. I’d much rather have read an article about this instead of a post-and-rebuttal scenario. I’m just saying. Thanks, as always, for the newsletter. Great job.
I agree Barbara I would have them rather done as you suggested although I agree with their message.
Isn’t that exactly what you’re doing here?
Amen and Amen! I’m a SAHM by choice and by conviction. No, we are not poor, especially when you judge by the rest of the world’s population and not by what you see on tv. We are not as well-off as some, but we ARE frugal and wise stewards of what God has given us. That frugality allows us to enjoy blessings from time to time, as does our obedience to be faithful stewards. THAT, after all, is our job, and the whole point, isn’t it? Keep up the good work, ladies. You’re a blessing and inspiration.
The number one problem in America is exactly what has been expressed above. My husband and myself changed our spending habits 12 years ago and took a long hard look at how we were treating our incomes. It is so easy to get caught up in mindless spending thinking that small things don’t add up. Our frugality enabled us to sell our home during the real estate downturn, make a handsome profit and buy our retirement home for cash in another state. Yes, we left California because it is too expensive…. trading it for a mountain state and the snow that goes with it. So what! The costs are cheaper and we have grown to love the four seasons. It takes some hard work and an attitude that says “I don’t care what people think”. Do what is right and responsible for yourself and your family and things work out much better in the long run.
Thank you for this newsletter! That is just the information I have tried to convey to younger couples I know who do not truly understand the meaning of “Frugal”.
Sally actually gave you the platform to once again give the details of living a “fulfilled life!” I was shocked as a 12 year old to find out my family was “poor”. Amazed me. We had everything we needed, our home was one of the nicer ones in the neighborhood, my parents made life and adventure, we dressed better than anyone else in our neighborhood (thrift stores are amazing!), and never went hungry. What more can you want? We traveled each year, and had friends all over the world because of our church involvement. I do my best to follow the example set before me, and teach those who are watching my life. So, thank you, Sally for opening the door to a greater explaination of the true meaning of frugal!
I am so proud of both of you for standing your ground. Living frugally all my life has afforded me the very best that life has to offer. The important small things that those trying to impress others will never know. Good job.
I sure love you two, my kids and I were “poor”, by most people standards. Homemade meals always, second hand and thrift store clothes mostly, but they were rich in using their God-given talents, that they would probably neglected if they had video games and extra-curricular activities. They developed their music, language, artistic skills and they did it for their amusement. It has sure paid off! They weren’t allowed to say they were bored! They were also rich in morals, loving hearts and giving to others. They still are! It’s so gratifying to hear them say they loved the way they were raised. Oh, I forgot, there were 5 of them and I did in home childcare until a year ago. We had a fun life and shared it with some VERY wealthy kids who wished they’d had a life like ours. Hugs to you and yours!
Amen, Tarwa and Jill! Your response was so true! Your credibility has only risen! Keep on keeping on! We appreciate your business. Take care and enjoy the spring time!
Wow! You were really nice about it, Jill! Frugality is what allows us all to MAKE CHOICES. Some want to spend on their home, (Like I do), so they give up other things (Like I do!). It’s all about what your priorities are. I realized when I turned 40 that I only had 25 years left to work and save for retirement!.
I don’t do vacations, I cook a lot (but I LOVE to cook), I use the library alot, drive used cars. I want to be able to sleep well at night and not worry about money. —
And I take from you and Tawra each idea that works for me, and not all work for everyone. Take the best that work for you. And please, never resent someone else’s good fortune. !
There are many ways of living a simple life still enjoying it!
I would like to make a comment to Sally and all the other “Sallys” out there… I live on approx. $10,000 per year. I am self-employed. I drive a nice (used) car and live in a nice house ($148,000). I use a pay as you go phone, I don’t have cable or many other fancy wireless devices that most of my friends have. My friends always tease me about being so frugal. They also always beg me to help them save money. I explain how I do it and most of them decide they like going out to dinner better than saving money. My house is almost paid off… actually, I owe more money on my used car ($12,000) than I do on my house. I don’t eat out much and I am very careful with my A/C settings. I grow my food crops in barrels and I have 4 hens for eggs. I live in a major Florida city so I spend a lot of time doing outdoor activities. FREE activities. Most of my friends make about 10 times what I make BUT most of my friends complain daily about their debt. So, you can live frugally and have nice things. You just have to be willing to make some sacrifices to do it.
I totally agree! I think the fact that you have a nice house reinforces your credibility and that it is 75% paid off makes it all the more awesome!
Thanks for your website! I am always encouraged by it.
Amen to your response! Your credibility has only risen! Keep on keeping on! May you enjoy this beautiful spring as we keep enjoying your business!
Love you both! Thanks so much for your tips……I am a single working mom of two darling sons, and I have learned a lot from you………..and as a result, my sons and I enjoy finding a good deal, whether it is on groceries or clothing………….the secret for us is to be content in all circumstances and to focus on what we need, as opposed to what we want. Bless you!
I LOVE this post! This describes our situation and lifestyle perfectly. The only difference is we lived in a used trailer when we were first married. It drives me a little crazy when we have certain family members who think that my dh must make a lot of money for me to be able to stay at home with my children. And we all wear nice name brand clothes (from the Goodwill), live in a nice house (we bought it at a great price and have been remodeling it ourselves). Basically, people get the idea that we have it so easy, but really we got to where we are by hard work, and using what little money we had wisely.
You are all so right! Being frugal has allowed me and my husband to ‘retire’ and become full time rvers. We don’t have a fancy new travel trailer in fact it is a 1983 model but it works well for us and we tow it with a 1995 1 ton truck. By many standards we are poor. Our income is less than $1500 a month but we are enjoying our lifestyle and work hard to keep within our budget. We workcamp at campgrounds and rv parks so we pay no lot rent or utilities and can still visit different areas and travel south for warmer weather during the cold winter months next year. “Poor” is an attitude. We may not be financially rich but we are rich in the things that count and that is much more important.
I am a stay at home mom with 9 of our 13 children still at home and a fireman’s wife. Needless to say firemen do not make an enormous amount of money. My family has very little debt although we are currently renting our house. We hope to purchase a house soon so we are no longer throwing away money on rent.
I have never put much thought into living frugally, it is just a necessity for us. We buy most of our clothes seond hand or on sale at the end of the season. We eat out very little. We buy used vehicles. And I cook most everything from scratch. My husband has compared notes with some of the guys he works with and we spend about the same on groceries and household supplies that many of them spend for their 4 and 5 person families.
I guess we must look like we have more money than we do because many times people have stopped me to ask if “all those kids are yours” and what my husband does for a living. Living frugally is a choice. For us it is a matter of spreading the money we do have as far as we can. Our family still does fun things together, like going to the ice park or tubing hill. But we also do many free things like going for walks, bike rides, visiting with friends. Our life is about relationships instead of things. We have found – by moving 3500 miles and having to leave a LOT behind – that the less “stuff” you have the more free you are to enjoy life. We had an 18 ft car trailer with sides on it. Whatever didn’t fit, had to stay behind. We loaded and unloasded 3 times to get it light enough for our van to pull.
It was a huge adjustment at first but last year when we went home, I found we were all much more critical of the things we felt we needed to bring back. We had been enjoying our freedom from that stuff and didn’t want to reclutter our lives. We narrowed everything down to extreme sentimental value(a very small amt) and useful things like cooking dishes and tools. It was amazing how little we missed the rest.
I would also like to add that we moved because my husband had been miserable in is previous jobs. Oh he would start out thinking a new one was going to be better than the last but before long it was just as bad. He was a heavy equipment and farm machinery mechanic. We talked about what made him so miserable. He was tired of fixing everything other people tore up. He had been a volunteer firefighter for many yearsand said he wished he could get paid to do what he loves. So here we are. He found a job as a fireman and we moved. This move was scary because neither of us had lived anywhere else. We had no family or friends where we were going. But we put our trust in God and He has been faithful to guide us through.
I agree with them. We have 10 children and live quite modestly. When we go out to eat it’s a real treat because we don’t do it often. We look for lots of things to do with our kids that don’t cost much or very little. We take them fishing, sledding they love parades, kite flying and many zoo’s and musuems have free days or certain times that admition is free. We also have a large garden and make a game of trying to eat out of it with what we call “Freebie meals” The complete meal comes from it. They love to look in recipe books to use some of our produce in different ways.
Thank you so much for your frugal living and your willingness to share how you do it! Your response was great. I have some friends who live frugally and would never share one word of advice on how to do it. They never want to help anyone –that’s cheap! You are a huge blessing to all of us.
Your credibility is tops with me — you’ve proven by example that it can be done. Blessings to you and your family.
Jill’s first comments to Sally’s reply were well put. Speaking for myself, I have seen many people doing or having things or vacations I would like myself. Why can’t I? Because I know for a fact that many of my priorities have been misplaced. I have only myself to blame for “not having”. Kudos to those who have lived with their priorities set right and are able to enjoy the fruiits of their frugality.
Amen! Here is Arizona we have families who are struggling financially, but think nothing of going into debt for a swimming pool. Hello, anybody home?
Hi Tawra and Jill,
We have 4 children and homeschool. When we made the decision to homeschool our annual income was a little less than $20,000. We rented a small house and eventually moved to rent a larger one. We bought our own home, just paid off our debt (except house), and drive a paid for 04 van. I always say I’m very cheap, but have come to like frugal better. I evaluate every purchase. My husband is part owner of a furniture delivery business. Up until recently every piece of furniture in our home was given to us. My husband has been fortunate to make a higher salary now that he owns the company, but we still live very frugally. We have been able to get deals on things we need, like a $10,000 sectional for $300. We just put the money away and waited until we found what we wanted for what we could afford. I’m sorry that people say what they say. We always get “how can you afford all of those kids…” Well, we don’t put them in 25 paid activities, they don’t have brand new designer clothes, they don’t have a bunch of video games (although Nana bought them a wii for Christmas this year) or everything else that society says that our kids NEED. But they do play tennis free through a great organization near us, we take free band lessons through a church near us, they always look very nicely dressed (thanks to consignment sales and ebay), and we almost never go out to eat. Are my kids upset??? Nope. They value what they have and think twice about how they spend their own money now too. I’m not upset about that at all. They have all of their basic needs met and sometimes a want gets in there too.
Sometimes people just act in a way that makes sense to themselves. Sally was just acting in a way that made sense to her. Some people are raised to be judgemental of others. Some people are raised to be kind and helpful to others; to help them make the most of their lives. Many people are thankful for what you do, including me :)
Tawra and Jill: you are right on with your response. Being frugal means living within your means, not being poor even if you have the money to buy something you want or need. My first “frugal teacher” was Amy Daycyzyn (Lord I still miss her newsletters–no slight on Tawra!). Amy used to emphasize again and again: if you live in a mobile home and have a whole fleet of snow mobiles there is nothing wrong with that as long as your bills are paid, your kids are fed, you have money in savings for emergencies etc. What you do with your leftover money is up to you! If you prefer to spend it on a nice house–do it! If you prefer to spend it on nice vacations, do it! Just don’t go into debt to do these things for yourself (okay the mortgage might be one most people take on, but it’s considered a “necessary debt” by many.)
Any how, I just want to reiterate that you are right on in your response. Keep on keeping on!
I can not believe someone actually is giving you grief because you live within your means, what is wrong with people? I have a beautiful home, completely furnished with treasures from Goodwill, Salvation Army and other thrift stores and yard sales, if you walked in to my home, you would have no idea that I did not spend thousands of dollars furnishing my home. I love resale shops!!!! I always find beautiful new or like new items for pennies on the dollar, I am not trying to impress anyone, I pay my own way in life and don’t feel the need to have my neighbors approval, they don’t pay my bills.
Amen, Amen. I love your website. My mother says I’m so tight I squeak. We are totally debt free, 1600 sq ft house included. We are frugal and enjoy our lifestyle. Thanks for telling it like it is. People who make themselves “poor” really bug me. Complain all the time about can’t make the house or car pmt. but eat top of the line organic food from the health food store ($900/month). Make 3-4 trips to town everyday (over 100 miles/day) 3 kids in 3-4 paid lessons per week. $150 & $200 a month electric and water bills each month! I’m so tired of hearing her complain about no money.
I do agree that children do not NEED to be in several activites outside of school. I also buy all of our clothes 2nd hand & we all look very well dressed. I buy all of my furnture 2nd hand too. But I must say that I work full time. I have to work full time because I carry our families medical insurance thru my job. I do not come home with very much after that is deducted, BUT, we are covered in case something happens. Still with insurance, we pay a co pay & a large deductable that we must meet before insurance steps in. But today, kids get sick, parents need check ups, surgery & on & on. I had to have an MRI & even with insurance it was pricy. So unless, the hubby has the medical insurance, many Moms do have to work. Because I will not be on assistance when I am fully able to work.
Wow! I am so impressed with how this was handled..
I thank you sooo very much…
On the flip side of having nice things because of good stewardship and frugality,
my husband and I enjoy being cheerful givers… This means that we recognize that while our house needs desperate work and is viewed by many as an eye soar or ( judge us by the assumption that we are STUPID with our money and by some have even suggested that it is because we do not tithe… Lol), we believe that we have all that we need, and therefore enjoy giving and sharing what God has given to us.. It is ALL his any way! What good is it to have if you don’t share… My point is.. Is exactly Jills point.. You can not judge some ones motives or their hearts by outward appearances.. Just because they look like they have money, doesn’t mean they can’t be smart about how they use it…. And vise versa….. Just because someone chooses to be content w/ what they have ( rather than making it better for the Worlds view) doesn’t mean they are foolish w/ their money either…
Tawra and Jill: I never once questioned your credibility and your lifestyle inspires me to work towards doing that myself (I still have a weakness for eating out too much but am working on it!). Thank you for your hard work, tips, recipes, and most of all, ministry to steer us toward God and His provision. Keep it up!! And never let comments like Sally’s discourage you. God bless, Marina
Dear Tawra and Jill:
I love the way you ladies answered that e-mail. You explained very nicely being frugal DOES NOT mean living in poverty. I have NEVER heard you say that you have a poverty mindset, as Sally suggested. What you do say is that you are careful about how you spend your money. You make wise choices that allow you to live well “on a dime”, to coin a phrase :-)
Sally seems to think that if you are frugal you must be poor. She should read “The Millionaire Next Door.” It would help her to understand how that is not true at all. Many people have become millionaires by simple being wise with the money God has entrusted to them.
Not all poor people are poor because they are disadvantaged. While a few people are poor because of circumstances beyond their control, many poor people are poor because of the bad choices they have made with their money.
Personally I think that the poverty mindset really is about greed. They want what they cannot afford so they spend all they have or spend beyond their means with credit cards to get it, which keeps them in poverty. It is a vicious cycle.
In the book of Proverbs, Wisdom says, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver.” Proverbs 17:16 also says, “Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?”
My husband and I have a story similar to yours. We bought a home we could afford when everyone else was taking out big loans to buy an expensive home and using their “equity” and credit cards to go on expensive vacations and buy lots of “toys.” We used to wonder how they could afford all of those things when we knew their income was much less than ours. Then the truth has exposed the lie. They were living beyond their means. Now they are losing their home, in bankruptcy and getting divorced. That is the result of greed. It is so sad.
I love the frugal lifestyle. Now that my husband is making good money, we still live the same way we did when we were first married. I am fifty and we have been living frugally all our married life. We pinch every penny and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You ladies keep preaching the truth about money. Not everyone wants to hear it, but as the Bible says, “The truth shall set you free.”
I appreciate anyone who is frugal. I have had people label my family as rich, and yes we are rich, but not with money. Yes we own a nice home, but stuff is not our focus……family relationships take priority.
I homeschool,look after an elderly mom who lives with us,and my husband works full time. My children also work part time jobs to pay for things they need. I do everything from coupon to cook from scratch, dye used clothing to make it look new, garden for our food supply, etc. I enjoy this because in saving money, I am not strung out with a house payment, car payment,insurance payments, etc. My three teen boys will work jobs to put themselves through community college.They do not mind shopping consignment and do not have to have the latest fashion , neither do they look like they are lost in the 50s. :) All in all, my opinion is if people have big “wanters” and they are focused on material possessions, they will always not have enough money…no matter how much their income.
Thanks so much for all of you frugal tips. I can always learn something new from you. Keep up the good work….after all it IS work :)
All I can say to Tawra and Jill’s reply to Sally is, AAAAAMEN!
I love your newsletter! Learn a lot!
Unfortunately, Sally’s mindset is that of the majority of Americans. My husband and I got great advice about not using credit cards and such when we were first married, but since we both worked and paid very little rent ($25 mo) we thought we could afford to buy the stuff on credit and pay it off the next month. Guess what? It didn’t get paid off, and we accumulated around $6000 in cc debt, and purchased a $22,000 vehicle (on credit, of course.) By then, I wasn’t working any longer, and we had a 2 year old and another baby on the way. So, yes, we learned the hard way. CC’s are paid off now, and we don’t use them anymore, or make payments on vehicles. We drive a 99 SUV and my husband has a 85 truck. We are currently expecting our 5th child, and are saving to buy a another (larger)suv. :-) We hope to have enough to purchase it (with cash) by next summer. I will repeat my favorite Dave Ramsey quote, “Live like no one else, so later, you can live like no one else!” Congratulations, Tawra, on your new home and adventure in Colorado! I love your newsletter about frugality and tips on how to save $$! God bless! :-)
Frugal is a state of mind. You can be rich without a lot of money and it is always a question of priorities. You can choose where you will spend your dollars. What is important, what is not. I think we are extremely fortunate in this country and we forget that sometimes.
Where I live, a $144,000 home is a pretty cheap home.
I know people think because we own a business that we have a lot of money. So not true. My husband also has a part-time job to pay the bills.
My husband owns a business. Everything he makes gets plowed back into the business. I work 2 jobs to support us.
I was shocked at the letter from Sally stating you “had lost a lot of credibility” because of the value of home you owned. Sam Walton (Wal-Mart) was frugal but far from poor in the end. One defintion of frugal is: •economical: avoiding waste. BECAUSE Sam Walton was frugal he became very wealthy and that is neither a crime nor a sin. We can only be a blessing to others if we have the resources available to do so. Keep up the wonderful work, I have learned a lot from your newsletter! Dawn Berman
I am proud to be frugal!! It lets me choose what I value in life. My mom about had a fit when she realized how much money I spent by having a pet in my life. It is my money my life and he is one of the things I value most. We all have different things we consider important. He is that important to me that I gladly give up eating out and expensive cell plans, new clothing… We live well because of how carefully I spend. It all boils down to values. Another responder mentioned Warren Bufett. He is my spending hero. Like she said, he drives an older car and lives in a modest home, not because it is all he can afford (ha) it is because he values other things more. My pet is that important to me, more so than a fancy dinner that is soon forgotten. I get unconditional love every day and that is priceless!!!
I agree with you 100 percent . Pets are there for you in good times and bad and never expect anything in return nor do they judge you for what you have or don’t have !!
Well said Tawra and Jill! You go ladies… :~)
I have always read your blog because you inspire me. I see that I can have the nice things I want without being in the poor house. I am as we speak trying to pull our family out of financial stupidity, and you have always given me hope!!!! Please do not let one ignorant person hurt your feelings……..
The price of the house depends on the location. In Toronto, where I live, the price is very high. I can’t believe you got that big house with the 1.4 acres for 144,000!!!!! Did I read it correct?
I am pretty sure, a person with your annual income can buy that kind of house. Only thing I wonder is how you were able to have all these made possible with your Extreme Fatigue Disorder!!!!You mother and daughter are really amazing.
I really admire you.
I love your advice. Living near Chicago means high prices on everything but we still manage to live on one income. I wouldn’t necessarily say we are frugal but we try to be smart with the money we have. Our one weakness is eating out (I’m a horrible cook!) frequently but even then we do so with coupons and splitting meals or going out for lunch instead. We have finally learned that we don’t need the nicest house or the nicest cars. Being able to be a stay-at-home mom has been worth it all. Here’s to many more years of frugal advice giving!!
I live in a 2700 sf house, drive a nice car, and am the thriftiest person you would ever want to meet. We deliberately chose to live a frugal lifestyle so we could afford certain things that we wanted without resorting to my having to work a full time job to pay for them. Yes, I drive a nice car, but I bargained hard and carefully maintain it so that it will last 10-12 years. It’s 6 years old and looks as good as new. My thermostat is low in the winter and high in the summer- it saves money and doesn’t waste resources. I’ve taught my children that TRUE recycling is wearing hand-me-downs and eating leftovers, and that wasting anything is like throwing money in the garbage. My girls love combing thrift stores and yard sales for good deals and they dress very, very well. My kids all know how to cook and have learned to carefully shop for deals on groceries. I can send my teen-aged son to the store and know that he will bring home the best deals he can find. The reward for my kids’ is that their willingness to help keep our cost of living down allows us to afford their participation in outside activities they enjoy like scouting, FFA, marching band, gymnastics, and church groups. They are certainly not deprived and pay their share by tending the chickens carefully so we don’t have to buy eggs and taking care of the garden and helping can/freeze produce so we don’t spend money on buying food we can produce ourselves. We are careful with our finances and have brought up children who are thoughtful and careful with their money. Simply put, to look at us, you would think we were wealthy, but we’re not. We can afford the big house, nice car, and children’s activities by being very, very frugal. The Lord himself told us, “But when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face, so you appear not unto men to fast” I follow that to include the idea that being poor does not mean you have to wear ragged clothing and have a dirty face.
Marine, I couldn’t have said it better!
We all csn glean some wisdom from this.
I agree, people think that I am rich because I have rental properties and live on a small acreage. I worked for it, I have not bought anything new in over 20 years. I too get very nice things like a long leather coat for $3 at a garage sale and know how to shop for food, like buying sale meats and using a freezer I got for free off freecycle when my old one died, and watching the bottom shelves in the store. It is work to save money, but, I would rather have something than spend on a whole lot of nothing! So, you can’t say things just fall into someone’s lap if you haven’t tried to do better for yourself, how can you judge the next person because they have tried and are successful at living within means and being frugal?
Grrr! These kinds of judgements drive me nuts! I live on social security and for the last 2 yrs have been supporting an out of work son and have another son in college. I have very little in retirement savings as most of that went to keeping my bedridden mother at home for 2 1/2 yrs before she died and taking care of my older brother on dialysis for 3 1/2 yrs.. I have some “things” I own my home free and clear, I have an RV, boat, car and truck, and go on short camping vacations 4 or 5 times a year. I am debt free!
How do I do it? We built this house ourselves and for the most part paid as we went. We were willing to delay gratification in order to come out of it with as little debt as possible and no none of us are professional carpenters! Most of the work was done by a 19y/o with the able assistance of a 13.14. &17y/o, and working mom with 2 jobs. We asked questions of every expert we knew, we prayed, we read every book in the library on construction, we were willing to help out neighbors in exchange for advice and help when we were stuck. Is it a mansion no but it is a decent 4 bedroom/2 bath home.
I can afford an RV because we bought one that was old/mechanically sound but needed lots of cosmetic work that we did ourselves. The same with the boat. I drive a 16 yr old car and recently spent the money to replace the motor after 189,900 miles because it gets 46 mpg. It is not shiney and new and I’m sure you would be ashamed to drive it but there are many things I would rather do than pay the bank car payments. For what the new car payments month are for 1 month, I can spend 2 weeks camping on the river, fishing, swimming, waterskiing, having cookouts. So which sounds the best to you?
I choose to not run by KFC every night but take a few minutes even if I am tired to cook from scratch. So my grocery bill including some type of meat most meals and vegetables from my garden is less than $300/mo for 4 including 2 ravenous teen boys. I stockpile 3 mo supply of staples bought on sale so if the car breaks down or needs new tires I can easily go for 2 wks or even a month without going to the grocery store at all and pay cash for the repairs.
I do all of it and have a/c, internet/satelitte TV, phone etc on an income of $16,000. That is well below the poverty level for a family of 4. My son stays in college because he is willing to work his tush off doing odd jobs live at home and keep his grades up so that he qualifies for scholorships to pay his tuition! So don’t tell me you have to live like a beggar because you don’t make $100,000yr. You just have to be willing to work at it. I figure our willingness to work hard to do everything we can ourselves, to wait for things, to buy used, and to reuse and repurpose everything we can easily adds another 30,000/yr in “income”.
You need to start thinking in terms of every time you buy a pair of Calvin Klein Jeans at Goodwill for $4.00 you have just effectively earned $100 or more in wages and when the kid wears them to school no one knows whether or not he bought them a month ago at Macy’s. That loaf of bread you make yourself just earned you another $1.25 over the one in the store and tastes much better. The harder you are willing to work the higher your “earned income” can be.
I believe that Dave Ramsey said it best when he said “Live like no one else today so that later on you can LIVE like no one else.” Since when is being frugal a bad thing? Kudos to all who know enough to live within their means. You may not have tons of money to throw around but you will find a loving home with happy healthy family members who love each other & enjoy being with each other.Be greatful for the things you have & don’t worry about what you don’t have.All of my extended family members grew up with a frugal mindset & that mindset has served all of us well through the years. Do what you gotta do to survive & be happy is what I say. The good Lord will keep the blessings flowing!
Hi, I’m new to your site and really enjoy it as I try to pick up ideas from both of you and folks who write in. In the first place it’s nobody’s business what you do with your money/or life period. Mostly they must be jealous of your success. My mom always said “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”, and that’s something we all should practice. I say go for it girls and just share your ideas and suggestions to help those of us willing to change. God Bless both of you
I think Dave Ramsey said it best: “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”
What this simply means is that if you will NOT have the fake nails and hair, NOT go out to eat every night, NOT have the new car, NOT have the wife working to pay for daycare–basically, NOT keep up with the Jones, later on, you will be able to live a BETTER life than the Jones.
The trick is, actually LIVING that life. Jill and Tawra, you both are an inspiration by showing us that it can be done! I love Christy’s points about placing emphasis on relationships and not things–our daughter recently lost her ipod touch that her mother had given her for Christmas. She has lost a number of pricely items, and we do not and will not replace them for her (we don’t buy them for her the first time, for that matter). Christy also points out that with less stuff is less stress. The kiddo is now less plugged-in than she was before she lost her ipod, and strangely enough, she now talks to us more!
I have been on a mission to de-clutter my home, one cabinet or drawer at a time. It’s slow going, but it’s also amazing what I find I can live without. I will be having a LARGE garage sale (possibly two!) this summer! This helps me be more frugal with my time: I don’t have to clean as much.
We are still working towards one income. We have a few years yet to go, because we cannot sell our house (we’re upside down in the mortgage). However, we are making baby steps as we pay off first one, then another credit card, pay cash for our next “new” car (it’s 11 years old with 84,000 miles on it, but it’s OURS), and so on. Meanwhile, we have what I not-so-lovingly refer to as a “Big Stupid Mortgage Payment” for the “Big Stupid House” that we got before we could truly afford it. Reading your newsletters every week keeps me motivated, because we really are a long way off yet. Keep up the GREAT WORK, and be assured that any naysayers simply don’t understand the complete principles behind what you do so well.
God Bless you ladies, I believe the principals you are talking about are truly scripture-based. I want to be like you when I grow up! (I am 35 and still working toward that goal!) Thanks for being open and honest and sharing yourselves. It is inspiring.
You are singing my song! My spring wardrobe last year came from a garage sale. I was lucky enough to happen on a sale where someone was my size. I got several two piece outfits for $2.50 and one-piece items for a dollar…so many I had to make two trips to my car, I couldn’t carry them all at once. They were all VERY nice (name brand) outfits, which I wear to church and work. Each time, people compliment me on what I’m wearing. I also know which local thrift stores and consignment shops have really nice clothes my size, and I’ve gotten steals of deals on those outfits, too.
I buy used clothes (except for underwear and hosiery), cars, appliances and housewares, garden tools and lawn mowers. I even get greeting cards from a thrift store for a dime, or from the dollar store for 50 cents. I’ve even bought gifts secondhand — they were REALLY nice items, only the price was cheap.
I’m still watching TVs that are 20 or 30 years old and hooked up to a converter and rabbit ears (Radio Shack can help you on this). I see the network programs just fine and I don’t pay a penny for my TV viewing (except for the portion of my electric bill that powers the TV). If I want to see a cable show or HD show, I’ll go to a friend’s house.
All this frugality enabled me to buy a fantastic custom built home (estate sale) in a really good neighborhood. Who cares if it’s a 47 year old house? It was built much better than today’s homes. It has copper pipes and no Chinese drywall! I didn’t have to put in a new lawn, and the incredibly gorgeous, big oak trees are higher than the roof. New subdivisions have trees that are little more than sticks — forget having any shade for another 20 years.
Meanwhile, a coworker at my night job, who lives (rents) in subsidized housing, told me she has a collection of several hundred movie DVDS, all of which she bought. Had she just rented them for $1 or checked them out free at the library, I imagine she could have afforded much better housing — and a much better life!
I could not have said it better. My family often tell me and treat me as if I am poor. Yet this “poor” person has more than they have on a quarter of the income. A recent friend of mine told me she was “poor”….yet her husband makes $100,000 a year, have two newer cars, kids go to private schools and fly parents to the States from Europe twice a year.
I’m not poor or frugal, but smart!!! It goes to show you that this recession has taught people nothing….greed, judgement and debt get you nowhere.
Don’t worry about Sally, she can’t see the hard work that you have done. She just looks at what you have and wants to whine about what she doesn’t have. Being frugal is a choice and she hasn’t gotten there yet. I am frugal and live very well, but I still use your tools almost everyday. I love your cookbook, Not Just Beans is the version I have. I first found your maple chicken and red velvet cake recipes on line. Since then we have paid off debt, stopped living paycheck-to-paycheck and are working on getting rid of the mortgage. I made a few friends mad over the years because I refused to go out for expensive meals and buy expensive gifts, but guess what, we are still married and doing well. Very few of them are still married, some have taken bankruptcy. So you are a inspiration for many and you can’t please everyone.
Your loyal friend,
Your comments about people being “poor” but having the newest gadgets and gizmos is so true – you see it all the time and it makes me sad. My children NEVER had tv sets in their rooms or computers – my eldest is 24 and still won’t have a tv in the bedroom of the apartment he shares with his girlfriend.
We could have afforded these things over the years but when we bought big items they were for a joint Christmas gift – not just to be the first to have them to show off at school. I only had to work part time as well when they were younger so that I could be for them every day.
We bought our home at a very good price because it needed masses of work doing to it – and over the years it has been fixed up by us or by specialists. We love our home and people say how much they like it but they didn’t all see it at the start 15 plus years ago!!
I want to read previous posts and will, but had to write first so I kept my thoughts clear. What a letter. All I have to say to you both is….Amen…Amen…Amen. I love your clarity in words. You are full of wisdom and do a awesome job sharing it. I am thankful I found you somehow. God Bless!!
True, luck has nothing to do with being a stay-at-home parent. I laugh when people say you don’t have to work. Really? Do the math. If both of us worked, we’d be between $150-$300/month in the RED! Besides, it was our choice to have kids, why would I want someone else raising them just so I can go off and work? And if you think it’s not work having a single income, think again. We work hard to be able to have a happy, healthy, memory-making life. Our kids love lacrosse and there’s a future in playing it, but it’s not cheap especially since they’re on a traveling team. And yet we’re able to give that to them because (a) we’re money wise, (b) able to cut our other expenses (c) always looking for good deals on equipment to help defray the overall costs.
Shoot, Sally, lost credibility? If anything, I think that racks up points in the credibility column. How often have we heard about people who live a very thrift life and it turns out they have socked away millions of dollars? The most important thing here isn’t really about money anyway. It’s about living a monetary-free lifestyle, one that’s happy, healthy, and not over-indulgent. I agree, it’s all about mindset.
I agree with Jill and Tawra about people being “poor” because of unwise decisions about spending their money. I know a couple (among many others) who eat out most of their meals, including breakfast – believe it or not! They pay their electric bill from one paycheck, another bill from another, etc., instead of budgeting monthly to pay everything. They use pay TV for some shows and waste their money on so much useless junk, it is unbelievable. He makes excellent money, but they live from paycheck to paycheck. Certainly being frugal eventually frees you up to buy that nice home and other things that you want. People should just try to eat in for a month and find out just how much money remains in their pockets. It is amazing. And eye opening.
I love the comments from those who talk about using their resources for relationships and things that really matter, instead of just “things.” People who are frugal seem to truly have things they want to accomplish – and they are. That is impressive.
Tawra & Jill, I truly want to ask for forgive for Sally, she’s close minded & ignorant. We (my husband & I) raise 6 children on one income & finally last year we bought our very 1st new house & a brand new truck. I don’t pity people that are living from paycheck to paycheck. When ask for help, we tell them our story/testimony but they don’t care to give it a try. We give all the glory to GOD.
This is very wise information from you Taraw. You are in fact living what you are preaching. Thank you for your website and the information that is so encouraging and trustworthy.
I could not agree more with this post. I am a 71 year old grandmother now; but I remember when I was first married and we decided not to buy a new car until we had bought a home. It took us 7 years to get that first house and the following year we did buy a new car which we drove for 10 years. Then we bought another new one and drove for 10 years. We had a 20 year mortgage that we paid off in 12 years by making extra payments when we could. We also took vacations after saving up for them. So many young couples today want instant gratification and they expect to have everything now that their parents have worked years to accumulate. Keep spreading the message that being frugal does work if you keep at it.
I am SO glad that you responded to that comment. First because people judge without knowing all the facts ! Second that you were able to tell those who do judge that they too can do it IF they choose. But the key words are IF & CHOOSE. If anyone works hard at it they too can be living well on a frugal budget ! =)
I left an xray job to stay home with my children after it became apparent that they would NEVER be well as long as they went to daycare. In order to do so, we made sacrifices. Luckily for us, at about the same time I left my job, I found Living On A Dime. I purchased ALL of Tawra’s books (waiting until she ran a deal on them of course! ha) We soon found out that by living frugally, we have more now than we did with 2 incomes. We stopped eating out, looked for less expensive and no cost things to do with the children. It all adds up. We have a savings account now, which is something we never had before. When we were both working, we literally lived paycheck to paycheck. The decrease in income made us open our eyes and cut corners. I talk to women all the time that I worked with at the hospital who say they would LOVE to stay home with their children but can’t. I try to tell them anything is possible but they don’t want to make the changes necessary in order to leave their job. For instance, I drive a car that is 10 years old BUT IT’S PAID FOR. We live in a 2004 mobile home, BUT IT’S PAID FOR. Most of my former coworkers wouldn’t be caught dead in an older car or mobile home. But I am very satisfied with the way we live. We are literally debt free and I still cut corners financially in order to grow our nest egg. One day soon we WILL have a nice home and we will be able to pay cash for it. And although I will NEVER own a brand new car, I will have a newer model that we will also pay cash for. Thank you Tawra and Jill for all your help and sound advice. We are on our way having WHATEVER WE WANT WITHOUT DEBT!!
Personally I think you all are very very smart. Too bad more people dont think like you. I personally have cut back only to find out just how much we can save and get somethings that we have wanted for a long time. We furnished our whole house on garage & thrift store furniture when we moved to Florida with only our bed. It can be done. Again congrats to all of us who are doing the frugal living.
It is very sad that Sally is so jealous, she would do better to spend that energy being a good steward.
My husband and I began 10 years ago becoming debt free, (just paying of loans and CCs netted us over $600.00 in interest a month, not to mention the payment) during this time we moved 1000 miles away (in 2005, making 8 trips to move our own things), bought 4 acres, built this home, added on to our house (in 2009). We now have 1700 sq. feet which includes a studio for my quilt and long arm work. My husband also has a shop for his cabinet work. We drive a 98 Dodge truck, and a 97 jeep. No mortgage or car payments. We treat ourselves to pizza once a week to help support another family in our small town, otherwise I cook at home, (except for very special occasions when we will eat out) we heat with wood, cook with propane that gets filled 3xs a year. Our only luxury is TV, I do not consider internet a luxury in this day and age, the money we have saved being able to research on here is amazing, so many are so giving of their time and information. All of this to say, if you work hard to get out of debt and watch your spending you WILL have more money then you ever had on debt tread mill and you will have more to show for it.
We have friends that need $8,000 a month to meet their bills, (honest, they really do, I was dumb founded when I heard it) all so they can have the best house in town, and new cars….and they are jealous of our little tin shack, because they know we don’t have to give every moment of our lives to stay afloat. They both work several jobs, but that is their choice.
Keep up the great work girls, the green eyed monster can’t hurt you…..We all appreciate you and all you give.
I can see Jill and Tawra, by all these comments that are wonderful, that you two, and your advice and recipes, ARE LOVED!!! And needed.
Nancy Frazer Davidson
I am glad that Tawra and Jill are sticking up for what they believe – I have read their newsletter for several years, and believe that they live by the ideals that they tell us they do. I am jealous that they are almost debt free, but God knows my heart and my situation and he gets me from paycheck to paycheck and I am really blessed, plus I have money left over to give groceries to a needy church.
Please continue to give your newsletter readers help with everything in our lives, as God directs you.
God Bless You,
Amen to everything you said Tawra & Jill! It is the EXACT way I feel. My husband & I have wanted a nice home for…. well, since we were married! (8 years) But, when we had my first son, I decided to stay home and not work. We chose to rent a nice home that we were able to fix up (by ourselves) instead of buy something right then. We have saved so much money every month doing this (which wasn’t easy, because we forgo a lot of “wants”) & are looking to start building our own home (which we’ll mostly do ourselves to save $) in about a year… We drive used cars that are paid off. We have NO debt! And it is sooooo freeing! All the hard work of being frugal will pay off… when we have our home… OUR HOME!!! That we worked so hard for – so we can raise our children (soon to be 3) in… they are much happier with our love than the stuff we could buy if we both worked.
I just wanted to say, “Well said”. I feel like you were speaking my mind! :)
When I read Sally’s comment, I immediately felt the need to comment. The answers Tawra gave were exceptional and I applaud Tawra’s work, but she shouldn’t have to be made to explain her financial situation to someone who is evidently harboring some resentment. At least Sally did a favor by allowing Tawra to relate her story and all the sensible ways families CAN make it in today’s financial mess. Onward, Tawra!
Also… my family calls me “cheap”… which I am! But, it sometimes bothers me. I don’t feel “cheap”, I feel frugal. And for some reason frugal sits better with me. What do you think?
It’s always suprising to me that people think you are poor if you are not wasteful. I drive a beat up old minivan that I can’t separate with because I want the money to purchase a replacement vehicle in full. That way there is no monthly payment. We have plenty of beautiful things (hot tub, pool, nicely renovated home etc) however we keep our house quite cool in the winter (saves us TONS) keep the lights off until they HAVE to come on, shop at the discount grocer, use the library instead of buying books, have a voip phone that costs us on average $5 a month and ditched satellite in leiu of Netflix at $8 a month. All of these things ( and more ) help us to have the things that we really want and need, without feeling like we are “going without”.
It often suprises me too that my “poor” friends buy takeout on a regular basis, use smartphones, have expensive television packages and drink alcohol on a regular basis. THAT is why they are poor. With all of the information out on the internet on how to save money, people are still too foolish to try any of it. Some would rather complain and have others feel sorry for them.
If you are poor, you have CHOSEN to be poor. Plain and simple.
Tawra I have been reading your blog for years now. You & Jill were my first inspiration for frugal living and are a continued source of hope & help!
BTW I had a woman recently tell me that she can’t wait until her income was no longer necessary so she could stop working. This same woman goes through money like water & has the marital problems that go along with her spending habits. I cannot pity her. I’ve shared budget help with her & it was a no go.
I have a grocery budget for the five of us that would make my friends cringe- but we probably eat healthier than most of them. We look at every penny of our budget, every bill, every purchase & ask ourselves how we could spend/pay less. We are frugal by choice.
I read a saying once- something like… “Your children need your presence more than your presents” and I believe this with all of my heart.
I appreciate Living On a Dime!!
I was literally shocked to read Sally’s letter! One reason to work hard and live frugally is so that you can afford things like a decent house to live in. We too strive to be debt free. We still owe on our house but nothing else. A $144k house is hardly a mansion. It sounds and looks like a lovely, comfortable family home. Hugs and thank you both for all of the hard work you do!!!
Don’t worry! You’ve haven’t lost your credibility! I started reading your site about 3 years ago, when my husband and I became missionaries and we needed to learn to live off a much smaller income. Thank you so much for all the great tips! Just a little story. A man in our church who owned a lot of real estate drove a VERY OLD station wagon. For years we knew exactly who was driving around town because of the car. Before we left for the mission field, our car was getting pretty old, but we needed a second car so that my husband could leave for longer periods of time to raise support. The man from our church was getting pretty old and didn’t need his car any more. He GAVE it to us. When we left, we gave it to someone else, and when they didn’t need it anymore, they gave it to another family in our church. We used to call the car, “The Humbler,” (instead of a Hummer.) The family who has the car now, calls it the same thing. But the point is, we all benefited because the original man was frugal and able to give things away because of his frugality. He was wealthy, but still frugal. That’s how I see what you’re teaching, how to be frugal, not cheap.
