I'm pretty sure I was born frugal. I've always preferred saving over spending, and I can remember my glee at age 6 when I opened my first bank account and got to start watching the pennies trickle in each month when interest was paid (in the early ‘80s, savings account interest rates were pretty sweet).
In junior high and high school I added babysitting and tutoring money, and then worked enough in college that I never had to dip into my savings account. My husband and I eventually ended up using that money as part of the down payment on our first house, nearly 20 years after I started saving it.
When it comes to money, I've always been happy to look at the big picture and long-term goals. But life gets more complicated and frugality requires a bit more juggling as you add more responsibilities, a business and a couple of kids. I've been blogging about my frugal ways since 2006, writing about our thrift store scores, DIY projects, and all the free or low-cost activities that we do.
My husband and I started our own business in 2003, and we've been self-employed ever since. The early years were so lean that we barely earned enough to make our mortgage payments. The debt we incurred to start our business felt like a weight around our necks, and I kept track of it on a yellow legal pad, writing in new totals each month as we whittled it down from a high of about $40,000. It was gone by 2007 though, and the only debt we have now is our mortgage.
We've also added two little boys to our family since I first started blogging, and they're the light of our lives. When we're not working, we're hanging out with our little guys, and we feel very fortunate that our job allows us to work from home and be with them all day. Our frugal lifestyle keeps our monthly spending relatively low, which means that we don't have to stress too much about our income — we don't need a huge amount of it to cover our expenses.
We work hard to make sure that our money is spent as wisely and frugally as possible, but without making our family feel deprived. I think we strike a pretty good balance most of the time.
While nearly everything we own was second-hand when we got it, you wouldn't know that unless we told you. I love to scour Goodwill in search of just the things we need, and my husband and I share one $10/month cell phone. But I'm happy to spend more than an average amount on our groceries — it's all about balance.
I'm looking forward to sharing some of our frugal stories here on Dimespring. Welcome to my little corner of the world!