Seven years ago, I was in my eighth year of teaching at an elementary school. At the time I had two little boys and was longing to be home with them. It truly seemed like an impossible task with me bringing home over half of the household income.
Then September 11 happened. I remember that day that as I stood in the hall and another teacher told me about what had happened, all I wanted to do was grab my children and run home. That was the day that David and I decided we would make my being at home a reality. We realized life was just too short to keep dreaming dreams and never work towards making them happen.
So in May of 2002, I left the elementary school with a trailer loaded with eight years of teaching materials (and you know how teachers can collect things :) and headed home to be just a mommy. It was great but very scary because we were losing half of our income and we could not make our budget work on paper! But for the first time in many years, I felt peace. True peace that I can not explain.
I had been reading websites and books and anything that I could get my hands on that dealt with frugal living. We made changes…BIG changes and learned to do with out. It was a journey paved with sacrifices. But we were living better on the money we had at this point than we were on the money we made when we had double the income. (I hope that made sense!) Somehow, in our times of less, we had more!
Over the last seven years, God has blessed us… our income and our family have grown. We have lived well on our income that has actually still not reached the level that we were at when we both worked. We have been able to pay off debt. But we started to lose sight of the frugal lifestyle that we were living. We started to pick back up some of the bad habits we had let go of as we were trying to save money.
Then last year, we had the dreaded news that my husband was going to be laid off. I’m so thankful that we had an advance notice that it was going to happen. We were able to get some of our bills paid off and change some habits. I wish that I could say that we had been completely wise over this past year but we were a little naive that it would be easy to find a job and we would have a cushion with the severance pay.
Today, my husband was offered a new job. In God’s perfect timing, we were given a job right as our severance pay was about to run out. However, this is a new journey for us as this pay is a lot less than our former income. Once again, I am poring over websites and my copy of The Tightwad Gazette. This time I’ve added Dave Ramsey to the list of debt free living/frugal living resources. We will once again be making big changes and turning it all over to God as we walk down a new path of frugal living.
All pictures taken at one of favorite frugal family activities – visiting the local Air Force Base and going to the air show. Both activities are free. The food at the air show on the other hand…not so much!
Other books that have helped me over the years: