What made you decide to live frugally?

Every frugal family has a unique reason for choosing this lifestyle. For some people, it’s a job loss. For others, it’s the birth of a child or the desire to be a stay-at-home parent. For us, it was a gradual change, but I do still remember the day I made the conscious decision to live frugally.

When we arrived in North Carolina before my husband began graduate school, we had quite a bit of money in the bank (about $10,000 to be exact). We’d saved for a year knowing we would need a little padding until I could find a job.

In the beginning, I wouldn’t say we were frugal. We spent too much on groceries. We bought a lot of new things for our apartment. We adopted a puppy (which I absolutely don’t regret). Even though we were careful, we weren’t what I would call frugal yet.

We’d been living here for two months, and I had no leads for jobs despite sending a ton of resumes. I was beginning to worry that we were going through our savings too quickly. It’s scary to look at the bank account and see a lot of money going out with nothing coming back in.

Then I finally got a call for a job interview. I was thrilled. I even went out and bought new clothes for the interview. They called me in for a second interview. Then a third and a fourth. I met everyone in their small office. I thought I had the job in the bag. Our spending had gradually increased. I was so sure I’d be working full time soon.

They invited me back to meet with the president of the company for the second time. I was positive this was the hiring interview. It was such a relief.

The day before the meeting, they canceled. For some reason that I’ll never understand, they decided not to hire me at the last minute.

Devastated does not describe how I felt. I was completely crushed. After two months of sending resumes and six weeks of interviewing with this company, I thought this had been my shot. I thought this was the perfect opportunity. But it didn’t work out.

I was absolutely depressed for days. Then I started fretting about money. Our savings was running out. I had been counting on this job for six weeks, so we’d spent more than we should have leading up to the rejection.

I realized I would have to take a part-time job outside of my field until I could find something else. I also realized we were going to have to live on a lot less money than we’d hoped. Even with freelance writing jobs, it just wasn’t enough to cover the gaps.

If I couldn’t do anything to increase our income, we’d need to decrease our spending. At the very least, we’d be able to get by without increasing our debt or worrying about paying our bills.

Frugality empowered me to pick myself up, dust myself off, and get on with my life. I realized that I had more control over our financial destiny than I thought. For so long I thought the only answer for us to improve our financial situation was to make more money. When I realized that wasn’t the case, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.

We made under $20,000 that year. And yet we were still able to plan our wedding, pay off a chunk of credit card debt, and keep our heads above water. We didn’t start saving again until we paid off our credit card debt and I was hired full time, but I’m still proud of the progress we made on such a small income.

Even though our income has finally increased some, the lessons I learned in that year will stay with me forever.

What made you decide to live frugally?

7 thoughts on “What made you decide to live frugally?

  1. Annie Jones

    I don’t think I ever really “decided” to live frugally. I was raised in a frugal family and have happily kept up the family tradition.

  2. EastTXmom

    For me, it wasn ‘t a decision as much as it was that my mom was the cheapest woman in history. I consider myself lucky that her examples stuck, especially now when I see so many of our friends are scurrying to cut back on their spending.

  3. Angie

    Great post & thanks for sharing!

    It started out when we got married and moved 8 hrs away from home with credit card debt, truck payment, and BIG student loans and only one income. It wasn’t a choice, it was necessity.

    5 years later, we are debt free. Being frugal is now pretty much WHO I am. I can’t change it like I can’t change the color of my eyes. My co-workers and friends make fun of me… but at the same time I see them pick up some of my habits, and several of them have asked for advice.

  4. Abigail

    Well, I grew up with a mom who was frugal, so I guess it wasn’t much of a decision. But it would have been necessary anyway. Since I can’t work much, Tim was the sole provider for awhile. My disability checks covered rent and most of my out-of-pocket meds that Medicare wouldn’t cover.

    Now, he’s on unemployment, I’m working a few hours a week, and in grand total, we make just under $3300. We’re paying down debt with that. Slowly but surely… but slowly.

    Seriously, though, frugal is an absolute necessity with our life. I get frustrated, and we certainly have unexpected expenses and even slip-ups wherein money gets spent that probably shouldn’t. But by and large we’re surviving only because I’m a careful budgeter.

    So I guess that about sums up my story…
    .-= Abigail´s last blog ..Mixed marriages: When savers and spenders unite =-.

  5. Pingback: What made you decide to live frugally? | Frugal Living Tips … | Saving Money News

  6. Jamie

    I decided that it was time to take responsibility for my “plastic shopping” and get that paid off so I won’t be 30 and still living with my parents. This will be my first official week being frugal so I have no idea what to expect at all.

  7. Danielle

    My husband has always been super financial-conscious, while I have a tendency to shop. A lot. But it’s my job to keep the house clean, do the laundry and dishes, etc… and those tasks are very obnoxious and time consuming when you have a lot of useless stuff. Plus, I also have not been able to find a full-time teaching job, so I substitute instead. I want to be selective with how much and where I work, so spending less is a justification for that.

    When it boils down to it, I would just like everything to be a whole lot simpler.

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