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If you’re frugal, you don’t need to earn as much as everyone else.

A light pink hydrangea bloom.

This isn’t a very deep thought, to be sure, but it’s something I’ve pondered off and on over the years.

While I think it’s totally fine (and often advisable) to try to earn more money, living a frugal, simple life can put you in a position where you don’t need to maximize your earning capabilities.

Why is this useful?

A few personal examples might be helpful.

  • When I was engaged/newly married, I worked in a large national department store in a mall. We got paid a fair hourly rate but then earned commission on top of that if we sold a certain amount. Some of my co-workers used less-than-fabulous methods to encourage customers to buy things (like telling lies), and I’m sure they earned more money than I did. But because I managed my money carefully, my financial state was probably just as good or better than my co-workers’ and my conscience was clear.
  • When I quit at the department store, it was so that I could transition into just teaching piano lessons (I was doing a combo before). If you’ve looked into music lessons, you know they don’t come cheap. I’ve always wanted to make quality lessons available to families who couldn’t otherwise afford them, though, so over my 20 years of teaching, I’ve charged a price that’s consistently lower than the going rate. A number of people have thought this was crazy, and from a purely financial standpoint, it was. But I was able to teach music to a lot of kids who might not have had access to piano lessons otherwise, and our frugal lifestyle allowed us to do this and still stay in good financial shape.
  • Frugal living has also made it possible for me to work part-time throughout our marriage. This has made daycare unnecessary, homeschooling a reality, and also given me sufficient time to serve at church and keep up on work around the house.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this:

To a person who spends money willy-nilly, $50 isn’t a lot of money.

But if you know how to stretch a dollar, $50 is nothing to sneeze at. It could buy quite a few groceries, a lot of thrifted or clearanced clothing, or even a wooden bed.

So when other people are saying, “I just don’t know how a family could possibly live on $xx,xxx a year!”, a frugal family could be thriving on that amount.

Naturally, if you have an opportunity to earn more money without compromising any of your important priorities, I think you’d be sort of crazy not to take it.

But when you’re faced with income-increasing situations that would cause you to compromise your priorities, frugal living can give you the freedom to say no.

And that’s pretty valuable.

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Sunday 29th of July 2012

You know, I read this and I understand and I agree. If you spend less than you earn you can always come on top. We live with-in our means it's as easy as that. I have people ask how Mrs.CBB and I can live on $190 a month for groceries. We are doing it and the reason is because we are mindful of our shops, are cooking from scratch and we set a budget. For others who have to have this or that or convenience foods, or buys $15 steaks.. it blows their mind when they see the budget. Anyone can do it, you just have to think like a frugal person! Cheers Mr.CBB.. shared this on my FB page!

Rose Godfrey

Wednesday 4th of July 2012

My kids have a great piano teacher who charges less than the going rate. I asked about it once and her reply was about the same as yours. It has been such a blessing to us to have quality lessons we can afford. You can bet I make sure the kids practice diligently--I want their teacher to be happy to see them!


Wednesday 27th of June 2012

I stumbled onto you're site one day while trying to find a recipe for yoghurt as my little 2yr old princess wanted yoghurt and I find that its expensive. Anyway I am so thankful for my stumble, this post in particular is why I keep on coming back to this site and even though I am Australian and I do not know about what Aldi is I get the general idea of the family life that you have. And it makes me feel better about my frugal ways that I am not the only one making this change. We used to squander our cash until we had our bub and now we are more thoughtful about what we spend it on and we have goals in place to work towards and being frugal, having a vegetable patch (something I'm working on) living on one income (because me being home is important to us) and reusing instead of adding to landfill (another thing I care about) just makes sense. I am so glad that you are here so that I can check in and see what other fantastic idea you had!!

Thank you...


Tuesday 26th of June 2012

It's been fairly eye-opening for me to live with an older sibling and her husband for the last six months. I'm generally pretty frugal, though I have my weaknesses like everyone else (a good ball of yarn or a stop at Starbucks are both my weak spots!). I've been unlucky in the job market and even between two jobs I can barely get together 20 hours a week, while they both work full time, and they're still coming to me to borrow money. Yes, I don't eat entirely from Whole Foods like them, have wine with every dinner, have as full of a closet or a gym membership, but I feel pretty content with most of my life and don't have the stress of constantly being on my last $20. I'd try to talk to them, but I think it's just make them defensive. Ah well...


Sunday 24th of June 2012

I loved this post! Resonated with me so much!

When I started my own business, a friend said every business decision I made what an opportunity to define what my business was all about. So I made sure every decision was in line with my values. I think our financial decisions are the same: an opportunity to define the kind of person you are. So I make sure every financial choice (including donating my time as a volunteer) is in line with my values, too.

My husband and I both work, but we're self employed, so we only work when our daughter is at school. One or both of us are there to take her and pick her up, and we're there to hang out after school. We can drive for field trips and be there for school events. This was a very easy decision to make (even though we could make twice as much with inflexible, full time jobs).

I loved your piano example - a great example of how your financial decisions and values are one thing!

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