Thank you for joining me here at The New Frugal Mom. I blog about deals, frugal living, and gaining your financial freedom one day at a time.

If you're not already a new frugal mom, get started on your frugal journey today!

Showing posts with label The Frugal Journey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Frugal Journey. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

HELP: Why I Started This Blog

Blogging is not an easy endeavor no matter what your blog's subject topic is.

Blogging takes:

  • Time
  • Honesty
  • Research
  • Tech-Savvy
  • Dedication

and, let me say it again:

  • Time

So why did I start this blog when I already blog here about trying to find time to write while raising my three children?

Simply put: I started this blog to help others learn more about saving money through couponing and making more frugal choices. But most of all, I started this blog as a place to help me.

The level of personal accountability I have for my family's finances is amplified by writing about how I manage them here. Add to that all that I learn reading my fellow frugal blogging buddies posts and this blog becomes a great tool for me to use on my own Frugal Journey.

I share this with you, my Frugal Faithful, because it's important that I'm honest with you about who I am and our financial picture.

I am not a financial planner or expert.

I am not a die-hard Dave Ramsey fan (haven't read his books yet, but already think I disagree with a couple of his strategies as I've seen them explained in the blogosphere).

I am not coming under my grocery budget each week (although I'm doing much better than I was before I started serious couponing).

And, I am a very lucky, hard-working stay-at-home mom, married to my best friend. Because of the income/benefits he earns, I have always been at home with my children. This is a huge blessing, but one that hasn't just fallen into our laps unaided.

We've always saved, we've always invested, and we've always tried to stretch our dollars. But we've also been people of faith who are willing to take risks and assume some debt if it will get us to where we wanted to be - namely, here in SW Ohio, where my husband has a career he loves and where we can raise our children among family.

So, why do I share this?

Because I want you to know that while I'm blogging deals and ideas here, I don't have all the answers and would never assume to tell you how to best manage your family's finances.

Because, like PaidTwice's excellent post here, we sometimes backslide on our debt reduction journey, too.

Honesty in blogging matters; why should I expect any of you fine readers to drop by if I'm saying one thing but doing another, right?

So, here's to honest bloggers like PaidTwice and my blogging buddy Denise over at The "Cents"ible Sawyer - she just posted her story about trying to create a budget. I admire all of you who so bravely share bits of your financial life.

And to my fine readers, those of you have grabbed this feed and who drop by every day, thanks for coming over to my blogjoint for a while. I appreciate every single one of you even if I don't always get back to your emails or comments as quickly as I'd like.

Thanks for reading and keep pushing forward!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Succeeding at Frugality: Competition and Greed Need Not Apply

The blogosphere is such an interesting place. One thing I've noticed as I've been blogging here and here is how when one blogger reflects upon certain thoughts in a post, other bloggers who read that post then reflect and share their thoughts on the current bloggy buzz.

As I skimmed my Bloglines today (my reader of choice for now; I'll probably go GoogleReader at some point), two posts caught my full attention.

One, Kristin over at BeCentsAble, talked about how reading personal finance/frugal living blogs can make it easy to forget that you should challenge yourself to do better at managing your finances based on your family's needs and your past financial history, not on how someone else manages and allocates funds to their budget (her full post is here). I couldn't agree more.

You shouldn't feel like you're competing with others in the blogosphere and somehow failing because you spend more than they do on groceries. Nor should you feel like you're failing if you're working hard to pay off some debts you have (I'm right there with you on this one!).

I touched on this idea in my Frugal Journey post when I started this blog. I really believe this is a healthy way of approaching couponing, CVSing, budgeting, and being more frugal with your finances and resources in life. We're all on that same Frugal Journey, yes, but all of us carry on that journey:

  • Different motivations
  • Different financial responsibilities
  • Different life experiences and differing ages/stages in life

Bottom line: if you're trying to do better financially, you're taking ownership of your financial life which makes you a success even if you have minor or major setbacks along the way.