Well said! I SO wish my parents had known how to be frugal and taught me how. Your website and newsletter have been a real blessing! Now I can live frugally and teach my children to live frugally, even when they “have the money”.
I agree being frugal does not mean you are poor. My husband and I have no debt, pay cash for everything and most items in our house are second hand. My kitchen has taken a few years to do (still to be completed)as we buy a cupboard at a time. I waited 7 years before I could have my bathroom done the way I wanted it. Nowadays the world is such a throw-away society, that one can have all the mod cons without having to pay a lot of money if you are prepared to buy second hand. Unfortuantely I have to work and earn just above the minimum wage, so working on a budget is very important as well. I also find it a lot of fun trying to make the pennies count. You appreciate items more if you really had to work for it rather than just having it to spend without a thought. Keep up the good work
All I have to say is “Amen sister!”.
Being poor is a frame of mind. You can have little and still be happy and joyful. Remember: “Debt is normal, be weird” (Dave Ramsey)
you go girl… what you say is truth.. If everyone lived 1/2 the way you do, they would find happiness for them and their family..
Amen, well said. That is why we are frugal. To have nice things and be able to enjoy them, including children and grandchildren. Tawra, your home is beautiful and a testiment to what being a wise steward of God’s blessings is all about. You rock girlfriend. You and your mom have been a huge inspiration to me……
I seldom comment on “Living on a Dime” posts but I am an assiduous eager reader. I think Sally has really missed the point when she mixed up frugality and poverty and tried to make Jill and Tawra sound hypocrite somewhat. It is not easy living in this world nowadays, but it seems it has never been. I am 60 and I remember hearing my parents saying the same 50 years ago… hehe! For Sally and all of us the old adage is still valid: money is a good servant but a terrible master! One has to enjoy life within one’s own resources instead of placing enjoyment always upstairs in the financial building. Keep up the excellent (and fully useful) work, Jill and Tawra!
Sally’s comments are typical of why so many people (myself included) make choices that keep us from being debt free yet being able to live in $144,000 house that is well maintained. Congratulations on not being lead away from your financial goals by peer pressure or marketing ploys.
awesome blog .. and thanks for posting the comments too…
lots of stuff here on this blog to be learning from .. thanks so much for this jill/tawra/mike…
and its awesome that u (tawra and mike) have sold ur house and can move to where u feel u need to be ..
GOD is wonderful .. not only has HE helped all of us in each of our own circumstances, HE has shown us that if we give a little we will be rewarded abundantly…
by this site with so many wonderful ideas, and for all of us to learn from one another ..
THANK YOU LORD FOR ALL YOU WONDERFUL WORKS AND FOR HELPING ALL OF US! …
I just want to say that I think it is nobodies business how much you paid for your well deserved new home! You obviously have worked very hard as a team to save and live in your means. I love to read your suggestions and your outcomes. I don’t expect you to say to me that my choices are wrong and that I need to follow your rules. I personally am very proud for your family and applaud you for the hard work to get to this point in your life. Enjoy your new home, continue to honor God, and continue to love your family!!! God bless you!
Wow, what a response this article has gotten. I was so shocked when I first saw Sally’s comment on your house, and I cheered when I saw this article. Just like so many others here, you are an inspiration to me. I look back on my life, and although I thought I was doing the ‘right’ and ‘accepted’ things, I am paying the price now. We can’t go back and change the past, so I am changing my present, and hopefully improving my future. Thank you, Thank you, and Thank you.
I have read your newsletters and purchased books from you but I never felt so led to reply to a letter as to this one.I am a 52 year old woman who had my Ah Ha! moment with debt several years ago. How I wish I had been a wiser woman when younger! However, not being one to look back too much and cry over all I wasted :) I have to tell you that being (close) to debt free is the most wonderful feeling. Car paid off, 1 of 3 credit cards gone and we haven’t missed a thing. There are many almost painless ways to this lifestyle; aren’t there? We have very expensive electricity so we turned our thermostat down to 68 this winter and hung up most laundry – we saved a whopping $150.00 in ONE month! Guess what, we didn’t freeze to death either!! We don’t eat out, we pack our lunches (and may I say my lunches get looks of envy sometimes). We NEVER pay retail – it takes some work at the computer on various coupon sites, etc and WAITING for sales but we are happier than ever. Bless the two of you – you helped me and still do if I get the “Poor, little me blues” once in a while. Making my own laundry detergent was a big saver as well. I test things out and my homemade detergent cleans much better than the expensive liquid one I used for years; I couldn’t believe it. I will never go back to being a money waster; it has almost become a game with us and believe me we are busy career people. The excuse of not having time just doesn’t cut it with me; you just have to figure out what your priorities are and go from there. Keep up the great work; your advice and encouragement are so needed.
I am appalled at Sally’s comment because I subscribe to Living on a Dime to garner tips for cutting back because you see I live in a very nice 5 bedroom 4 bath pool home in a polo community that I can afford but it is obscene that only three of us and the pets live here. So partly due to the tips and comments fron these two ladies I have cut back on my comsumption, mass buying habits and recently received an offer on my home. We are moving to a smaller 3/2 home in a very nice community that will reduce my footprints on this planet. It is about waking up and realizing why waste just because you can. Give more to charity and those in need and you will feel better about your journey through life. Kudos to Tawra and Jill.
Amen and Amen! I am 61 and have been frugal all my life. I have lived what you write about. Most people do not eat at home with cooking with raw food instead of prepared or box dishes. Thrift stores and yard sales have been my way of life. A lot of people bewail their lack of money but are not willing to do the work and look for thrifty ways to live.
I live in a big nice house now with a nice car and wear a mink or fox jacket in the winter. I have plenty of nice clothes and furniture. But is what is more important is I believe in saving and living BELOW my income. I have worn nice furs for 40 years, but have paid less for each than I would a jacket at Kmart in the winter. People generally think my husband earns 3 or more times what we do because we know how to live on far less than the average American.
I was a stay at home mother turning down several job offers that could been great money as a working woman, but I chose to work at being a frugal housewife and stretching whatever amount of income we had.
I get the same kind of comments you have had because it seems people want to spend money on little things or big items and not count the 99cent drink an indulgence. I take my coffee or tea with me when I leave home.
I say Go girl! America needs her children to be raised by their parents!
Thanks for your work. I wish I could help other women to understand.
Hi Tawra and Jill,
I had to put my two cents worth in on the subject of living frugally and sensibly. My “newest” car was a three year old SUV that had 98,000 miles on it and I kept it for ten years and since I lived on a two acre homestead/farm, I used it for everything but what Ford said an Explorer could be used for including hauling hay, feed, and small livestock (like goats for example). Point is, you do what you have to with what you have instead of running out the door to the nearest dealership to buy the newest and biggest vehicle. As a point of interest, I had that Explorer till it finally died of high mileage and age this last December.
Great responses ladies and so true!
Thanks for reiterating why frugality works!
Now, my question is: how to deal with a spouse who wants to eat out when I do not, and we can’t really afford to?
I had this problem too. Took years to figure out a solution. Keep trying to make delicious dishes. Notice what the spouse like to eat out. Look for copycat recipes online and make his favorite restaurant dishes at home. Does he like the sociability? Gather friends or family together for a meal one day a week. Keep track of restaurant vs home meal costs for awhile and show him the difference. Make your eating area very clean, attractive, and stress free. Above all, make food that tastes better than restaurants. :)
Sandy - Michigan
Tawra & Jill — I wish I could meet you both. You are both great role models for everyone. (I follow both of you plus Dave Ramsey.) You have changed my life! I think of so many things differently now. For example, our schedule this evening was changed quickly. In the old days, we would have stopped for a fast food dinner. Instead, I got out a jar of frozen chili (homemade from a few months ago), made a salad, sliced some bread. Quick dinner in 30 minutes, no extra money spent. More money in our emergency fund.
Thank you for everything you do. PLEASE don’t be discouraged by this one person’s comments. Please keep doing what you do. You have many fans. Our country and our culture needs more role models like you. I dare say you are helping to turn our country around. People need to look at money differently, and you are showing them how. Thank you – Thank you
I have been reading your newsletters for about a year. I find lots of interesting things in them. I feel there are some people that will never get the point. So why waste your time explaining yourself. I think if that person had really followed you all this time, you would not have had to explain yourself. I have enjoyed your work, I have bought your books, and bought some for my daughter and daughter-in-law. I grew up with nothing and I have a good job now (don’t know for how long) with USPS. And I help my kids when they need it. That was the only reason I took this full time job, kids were grown and gone. I like helping others. I still live in an old 1917 family home, that will probably never be mine, but it is a roof over our heads and a place to sleep. The Lord has been good to us.
OMG I have experienced this for years. Because my house looks really nice people think I have money….NO I buy all resale and second hand shop for everything. I once wanted a special blender for Smoothies and couldn’t figure out where to buy it as I have never bought a new appliance. I was traumatized by the amount of choices at Walmart. Not going to stores is one way I save money. On vacation I went into an Ace Hardware and they had 35 by actual count…coffee makers. Toooo many choices. Just because you pay less doesn’t mean you have to look like you got it from the Goodwill box. I am thrilled with the amount I pay for things and am able to exist fairly decently on my income. Those that had many times more have lost everything and don’t have those skills. Forget what people say…sour grapes….. How sad…YOU DON”T LOOK LIKE YOU ARE POOR!!!!! ??????? No, you’ve save money to use it on what is most important to you… Sanity! and feeling safe and it’s worth the sacrifice… Patt Butti
I don’t normally respond to a discussion like this, I just shake my head in amazement with a grin on my face and laugh but this time I can’t stay quiet.
It is quite evident that this young lady doesn’t know the difference between poor and frugal. She is the kind who is probably living one paycheck away from poverty if either she or her husband lost their income for one reason or another.
Over the years I’ve seen so many women think they needed to work outside the home, saying “oh I’ll just do it for a few years, so I can help pay off some of our debt.” That few years turns into never getting out of the workforce, instead of getting out of debt they have compounded the problem because now she has to have a car, she needs work clothes, lunches out and dinners brought home because she doesn’t have time to cook. The kids go to daycare and they see their children on weekends taking them to all of their activities because they now feel guilty about working and the kids need the recreation time.
If that sounds familiar, please raise your hand!
I will give you an example of being frugal that happened just this past week with my grandson. He was upset because he wanted a pair of very expensive name brand shorts which cost $50 and his mother (my daughter) gave him a lesson in being frugal. She said to him, lets see, if you bought a pair of shorts at the Gap for $10, you will have $40 left. With that $40 you will have enough money to buy the pheasant hunting tag that you want so you can go hunting, buy shells for your gun and still have money left over to buy lunch and dinner too and from where you are going. Now which would you prefer? The $50 shorts or the $10 Gap Shorts? Luckily he saw that if he really wanted to go hunting then this was the way to be sure he had that opportunity. She is teaching them young the true value of money and the art of being frugal.
The reason so many people are in the financial mess they are today is because they do not live within their paycheck. All the good intentions of a wife going to work and them saving her salary usually don’t work. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule. Personally I don’t feel that having designer clothes and new cars are what is important. In the long run, your children are going to remember the times that you had together as a family, the time that you spent with them while they were growing up.
I hope that others agree with me.
Congrats on the house sale. In a addition to prayers I see that you did all kinds of things to get your house sold. I think it is interesting that poor is basically a “state of mind”.
We grew up as sharecroppers and that means we were poor, but we never had that state of mind. We had beautiful clothes because mother made them-we had plenty of food-although often it was beans and cornbread and garden veggies. Everyone worked to provide for the family needs and if we ever complained about not having something Mom would say we needed to help someone who had much less than us and then we would appreciate what we had-not want more. That advice still works!
Thank you for all the info-you have helped me save. And, IT’S FREE!!!
Poor Sally has missed the entire purpose of your newsletter/website. Frugality is not for the poor, it is for the people who are wise enough to desire to raise above the “need” for more stuff and instant gratification, to the detriment of their family and true happiness. In the four years that my husband and I have known each other, we have paid off $3,000 in debt and only have another thousand to go. While that may not sound like a lot, we are only in our 20’s, I’m going to college by paying for each class with cash, I am the only one working, after finding a job after two years of looking. We live with my mom to help her and us stretch our budgets. I’m much happier knowing DH is home and safe and not stressed to the point of having seizures repeatedly(he has epilepsy and stress was his biggest trigger, along with boxes falling on his head) then with an extra $200-$300 every two weeks. Now that a few new companies have moved into town, he’s checking out what jobs they have to offer since my hours were severely cut back, but we are still making it. Tightening the belt is easier when there is love and peace at home, and there are goals to aspire to. Frugality helps to make those goals a reality. Jealousy helps nothing, and is only an excuse for those who don’t have self-control.
Tawra and Jill… Thank you for being who you are. You have been such an inspiration to us.. We are at the age of retirement and have been struggling with past mistakes.. You have helped us come to grips with our problems and now we can see a light at the end of the tunnel.. So just know that it is not the young that have problems we all can go down the wrong path.. It is what we learn along the way that sets us apart…You were big help with that and I thank you so much!!!
Sincerely your friend from Western colorado… CL
Well said ladies. I am a stay at home homeschooling mom. I make my own laundry soap, cook mostly from scratch,have chickens for eggs,buy in bulk at the store and from a co op, garden and can, buy almost all clothes used or sew them,make my own brown sugar and just started grinding my own wheat for all my baking.after only having one vehicle for 8 months we bought a non running mini van for $100 and my husband put a new transmission in for $500. total was under $800 to get it completely running safely. now we have a family van with no payments.We live in a shop with living quarters in it that we rent from family,make sure lights are turned off and hang clothes to dry as much as we can. There are so many things you can do to save money and I love reading about things that other people do. I think being frugal is fun…looking forward to a sale this weekend. $1 a bag for clothes. Great way to restock the childrens clothing as we have been sorting through the old. Blessings to you and your family
“being frugal is fun” how right you are! Saving a dollar, finding a good deal, repurposing something you already have, cooking healthy, etc. etc. etc. Just feels good! Where is the fun in going out and spending a lot of money that was hard to earn?
I just want to say that I totally appreciate your newsletters and sharing them with me. I have learned so much from them and I pray for your site to keep it going. I don’t understand people that can’t see the light of the messages here but know that I love every message that makes it to my email box.
I have been following Tawra and Jill for years and I’ve always found inspiring ideas and information on your site. Keep up the good work, most of us applaud you! And thank you for helping us to make smart, frugal choices for our families.
Well said! I am 65 and have been frugal all of my life on 2 teachers salaries. I am sick and tired of people who chain smoke, drive big gas guzzlers, drink quarts of pop a day, and throw a bunch of junk food in the grocery cart. they have the audacity to look at where I live and call me “rich’. I have tried for years to get together groups in my rural Tn. county together to learn how to live well on a budget. Most could care less!
Wow, I think that is the best article on “Frugal Living Doesn’t Mean Being Poor” that I have ever read, meaning REALLY explaining what frugal living really means. I agree totally. Thank you for sharing.
Hi Jill and Tawra, Great column. I wish I’d been wise enough to figure out what you have done much sooner in life. Still, better late than never. Kudos.
I am so grateful knowing that there are so many people who have chosen or are choosing to live frugally. I used to fear that I would be seen as “poor” and that somehow I would be shunned because of it, but circumstances have made it necessary for my husband and I to reevaluate our way of living.
At first, it was very difficult because I thought I was having to give up so much (most of which was bought on credit cards). Then my attitude began to change because God opened my eyes and heart to not only living within my means, but below my means in order to have something to give away.
This has been such a radical change from how I have lived for most of my life (I am now 40), that I have had a lot to learn and it has not been easy. It is hard work and although my family and I are still painfully digging out of debt, we seem to have more now than ever. We take care of our things better, we shop so much more carefully, and we are even eating healthier because we pay close attention to what we are purchasing and eating.
All I can say is that the wisdom I have gained from Tawra and Jill, the newsletters, the website, the books, and the financial insight from Dave Ramsey have made all of the difference in the world. They have given me so much hope for the future. I only wish I’d come to realize all of this sooner.
Living frugally brings so much more peace than the constant worry and anxiety of overspending. Thank you Tawra and Jill for being real life examples of how to make all of this work. You truly are an inspiration and a blessing.
I loved the article .. I am living more frugal and doing what I can to make ends meet. We make most of our own cleaning products > I use coupons > I cook from scratch > do not go out much BUT I am not in debt We have what we need to survive > So when people say I am Cheap .. I say Yes I am and proud of it !!!
Since when did you have to live in a dump to be frugal? Not understanding the issue here.
All I can add to Jill’s reply is a resounding “A-MEN”!!! So many people live beyond their means, seems more so today than in years past when there were less ‘things’ that take on so much importance in today’s world. It is unwise and worrisome to live in a nice house, drive a new car and wonder how in the heck you are going to buy groceries or pay last month’s light bill before the cut off date! I learned my lesson learned the hard way, which makes it a lesson well learned. I have been there, living the high life, wondering and worrying the whole time how in the heck I was going to pay everything. Today, I live in a rented house, drive a used car, absolutely LOVE shopping at a thrift store where the proceeds go to help cancer victims and nothing costs over a dollar!! Both my lifestyle and life have changed dramatically as reality began to slowly hit me hard. I look in the mirror and like what I see, no worry lines, no dark circles under my eyes from lying awake worrying about what had to be paid and what could wait till next time. I speak from experience. It isn’t worth it … life is too short. Don’t miss what is important. A garage full of shiny new cars is not worth a single smile from a little grandchild proudly showing off that first tooth!
Polly at my age I especially love the no worry lines and dark circles under the eyes. HA!A!
Don’t know if you are still out here in Colorado house hunting, but I have a lovely 5 bedroom home, 4 bath near Denver. in a small town east of Denver on I-70 with 3 acres. Even has a mother-in-law apartment in the basement! Ranch style with laundry on main floor, 3 car garage. 2 miles from town, paved roads, close to schools, churches, shopping and DIA. Don’t know what your hubby does but good commute to Denver. Very quiet and a “Fort” in the back yard! Garden already in. Sprinkler system, John Deere riding lawn mower and roto- tiller negotiable! Beautiful home with wrap-around porch and porch swing!
Have to get closer to town due to my husbands health. Good schools!!!
If interested in seeing on your way home (2 miles north of I-70 in Strasburg, send me an email. A perfect family home. About 3000 sq ft. 3 car garage!
Kathryn, if Tawra wrote a list of her perfect house it sounds like yours all the way down to the roto tiller and wrap around porch but I’m afraid Strasburg is too far out. It would be ok for the business but to far from the family. We know exactly where it is and have been through there often. You place sounds perfect just not in the area we need.
Very well said from both you ladies. My husband and I are in our late 60’s. We live on our social security and any part time welding jobs my husband can find around here. I guess we are lower middle class,but we pay our bills on time,our home is clean and I make a lot of my own cleaners and laundry and dish detergent.
Our car and truck are not new but we keep them running.I can everything from the garden and we have 8 little hens for eggs. I sell the extra eggs to pay for their feed.
I sew all of my husband’s shirts and make vests, toys and dolls to sell.I can turn sheets bought at a thrift store into aprons, curtains, table clothes,etc.
I was a stay at home mom and we had a small farm. I ran the farm while DH worked as a welder full time. Raised 4 wonderful children.I also worked at home for a small graphic firm assembling cards and inserts for magazines 30 hours a week. Got up at 4:30 every morning to start my day and loved it.I also was active in 4H Scouts and taught Sunday school,and yet people would make comments like it must be nice to sit at home all day and do nothing. So I would invite them over at 4:30 am to follow me around while I “did nothing” never had any takers though.
I was born with heart and lung problems and my medicines are over 600 dollars a month. Medicare and a supplement insurance helps but when I go into the donut hole for 3-4 months it is very hard and that is why we are extremely careful with money to make sure we can pay our bills on time,buy what food we need,and take care of our selves.
Folks should be proud of doing for themselves. Doesn’t matter what type of home you live in as long as its paid for on time and kept up and is clean. We don’t need to ask for help(not that it is a bad thing to do),and our kids don’t have to worry about us.
I like this site very much and you have always had good hints and suggestions to follow. Keep up the good work!
A few words to Sally….GROW UP!
People who have goals in mind, work VERY HARD to attain them. This may take a 10-20 year plan. And in between, you will have glitches, in life, in health and in jobs. I personally am tired of the ones who are jealous of what other have, whether money is involved or not. What others do in their lives is THEIR business, not yours. Start cleaning up your own backyard before you mess in others backyards.
