I want to take a minute to encourage you. You wonderful mothers and fathers who are making the most of ever-tightening budgets, who make ends meet by first cutting out the lovely things in your own life to attempt to preserve the lovely things for your children. I want you to know that I have been, and continue to be, “there.”
When my daughter was born 3.5 years ago, our finances changed instantly. Within the first 24 hours of her life, the thousands of dollars we had saved up over the previous year were wiped out by an emergecy ambulance ride across town to an amazing (albeit expensive) NICU. One week later we were under a mountain of medical bills, a mountain which wouldn’t stop growing for a very, very long time. Add to that the fact that I would no longer be working, cutting our income by nearly 40%. Ouch. Know what I mean?
We’d never lived an extravagant lifestyle, but going from “some” to “almost none” was a painful and emotional experience. Where I used to buy myself a cup of coffee or lip gloss after a rough day, now I just felt stuck with the rough. My social life all but disappeared and I started to feel suffocated, isolated and generally bummed out. About a year later I “discovered” couponing and started finding FREEDOM again! My budget didn’t change, but the things I could do with my budget opened up wide! I started to gather momentum and HOPE and found that frugal living can be a FUN THRILL RIDE!
Over the last 2 years I have embraced this thriftiness, and come to appreciate how much these coupons and discounts and freebies bless and benefit my family. I may not BRING income to our lives, but I do KEEP the income around much longer! I am constantly shocked and impressed by what I can get for free! My concept of “frugal living” has completely changed! I’m ever telling my husband “Even if we had a million dollars, I’d never stop couponing and finding great deals! It just makes sense!”
Last night we had a date at The Melting Pot. An incredible swiss cheese fondue with crusty bread and crisp apples and vibrant green broccoli at a candlelit table in a quiet corner of the restaurant. Wanna know how steep that bill was? $0.00
It’s true that lots of days are beans and rice and top ramen. It’s true that I don’t get to go along shopping with my friends all the time or out to the theater. It’s true that my clothes are consigned and my weekly menu is based on coupons and not cravings.
But it’s also true that there is so much blessing and fun and, most importantly, FREEDOM in this penny-pinching lifestyle. It’s not ALL thrift stores and dented cans, my friends. Done mindfully and alongside the ever-growing community of coupon-clipping, deal-finding experts, this frugal life has plenty of FABULOUS surprises!
What incredible things have you found/done for free (or nearly free)?? What extravagant adventures have you been on thanks to your saving savvy? Share and inspire us!