Setbacks and challenges are par for the course in anything worth doing in life; how many times have you watched a one-year old child pull themselves up to stand only to fall down when they took their first step? And then pull themselves right back up again? That child hasn't "learned" that failure means giving up. Falling down isn't failing; giving up is. So keep pushing forward!

The second post I read this morning (I've had five kids under the age of seven in my house most of the day - three of which are mine - so I've been understandably late to post today) was Kacie's post on frugal living obsession over at Sense To Save.

She asked some thought-proving questions and I admire her for putting herself out there on the issue of overdoing frugality and deals/stockpiling.

Can you overdo all this deal-making, couponing, and CVSing? Well, yes, I believe you can. If its consuming your time to the point that you're missing out on life, then you may well be. Or if you've got a huge stockpile but still continue to add to it rather than simply stop for a while and enjoy what you have on hand, or decide to donate to a worthy charity or church.

I don't grab every deal out there; I simply don't have that much time or motivation to do so. And while I'm thankful that I stumbled into the blogosphere and found ways to reduce our spending through better couponing strategies and store rebate programs like CVS, I hope that those of you out there reading this blog and others see the photos I and other bloggers post about our shopping trips as inspiration, not as gloating or greediness.

I hope you see those photos as proof that real people just like you, armed with the Sunday paper coupons, some printables, and a calculator, can do this crazy couponing thing, too. Speaking for myself, I can tell you that's my motivation for sharing pictures of the great deals I find with details on how you can find them, too.

And the best part of sometimes having more than my family needs is the chance to share with with my family, my friends, and with the Food Pantry basket in my church lobby. I hope you find ways to share some of your extras, too.

Have you ever gotten discouraged by small setbacks on your journey to improve your financial health? Or do you think stockpiling can be taken to extremes?

Share your thoughts!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Frugal Journey Meme

Ahhhhh, memes! Those fun and easy games of tag that give us busy bloggers an easy post.

And after surviving this day (!), an easy post sounds FABULOUS to me!

Andrea over at MommySnacks tagged me for the latest "Share Seven Random and Weird Things About Yourself" meme that's making it's way through the blogosphere.

I'm going to change it a bit and try to make it in tune with the whole purpose of this blog: encouraging others to go frugal no matter where they are in their own financial journey!

So here goes!

My Frugal Journey Meme
(Seven Reasons Why I'm Frugal)

1. My husband and I have some debts to pay off, debt we accrued not by jetting off to Disneyland or shopping sprees at the mall. No, our debt is mostly due to moving six times in eleven years (military and corporate moves).

Moving is not only expensive, but the instability that comes with constantly moving is extremely trying, too. And on moves #5 and #6, we took losses on the homes that we sold. Ouch. I'm sure many of you out there who are faced with the necessity of selling a home in this tight market understand that pain.

2. We live on one income (I've currently raked in a whopping $1.84 on my Google Adsense; while that can go a long way at CVS, it doesn't put much of a dent in the overall budget).

3. While the one income we live on is a good one, we also have a financial plan in place. Currently, 15% of our gross income goes to investments, life insurance, 401k and savings.

4. We send our children to our local Catholic school . Tuition, even for active members of the parish like ourselves, is spendy.

5. I was raised by money-smart parents who taught me early on to budget, to save and invest, and to stretch a dollar. My dad was green and recycling long before it was cool!

6. As a parent, I want to teach the same lessons to my children. It's amazing to see my first-grade daughter cost-comparing at Kroger. Good girl!

7. As the CFO of our family, I take my responsibilities very seriously. We're a team, my awesome hubby and I. I have so much respect for how hard he works to support our family of five; his work ethic inspires me to be the best steward of our finances as I can.


So there you go! My Frugal Journey, in a nutshell.

This meme just begs to be shared, so I'll drop a Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post. If you want to post this meme at your blogjoint, please do! I'm always so inspired when I read how other people go frugal, live on less, and discover somewhere along the way that they're more content, more satisfied with life, and just plain happier.

Please use your very best bloggity manners by linking back to this post in your post. I appreciate it!

And check back soon to read the Frugal Journeys of others in the blogosphere! I'll hard link this in my sidebar and *hopefully* create a button you can grab for your blog, too. I say hopefully because I do occasionally need to sleep!