If you would put your energies into making a plan to become debt free or close to it, and work and make goals instead of worrying about others you make get somewhere, otherwise you are the mass of humanity who I would say, parties, dopes, runs the streets, spends hundreds on your hair, clothing, and whatever else you deem fit for your lifestyle just so you can look good to others saying that I’m the main attraction. Get a life.
Dear Tawra and Jill,
Everything you guys have said is true – and thank you for your wonderful website! It has helped me and my family enourmously.
I have a suggestion for Sally – there is a book called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle which I highly recommend. It may help you realise that society’s expectations of what is right or wrong is contradicting what you know is true in your heart. This book has brought me joy and happiness, even though I may look poor to the rest of the world – I have discovered I had the pot of gold under the rainbow all along.
Keep up the good work Tawra & Jill
I think that is about the best newsletter you two have ever published! Having joy in the journey, gratitude for what you have, and trust in God is what it’s all about. Your kids will catch your attitude and feel secure and cared for. Frugality absolutely does not equal depriving yourself or your children. It does mean teaching delayed gratification. A nice house all or mostly paid for is a huge credibility builder for you.
Thanks for pointing out the “lucky” factor in being a stay at home mom. We gave up a lot of things, including my hefty salary so that WE could raise our children, not daycare or nannies. After 40 years we are stil in our “starter” home. Our second child will graduate from college debt free. This is a choice and luck had nothing to do with it.
Both Jill’s and Tawra’s responses were right-on-point as usual. I am so glad that you published Sally’s letter and that you responded to it in ways that will help clarify why so many people seem to be confused about what frugality really means. I would also like to bring up two other points: selective frugality and simplicity. When I was single I practiced what I called “selective frugality”. I knew that I earned very little, but that I still wanted to have some name brand items that were important to me (at the time, I’m over that now). Anyway, since I knew that I had a finite/fixed amount of money to work with, I scrimped and saved in every area that wasn’t important to me, in order to buy some of my coveted items. For example, I walked everywhere rather than pay for public transportation (I don’t drive). I ate bare-bones types of foods, and never purchased entertainment, but relied on free entertainment from my library. At the end of the month, let’s say that if I had managed to save $60, I might have bought a $60 pair of shoes. Is a $60 pair of shoes frugal? No, but I was certainly living frugally in every other area of my life in order to justify my purchases. My co-workers who earned what I did, didn’t understand how I was able to afford nice things, but when I suggested that they give up all their Starbucks coffees, magazines, and lunches out, they would look at me horrified. There was no “right” way, it just depended on what your priorities were, and I wanted a new purse, and my friends wanted Taco Bell. It doesn’t matter which you prefer, so long as you stick to your budget and don’t go into debt to afford your wants and desires.
In regards to “Simplicity”, many people confuse frugality with the simplicity movement. These are two completely different things, but many people make the false assumption that being frugal means that you must live in a sparse, austere manner, and that simply isn’t true.
I completely agree with your newsletter that it is not LUCK that gets you what you want! It is hard work and smart management of the money you do have, that helps you accomplish your goals. I was a stay at home mom for 14 years. My friend always assumed we were “lucky” and that my husband made more money than he did. What he didn’t see what that we did without luxury items, waited for other items until we could afford them and managed our money as wisely as possible! Don’t judge the book by the outside of its cover! Thank you for your website!!
I truly appreciate the admonishment your newsletter delivers.
When the “outgo” exceeds income and your stymied by everything around you, this tips are very helpful and relevant.
Amen. My husband and I were married on Wednesday and left for Okla on Saturday (army). He was responsible for finding our rental. I was shocked. I was used to living in comfortable life style (spoilt). This first house was fantastic. It was the perfect honeymoon house. You had to put the toilet seat lid down when you showered so you would not fill up the commode while showering. Our second house for a four square house here on the homestead. Imagine, one room was our bedroom. One room was the kitchen. One room was the living room. But best of all the fourth room was our bathroom. Wow! Since then we have never had a bathroom that big.Now we are retired and living on fixed income. Our bills are paid. There is always food in the pantry and we have never gone naked. My sister-in-law and new daughter-in-law do not like to come and visit but tough. I want the pleasure of their company not their snootiness. We have moved back to the homestead to care for his family. We have talked about rebuilding the four square house. I’m ready! We are not poor. We are happy and love each other and all who enter our house be it my sil or new dil. Being frugal is not being poor. It is smart living I believe. I have fibromyalgia so am unable to do a lot of stuff but don’t have to worry about it because my house is still clean because I do work on it when I do have a good day. Thank you Tawra and Jill. Great work!
Nancy I know exactly what you are talking about. We lived in a four square too. It had walls that were about 2 ft. thick. I did love the kitchen in that old house. It was so big I put a large round oak table in the middle and still had about 8 ft all around. I even had a huge roll top desk in a corner of it and still had a ton of room.
Hi there, I totally agree with the difference between being poor and being frugal. If you have a good eye and a bit of taste your home can look like a million dollars. I recently bought 8 lovely old dining chairs, including two carver chairs, for 15 dollars on ebay. They look like I paid hundreds for them. I’ve furnished my entire dining room using ebay and second hand stores, and when people come to my house they all say how elegant my home is – I just smile to myself and know that I only paid several hundred dollars for a room full of furniture, a Wedgwood bone china dinner service for 12, ornaments and curtains. There is no way you could call me rich, but if you have a good eye, save up your money and have a budget that you stick to like glue, your home can look like a palace for very little money.
Thank you for publishing the letter and your reply. I was at my doctor’s office for my annual checkup and they asked what was going on in my life. I shared my excitement that we would soon be moving and I wanted to make sure all my preventative procedures were up-to-date since my husband would be quitting his job and we would be without insurance for a time. We are purchasing a 20 acre piece of land with a house – with cash. I became frustrated when the staff kept saying, “You’re so lucky!” “Lucky you!” and I kept trying to explain that it had nothing to do with luck. It was ten years of hard work, frugality, saving and planning. They just didn’t get it. If only more people saw how they, too, can be “lucky”. So we’ll move without the safety net of a job or insurance or any guarantees but we’ll be able to grow nearly all our own food, raise meat animals, cut firewood from our own property, pump water from our own well, and enjoy the things that bring meaning to our lives. And it will continue to be sweat, diligence and planning that make us so “lucky”.
Excellent Newsletter!!! I have been following Living on a Dime since I lost my job in 2007 and it has helped my family get back on its feet. I never went back to work and I am a stay at home mom while my husband works part time. We are not poor, we live in a nice place and just took a great family vacation. We live a frugal Happy life. :) Thank you for getting this out there so people realize there is a difference between poor and frugal. Maybe more people will learn to live within thier means and not spend money on unnecessary items.
My mind has been totally blown by Sally’s comment. First of all, being frugal does not mean you are cheap. You choose to prioritize the things that are important to you and by saving money in the areas that you can you are able to bless others by giving to them. In turn, God has blessed you with a lovely home because you have been a good steward. Sam Walton was a very wealthy man but he was also a very frugal man. He wore overalls and drove an old pickup truck. He wasn’t out to impress anyone. I hope that Sally can learn the difference and realize that you weren’t trying to deceive anyone into thinking that you live in poverty. As Dave Ramsey says, you are living like no one else so later you can LIVE like no one else! I appreciate what you do and I get it!
Grizzly Bear Mom
I am the 4th daughter of a family that always told me that when if was time for me to marry I could only expect a ladder and a suitcase so I could elope. Instead I joined the Air Force and went to college at night and saved & tithed. I bought my first house at 21, and the second at 24. I joke that the only thing I paid full price for was my marriage license for my $40 court house wedding. (I got divorced-full price should have told me something!) Many of my possessions are hand me down, used or purchased on sale. I am frugal so I can be generous. As an executive I make 250% of my sister’s salary but am a wise steward of my money so I can be generous. I even save the water I wash my dishes in to flush the toilet with. (God wants us to be good stewards of all of our blessings and its good for the earth.) My mom said she was not surprised but she is pleased when I can purchase a new heating system for her home or help out my relatives when they face foreclosure or my nieces when they need student loans or car insurance. You go girl! People need to be taught to discipline themselves to live within their means because their parents didn’t teach them.
Dear Jill and Tawra,
I had to chuckle at Sally’s response about the cost of your expensive house. The amount of $144,000 for a house in this day and age is a reasonable price, even for Kansas and ESPECIALLY if you have any land. I live here in Colorado and because it is a beautiful place with a beautiful climate, the price of $144,000 for a even a medium sized house in a decent neighborhood in the city, is a drop in the bucket. No, it is not because we are a glitzy area, it is because alot of people want to live here and thus it makes the housing market go up. So our cost of living is way different than other cities across the nation, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. To Sally that price might be extravagant, but you have to put it into perspective. You can’t compare apples to oranges, nor the price of housing in one city to another.
But what I really wanted to share with Sally and others,is that we must be careful not to judge someone else for their circumstances, or blessings from God. From what I have read the both of you have struggled to achieve where you are today. Your frugality and discipline has worked, along with God’s graciousness and that is how it turned out for you both. I say three cheers that you are reaping God’s blessings on your hard work and I am excited to see what He has in store for you! And thank you for your willingness to be open about how He is working in your life in all areas, so that we, your audience, can be encouraged! Keep up the good work and God’s richest blessings on your future!
I totally agree with both of you. I feel sorry for Sally, she is not really reading what your newsletter says. I worked for 30 of our 40 year marriage and still maintained a frugal lifestyle. I took the time need to be a good stward of my life and household, We lived ina small house and raised 3 girls in it. We were able to move to a bigger house when my mom and a daughter and granddaughter came to live with us. We simpley needed more space. We are now retired and still help support my daught and granddaughter in a nice home in a great school district due to again a frugal not cheap life style
hehehe … grizzly bear mom .. what u said about getting married .. this brought back memories of what we used to tell our daughter when she was growing up (and as a teenager too) ..
we lived in ranch style home and it was only one floor of living space .. so we used to tell her that we would make sure she would have a step ladder and $100.00 to pay for the justice of the peace at the local courthouse .. anything else she and her fiance would have to come up with and spend…
same thing with my son .. we told him the same thing ..
and well.. it was kinda a family joke .. but we wanted to let them know, no one paid for our wedding (and our previous weddings either) .. we paid for everything ..
not that we wouldnt want to pay for a wedding but with the cost of everything these days, as everyone knows, weddings are expensive..
but this did make me chuckle a bit (your comment) ..
ps a long time ago i had found a book (it was sorta like a magazine) and it was “how to have a nice wedding for no more than $200.00)(or something like that bc i cant remember the exact name of the book/mag) … it was at the supermarket and to this day i wish i had bought it .. it had lots of great ideas …
I come from a very frugal family where I only remember my grandparents eating out in a resturant one time in the 30 years we were together, even on vactaions we packed an ice chest and ate homecooked meals. My husband came from a family that did whatever they wanted but dad worked every weekend, holiday and put in 12 hours a day at work.(84 hrs a week for over 35 years) so they could spend. I was raised in a 40 hour a week home where dad was home and went to church with the family every Sunday rain or shine (thank God he did because he’s gone now and I have many happy memories). Both our families had high investments when 9-11 happened and lost a lot. The difference in the two families was that his family complain all the time about their missing money and how poor they are. My family never changed anything as far as spending went because they were living frugally. They still give the same gifts on birthdays, Christmas, anniv., still give to the church and they don’t complain about how poor they are. Sadly my husband still wants to live like his parents at 56 years of age and it has destroyed our marriage, he’s not happy in a $20,000 fixer-upper he wants the $150,000 no work needed home on a $40,000 a year income, he still wants to waste money on smoking and drinking, having his high tech cell phone, expensive car, and his meals out daily with his dad. I love you ladies and the lessons you teach I wish that Sally would understand that money is not everything when it comes to happieness that there are somethings that being frugal can buy that money can’t buy. Like memories with your family and spending time with each other. On a birthday I would much more like a homemade cake and my family with me than a rushed dinner at a fancy restruant so someone can run off to work to pay for the meal that was not all that good. God bless you and keep helping those of us who want to learn from you. I love your books that I’ve been able to afford to buy and I refer to them often thank you.
i didnt realize there were 4 square homes until i just read this .. awesome ..
a few yrs back i was playing around with designs for a new cottage for me and hubby and he said it wouldnt work out and i asked why? and he said bc of the kids .. and i told him we can always put sheds with insulation and electric in the backyard and he said that wasnt allowed and then i told him that wasnt altogether true ..
when we moved to the house we live in now our neighbor’s son lives in the shed that i just described (its shaped like a barn but really cute) and one of the ladies i used to take care of when i was a home health aide, the one son did this for his brother bc he was handicapped and well even tho neither one of these had bathrooms in them, the main houses had an extra bathroom in them that these 2 gentlemen used (on each of the different properties of course) …
i always thought that was the neatest thing .. and being in fl .. the new sheds built are supposed to be hurricane resistant …
just wanted to share :D
I love your response to Sally’s comments and am glad you chose to publish both. I too have fairly nice things but don’t spend a lot on them. I shop clearance sales, second hand stores and garage sales for many household decor and clothing items. Recently someone commented on how my daughter always has the cutest, name brand clothes. It didn’t hurt my pride one bit to tell her it was because they were all from the secondhand store. I asked if she had ever shopped there for her daughter and she made it pretty clear that her daughter would not like second hand clothes. My kids don’t know any difference because they’re used to it and understand it’s more fun to spend money on a family vacation than expensive new clothes. We also recently paid cash for a used car. Somehow it came up in conversation and the other person thought we must be doing really well to afford that. The fact is, my husband was laid off 3 months ago but we needed a car since I work and he needs to be job searching. Luckily, we’ve lived below our means and had amassed a substantial savings account before him being laid off so we could pay cash for the car (and we were willing to buy a 6 year old car). I still work and we cut many things out so we can live on my income for now. Anyway, keep spreading the frugality message and don’t let the naysayers get to you!
I am so happy that you published this and responded. Too many people make these judgements. My husband and I live on a very small income, with two kids – one of whom is a competitive athlete – in San Diego county. We have a five bedroom home, on a good sized lot. We bought this home in 1993, it had been foreclosed on. We had saved enough to put 20% down. We did the repairs ourselves. Our mortgage payment is about 1/3rd what it would cost to rent a similar home. The only new clothes we buy are my daughter’s competition uniforms and undergarments – and we rarely buy used clothes, most are hand-me ups; hand-me downs; or hand-me across items (my husband and myself included). The rare occasion that we do treat ourselves to dinner out – we drink water and we split meals.
Next year we plan on going quite a bit into debt, as we plan on traveling the world with the kids – but we also plan on paying off that debt immediately upon returning home to the workforce.
These are conscientious decisions many people make. Unfortunately, many more make the choice of explaining away their daily $5 coffee from Starbucks, or the fact that that DVD was only $9.99 (though only $.49 for a one night rental at Blockbuster).
Kudos for posting the note and your replies!
Amen! And very well said!
There is a lot of wisdom here.
God Bless both of you,
and may the Lord bless you both
for sharing your wise councel and knowledge
with the rest of us!
What an awful thing to even wish upon someone, “you should live in a shack to have credibility?” I was raised in a home with that type of mentality and to this day I refer to it as a “the culture of poverty” it is a steadfast refusal to be responsible for your own actions. Victim mentality will only make you a victim and you will never achieve independence as you see the world as something that is against you. Sally, see this and all of the feedback to you as your wake up call to stop blaming and start making a plan. Always smile at others blessings and some of those blessings will grace you too. If you live in a shack and hate those who do not, ask yourself what little thing you could do today to improve your situation. Even picking up the house and sweeping the porch can make a world of difference in how you perceive your surroundings. Watch inspirational movies that carry a message of hope when it seemed there wasn’t any. These stories are about ordinary people like you who chose to do extraordinary things, become one of those stories! I did it and you can too.
It is because of this website that my husband and I are getting out of debt as soon as we can. We are in our mid 50’s and have a goal to be completely out of debt in 7 years max. We are excited about working on this goal and doing it together. Thank you Tawra!
Well said, being frugal means spending money in the wisest way for your given situation. We truly are very low income but we have more peace of mind than many living on a lot more but who are like the ones you described. I know ones who are always saying they had trouble paying the rent or utility bill yet they smoke, truly a case of burning money.
Another resource for anyone who does not understand the difference between being frugal vs poor or making a lot of money vs being wealthy is The Millionaire Next Door. One can live on a small income, be frugal, save, and be wealthy. One can have a large income, spend it on new cars, expensive homes, extravagant meals and be poor. If one is frugal, but wealthy, regardless of their income, they could survive for quite some time with their current lifestyle in the event of job loss. A well-paid executive living in the high-society part of town who loses his job may only have enough liquid assets to survive a very short time and would likely lose his home, car, and other possessions if he is not also frugal.
Wealth is a measure of how long one can sustain one’s current way of life on what one has. If someone has to work just to get by until the next paycheck, that person is not wealthy – whether the next check is $500 or $5000. If someone can live on what they have from savings and coming in from investments for several months or years and keep the lifestyle to which they have grown accustomed, they are wealthy.
We all make choices. Some people live by impulse rather than planning. They see a cute outfit and purchase it immediately before determining if they really need it or waiting for it to go on sale. Some people make purchases to get out of depression, that is sometimes caused by the amount of debt they are already in – only increasing the debt. On the other hand, some people identify a plan to save and stick to it to the best of their ability. When one has a very small income, it is easy for things to go wrong that can temporarily devastate a budget, but you do your best, pray, and learn patience, then you get back on the budget and continue the plan.
God does provide in wonderful ways. It is not necessarily we who deserve the credit, but God who provides for us out of His care and concern. That does not mean that he loves the “haves” more than the “have nots,” just that there are lessons to be learned in this life. I have learned more during my times as a “have not” than I ever did when I was a “have,” and am grateful to God for His many blessings and for those lessons.
Judith in NY
Thank you for providing a very well reasoned and NICE answer to Sally. I agree she doesn’t seem to “get it” but that doesn’t mean she never will.
While I am quite happy to say I am VERY CHEAP (but not easy!) I do mean this in that I will do a lot and go a long way to save on what we need or want. I didn’t really learn this “at home” since my parents always had a lavish lifestyle that I was led to believe would all be “mine” but boy was I ever surprised when my mother died and I discovered that her newest husband had EVERYTHING including a house that was in MY name, cars, a business, a brand new self contained RV. a huge amount of “real” jewelry ( my mother was a jeweler) and much much more placed (by a shylock lawyer) in HIS name and other than a few things I managed to hand carry out of the house and an insurance policy left to my kids I LOST EVERYTHING. So I guess it was a good thing I never “Counted on” this stuff!!!!
Instead I used a small legacy from my grand parents to down pay on a distress sale house and fix it up. When I sold it—as the sign was being put up in the yard!–for FULL ASKING PRICE btw—we then bought a forclosed house for less than half of what the old house had sold for—with the sale of the old house I paid OFF the remaining mortgage AND paid CASH for the “new” house. And came away something like $1000 ahead! LOL! Was the “new” house NEW? Heck no! It was a wreck. The house had been abandoned, an excaped prisoner had been living in it at one point, there was garbage that had eaten it’s way thru the plastic bags and had eaten the vinyl floor! Some one had let kids play INSIDE the house in a POOL! So the entire vinyl of the finished basement had to be ripped out before we could do ANYTHING else.
Because the house was in forclosure we had to deal with the bank who agreed to let us do some “fixin’ up” before we closed. We knew that we could lose the $$$ spent on this but we gambled and won. No one had wanted the house because of the condition and the fact that a main outside beam had rotted where a porch was installed incorrectly. We had done this sort of repair before and knew that while not easy it was not that hard.
Do we have a “show place”? NO—but then again we have a house that has a bunch of people living in it and we have NEVER had a repair person to fix ANYTHING–not bragging just saying that we learned HOW to do things and did them. And we do most of the work on our (used—sometimes VERY used!) cars. Tonight I ordered some parts to fix my 04 van that cost over $200 EACH from the garage or at the dealer—and then you have to do a major job just to get to the parts to swap ’em out. BTW there are SIX of these in the engine—do the math! I discoverd last time this happened that the parts were availaable on line for about $30 bucks EACH, and with some advice from “Car Guys” we did the job ourselves in less than a day. Saved over $1000 for a few hours work and an hours research on the Net to locate parts etc. OF course not everyone can or wants to do this but most people have some skills they can use to help out.
