Why I’m Frugal and Where I Put My Trust


Retro Clip Art – Money Moms – Women

Why am I frugal?  I think for most people it comes down to one of two reason. Reason one is necessity…there simply isn’t enough money to not pinch pennies until they scream.  For others it’s not so much necessity.  Maybe they view it as a game. Or they are just frugal by nature.  But, back to the question…why am I frugal?

The short answer is that it’s a little of both of the reasons listed above, but I’ve never been one for short answers, so here are a few more details.

  • I am frugal by nature.  I grew up in a home where money was scarce.  My parents were very frugal and I was fine with it.  I wore secondhand clothes to high school.  We ate at home.  We didn’t have cell phones.  My parents also had no debt.  They even built their modest home without incurring debt, even though we were broke.  And I always felt safe.  Even without the security of a big bank account, I never worried about where we would live or what we would eat.  If my parents had been broke AND irresponsible I’m not sure I would have been able to look back on those years with fondness and an appreciation for the frugal lifestyle.
  • I do sometimes view it as a game.  It’s fun to see what I can buy with very little.  Or how long I can go without making any purchases.  Or how little I need to feed my large family a healthful diet.  But when I only viewed my frugality through this lens, it was easy to set it aside when my selfishness decided that I wanted something a little un-frugal.
  • But, yes, thriftiness is necessary for my family.  My husband was self-employed for a couple of years and during that time, we often had enough money to not be so tight-fisted.  Then, everything went wrong at once with that business and we ended up in debt and without an income.  He found another job and then lost it, was promised an amazing job where we worked for 2 weeks before that company ran out of money, and now he is working for a very small amount.  So, yes, frugality is necessary for our family.  But we’re okay.  We’re going to be okay.  And we’re going to be stronger because we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and keep moving when things get hard.


The other question is of where I place my trust…my security.  There have been times when we have had money and my security and sense of well-being has been placed in my bank account.  If the balance was high, I was happy and I felt like everything was okay in the world.  But what happens when that account dips low?

There have been other times when we have tried to follow a financial guru (Dave Ramsey, anyone?).  Those people certainly weren’t the problem and I know they have benefited a great number of others, but ::for me:: following “the plan” was a problem.  I had a tendency to get so wrapped up in what that person said that nothing else mattered.

Still other times, my security has been in my own money saving ways.  I’ve felt that we’ll always be okay because I can stretch things and make it okay.  But the truth is that I’m not all that great and I’m not in control.

Where do I put my trust? Where is my security if it isn’t in money or experts or frugal finds?  It’s in the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hill.  The one who never worries about money.  I could tell of the many, many times when things have come through just when we needed them….and we didn’t have anything to do with it.  If a sparrow doesn’t fall without my Lord noticing, then how could he miss my struggles.  There is a peace that many don’t understand in trusting in Him and knowing that he’s got this.  Even when I don’t.  Even when it doesn’t make sense.  Praise God!


Abigail is 8 Months old {And How We Save Money on Photographs}


This is Miss Abby, our sweet seventh baby. As you can imagine, we aren’t paying to have professional photos done of all of our children very often.  But we are proud parents and we love having quality pictures of our children as they grow.  So how do we do it without breaking the bank?

We are blessed to have 2 family members who are good at taking photography.  We used to have my husband’s brother take pictures of our family.  He is now quite busy with his own little family and we now have my brother’s wife take our pictures.  She is an amazing up-and-coming photographer and we have soft of been her guinea pigs as she tries different techniques and advertises her skills to others.


Do you know someone who is good with a camera?  A family member will often take photos in exchange for a meal or with you only covering their supplies (disks for the pictures to be put on, for example).  But, maybe you know a friend who does photography or someone at your church.  Can you barter something with them?  Maybe you can cut down a tree or mend some clothing in exchange.


Sometimes photographers who are starting out will do a session for a very reduced price if you will allow them to post the photos on social media.  Keep an eye out for opportunities!


One thing that can save money in most situations is to insource.  So, if you can’t find a frugal (cheap!) way to have photos done, do a google search and learn how to take a decent picture, even if your camera isn’t as nice.


I have a very basic point and shoot camera.  This is a picture that I took of our sixth baby, Evelyn.  It isn’t as good as what my sister in law could do, but I still look at it and smile.



Homemade Pancake Syrup

Honestly, pancake syrup makes up such a small percentage of our grocery budget that I’d never taken the time to make my own.  Why bother?  But, each thing I do on my own empowers me to make more changes, so I attempted pancake syrup.  The recipe is in The Complete Tightwad Gazette.

IMG_20150205_173539[1]Price per ingredient (I made a half batch which yielded 15 oz.)

~Granulated sugar (1 1/2 cups) $0.33

~Imitation vanilla (1/2 tsp) $0.01

~Butter flavor (1 tsp) $0.18

~Maple flavor (1/2 tsp) $0.10

~Molasses (1.5 Tbsp) $0.15

Total for 15 ozs: $0.77 or $0.05 per ounce

Store brand pancake syrup works out to $0.07 per ounce.  Not a huge difference in price, but it’s all of the little ways that we spend our money that makes a big difference in our total financial picture.

IMG_20150205_174232[1]All ingredients are combined in a saucepan and brought to a boil.  Once the sugar is dissolved, turn off the burner, but let on the stove until bubbling stops.  I think it could have been boiled a bit longer, as this syrup isn’t quite as thick as commercial syrup.

IMG_20150205_190156[1]I put mine into an old coffee creamer container, which works out really well.  There is no dripping at all.  And as for taste?  This definitely has more of a maple flavor than most pancake syrup and I think it’s a bit sweeter.  We have found ourselves using less of it than we would store bought syrup, which I think actually makes the savings of using this greater than the math would indicate.

Recording Expenses in an Old Fashioned Ledger

I’m always amazed at the meticulous records of expenses that people used to keep.  They wanted to know where their money was going and I think this is still immeasurably valuable today.  Because we now spend money so frequently the plain paper that our forefathers used doesn’t work as well.

IMG_20150204_083856This is what I have been using for the last 13 months.  It’s a simple 1 inch binder with a hand-drawn picture in the clear front pocket.  Yes, I’m sure there’s a printable out there somewhere for that, but I like the simplicity of this.

IMG_20150204_083731Each month is composed of a two-page spread.  Categories are listed down the left-hand side. Days of the month are across the top (1-16 on the first page and 17-31 on the second).  There is also a place on the right hand side to write how much we budgeted for that category, how much we actually spent, and the year to date amount.  I made this spreadsheet on my old computer, so I can’t share it, but it was simple to make and now I just copy off new ones when needed.

IMG_20150204_083814 I forgot to add in allowances for Dan, myself, and the kids, so those get written in on the bottom, along with any other expenses that don’t have a place in the top part.  I also use that blank space to describe some of the expenses in the top portion.  Below is January’s completed record.

IMG_20150204_083928Last year, I kept track of how much it cost us to have a baby since we were starting over from scratch with clothing, bed, car seat, etc.  I also write in any bulk purchases like the peaches, pears, green beans, and tomatoes we put up last year.  That way when I’m ready to order again this year, I have a record of how much we did the year before. At first this took a lot of “remembering” and I’d find myself trying to catch up every week or two.  Now, it’s habit to just jot it down every day that I spend money. Do you record what you spend your money on?  How?