Get posting, Frugal Faithful, and get linking!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Extreme Savers Story: Yahoo!, Try Again

As I speed-surfed this morning, I saw a link to a story on Yahoo! about Extreme Savers; read the full story here.

Of course, I had to click over and read it out of curiosity (maybe a new idea to share?) and to see just what the editors at Yahoo! had to say - are they truly in touch with the Frugal Faithful?

Um, no.

I'm sorry, but mentioning how one couple decided to forgo the "traditional" vacation at Beaches in Jamaica because it cost $8,000 - $10,000 and instead shared a house for the week (in Jamaica) with another family for a mere $5,000 is a wee bit off base.

The article mentions Craigslist and Freecycle and PaperbackSwap - all good ideas that many of us already use. It also talks about using a grocery co-op and getting your meat from local farmers (you can also do this by bidding on 4-H raised steers or hogs at your local county fair), but only mentions couponing once and not in any detail.

And there's really no mention at all of the simple idea of wanting less, of just deciding that life is about more than the stuff you accumulate.

No matter what you believe, you can't take it with you when you're gone; why let the Pursuit of Stuff become a living burden for you during the short time you spend here on Earth?

That's my two cents; read the article and comment with what you think, or, if you don't have time to read the article, what do you think about the mainstream media: are they in touch at all with us average Americans trying to live on less, pay off debt, and save for our financial goals?

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Frugal Journey

Welcome to The New Frugal Mom! If you're here, you're already on the path of what I like to call The Frugal Journey. Congratulations!

Before I continue, it's important that I tell you that I, too, am on my own Frugal Journey. By no means am I at the finish line! The beauty of the Frugal Journey is that there is no finish line; no matter where you are in your journey, there is always something new to be learned from the experience and the wisdom of others.

I'm an at-home mom to three who recently took the plunge into blogging last year (you can read snippets of my life at my personal blog, Writer-Mommy). While I've considered myself internet-savvy and deal-smart for years, I had no idea just what I'd been missing in the blogosphere. My long-held opinion that mommyblogs were just vehicles for ranting and raving about the frustrations that come with life as a mom quickly changed; the amount of useful information I found on other moms' blogs astounded me, especially money saving tips, ideas, and links to deal-worthy coupons. Truly, mommyblogging has evolved from it's infancy into an instant over-the-back-fence network of moms sharing information. It is exactly what the Internet should be.

My main inspiration for this blog is fellow blogger Crystal Paine. I discovered her blog Money Saving Mom late in 2007 and quickly learned that yes indeed, I could do much better on my budgeting, couponing, and everyday money management. She has inspired many other blogging moms and I do encourage you to visit her blog if you haven't discovered it on your own.

While I have nothing but good things to say about Crystal (she's blessed so many by sharing information and by her willingness to be transparent about her life), I know that some of the choices she and her husband make regarding budgeting and money matters aren't ones that my husband and I would make. And the beauty is this: there's nothing wrong with that. The details of my Frugal Journey will look different than hers, and yours, and everyone else's. We all start the Frugal Journey at different points in our lives, in our marriages, in our families, and in our careers. The key elements we do share are a willingness to work harder at guarding our financial resources and the open-mindedness to learn from others also on the Frugal Journey.

One last note: to those who might be feeling overwhelmed with debt, to those facing negative equity in their homes as the sub-prime mortgage crisis hits full steam, to those families moving from two incomes to one - or losing the one income they do have to downsizing or layoffs - I want to and need to tell you now that I am no financial expert. My husband and I have our own current debts to pay - along with other debts we've zeroed out over the years - debts we've willingly assumed as we moved six times in eleven years (both as a Navy family and as civilians, buying four homes, selling three) in order to finally get to a job that my husband loves and to the one place we wanted our children to know as home. There is no quick fix that I can offer you, as much as I would love to do so. But if you've come to a point where you know you can - you know you must - do better with your money management, I urge you to take one step more down the path that is The Frugal Journey.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!