I also LOVE to shop at church sales, thrift stores etc. For years I ran yard sales but where we live in a rural area it was always a hit or miss as to wether or not we would sell anything. And I hated NOT GOING to the weeks yard sales! What I might miss! So now when I go to these things I shop for my family and home but I also shop for OTHER people—I sell this stuff (name brand clothing and jewelry and old “stuff”) on eBay. Do I make a million bucks? I know we have all seen the commercials about that one special eBay billionaire! Sad to say I am not that person. But I DO make enough to pay the ever increasing property taxes here in NY, and to buy the things we find on ebay that we haven’t found at a yard sale, and even to buy my car parts. Keep this in mind when you go to your next yard sale!
If you decide to do this keep in mind that brand and condition is KEY. If you have a Smartphone use it to search for what you are thinking of buying via the eBay app and check the SOLD items to make sure what you can get for it. I have bought leather jackets for $12 that I have sold for $125—the retail on that one was over $500. And now that GoodWill is “creaming” off the top brands and selling them on their OWN auction site they are not such a good source for brands. But yard sales and church sales and some thrift stores are good places to get “inventory”. And this is a great way for stay at home moms to add to the family income! We make weekly “runs” to certain stores when they do special sales or promos. And we keep a calendar of re-curring sales at churches etc. Another thing to do is to consign your unused items to either a store or the new sales that a lot of schools are doing—you consign your kid clothing and baby items using YOUR prices and then you get a percentage back. If there is not one near you—start one!
And I do have to say—a $144k house even here in the wilderness of rural Upstate New York would be considered VERY modest price wise. I saw one the other day in need of major structural work, surely needed internal updates, on a tiny lot on a dangerous curve priced at $119k. It will surely sell for less but not by much—and this is where you have to drive AT LEAST 30 miles in ONE direction to reach the nearest TOWN much less a store–the town has-one. A very spendy Hannaford. And a hardware store. And car parts and two liquor stores! And not a whole lot else! So to me a $144k house would be a positive bargain! I am looking to SELL here and move some place warm in the next very few years so I am kinda obsessive about housing prices. And will I sell my house and go buy a NEW house? Well–maybe! But probably I will again look into a forclosed house–and even if the market has recovered somewhat I am very sure I will get a “lot” of house for what I want to spend.
I also read a lot of posts here about renting vs buying with the renters seeming to somehow feel as if they have “Let the side down” by not being homeowners. A few years ago the New York Times did an article about renting vs owning and surprisingly the two came out costing about the same by the time you add in EVERYTHING. And that was BEFORE the markets crashed. So it might NOT be a “bad thing” to rent. But of course there is the psychological factor of owning—but the psych factor of the mortgage—not so much!
Kinda wish ya could take the “Sally’s” of the world by the hand and lead them around and show ’em how it’s done!
I was rather taken aback with the comment made about Tawra’s home, etc. looking as if she is a “millionaire”. I agree with Jill. One should not make judgments if they don’t know the whole story. (Remember that old adage…Don’t judge a book by it’s cover?) Although I don’t own my own home, I still try to make it look nice. Most of my clothes also are second-hand, along with most my furnishings. In fact, a good 85% of what is in my home, once belonged to my late parents. Pictures I grew up with, the china closet handed down from my great-grandmother, etc.
I pride myself, as a recent widow, to live within my means these days and bills are always paid on tim. I don’t have a pension, life insurance, social security or whatever one calls it, coming from my late husband. Because he was considered self-employed, there wasn’t one. But by careful budgeting and looking for the deals I find, I am able dress decent and even budget for a once a week dinner out. (Buck burger night at that!) It’s too bad that people have to be so judgmental. Being frugal DOES NOT mean that I am “poor”. I consider myself quite the opposite.
Agree and agree. Frugal living should not be equated with poverty. I am one of those people who chose to live a frugal life as part of my commitment to sustainable living. In a way, it is also a protest against a culture of consumerism that promotes wasteful and unhealthy lifestyle. My form of frugality is in the context of a community or what is now known as ‘collaborative consumption’. My friends and I, for example, have organized ourselves online using SplitStuff (http://splitstuff.com) so we could buy high-quality products in bulk and split the cost. Frugality is not about sacrificing quality, it is about being creative and wise in our spending so we could enjoy life without wasting money, time, and energy.
I want to commend you and your husband on doing what you needed to do to get where you are today. The good part is that you are sharing your knowledge with us.
You are so right that rich didn’t get where they are today without being frugal. Most companies and small business need to keep expenses low to survive.
With the economy at it’s worse now, more then ever we need these tips. Food and clothing on the rise and the soring gas prices will have an affect on EVERYONE, not just the poor.
Thank you for the great job you are doing
I have only recently subscribed to your newsletter, but have agreed with every word I have read so far! My prayers go out to all of the moms who wish they could be home – especially the moms who have convinced themselves working is the best choice. Having given up a great paycheck and position nearly 2 years ago to “stay home” with my school-aged kids, I cannot testify loud enough that it can be done…and it doesn’t hurt as much as you think. Being frugal isn’t a nasty habit, but it does require self-control which may seem “too hard” when your life is flying past you at breakneck speed! Take a leap of faith.
I thank you for the website & all the info it contains. I resent someone saying you aren’t living true to your beliefs because you have a nice house. You have one because you are truly living a frugal lifestyle. Sometimes feel guilty because I’m able to save a lot of money a month in my retirement but then I remind myself it’s because I AM frugal that I am able to do so. Kudos 2 U for being authentic!
It’s a shame that people like SALLY out there are so narrow-minded.
Ladies…PLEASE keep the AWESOME work!!!!! The very reasons stated by both of you in the article is the reason to subscribe. Thank you for being willing to share with the rest of us how you have done things…love learning new ways. Thank you again Cj :)
I have to say Thank you and AMen Sister, lol, I have fought and heard the same comments for years. We live in a nice home, On a decent acreage, For several years we made less than 10,000 a year. We have had several comments about “if I made as much money as you do……..” Just last year as we were pulling home a pontoon boat we bought cash a neighbor said how he wished he had the money to do that. We informed him it took us 3 years to save for that, He is a much younger man but instead of working sponges off of relatives, Actually his main reason to stop us was to ask about an old boat we had gotten rid of. Commenting he wished he’d have known we were selling he’d have had his mom write a check, ugh, We are not debt free yet but hope to be in the next few years, A broken ankle last year has set us back some. However our home, even in this economy is worth 3 times what we owe on it. Keep the new letters coming,
I belong to a 501c3 non profit gleaning group. I have been the coordinator for this group for the past 6 years. I see a lot of people who need help with food because they are living way beyond thier means. they need the food but are not willing to put in the 8 volunteer hours required to belong to the group. Being frugal is not being poor but it is a mindset of doing what is best for the family. I appreciate everything I learn from this site. It helps me and my family be able to be together more.
I wonder how much food do they get for the 8 hours they spend. Do they get to choose the kind of food they get?
Maybe they can earn way more somewhere else to be able to buy more food and the food they preffer instead, because some people don’t eat dairy or meat or very little bread.
I am very frugal, but I only spend my time on things where it’s really worth it. Because you can spend being buzy all day netting like $1 per hour. I prioritise my activities by how much I am saving doing it minus expenses like gas and cost of things like getting/printing coupons.
I really like this site for the great ideas of saving money. I would rather save a dollar than earn a dollar. You don’t have to pay tax on saved money.
Bless you,Tawra and Jill for your answers to Sally’s unfortunate remarks. Since my husband passed away, I’ve learned a lot about thrift. I dress as nice as I can, and only a select few family and friends know that most of my nice clothes are used. And I’m proud of it. I read your newsletter religiously each day. Thanks for all the nice and useful tips. And, congratulations, Tawra and Mike on your nice new home. I bet there aren’t too many people who have their home mortgage 75% paid off. Keep up the good work. God Bless You!!!!!!!! Anne
Drinking all that Soda isn’t good for you! I try to squeeze in water at many opportunities.
Going out to eat, so something that I am trying to slow down on. I prefer to cook when I get the chance, and cooking is less expensive. My parents cooked often and the crock pot was the mainstay in the house. We also had many cook outs and went to many pot luck dinners. (Good home made food) WE went out only on special occasions.
I think this latest article was AWESOME! I am 46 and it has taken me a LONG time to get to the point of being frugal…and I make more money now than I did when I was credit card poor. I live in a home I can afford. It may not be the nicest, or in the nicest part of town, but it is mine and I do not have to worry about losing something I couldn’t afford in the first place. I am perfectly content with my 7 year old car. I am finding that I can live without a lot of things and tend to use things until they are “dead”, not until the new one comes along. I have 2 very huge and heavy TV’s that work just fine. Yes, flat screens are cool, but that is a want, not a need. It took a bad marriage to someone that constantly complained of not having enough money for me to see that true hard work and determination get you where you need to be in life and money is a tool. You can either scatter those tools in the wind or read and apply what the ToolMaster wrote and use it as intended. My goal is to buy a small home before I reach 50, and yes, if I can’t pay cash for it, it won’t happen. Keep writing what you gals write and if just one person is affected each time, you have made such a difference! :)
Take care and God Bless your families!
It is so wonderful to come to this community of kindred spirits each day. I learn something each time I read a new blog. I also laugh and sometimes cry when I read the touching stories of people who have mastered the art of doing so much in life with what might appear to be so little. God has blessed all of us with talents and creative ability. He also gave us beating hearts that should lead us with a desire to share and help another along the way. Many thanks to all of you who have shared and helped me along my way!! Wish i could meet you all for a big group hug!!
Being a stay-at-home mom is NOT a luxury. I have 5 children–when the youngest started school I went to work full-time at a daycare. It was probably the first time we have not had money struggles in my entire 15 year marriage. But guess what–the money was there but my home started to fall apart. My clean house was a disaster area, my children were cranky and disrespectful, and my husband and I had a HORRIBLE year, almost ending in divorce. Being a stay-at-home mom is a choice and requires hard work and sacrifice. We really struggle with money and I love Jill and Tawra for giving me daily reminders that I can improve my situation. I do still work parttime–but as a substitute teacher, on my children’s schedule and with the flexibility to say no if my kids need me.
How blessed I am to have a nice house–with 5 kids and only 3 true bedrooms we have had to convert the family room into a bedroom for our boys. It isn’t the “typical” situation, but having a frugal mindset has helped me and my family reaize that sharing a room or having an unconventional living space isn’t a bad thing. Too many kids these days have things handed to them so they will become adults that are in horrible debt because they are clueless how to live within their means. I think my family gets judged in the small town we live in because I have chosen to stay home even though my kids aren’t home all day–but the payback of having respectful and truly loved children is worth the judgement. Children need time–not things.
Tawra–I’m glad you have no apologies for your beautiful house. After reading all your newsletters and tips—anyone could see the amount of personal effort you have put into it in order to make it what it is. You are both such an example to those of us who are still trying to get a handle on our debt and wholesome way of living. You are one of my many blessings everyday and I look forward to having many more years to learn from you:)
Wow, what a state of mind… Being frugal is what has helped my husband and I retire this year before turning 40, to work on our own projects. We have 2 kids (13 & 10). We bought our house two yrs ago, a fixer upper that we paid cash for. Worked our backsides off, redid the bathrooms and kitchen on our own and recycling everything possible. Now it’s a wonderful three bedroom two bathroom home. We have two cars that were bought used and paid in cash. We did all this earning $30,000 a year. You name it we did it or are still doing it. Everything from recycling our clothes, growing some of our own food, homeschooling (only because there are no public schools nearby) to eating in. Life is really simple if you know how to live it.
This is a really good article. I run a small business as well and find myself purposely keeping it small so that I don’t get the same negative feedback. People really do think that if they see you doing well, that they should not support your business anymore. I just wish they would feel the same way about Walmart, Costco and Home Depot!! This article helps me once again to put my feelings aside and aim high for myself. Those that don’t want to support me can go swelter in their own selfishness.
You have an awesome site and some very wonderful tips and information, Tawra! I wish you continued good luck and success. Good luck on your move also!
I just wanted to write and share how refreshing it was to read what you had to share about being frugal!!! It is something I have always done but felt in some ways ashamed about it. But reading your post and the comments you shared really was so encouraging and inspiring. I have been changing my attitude and your post was truly a great nudge in the right direction!
Im really glad I found your blog.
I couldn’t agree with you more about beinb frugel. My husband and I have always tended to be careful with our money. Currently, our home is paid for. I quit my job about 2 1/2 years ago and did a bit of belt tightening. I honestly have to say that despite the smaller income, I am still saving, have money put aside for emergencies and irregular expenses. I can’t tell that very much has changed except that I don’t buy as much or waste as much money as I used to. I rarely buy books, using the library (which I have always done). I simply have rethought my spending patterns and found that I can get by on much less money with no real decrease in how we live. It is possible to live well on so much less. Keep up the good work!!
Wow really what a horrible thing to say!Its a good thing you dont know me,I have tons of designer clothes and purses,like coach,and so on,but i never paid more than $5 for any of them,and if i need something like a new tv,or furniture if i cant get it free or next to nothing i do with out,i am know as the queen of free in my neighborhood,living frugally,and by the quote”buy used and save the difference!I am diabled,and am not able to work,so buy using coupons,(i havent paid for any health and beauty products for years and have shelves full of products.And buy used People think we too too have lots of money,but just the oppisite.So Judge not lest ye be judged!
I read the question and your answers and feeling a bit sad that your saying is true. I must confess that sometime i feel that I’m so poor and I can’t match up the neighbor in gaining stuffs (some I don’t even know why I want those) and turn out to be me who aren’t doing my job well as money keeper. Thanks for sharing your way of life. I do hope to change my mindset and been working quit a bit. Let’s hope that God sees that and help me as well. God bless you.
Jill, I thought you might be interested in some things I have read in a book. The first is about John D Rockefeller Sr. He was a self-made man who hated to waste a penny. In the early 1870’s when he went to vist a Standard Oil plant, he asked a worker how many drops of solder were used on each can to solder the lids. He was told forty drops. He asked if thirty-nine drops would work. It did. Later Rockefeller said that JUST THAT ONE DROP difference saved $2,500 the first year of business and since the business became more busy and more product was needed, he eventually saved many hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years. This was a lesson he never forgot, so he applied it to other others of his life and saved even more money. See how wrong it is to judge. Being frugal saves money and makes you rich in areas of importance. Also Queen Elizabeth II always paid attention to “pounds and pence.” Their money system. She would wear the same clothes more then once, which was a practice at odds with traditional court etiquette, and her husband Prince Phillip still wore the Royal Nave uniform he wore to his wedding after 60 years. The Queen would also insist in turning off the lights in empty rooms in Buckingham Palace. Also LEFTOVERS from banquets were never thrown out. Thanks to her frugality the annual expenditures dropped from 87.3 million in 1991-1992 to 40 million in 2008-2009 and that is with prices still going up for products. So nobody SHOULD judge a persons frugality by their outward appearances!!!
You know Bea this is what it really all boils down to.
Yes! Being smart.
I can relate with this. My cousin once confronted me about not knowing what she was going through when she was talking about money problems. She would say this because my children always wear name brand clothing, I have two cars, and nice things in my home. I am a thrift store queen (just to toot my own horn). I have not bought clothing from a store that wasn’t marked down by at least 80% since I was in high school. Never judge a book by its cover.
my daughter is the same way lynn .. she goes to thrift stores and buys the cutest outfits for like pennies on what the real price tag shows (and yes these are brand new clothes she gets with the price tags still on them at the thrift store) ..
its awesome to do this .. i (bc of my size) cant find anything decent at the thrift store but i do shop the sales and get the most off i can on clothing …
and yes u r right .. cant judge a book by its cover .. :D
I have gotten made fun of for our commitment to frugality…it just know in 20 years it will be worth it all…and you know what…I have a full heart…no new car is worth that feeling.
I like Dave Ramsey’s quote “LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE, SO YOU CAN LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE!”
I’ve been reading through these comments and I feel like I’m the odd one out! Just because you live “frugally” does not necessarily mean you’ll be able to pay off all your debt in X number of years, buy a really nice house, etc. My husband and I are commended Christian workers. Neither one of us receives a “salary” and our income varies dramatically from month to month. We live quite frugally (no tv, one prepaid cell, one car, older house, thrift store shopping, eating out maybe once a month if that, etc). We have never gone hungry and have rarely missed a bill payment. We always have enough. The Lord has been very good to us in always meeting our needs. So, I guess what I’m driving at is “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3.2. Sorry if I’ve overstepped, but I really felt I needed to share this.
Island Girl this is very true. I have been extremely careful all of my life but because of circumstances beyond my control I still don’t have “it all”. I don’t have the greatest house, newest furniture, car etc. in the world but am grateful for what I do have. I don’t have any debt but I live on almost way less then poverty level income.
The thing is the “average” person with the “average” income could pay off their debt etc. if they did live frugally but most don’t. There are always exceptions to every rule and most of the time we talk about or are dealing with what a majority of people are having problems with etc.
My husband and I have worked very hard over the years to get were we are today, financially. Being frugal started 35+ years ago for us, not because we were so wise to do so, but because we had to in order to get by. I didn’t consider us poor, just “blue collar working people”. I trully wish some of that “struggle” on all young couples. Because down the road of life, the “frugal-wise” couples can make it through tough times financially without batting an eye. Yes there were times when we didn’t “get”, “do” or “go”, when other friends or family members did. But we are glad today that we chose to save and not blow our money as fast as we made it. I can’t say the same for some of our friends/family. Here we are becoming senior citizens, and some of them have huge car payments, still owe 15-20 years on a home or have thousands of dollars of debt. It becomes harder to make money as we age, so I worry about what some of them will do. I suppose some will have to rely on their children. But I would be willing to bet that now those children would love to have given up some of those weekend get-aways, costly vacations, expensive toys and meals through the drive thru for financial security for their parents. Of course some of those children didn’t even have all the vacations and toys, they just had parents that didn’t spend/save money wisely. If they got a bonus…it went straight for a new tv, dinner out, new outfit etc. But we never considered those people “poor”, a few of them made more money than we did! The difference is very plan and very simple…..LIVE WITHIN YOU MEANS.
“He who does not economize will have to agonize”-Confusius
Oops! “your mean”…..”Live within your means”
It’s a matter of prioritizing your needs versus your wants. You may need a new pair of shoes but you don’t need to pay a small fortune for them.
I think everyone should sit down and write a list of what they would like to have their life be like in 5, 10, 15, and 20 years from now. Write down what they would like to own and when they would like to own it by. Meaning, write down things like “own my own home within 10 years from now” or things like that. Then post this list on the refrigerator so they see it everyday. This would help them keep on track to reach their goals.
I am glad that your frugality has gotten you a nice home, clothes and whatever. I have also been frugal most of my life and very generous as well. I am finally learning not to give to others who should be more frugal and ‘cutting off my noise in spite of myself’. I still give when I should be saving for my future but now I try to give to those who have much less and don’t waste money on things like cable(satilite) when they could buy a box and get free tv like I do. I bought myself a new tv and antenna a few years back and paid for them both and a DVD player in under 2 years not buying even basic cable for $10.00 a month. I watched my old tv(no box) with an old antenna saving up for this tv. I got 2 channels HSN (fuzzy) and 3bn . I mostly listened to the radio at night as I couldn’t afford the electric nessary for a light at night to read by.
Now I own a Mobile Home(paid in full)and buy food for those in need every few months or more often as the need arrives, plus pay all my bills. I am trying to save more towards my future but it is hard to see older people struggling because of their finances. Cinbad
I agree with Tawra and Jill. You can’t depend on outward appearances to determine people’s wealth. We have Amish folks living not far from us who don’t use electricity who live very simply but I wouldn’t call them poor. They choose to live that way. Frugality is a matter of choice and poverty is a matter of circumstances. I don’t mind eating out as a choice for example once in a great while. But I know that I may have to forego a new pair of jeans in order to eat out that night and if I need that new pair of jeans then it’s not a wise choice. I simply can’t have it all. I realize that. That is frugality. If I was impoverished and couldn’t eat anything let alone eat out in a restaurant that’s poverty.
This is so true and I appreciate hearing it over & over because I am a person who needs to be reinforced. I am not at your level yet,but always striving for it. I get your newsletters and they are always uplifting & right on target for what we need to hear. This is the first time I have been to your website and it is really nice too. Thanks for your guidance.
First and most importantly, I would like to thank Tawra and Jill for sharing all of their expert advice through e-mail for free!!!
