I used to believe: “If we saved a good percentage of our salary, did not go into debt, and paid our bills timely, then we could spend the rest!” I had to have the most expensive brands for myself and my family and I often spent money without even thinking about it. As a result of this lifestyle, I accumulated too many material things while working overtime to pay for them all.
In 2007, my son Evan began Kindergarten and I wanted to be there for him as he got on and off the school bus each day. I could not fulfill this role with my work schedule of 8am – 7pm, sometimes later. My husband and I had just purchased a larger home and a brand new car. At this point I realized that if I wanted to be home for Evan, I would need to reevaluate our spending habits and cut back on our budget. I struggled personally as I tried to justify working–I worked so hard to get my education, I felt entitled to the finer things in life!
As Evan’s first year of school continued, I knew something had to give. He would never remember the brand of pants he wore at 5, but he would remember that I was never around.
The change in me…
… began when I scaled back my work hours and took a pay cut. Even though I was home before 4pm each day, I still felt myself ignoring Evan as I wrapped up my work into the evening hours. By the end of his kindergarten year, I knew something more drastic had to be done. So, I quit my job! I struggled with many questions… How was my husband’s income going to support our family? What could I do to be a good steward of the money that God blessed us with? Could we make this work?
I knew I had to figure out how to feed and clothe my family on less. So, I began clipping coupons, reading frugal blogs, shopping at Goodwill, and requesting freebies. We enjoyed free outings as a family rather than taking expensive trips, and began treating money with more care. Once I realized that God had blessed me with more than I deserved, I knew that I had to be a better steward of the money that He gave us (Matthew 25: 14 – 20).
I became a whole new person…
… through this life-changing lesson. It has not simply changed the brand of clothing I wear, the car I drive, or how much I can spend on groceries… it has change the very core of who I am. I am no longer defined by things; I am defined by who I am as a wife, mom, and friend. I may enjoy hunting down a good grocery bargain or shopping the sales at Target and Old Navy, but being more frugal with our finances has allowed me to be at home with my son, and therefore a better mommy.
I began blogging at For The Mommas because I wanted to give moms, dads, college students, grandparents, and others who might be in a tight situation like we were the same opportunities I had discovered. It does not have to be all or nothing. You don’t have to go without the groceries or clothing you need in order to stay at home with your children. You can still enjoy living this life while being on a budget. My family enjoys doing fun things and making new memories, blessed with the extra time that scaling back has allowed us to spend together.
You are all so inspiring to me. I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the most wonderful parents, grandparents, and students on this journey to a better life of less. Thank you for spending time with For the Mommas today and joining us on this journey!
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