Today’s blog post comes from Tiffany, a “Frugal Single Mom” and Community Manager for a local E-Learning Website. In the coming weeks and months she’ll be offering up her stories, as well as some tips and tricks for living the frugal life. Check out her current situation below and be sure to welcome her in the comments.
Single Mom Redux
Having never been wealthy, and perhaps most importantly, having always had the innate desire to find creative ways to do more with less, the word “frugal” has been an automatic add-on to nearly every role/title I’ve ever had. I’ve been a:
- Frugal (starving) ramen-noodle-eating college student.
- Frugal young professional.
- Frugal young married couple.
- Frugal stay-at-home mom.
- Frugal single mom.
What never occurred to me, until now, is that I might have to repeat a role.
When I re-married six years ago and ended my glorious and successful three year run as a “frugal single mom”, I momentarily forgot that nothing is guaranteed. I always assumed that I’d experience most of life’s phases with full abandon before slipping cheerfully into the next phase. It’s rewarding to sit from where I am and gaze back fondly at “the good old days”, but I’m not eager to jump back into the aforementioned roles.
Well, too bad. Here I am.
Early forties…ensconced in a successful and rewarding career…enjoying watching my two amazing children – Frannie (14) and Liam (9) – grow into amazing human beings.
And single. Again.
As a single mom in the early part of this decade, I had a lot of confidence and a renegade spirit. Even with a job as a grossly underpaid state employee, a beat-up single-cab pickup truck, a kindergartner, and a baby, I felt that we could conquer the world. And we did!
This time around, the confidence is still there, but the spirit is more cautious and is eager to “play it safe”. To not let my guard down again. To get serious about frugality.
I have a solid income, with minimal bills and expenses. Big concerns facing me are increased premiums for health insurance (with an eye-popping deductible attached) and college for my daughter in four years. And…the sobering state of our economy has given most of us a wake-up call. I don’t know many people who are taking things for granted these days.
Though I have practiced strong thrift in the past, I’ll admit that I’ve become lackadaisical in recent years. Because it’s not been a necessity, I’ve let go of too many of my frugal practices and I’ve bought into the “convenience society”. I shamefacedly acknowledge that I’ve turned away from the teachings of The Great Ones. Amy Dacyczyn. Heloise. My Grandmother.
I’ve convinced myself that my frugal practices “really didn’t save me that much money, did they???”. After all, a person MUST factor in convenience and quality of life, right? Not to mention the value of my time. Right? Right?
Not right. Back to basics.
My team (the kids) and I are diving into this headfirst. I have done what I recommend that everyone do: talk openly and honestly with kids about important issues, and that includes the topic of money. Not only is what we are doing right now essential to our family’s financial health, but it’s essential that I lay the groundwork to helping my children make their own healthy financial decisions in the future.
I’m prepared to bring all of my tools and resources into play. This includes not only my significant store of frugal tips and ideas from many years of necessity, but also my extensive experience with business practices. My team is equipped and ready to be proactive in setting up a solid foundation that will ensure that we’re making the most of what we have.
A Frugal Family Meeting
A family meeting has been scheduled to pull together our “Project Plan”. My next posting will detail “The Plan”:
- We need to schedule a detailed analysis of where we are spending. Make immediate and appropriate adjustments as needed (quick fix: no more fast food just because it’s easy!).
- Are there ways to bring in a little more income?
- Are there ways to decrease current expenses?
- What can we live without?
- What can we NOT live without?
- Will our new living arrangement add any expenses, such as tasks previously done by my ex-husband?
- Will we actually make gains in some areas by being lighter one person?
We will put it all on paper and create a final budget. Having a solid, real plan will help us to keep our finances organized and stay on track. Getting the whole family involved increases our chances of success!
What Tiffany Brings to PT Money
I’m not a guru who is here to tell you how to invest expertly. I don’t really know a lot about getting the best fixed rate mortgage that will save you tons of money. And I’m not an expert on the twists and turns of the economy.
My expertise lies in getting by with nearly nothing, and using it to create a true, quality existence for my family.
My articles will show you how to feed your family for a week with $50 if that’s all you can afford. I’ll discuss the benefits and pros/cons of growing your own groceries. I’ll address with honesty and candor the stress of lying awake at night worrying about bills, only to awaken in the morning with a feeling of dread as the same worries hit you again.
And most importantly…I hope you can help you find your own “renegade spirit” and offer that little bit of hope that comes when I remind you (and myself) that my team and I conquered the world once, with far fewer resources than we currently have, and we will again.