Second of all, “Sally” is beyond Rude!!! The “Sally’s” of the world need to understand that through frugality that we can have the nice things that count like a paid mortgage in a safe neighhborhood and have some money in the bank for retirement. I’m married to a doctor, and I don’t have to be frugal, but I am! I was raised that way and we are raising our kids to be that way too! Life is about living and sharing not about keeping up with the Joneses!!!
i totally agree with being frugal…that doesn’t mean you can’t afford to buy some stuff…but you try not to spend too much. i will be 38 this year–and has a good financial vision for the sake of my children,this way they don’t have to worry about taking care of me when i get old, as well as i am able to help them with their tuition when they go to college. i read a lot about finances online, it does help specially when you tend to slip to buying nonsense things…there’s nothing wrong to be FRUGAL !!! than be showing off things that you can’t actually afford.
I was reading a book by G.K. Chesterton last night. He was a journalist that wrote essays for the London Times. He lived from 1874-1936. He also wrote books and plays. The book I was reading last night is called “What’s Wrong With the World” and the chapter I thought you might like Jill and Tawra is called “The Romance of Thrift.” Here is an excerpt I thought like might like.
“Thrift is a really romantic thing; economy is more romantic than extravagance. The thing is true; economy, properly understood, is the more poetic. Thrift is poetic because it is creative; waste is unpoetic because it is waste. It is prosaic to throw money away, because it is prosaic to throw anything away; it is negative; it is a confession of indifference, that is, it is a confession of failure.
Many a good housekeeper plays a game every day with ends of cheese and scraps of silk, not because she is mean, but on the contrary, because she is magnanimous; because she wishes her creative mercy to be over all her works, that not one sardine should be destroyed, or cast as rubbish to the void.
This female economy ideal is a part of that female variety of outlook and all-round art of life which we have already attributed to the sex; thrift is not a small or timid or provincial thing; it is part of that great idea of the woman watching on all sides, out of all windows of the soul, and being answerable for everything. For in the average house there is one hole by which money comes in and a hundred by which it goes out.”
Isn’t that last line expecially true? We have to watch for those possible hundred ways money can go out and plug them up.
That was really good Bea and so true.
$144,000 house is not usually that great of a house these days. I don’t consider that expensive. Love you and your newsletter.
I am on Social Security.( It is not very much because the work I was doing was more of a calling than a profession. I had been a stay at home Mom until my daughter was 15 when circumstances forced me to work.) I am living in a 15 year old double wide mobile home that is in excellent repair. Outside of a small town. I buy my clothes on a final clearance rack. My big splurge is to have someone cut the lawn every 2 weeks because I physically can not do it. I love my life and and am thankful for every day of it. There is no where else to cut expenses. I have no debts, because I was very careful with my money while I was working. I try to think of frugal living as a challenge, and that makes it a game of sorts. It takes time to find “the best for less”
Who a person is is what is inside their heart and there soul. Being broke can not take that away.
Marilyn, you are the perfect example of what I try to preach all the time. If you don’t have the debt and the mortgage you can live on an amazing little amount comfortably.
I do most of the things you mentioned, always have. I love not having a car payment, although I’d love a new car. What I don’t agree with is vacations (not necessarily going into debt for them) but vacations are not a “waste of money.” They are memories. They are experiences. They are windows to the world. My children have wonderful memories of our inexpensive camping trip vacations to the beach, Tennessee, South Carolina. I made a commitment to take a vacation every summer with my family no matter what else was going on financially and I figured out how to do it on a budget. Camping – $25/nite!
My kids are grown and I have no regrets.
Wow nice replies! After 12 years of being a sahm we are truly flourishing! Thanks to the Lord and frugality my life keeps getting better in unexpected ways. Originally my husband and I hoped I could stay home to care for our firstborn for the first tender year of her life. We adjusted our lives to one income and have lived that way since. We know many two income families (with less children than us) who don’t have anything more to show for it (except maybe cable, expensive cell phones and many restaurant meals out)! I am so willing to share frugal advice to anyone who wants it. (I think that a lot of people are a bit afraid of it!) But we have found it to be very practical and fulfilling. Frugality has a compounding factor that many people are unaware of…so now that we are 12 years down the path it really looks different. People that we know can really see the positive difference that living below your means can make!
I feel that we have chosen “the better part” because we have so many things that money cannot buy! God Bless everyone else on the journey and those who are about to start it. :)
FRUGALITY I THINK ITS GREAT, ITS THE WAY I LIVE OUR FAMILY LIFE AND I DONT HAVE TO ANSWER TO ANY ONE EXCEPT WHO LIVES UNDER OUR ROOF AND THEN ONLY IF I WANT TO.I LOVE THE GOODWILL STORES I HUNT THEM OUT, I WAS WANTING SOME MORE CORRELL PLATES, WALMART HAD THEM FOR 3.15 EACH I FOUND THEM AT G/W FOR .80 EACH I BOUGHT ALL 13 PLATES AND SOME BOWLS. I BOUGHT A “NEW” HIGH CHAIR FOR MY SWEET LITTLE NEPHEW FOR 5.00 AND HE THINKS ITS GREAT. MY FAMILY TEASES ME ABOUT BEING CHEAP BUT IT COMES FROM THE HEART AND THEY HAVE NEVER MISSED A MEAL OFF OF MY G/W PLATES.
BLESSINGS TO YOU.
Oh, don’t call it Goodwill. My friend Jaimey has a better (nick)name for it: “The GW Boutique.” They have fabulous stuff! I just got my Easter dress at our local “GW Boutique.” I think it is brand new — it looks like it’s never been worn. It’s gorgeous! The price is even more beautiful: I paid seven dollars and 99 cents plus tax.
I saw this in a book I was reading and thought you might like it, Jill and Tawra.
“Wealth is largely a matter of personality and the inner attitude toward the world in which we live. There are those who have money, but no wealth. Others have wealth, but no money. I have seen millionaries with gardens and hot houses, but with no appreciation of flowers; and I have seen poor people, who did not own even a foot of ground, who could walk down the street and feel a keen enjoyment of every flower, such a thrill of a graceful tree, or the song of a bird, that they proved themselves wealthy indeed; for wealth is not simply what exists, but how much of it we can appreciate, and use and draw upon, for inspiration and happiness.”
I once had a boss who lived in the housing projects. I own my house, make farless money, but she is renting in a government-subsizdized place. (We’re talking slum housing here.) On one occasion, she offered to loan me a DVD of a movie I’d wanted to see. When I told her I didn’t have a working DVD player, just an old TV and rabbit ears, she seemed shocked. Not half as shocked as I was when she mentioned she had maybe 500 DVD movies she’d BOUGHT! She admitted her family never watches most of them more than once even though they have a big screen HD TV and all the newest/latest/most expensive entertainment electronics. Gee, I wonder why she can’t afford a down payment….
Jill, I love the words you used “wise steward”. My husband and I have been frugal all our lives. We used to take a vacation every year when the kids were home and saved all year for our week at the beach. Then, when they were in high school and college, money was tight and we didn’t go. Now they are older and building their own families, we go again and split the condo 4 ways (with a friend of my daughter’s also going with us). Those beach days are still talked about and we are reliving them with our grandchildren. We save all year for this trip and only go every other year since my daughter’s in-laws are in Calif and they go there every other year. Anyway, my point is that we save for everything. I bought a new car in 2008 – with cash – after driving my old car for 19 years. My husband just traded in his 21 year old car for a truck – paid cash. Do not purchase anything without saving up. We have friends who are living on credit and she worries all the time. They have a nice house, season tickets to the theatre, drive nice cars but have a lot of stress trying to juggle their bills. I just don’t want that headache.
Our house is 70 + years old and needs work but we just pay as we go. My husband works on the inside projects in the winter and the outside projects in the summer. I consider us wise stewards of our money. I am more of a spender than my husband and sometimes it can be annoying but we wouldn’t be where we are now without his diligence. Still, I am disappointed that the 401K’s and other investments have lost money, but think we will manage with all the good hints and tricks you and Tawra bring to us in your website. Thank you and all your readers for sharing their frugal practices.
Love to hear stories like yours Maggie. It helps others too I think to not get discouraged and to know that the sometimes “crazy” things we teach really are doable and many people are doing it so thanks for your post.
One clarification about my previous note. My 2008 New car was really a used, previously owned fleet vehicle from a rental car company. It was only 9 mo old when I bought it so it even smelled new. I call it my new car but it was not as expensive as a brand new car because of the 13K mileage it had on it.
Also, we have no mortgage and no debt other than the regular ones like water, sewer, cable, phone. Our cell phones are very old (7 years) but we only use them for emergency calls so they work for us. Just wanted to include this information to give a clearer picture. We have had loads of health care costs above what our insurance will pay for but somehow, we are able to pay them and still do the fun things we want with our family.
I was very surprised at the letter from Sally and her apparent anger at your life style. We all work and do what we can to make our lives the way we want them. I don’t think it is my place to question anyone else about how they spend their money. My mom used to say that we purchased food for our home while neighbors bought other things with theirs. Some would rather have a new car, others a new deck. Not our money, not our decision. I still try to think of life like that.
It really IS all attitude. strange, my parents were both children of the depresssion, but both told me they never felt poor. their needs were taken care of, but money was never wasted. As an only child, I didn’t get toys all year, only Christmas and birthday. It never occurred to me there was any other way.
My grandmother would take my mom for Chinese food and pay a quarter for an extra plate. She would cut pieces of candy into quarters to she and all 3 kids got a treat! The treats were special because they were not a regular habit. My parents were not spoiled, but they knew they were loved and cared for! They grew up to be both incredibly hard working, and I was raised the same way, even though I was their only child —
We truly do a disservice when we hand everything out, and don’t teach people to work.
OK, off my soapbox! LOL
I appreciated what one poster had to say about not judging people for how they spend their money. We are frequently judged at our church for not driving new cars, not wearing every new fad of clothes/shoes/etc., not having a “smartphone”, and even though I am happy living frugally and am sometimes shocked at what people spend on things, it IS hard sometimes feeling judged for not making all the same choices as someone else.
Thanks for your wonderful post today and for all of those folks who have been so supportive. I hope that Sally has learned the difference between poor and frugal and can appreciate her new knowledge.
We are retired and run a food cupboard on a volunteer basis. We see so many people come through who are in need of food. Why? Because they have made poor choices for so long, they do not even know how to make wise choices. Many smoke heavily, reek of alcohol and can barely focus, are stoned on drugs and/or are covered with tattoos. None of those things come cheaply either. Thankfully we never made any of those choices. But these people have no clue how to use their money for their benefit. That is an area that we need to be teaching our children, not just expecting the schools to do it.
Thank you for all that you ladies do to help us. It is greatly appreciated by so many. I am going to send your site on to a volunteer in our food cupboard who will appreciate it as well.
Blessings to you both!
Poverty is a situation. Frugality is a principle.
I am going to copy your words of wisdom and print them on my computer to make a sign out of them. I will post it on my refrigerator. Thank you! That’s just what I needed to read today!
My husband has 4 friends that he went to high school with that still live in our area. He/We see them frequently and sometimes we reflect on the way our lives have progressed to date. We are all in our mid-60’s and have had similar lifestyles. When we were first married, we were the least spendthrifty ones and never kept up to date with anything and thought we would be the ones most able to retire early. Thought you might enjoy hearing where everyone is now – 40 years later.
The one with the most money (mostly inherited by he and his wife), has cancer and has been ill for almost 15 years. We are glad he is still with us but he can’t begin to spend all his riches. Two families (us being one of them), have one retired person and one still working. The husband of the other family still works at a very physical job and rarely has time to take vacations or visit with his grands. My husband is retired but I still work full-time because we need the health benefits for my health issues. We take time to have fun but our retirement benefits have decreased substantially since 2007. The early retirement did not happen. And the last one who is the poorest – financially – seems to be the richest in non-monetary things. He is a handyman by trade and recently moved to FL to take advantage of the lower tax rate and an opportunity to work his craft at the senior citizen communities who are always looking for help.
Of the four families, no one has any parents left, so we rely on each other for family strength. As you can see, money cannot buy everything we need now but our friends are forever and give us riches far beyond money.
Debbie, It’s upsetting to read about the judgements of the people at your “Church”. If they judge you on superficial material things what do they think of people with problems that are sinful? No love there. I would look for a new Church. I’ve dealt with people like that too. What is their definition of Christian? Did Jesus act like that?
To all of you who are my Christian sisters,
We have always been pretty frugal, I was raised by a thrifty mom and introduced my husband to thrift shopping 28 yrs ago :)The point I want to make, we had quit tithing a couple of yrs ago because we thought we couldn’t afford it.Things just seemed to get tighter and tighter now matter how we scrimped. The Lord convicted my husband and we began to tithe. I am not preaching a prosperity gospel here, but I will tell you that the Lord has been making ends meet in ways I can not explain.Tithing won’t make you right with God, but if you are saved, the Lord expects to be first in your life in all areas, including your finances.I am so thankful to HIM for His faithfulness to always provide for our needs.
I have also found tithing benefits you, as does charitable giving. Sometimes its not in the form of a pay raise or actualy money, but in “coincidences” (I believe coincidence is often when God works anonymously…). Such as being at the right place at the right time and finding gas a whole lot cheaper at that station you happen to drive by. Or having someone give you a discount for their services. Or, happening upon some very nice curtains at the thrift shop that fit your window perfectly and cost $20 and look like real expensive window treatments. Or having someone share food with you, or being asked to dinner or winning the $100 drawing at work…all kinds of situations that save you money and repay you many times over for what you tithed. A pastor told me “people think tithing is giving 10 percent and keeping 90 percent, but it’s really giving 10 percent and keeping 110 percent” after God gives an increase back to you. It sounds weird, but tithing is a really good strategy for frugal living.
Well Said Ladies…
When Tom and I got married we decided on the same values. We do not have children, however I see kids with better cell phones than us, hair, tanning, vehicles, nails, clothes and shoes along with some worn out parents. What values are these kids growing up with? I am afraid for their future.
We grow our own food, hunt for meat and shop at garage sales and second hand stores. It helps that we are not slaves to fashion. We look for comfort and quality which can be found in thrift stores and garage sales. It amazes me what people buy to makes themselves happy then throw it away with tags still on them. Tom always says, “Don’t substitute accumulation for growth.”
I’ve been poor and I’ve been rich and like you say, it has nothing to do with being frugal. My first husband died when he was 22 and I was 21 and left me with two babies and I was poor. Scary poor but loved and with the help of family and friends I made it. However, I was reared by on the farm by parents who married during the depression so I knew how to be frugal. I also knew that being poor was no disgrace. Even when I remarried he was in the military and then got out and became a college student so we were not as poor but we sure weren’t rich. However, by managing our money well, I was able to stay home with my children and I did because they needed the security of having me close by. After our children got into high school I got my Realtor’s license and my husband had a high paying job and I truely felt rich. I could trade in a car that was a couple of years old and pay cash for the difference and that felt very secure to me. We had a lot of toys in those years, too. Now I’m alone and a lot of investments we thought would care for us in our old age went down the tubes when stocks took a plunge a few years ago. I’m comfortable, live in a pretty home that I enjoy and I buy what I need when I need it and still have a bit to spoil the grands. I’ve been the same person all this time. Rich or poor is in the mind. I’ve always been frugal and it’s always served me well. Shortly after my second marriage my mother-in-law made the remark that a woman can throw more out the back door than a man can bring in the front door. She told me years later that it worried me when she saw the home my children and I lived in when I married her son. She wondered if he would be able to keep me happy as it was obvious that I liked nice things. But after a while she was able to see that I was a frugal homemaker and knew we would do well which we did. It’a just making up your mind to choose to spend poor to live well. That meant home cooked meals, thrift shopping, refurbishing antique furniture that holds it’s value and giving yourself time to build a nest egg before eating eggs benedict. LOL
OHHH…I must have missed this before! But let me add my 2 cents worth! My husband and I make $31,000 a year total. I live in a house that was built in 1954 in an older neighborhood. I paid $130,000 we have been slowly fixing it up. My daughter is married with 2 children and my son is home schooled. To say that I am frugal is an understatement! However I do not deprive my family of the things they need. Last year for example we went to the beach on vacation. I got a VERY GOOD deal through a travel sight and I booked my July vacation in March while prices were low! Frugal living is ALL about planning ahead and saving for what you want and need! I am so excited that this month I have completely paid off 2 credit card and another bill and still socked enough money away to have 2 1/2 weeks vacation for my family this July! How do I manage? I simply follow advice on frugal living. I take my lunches to work instead of eating out, I make my own coffee in the AM and not buy it out. I shop carefully for bargains at the grocery store, I cut coupons (not extreme though) I dye and cut my own hair as well as do my own nails. I get my nails at the $ store and they have lasted 7 days so far and that’s working with special needs children. This week alone I have been scratched several time, hit and bit by 3 children. My $ store nails have lasted through each conflict! I bought a used car and it is small. I use left overs and as said follow all those frugal tips!!! My goal is to be debt free of credit cards, medical bills etc in 2 years then start paying down my house!!! If you take it inch by inch it is a cinch! Am I deprived? Not at all. The best meals I have ever eaten have come from my own kitchen. Just watch Kitchen Nightmares if you want to see what REALLY goes on in the kitchens of your favorite restaurants. My daughter and I are getting together in a couple of weeks to start canning our summer fruits and veggies as well as to make jellies! It is a great frugal project to do and you can give them as gifts for Christmas too! I could go on and on about how frugal living has helped me not to be poor but to be rich in abundance!!!!
What if instead of relying on frugal efforts to scour craigslist for a $3 NWT item, a believer prays to the Lord with a sincere heart asking Him to meet the need according to HIS riches and glory (as he thanks Him for the on-going opportunity to be a tither into God’s Kingdom and one who can give to God’s people)? What if all of the time and energy and efforts spent working hard at being “frugal” was not necessary because the Believer simply seeks God for every need and trusts Him to bring it forth more wonderfully, efficiently and remarkably than a time-involved frugal way ever could? How much more can be accomplished when faith operates through quick requests with thanks to God for needs that are then materialized (much better than the believer could through frugal means)?
Financial Stewardship is not about finding and focusing on ways to spend the least amount of money, it’s about focusing on opportunities to GIVE the most motivated with faith and love. When you truly and consistently give, you will receive more than you have room enough to keep… You extend the Father’s love to his Kingdom by reflecting the good God that He is (with every gift). When you have more than room enough to keep, what will benefit you more – spending lots of time maintaining frugality or continuing to give to keep the flow coming in so that you always have plenty to enjoy and share?
Financial stewardship values not just the use of money, but the use of time and focus of money and how God wants to be trusted deeply as our source – as our Father who supplies our needs. Of course He wants our genuine fellowship not only our requests, He’s not an ATM, but He is our Father whom we love. Would God rather see us spend chunks of time locating the best bargain item in town at the local flea market or just go straight to Him with the need and allow Him to orchestrate the manifestation of the need so we can then take the saved time to not only enjoy the awesome blessing He provided, but to invest the saved time into something very fruitful?
Sara like anything else there are extremes to things. If you have read any of our books or much of our website you will see that I am a firm believing in God providing for me and my family and that is the first direction we should depend on.There have been times when I have been without a job, home or food and God has literally dropped them in my lap. I even don’t believe we should depend on things like credit cards. Now be careful because I said we shouldn’t depend on them not that we shouldn’t use them. There is a big difference.
I may have read you wrong but with what you said I the impression that we are to sit back with our hands folded and have God just start dumping wonderful things in our hands. I have read more verses like the ones in Pro. 6:11 where it talks about the ant and how we should work hard like the ant or in II Thess. 3:10 where is says if you don’t work you don’t eat. Then in Pro. 31 it talks about the virtuous woman who goes out wisely trying to buying things for the best price she can for her family. Even in Genesis God told us to rest after we have worked 6 days. Doing things like going to garage sales or to Craig’s list is just another form of working.
We need to carefully balance all of the scripture, have a relationship so close to God that He can tell us how to wisely use the scripture because sometimes we get caught up in the letter of the law and forget the spirit of the law. Luke 21:2-4 is the perfect example of what I am talking about. There were many wealthy religious men who from the outside it looked like God had blessed greatly and they very self righteously made sure that everyone one saw how much God had blessed them (because they equated material blessings with righteousness with God which was so wrong) and then there was the poor widow who had nothing – which if I follow what you wrote meant she wasn’t trusting in God or waiting for Him to bless her – and even though she was poor she gave her all. She was the poor of the poor and yet God was proudest of her.
You see it isn’t hard to puff up when we have lots of things God is blessing us with and when we have much, to proudly say look what God has done for me but sometimes God allows our poverty to show His glory. My testimony has made much more of an impact when I had nothing and still received nothing but yet I trusted God anyway. That is when a person’s true faith shines. It is one thing to say look at God blessing me isn’t He wonderful but something totally different when you receive nothing day after day and you say “I don’t care if God never gives me anything. He can and if it is His will He will but if His glory can be shown through my poverty I will accept that too.”
You never know but that God may be using you to show that person who is selling something on Craig’s list how wonderful He is. What a missed opportunity if we had sat back and said “God I am not going to buy something on Craig’s list because I know you want only the best for me and for me not to lift a finger to get it” Even though this is true in some cases there are just as many more cases where He maybe using you to help someone else through your poverty. Trust me the widow in the story has had more of a positive testimony over the centuries then the religious men who were materially blessed.
This reminds me of the story of the man whose whole neighborhood flooded. He sat on his roof and prayed for God to rescue him. A boatload of neighbors came by and offered him a ride. “No!” he said. “I am waiting on the Lord to save me.” The same thing happened when another boat and then a National Guard helicopter came by. The water kept rising and the man drowned. When he came before the Lord he said “I had faith you would save me and I still drowned!” God said “I sent two boats and a helicopter.” God’s hand can show in the most mundane ways.
Good story Sandi. :)
We see living frugally as a choice. We could live like some of our neighbors and charge up our credit cards on silly stuff without lasting value. Or we could live, as we do, being thoughtful about our spending. Being frugal allows us to be even more generous in our giving. Frugality is not necessarily tied to income level. I’ve known very high-earning people who are also frugal. And I’ve known very low-earning people who overspend. My husband and I like to think of ourselves as good stewards of what God has blessed us with. We’ve been blessed to be a blessing.
My mom used to say that “God helps those who help themselves”, meaning that if you try to do the right things and work hard, tithe and give God thanksgiving, He will bless you in ways you cannot imagine. But, you can’t sit back and wait for these blessings/things to come to you. You must give what you can with love and much will be returned to you. We were extremely poor when I was growing up and there were many times that without that basket or bag of food on the porch from our church family, I’m not sure what we would have eaten. But, in return, we went to church every time the doors were open, and we did what we could to help others in our community and thus, were blessed. There is a wonderful story about a church family who was told that a family at their church was in great need and everyone was going to save money to give to them for their Christmas gift from the church. One family, who was very poor, worked hard to save a penny here, a nickel there, and amassed an amazing $100 for their gift. On Christmas eve, there was a knock at their door and the minister brought them the Christmas offering (they were the recipients of the church’s Christmas gift) which was in the amount of $110. So the rest of the church contributed $10 toward this gift and the poor family collected the rest. Morale of the story is – give with your whole heart. Some people in this church did not understand the concept. I may not have all the details right about this story, but the message is clear. God is always there and this poor family really understood the value of giving.
This is the story Maggie referenced. It’s a bit long, but worth it.
The Rich Family In Church
By Eddie Ogan
I’ll never forget Easter 1946. I was 14, my little sister Ocy was 12, and my older sister Darlene 16. We lived at home with our mother, and the four of us knew what it was to do without many things. My dad had died five years before, leaving Mom with seven school kids to raise and no money.
By 1946 my older sisters were married and my brothers had left home. A month before Easter the pastor of our church announced that a special Easter offering would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save and give sacrificially.
When we got home, we talked about what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month. This would allow us to save $20 of our grocery money for the offering. When we thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible and didn’t listen to the radio, we’d save money on that month’s electric bill. Darlene got as many house and yard cleaning jobs as possible, and both of us babysat for everyone we could. For 15 cents we could buy enough cotton loops to make three pot holders to sell for $1.
We made $20 on pot holders. That month was one of the best of our lives.
Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we’d sit in the dark and talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them. We had about 80 people in church, so figured that whatever amount of money we had to give, the offering would surely be 20 times that much. After all, every Sunday the pastor had reminded everyone to
save for the sacrificial offering.
The day before Easter, Ocy and I walked to the grocery store and got the manager to give us three crisp $20 bills and one $10 bill for all our change.
We ran all the way home to show Mom and Darlene. We had never had so much money before.
That night we were so excited we could hardly sleep. We didn’t care that we wouldn’t have new clothes for Easter; we had $70 for the sacrificial offering.
We could hardly wait to get to church! On Sunday morning, rain was pouring. We didn’t own an umbrella, and the church was over a mile from our home, but it didn’t seem to matter how wet we got. Darlene had cardboard in her shoes to fill the holes. The cardboard came apart, and her feet got wet.
But we sat in church proudly. I heard some teenagers talking about the Smith girls having on their old dresses. I looked at them in their new clothes, and I felt rich.
When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting on the second row from the front. Mom put in the $10 bill, and each of us kids put in a $20.
As we walked home after church, we sang all the way. At lunch Mom had a surprise for us. She had bought a dozen eggs, and we had boiled Easter eggs with our fried potatoes! Late that afternoon the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, and then came back with an envelope in her hand. We asked what it was, but she didn’t say a word. She opened the envelope and out fell a bunch of money. There were three crisp $20 bills, one $10 and seventeen $1 bills.
Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn’t talk, just sat and stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling like millionaires to feeling like poor white trash. We kids had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn’t have our Mom and Dad for parents and a house full of brothers and sisters and other kids visiting constantly. We thought it was fun to share silverware and see whether we got the spoon or the fork that night.
We had two knifes that we passed around to whoever needed them. I knew we didn’t have a lot of things that other people had, but I’d never thought we were poor.
That Easter day I found out we were. The minister had brought us the money for the poor family, so we must be poor. I didn’t like being poor. I looked at my dress and worn-out shoes and felt so ashamed–I didn’t even want to go back to church. Everyone there probably already knew we were poor!
I thought about school. I was in the ninth grade and at the top of my class of over 100 students. I wondered if the kids at school knew that we were poor. I decided that I could quit school since I had finished the eighth grade. That was all the law required at that time. We sat in silence for a long time. Then it got dark, and we went to bed. All that week, we girls went to school and came home, and no one talked much. Finally on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money? We didn’t know. We’d never known we were poor. We didn’t want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. Although it was a sunny day, we didn’t talk on the way.
Mom started to sing, but no one joined in and she only sang one verse. At church we had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister said, “Can’t we all sacrifice to help these poor people?” We looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week.
Mom reached into her purse and pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Darlene. Darlene gave it to me, and I handed it to Ocy. Ocy put it in the offering.
When the offering was counted, the minister announced that it was a little over $100. The missionary was excited. He hadn’t expected such a large offering from our small church. He said, “You must have some rich people in this church.”
Suddenly it struck us! We had given $87 of that “little over $100.”
We were the rich family in the church! Hadn’t the missionary said so? From that day on I’ve never been poor again. I’ve always remembered how rich I am because I have Jesus!
Thank you for this sweet story. Among many good lessons we can learn from this one of them is to be careful when giving or helping others. If you meet their physical needs but at the same time do it in such a way that you take away their self respect you have taken more from them then you have given. I have found if you are giving out of much love,compassion and sacrifice that this doesn’t happen near as often as when something is given because it is your duty, the right thing to do or because God has blessed you it is your responsibility to give or even worst of all you give so others will know what a wonderful person and Christian you are. Once again it boils down to motive.
Thank you for the real story. My version was just what I remembered but glad that you had the whole story. The selfishness of the rest of the congregation always bothered me. How wonderful that in the end, the Smith’s felt they were the richest.
We knew we were poor in things but because I was alive (my family was told when I was nine that I would not live to ten and they gave me a Christmas in October), we knew God loved us and we were wealthy beyond measure. And here I am at nearly 66 and still going strong. Guess God had a plan for me.
Our income varies greatly month-to-month, because my husband is self-employed. The deals and great finds are not the same every month either. The key is to spend the least amount of money on the most quality and amount of what you get.
The other thing is tax-planning. I also make sure our income doesn’t go over the certain amount to be able to get all the tax credits possible. So at the end of the year I look at how much income will be reported on tax return and see if we need to spend some on the business supplies and stuff or maybe to take some payments in january instead of december. Or maybe if we better wait untill after new year to purchase supplies because we already have enough write-offs. Because we have kids, the difference could be close to 5k if you don’t plan right.
We don’t waste any money on interest. The only debt we have is our house. We use credit cards and earn cash back and pay it off as we get the bill.
Our kids participate in activities beyond just school. They are fluent in Russian (they learn reading, writing, literature and culture). It will help them to learn more other languages if they choose to do that later in highs school. My older daughter is also takes art lessons. She creates amazing pictures, like a real artist and participates in various competitions, and she is only 8. The kids also participate in various church activities, some of them we have to pay for too. We treat this as an investment, because it will help them succeed in the future.
We economize on utilities by adjusting our temperature and using less hot water and electicity etc., looking for deals and using coupons
grizzly bear mom
Another benefit of frugality: health. Gardening, canning and eating all of that home cooked food build strength, unlike office stress, sitting all day in a chair, or buying processed salt, sugar and fat filled food bombs that are designed to make the manufacturers rich and us sick.
Tara and Jill KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!
I found your site a couple of years ago when I was $78,000 in debt (credit cards and student loans). I read your articles on a regular basis and I even printed some of them out and placed them into my inspiration notebooks so when I got tempted to give up on frugality I could read them. God has ABUNDANTLY blessed me!!! I paid off the debt and now I have even saved enough cash to purchase a home at 100% cash down!! My family and friends made fun of my frugal ways but now they say nothing. I thank God daily for his blessings.
Oh thank you Faye. I love love love getting stories like yours. One of the frustrating parts of our job is convincing people that even if the odds are against you when it comes to debt it really is doable and your story proves it. Good job. I don’t need to tell you to keep up the good work because I can tell from your comment you have made it a way of live now and there is no turning back. Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know. I just sent your comment to Tawra and Mike. It will make there day.
So true about information in this website.I live in India and I am male ,28 years old.I have a decent job.Intially I was spendthrift but now i have realized the importance of frugality.
Indians usually are frugal but the sad point is due to globalization and economic growth slowly, we are becoming more. like America.My parents never took loan all their life.I need to learn a lot from my parents and people from this blog.
I remember a time when our family was very active in Church. Music Ministry, Teaching, Alter Girl, childrens Choir and also Prayer and Praise as a family. The Lord Provided yes, but this one day I was crying in my kool-aid! Rita and John ‘envied us’ because we HAD to DEPEND ON God for everything! They had everythning, and struggled to keep God first in their lives! We HAD to DEPEND oN GOD FOR OUR VERY LIVING! I have never forgotten that lesson God taught me!
Once a week we go out for tea, and show our classic car, and go to Church! We keep ouor eyes open now for His blessing!
Great post! Having a scarcity mindset keeps people “poor,” whereas having a frugal mindset allows you to see an array of possibilities!
Well, seeing your house and reading your posts makes me want to be frugal. I have been trying for sometime now, and just when I think I’m on the right track, I lose myself!
I pray to keep on at least trying but it’s very difficult and I just admire all the people that can actually do it, and I hope I’ll be posting here, in the near future that I too, made it to living frugal.
You know Sara one of the secrets is to take things slowly. Get really good in one area and what happens you get so excited and feel the freedom of that you want to try it in another area. For example do you find yourself spending a lot going our to eat then start going only going out say 2 times a week instead of 4 until you get that number down to 1 or 0. If you don’t take your lunch to work try taking it for a week and put the money you would of used in a jar to see how much you saved. Maybe you love going shopping on the week end. Try skipping a week.
Many say “I backslid, then throw up their hands and say I can’t do it but I like the way you said I have almost done it so I will try again until I do. The worst thing people do when they try something new is to give up before they have given it a serious try and you don’t fall into that category. I can’t wait for the day when you comment and say “I made it.” I will remember you writing this and do a happy dance for you too. : ) I can’t wait. (No pressure there huh? ) Anyway keep posting even if you end up taking 10 steps back and maybe we can give you a tip to help you take 20 steps forward. :)
I halved lived furgal all my life and love it . I have a $7 a month trac phone , $ 8.50 a month netflex ( cable) all the TV I won’t to watch ,Land line phone and internet $66.00 a month .what I save on a fancy smart phone a month I can eat out all whole lot . It comes down to what you think you can’t live without People will all way point fingers at what you have put will not be willing to do what you have to get there. I WISHED THERE HAD BEEN internet and websights like when I was just starting out THANK YOU LIVING ON A DIMEAND I am so very proud you have a nice home you have worked hard and saved hard to do so And I know as you know it was worth it and you Will as I will still live furgal God bless you JUdy
Let us pray for Sally to learn the difference between poor and furgal.
I love your pages of info! I read or retread something there every day to inspire me.THANK YOU for all you share with the rest of us.
Sometimes it is hard to compare incomes when living in different areas. My husband and I make a little over $50k combined, so although it is much more than your $22k, we also have more expenses like a babysitter, gasoline, etc, and were not eligible for medical cards (which with our 3 kids 6-under can amount to a lot in medical, prescriptions, dental, & vision bills)or food stamps or free lunch. So we’re not ahead too much. However, I decided to keep working because it will one day lead to a better paying position and my husband will be able to get away from a job he is miserable with.
So in response to Sally, I would like to compare it to a statement my sister-in-law said (someone in which her nor her husband had to pay for their college or their wedding, my husband was the black sheep of the family so we had a destination wedding with just a couple of people and paid for his own college). She said we waste our $ on lots of vacations (seems crazy from some1 who has so much money and has no idea what it is like to be in our situation and has went to Mexico while leaving her 5 month old with her mother). I said, “We don’t need a big house, or want fancy cars, we don’t wear name brand clothes, my children have never been away from me over night except while I was in the hospital caring for one of them, but we go on vacations. That is our thing, we love speding time with our children and going on special trips with them, and doing special things together.” People just have different priorities, and family time is one of ours. No, we don’t need to go far away, but it is something we enjoy doing.
It is interesting how people view money, and what kind of power or personality they give it. For decades my brother worked for a reliable company with a very generous wage and benefits package. Then there came the inevitable downsizing and more than a hundred people from management (including him) were let go with a generous pay out. Jobs were scarce in his small isolated town, but he did find full time work in the community, but at a wage not much above minimum wage. His wife worked as well, most of those years, and his two children were grown and independent. Eventually, he found another lucrative job with a generous benefits package, but it required him working away from home, which he was willing to do. What surprised me was that when he came to visit, he would tell us about how much money (six figures) he had “lost” when he was laid off from his first job. “Lost?”, I wondered. Lost money to me was money that you had saved and invested and then lost, or money you had earned but were never paid. To my brother though, “lost” money was what he had calculated that he would have earned at his last well paying job IF HE WAS STILL WORKING THERE SINCE HIS LAY OFF! He was miserable about potential money he had never earned!! As well, he had not calculated in, his pay out at lay off, his wages from his in-between job, his current good paying job, (with it’s bonuses), nor his benefits. He had been and was so blessed, but was sure he had been cheated by life, because he had a lay off a few years back. My teenage son thought his uncle had lost his home or business or a huge savings account the way he was talking. I explained that my brother had not lost any real money, only what he imagined he would have earned. I also pointed out that he had worked for that company for 30 years. The attitude of entitlement has a way of blinding us from even our very real blessings.
If you lived in a mansion you wouldn’t owe any of us an explanation. Lots of frugal people have nice homes, cars, etc. They got those things by being frugal, right? And, another thing. Most frugal people who have found a way to have the better things in life don’t share their methods with others. You do and for that I’m grateful. ( I’m just responding to the picture of the house on Facebook so if I’m repeating what someone else has said forgive me. )
The number one frugal man in the country – Sam Walton. Think WalMart!!!!
Loved the article! Sounds like Sally is jealous because she doesn’t want to work hard to have more freedom financially. My husband was laid off 5 years ago for almost a year, and I operate a home daycare, which hasn’t been “full” for those same past 5 years due to the economy. (Many daycare parents have been laid off.) We’ve had to become more frugal by necessity. We’ve always pinched pennies, but for things we wanted that were just frosting on the cake. When he was unemployed, we had to learn quickly how to cut a lot of expenses. Was my husband happy about those cuts? NO! Until we are debt-free, we are plugging away to get out of debt. We only owe 18 more months on our home. We have 1 loan out for less than $5000, for our van and home improvements, etc. Our other vehicle is paid off and a 1999. Unless our vehicles die completely and can’t be fixed, we’ll be keeping them. We have splurged on Netflix and Hulu for 7.99 each a month because we don’t have cable. We have free Wi-Fi. We still have our flip phones, which we are constantly ridiculed about. (But, we have a cheap phone bill and not an expensive one.) We have no credit cards and only pay cash for everything now. Every month when I pay our bills, I feel that much closer to financial freedom and a little bit more of that huge weight lifted off my shoulders. My husband is still upset about not having a few things, but he sees now that our tight strings are starting to pay off. He helps our “Benevolent Minister” at our church pick up food from the city food pantry to stock our church food pantry for those in need. The local food bank often has “free” items (usually perishables) that our church doesn’t pay for, and my husband is able to get many free food items that really help in our food budget…things like potatoes, bread, vegetables, etc. I can’t wait for the day that our house is paid off, then we can pay off the few other expenses in large chunks, and hopefully be debt-free in about 3 years. Your website and books have been my cheering “section” to keep doing what I’m doing, so we’ll eventually be free financially. Thanks for all your cheers!
One story my dad told when I was in college made me “re-think” buying vehicles. I grew up in NW Arkansas. Sam Walton drove a beat-up truck that was very old. One of my dad’s friends owned a fancy car dealership. One day, Sam’s wife went to the dealership and purchased a new car, fully loaded. Upon arriving home, Sam asked her who’s car was in the driveway. She said it was her car. He told her she didn’t need a new car because her’s worked perfectly fine and he made her take it back. I figured if Sam Walton can own an old truck and his wife drive an older model car, I certainly can, too!
The Holy Scriptures gives the best guidance: “Keep the eye simple” Avoid shopping centres. They are skilfully designed to transfer your hard earned money from your pocket into their tills. Higher priced items are almost always on the eyelevel shelves, and because most people are righthanded, they automatically reach for the item with the right hand, while the same low priced item is to the left. It is possible to survive on and with very little. What law forces you to buy the newest most shiny and expensive car, when an older fuel efficient car also takes you from point A to point B? How many pairs of shoes can you wear at the same time? Buy what you really need. Make, knit, sew or chrochet whenever possible. Doing things together as a family for entertainment, for instance ballgames, a nice picnic, drawing, chess, cardgames,and many other activities can be enjoyed without costing an arm and a leg. Children need to be taught skills. Think of only a few such as sewing,, chrochet, knitting, baking, canning, breadmaking, mastering a musical instrument, dancing, icecream making and of course tending the vegetable garden all together as a family. Remembering that strong family bonds makes for strong communities. The human eye never gets enough from looking. Heres an example: After a midday meal a few ladies were offered cake. All of them replied that they wont have room even for a crumb. This happened while the cake was brought to their table. After seing the cake, all the ladies except one gave in and said they would take some after all. They saw the cake. It looked delicious. The woman that declined did not change her mind. She could not see the cake, she was blind. A lesson in there for all of us. If we do not want to lose our hardearned money, don’t go shopping where there are things displayed beautifully to entice you to open your wallet. We don’t need most of the things we buy. And be honest with yourself. When you need to buy, make sure it is worth the price in nutrition and quality, without “losing the figurative arm and leg”
This same cake story is like one I have used for portion control. Most families eat way more food then they really need. One way to control portion control is to cook only a certain amount and put it on the table. For example one piece of chicken for each person. It has been proven that as long as people can see mounds of food on the table they will keep eating. It will save you on having to diet and on your grocery bill if you only put enough on the table for the right serving for all. Now don’t the other direction and not put enough on so that the family goes away hungry but that doesn’t happen to often in our country.
Oh yes! So true! We always practiced the frugal lifestyle (with some missteps) and are now reaping the rewards. Our biggest “splurge” was putting our children thru private schools. But they all got a good education and are all doing wonderful! But knowing what I know now if I could do it over again I would homeschool at least thru 6th grade. So now that we are over 60 the difference between us and our flamboyant friends is very apparent. Our income is low but very adequate. We have now bills. We do have a nice home and 2 cars. Our kids all turned out good. I was happy to work in our family business and stayed home most days too. We never worked long hours, in fact hubby rarely worked more than a 6 hour day. It really helps to find a way to start your own business so you are not sharing your earnings with a boss. We have friends our age who still have nothing to show for a lifetime of work!! One just asked us if he could rent a room from us. He can no longer afford the cost of living as his ability to earn a living shrinks.
oops – meant no bills, not now bills. big difference
You said it all when you said the reason these people are poor is because they are spending money in all the wrong places. My husband and i live in a double wide on its own lot. It is completely paid for and even though we make plenty of money to buy something bigger and better…we choose to stay here. Why? Because the only thing we have to worry about is utilities, taxes and insurance. Most of these can be put off if necessary in a time when money is scarce. (Lost job or unusual bill) We havent set foot in a mall in so long that i really cant remember when we were in one last. If walmart, dollar general or aldis doesnt sell it, then we dont buy it. My motto is…if you cant pay cash for it…then you dont need it. We have literally no debt because we dont have loans or credit cards. If we need something…we save for it. This is not an option. We havent needed it yet and i dont see that we will ever need it. Life is simple. No hassles. No argueing. If more people realized that they dont need everything the very moment they think about it…they would not only have more money and less hassles, but also feel that rush of excitement from earning what they get. They would learn to work harder, save more, look for ways to purchase things more wisely and take care of and appreciate what they have.
There is so much inspiring info here between the bloggers and the comments. We have always lived frugally and are now enjoying a retirement where we can do about anything we want. We drive our cars longer than most people, have lived in the same house for 32 years, do not drink or smoke and eat most meals at home. We have had many nice vacations, which we both loved. We have no debt, which brings great peace of mind now that our income is less, and makes it all worthwhile.
One thing we did in our early married life was go on “austerity” in January and February each year where we would had to write down every penny we spent each day when we got home. When I saw how little DH spent because he took his lunch to work and drank their free coffee and how much I spent buying my lunch for a week, it became clear very quickly that I had to pack a lunch as well. It’s amazing how much one small change can add up. During these two months, we bought the necessities and paid off our Christmas bills and saved quite a bit. I remember feeling the pinch when items would be on sale at the craft store and I couldn’t buy anything. But I didn’t really need them, just wanted them.
Keep up the good work of inspiring us to be frugal and live within our means. I love a good deal and to see how much I can save.
Tawra & Jill,
Next you will be accused of being boring. My husband and I are since we don’t do the fun things to spend money that we save.
Frugality requires discipline and encouragemen, which I constantly gleen from your site. Thank you!
Hi I am in Aust. and our wages and cost of living a quite high in comparison to where some of you come from. I see the same things here. Young couples or families buying their first house min ave $400k Aus dollars. And if they buy new homes they are usually 4 or 5 bedrooms, with study, media room, parents retreat, some have pools, then of course must have the nice cars to go with it etc. some buy boats as well at the same time. Our divorce rate is prob higher than it has ever been. you drive around some of these suburbs with big balconies out front or back with a pool and not a soul in sight. Too busy working to pay the mortgage. Must have the nails and hair done. Naturally a lot of ppl do not do this, but there are so many ppl who do, and have credit card debts up into the $40k + area. I dont’ wonder they stress. I have a nice house (still paying mtg) and a car that gets me from here to there, but I do admit I do like to go out a bit. Totally my own fault. I know if I did not do that I could save a fortune,. Now that I have recently found this site, I shall be following it all the time. unfortunately, I can’t sew, or make things, but usually I get stuff from garage sales etc…. I love your site and your common sense. Regards from Australia
Love hearing from our readers in Aust. I hear people all the time when buying a house say “Well we can only have granite counter tops or no less then 3 bathrooms, must have an office.” Then they go on to moan about the price being too much but buy it anyway. They make it sound like there is no way to survive without these things. I think of all the years I lived with my shower in one room a sink and toilet in another at the opposite end of the house and there were 4 of us using these or of the office we had put in a 2×4 area of our closet with the desk underneath the hanging clothes. We didn’t even have privacy there because the way to get to the upstairs was through that small 4×4 area that also had 3 doors in it and was how everyone went to get to our business upstairs.
I really worry that we are producing a generation when faced with even a small disaster will fold in on themselves. The high divorce rate and other things shows that is exactly what they are doing. Instead of finding a way to work things (noticed I said “work”) out they give up get a divorce or declare bankruptcy.
I just re-read this post, and there isn’t much that I can add as so much wisdom and insight has been said by those who posted. I do love the line from an early response where the lady said “I walk in abundance.” I may have to borrow that, to fend off uninformed and unsolicited comments from people who see our frugal lifestyle, or to remind myself of all that I have been blessed with. A couple of other sayings to share: “There is no status in paying more for something than you have to”, (from a commercial). And a new favourite that my daughter, my sister and I made up and like to use when we refuse to pay too much for something, “My Scottish D.N.A. rose up in revolt and forbid me to pay that.”
Hi, I’m German and I’m planning on moving to the US within the next few month with my daughter. I’ve been on your site for a while,read your book and have picked up many great ideas. I’m a single mom with very little child support but now completely debt free from over $5000 just a year ago. YEAH!!! At the same time I’ve also managed to put money aside for the move and built up a small amount of savings. Never thought that would be possible.
We have this incredible “yardsale site” that’s mainly geared to US military personnel over here but free to everyone and I’ve been buying and selling on it for years. (for example, I have to replace all my 220V electrical items with 110V ones. The items I have are worth (looked it up online) over $2350 and I’ve paid a total of $335 for it — all because they’re used – but in perfect working condition)
Yes, I could have afforded to get these new – but why should I? The money I saved is going into my savings! My car was 15 years old when it finally broke down the other day. I’ve never owned a new car and never will. I’ve cancelled my cell phone plan years ago and go by prepaid only.
I really watch what I spend my money on. We live in a nice, middle class neighborhood and are by no means poor; I make pretty good money — but I’m frugal; not cheap. Which a lot of people don’t really understand. But that’s their problem, not mine. LOL
Once in the States I will have to start from scratch and I’m totally excited to continue picking up ideas from your site, because my goal is to work hard and continue living frugal to be able to afford my own place ASAP. And I don’t care if it’s a double wide trailer or a fixer upper, just having something to call my own will be wonderful and I will take it from there. Thanks for all the ideas, tips and wise words!! Greetings from Germany – still… :-)
Thank you for the nice comment. It sounds like you are doing a really good job with your money. I’m impressed. If you don’t mind telling me which state are you moving too in the US. Have you been here before? I hope you have a really smooth move and all be sure to holler if you have any questions about anything.Thanks so much again.
Thank you Jill,
we’ll be moving to southern Delaware, still waiting on the final paperwork but it looks very good. I’ve been there numerous times and consider it my second home. We’ll be staying with my daughter’s grandparents for the first months, which saves additional money. (I’ve actually gotten them hooked on living more frugal, too and they’re loving it!) Some people think I’m nuts for leaving a safe, well paying job, 6 weeks of paid vacation and virtually unlimited – paid – sick leave, plus Christmas and vacation bonus (yes, vacation!! bonus LOL) – knowing I won’t have none of that over there, but I’m ready and excited (but not naïve…) to start a new chapter in my life.
Can’t thank you enough for your inspiration. I will continue to follow your advice the best I can. :-)
I am so glad it won’t be completely unknown to you and you have someone you know already over here. Be sure to keep in touch with us and let us know when you get here. : )
Living within your means doesn’t mean deprivation, case in point…I just got a redbox blu-ray movie for .54 and during the holidays I ended up getting a yearly subscription to a food magazine that I love for $5. I read several pf and couponing blogs and belong to free reward programs. I also use my college email to receive newsletters for sales and coupons.
Right now I’m trying to graduate from university debt-free and one of the ways I’m able to do that and have a comfortable lifestyle is because of frugality. I wish I could sit down with Sally and show her that it’s possible to live within your means and not feel deprived.
In my opinion, luxury is spending your time the way you want to spend it and not having to be an indentured servant to a credit card company or a job that you hate.
I agree with this article. I live very frugally. I guess I have very few wants. My goals were to have my own home and provide college educations for my children. I did all of that. It is a much less stressful way to live. I know I have money in the bank for the inevitable repairs and replacements of all the items I own.
Most people get into trouble because they don’t save for emergencies. They spend all their money on the latest gadgets that end up quickly being replaced by the next new thing. They don’t realize that little expenses add up.
My children now have the tools to live frugally. You do a service to your children by living within, or below your means.
I am saying this tongue in cheek Judy but what a concept – living within and below your means. : ) That use to be the way everyone lived but when credit cards came into being it combined with the fact we were told we deserve everything we believed it and took our credit cards and got ourselves everything we deserved whether we had earned it or not or had the money for it. You sound like you did really well and you are right it is so much less stressful.
Paige @ Live, Laugh, Budget
Love this! It is actually pretty expensive to be poor, truly poor. Between being hit with banking fees like overdraft or late payment fees. Being frugal means you have the money but choose to use it to get the most bang for your buck; whereas being poor means you don’t have a choice.
I agree completely about the “poor mindset.” I work with the low income population and you would be surprised how little they are usually willing to cut out of their budget to improve their general quality of living. (As a whole and on average this has been my observations, I know it is bad to generalize, but there is definitely a pattern) Frugality requires delayed gratification and most people see that as being poor.
All I can say is where on earth did you find that picture?!? I about died laughing when I saw it.
It really is a crack up isn’t it Haley. They found it some where on line a long time ago and we thought it was perfect.
I have friends who think I suffer being frugal but I choose to cut back so I can stay at home and do what I love which is write. It’s really a feeling of freedom once you get over the fear of receiving a paycheck.
I may work a little harder cooking everything from scratch but we eat really well and the cost it so much less than eating out.
Being frugal is just good money management.
Oh, I also forgot to say thanks for the great post. Enjoyed reading it and all the comments
Well said Rhonda. Thank you.
I think this is a great distinction to be made, the difference between frugal and poor. Even the difference between frugal and cheap. However, as a long-time thrift store and garage sale shopper, I would like to add that all of us rejoicing in our frugal finds at those should be grateful that we live in a place of abundance that others are practically giving these like-new but not favored items away! When I was a kid in the 1970’s, before there were so many cheap imports, the items at thrift stores were much more limited. (Maybe not at garage sales, my parents didn’t go to those.)
D. H. Rasheed
I grew up not knowing I was poor. I never went hungry, grew up in a nice home, always had adequate clothing and was allowed to work around the neighborhood for spending money. It wasn’t until about middle school age that I was made aware that I was living in an almost poverty level environment. Most people were thrifty and it wasn’t a big deal to be frugal and careful with your money. My mother used to say, if you live long enough, everything comes around again. Good common sense and frugality is having its turn. It’s about time.
Clearly I’m doing something very wrong.
I’m disabled living on $950 a month while my husband works earning $450 a week after taxes. It wasn’t always so. Previously we both made more. Even then we rarely splurged.
We have two teens constantly hungry so we feed them at farmers markets and Aldi’s. I’ve never had my nails or hair done. No designer clothes or handbags. No jewelry other than one hand me down from my grandmother. No fancy gadgets. Don’t even own a microwave or dishwasher.
We vacation once a year at a campsite where my husband does volunteer work, allowing us to skip camping fees. We rarely order take-out and consider it a luxury, saved for limited special occasions. We don’t go to movies or dine in restaurants. We don’t eat fast food. Never buy soda, juices, or junk food. We haven’t had cable TV in over a decade. We purchased our home through HUD. It’s nearly 100 years old, attached row home, no insulation. We keep our thermostat at 60-62 in the cold months. No air conditioning. The house isn’t in very good shape, water damage, bad floors, needs paint and repairs but we keep it clean. Our neighbors smoke heavily (we are not smokers nor do we drink) which is constantly bothering us, especially my asthma and concerns over second-hand smoke. They have had multiple bug infestations that we had to deal with as well in the past 5 years that was incredibly stressful and destructive.
Our kids have attended community theater workshops and camp for 7 years, but we did volunteer work, so again we didn’t pay any fees. We never had a new car, always only one used vehicle.
Still, we barely make it from paycheck to paycheck.
A few years before, my husband had a higher earning job out of town with 100 mile commute each way. Though gas expenses and extra meals cost more, we had a savings which we were planning to one day move with. He took ill and was hospitalized for a month, then shortly after, terminated. We lived off and paid hospital bills with our savings while he searched for work (he’s an electrician) but with nothing available in our area he had to take a big pay cut and settle for a factory job that was originally a promised w option upon expansion, unfortunately it fell through and the company changed ownership and he instead got stuck being a machine worker. Which is fine, just hard to support a family on. We haven’t been able to replenish our savings since.
Our children are homeschooled, so we do have a landline and internet to find free learning materials. That’s our only additional monthly services other than mobiles.
Our money beyond utilities goes to gas and food. Our local second hand clothing shops are usually limited and heavily picked through, and both my teens are very tall (6’+), making it hard to get clothes that fit. I usually purchase them each a few items twice a year, from clearance racks, along with 2 pairs of inexpensive shoes each. They both wear larger than average shoe sizes as well, which also makes it a struggle, especially for my daughter who often has to wear men’s shoes because of size. I rarely buy myself clothing and when I do it’s also clearance items under $10. I wear things until they fall apart. Literally deteriorate. Most of my clothing and furniture are second hand or hand me downs. We keep very clean but we don’t have money and look like it.
I haven’t purchased new eyeglasses for almost 5 years, despite desperately needing a new RX, due to cost. Also my dental insurance doesn’t cover much so I’ve been suffering from several broken and damaged teeth that are simply too expensive to repair. Luckily my children have full dental.
I live in a very small town with limited access to many things. My children and I are autistic with severe social anxiety, so we aren’t very active in our community, however there really isn’t much organized activities where we live to even be involved in. We frequent our local library as much as possible and spend our free time on nature hikes. I take them swimming at the nearest state park a few times during the hotter days of summer. We don’t have credit cards and we do have the most inexpensive mobile phones I could find ($20 to purchase and own, $55 a month for service for 2 lines through Cricket Wireless).
I’m more than willing to cut corners, I just don’t know what else to cut. The best hope we have is my husband continues to look for better work, particularly to return to his field. It’s been over a year now since he’s been actively searching. It’s one thing to live frugal but harder to recover when you’re barely scraping by after a serious loss of income.
No you aren’t doing anything wrong. If you have listened to many of our videos or posts we say all the time the tips we give are for normal people with spending problems. It is a whole different thing when you have financial problems from medical emergencies and natural disasters. This is not what we are talking about. In these cases and a handful of other things often too it is a matter of not controlling your spending any more but trying to figure out how to bring in more money. The only thing you might try to do to help is you did not mention if your teens are working or not. My kids did work and go to school and that really helped me in the fact that they bought so much of their own things.
I know this must be an old post, but I felt compelled to comment. I, too, was taken aback by the statements made by the person highlighted in the beginning. He/she must either be very ignorant or very young, or maybe just doesn’t know much about life yet. We all strive for a level of comfort and beauty for our lives, and a certain amount of prosperity and security. This just proves that some people in our society are now brainwashed into a very dangerous and dead end mindset because they have no understanding of what frugality means, nor a framework from which to base a contrast from the lives they are living. Your response was well thought out and non-judgemental. I have only recently begun reading your blog and watching your videos. Wonderful work!! I am enjoying everything immensely. Sometimes even us older, “more mature” dogs can learn new tricks. Tawra, you remind me of a modern day Amy Dacyzyn. I almost bet my last dollar that you know of her, or at least your mother does. God’s richest blessing to you both and keep up the good work!
Yes Kate we do know of Amy. As a matter of fact when we started writing our cookbook there were a couple of recipes of hers we really wanted to use so Tawra talked to her a few times to get her permission to use them and discussed the book. She was excited we were writing it because people had kept asking her to write one and she was getting out of the business at the time so was glad we were coming out with ours.
I love watching your videos on you tube, and I have learned so much. I am using the tools you have been teaching and we are getting out of debt. I am a RN and had a very well paying job, my husband does well but doesn’t make as much money as I was. I had to quit my job to take care of my 85 year old mom. I was really worried about how we were going to make it on just my husbands income. Well guess what we follow what you have been teaching and we are doing just fine. We are getting out of debt and I believe living our best life now. Thank you thank you thank you!!
What is seen on videos is the result of frugal living.
I so agree with what yall said;I see so much waste and greed daily; we have always been frugal; people are amazed I cook real food.Thanks for this site
I haven’t read all the comments on this page, but, believe me, I’ve heard the initial comment (i.e. judgement) about being frugal AND owning a home, et cetera, many times. To me, being frugal isn’t about living in poverty although there have been times in my life when someone else’s financial choices have rendered me financially insolvent. I can completely empathize with anyone in this position having been there myself. However, that, too, is a choice, one which I decided was too expensive to live with when, after 27 years and after my children were on their own, I finally came to terms.
My second husband and I just replaced our HVAC to the tune of 13K, an expenditure we knew was coming and for which we have saved for about 6 years. This means we don’t have to finance it, but it doesn’t mean we didn’t have to be frugal (i.e. do without) to save the money to afford operating this way. What it really means is that we decided 6 years ago that we’d rather having central air and heat than have or do other things. I am a teacher, and my husband works contract, so cooking and eating from our panty is an essential and practical lifestyle for us. It’s all about choices. I just received your cookbook and love it. I appreciate your site and videos because they offer a seldom-heard but VERY welcome voice of reason in our present spend, spend, spend economy. Thank you!
Sounds like Sally is a judgemental person who only see what she want to see without knowing the true facts.I think Twara and her family are living the way a lot of folks should live.They are living within their means.Don’t buy things you can’t afford just to keep up with the Jones’s.I grew up in a family of 11.My dad worked and my mom was a stay at home mom.There were times my dad only made $ 5.50 an hour.Even when he retired he was only making $6.80 an hour.We never had a lot growing up but, we had what we needed.My parents owed our home, it was a very old home but, we made due until it could be renovated.We always had food and hand me down clothes and the love of 2 wonderful parents.We lived as frugal as we could and we survived.Yes ! There were sacrifices and we didn’t have much but we had what we needed.I think because we lived this way all my brothers and sisters appreciate even more the things we have today.Way to go Tawra,Mike,Jill and all your kids you are a true example of how living frugally can reep so many benifits along with the sacrifices.Keep doing what you are doing.I love your videos.?
Beulah love to hear stories like yours. They are always so encouraging especially because we live in a world that thinks of success only in the terms of how much money you make and what you have when there are so many other things that are way more important than that especially for your children. Thank you for so much for you sweet comment.
Totally agree, both are mindsets. Choose the more difficult for you. Keep that same mind set for 30 days and you will be where you want to be truly you/ or not. You may get it wrong again, each time making you wiser and more needed.
Karen Jerread (Karen Zedney)
Been there…very poor. To those that think they can’t change it or condemn others all I hear is that “Yes, But” attitude. Being frugal is a good thing in the eyes of our Lord. Being raised very poor is a good lesson for frugality in adulthood. People need to open their minds and really listen to the message. Live within your means. If cell phones, cable and eating out are that important, then do not complain about being poor. Like everything else in life, It is all about choices. All can learn to change or choose to remain stagnant. Kudos to Jill and Tawra!
I think y’all are awesome and inspiring! I bought a used dryer a couple months ago after watching one of your live shows. Never bought a used washer or dryer before. Never, ever, considered it. I took the plunge and made the used dryer purchase, with cash, and the darn dryer works great and I saved a ton of money! Thanks for always telling us how it is. The truth can be hard to swallow sometimes but we need to hear it!
Silke, I got a friend in Germany by the same name. When she was cleaning up stuff to help set up her household, she sent me 4 boxes of yarn/wool that she got when she was studying in England for her Social Worker degree. I picked out what I wanted and gave the rest to my brother’s kids school since the administration believes in teaching various handicrafts (I got a nephew in high school now learning to cook and he has already won first prizes in the local county fair). Hope you do well here in the States!
Thank you for your post. People, like the comment you shared. Who say you’ve lost credibility are the type who aren’t willing to do what it takes to get ahead and resent the people who are. I’ve had people comment about how much I have and I don’t appreciate their situation. These same people, have tv – I went without tv for years. Don’t dry their clothes on the line -another thing I did for years. Learn how to garden, etc. Again thank you for sharing that and your new direction. Looking forward to what’s nexy
I appreciate this article and the thought provoking comments. I was a SAHM while my children were young and quickly learned the difference between being a Stay at Home Mom and a HOME MAKER. My mother and grandmothers were Home makers. Their career was managing their families, households and resources to the best of their abilities and they too enjoyed lovely homes and comfortable “retirements” as a result. I saw countless SAHMs that were completely overwhelmed by the responsibilities and overspent to feel better. There were others who didn’t have the benefit of good role models and weren’t equipped to successfully manage a home. Fortunately the internet and blogs like this have helped to fill that gap and give all of us more education and information to improve the skills necessary to be a successful home maker. Well done Tawra and Jill!