Skip to Content

Meet a Dutch Reader | Josine

Earlier this summer, Josine promised she’d answer my questions, but she had a busy summer ahead of her and wouldn’t be able to get to the questions until later. Happily, I got her email this past week, so now we get to meet a reader from the Netherlands!

1. Tell us a little about yourself

I am Dutch. I have been married over 20 years and our children are 20, 18, and 16.

Children on a beachside bench.

my children on a beach holiday years ago

Pieter is attending university. He started last year, so he barely had offline classes. The frugal upside of it is that he had no housing costs and that this year all universities ask half the regular tuition. I am grateful he did well in all classes. He does have a job as a volunteer, where he gets paid a little.

Joost finished 5 classes of high school. He has 3 more left to finish this year. He has had several jobs but is now not working.

A little boy on an amusement park ride.

Willemijn has 3 more years of high school to go.

Boys on a snow igloo.

an igloo my kids built

My husband works 1 KM from home. I am a stay-at-home mom. I have done different kinds of volunteer jobs, at church, school, library and for Catholic children’s summer camp. I am glad my example led our children to do volunteer jobs from a young age on; Willemijn was about 11 when she asked the library if she could help. She helps organize books or give out tickets for a meeting for younger children at the library.

We live in a city of a little over 100,000 inhabitants in the middle of the country. The old part of the city is medieval and just a bike ride from our house. We are also lucky to have a (free) swimming pond within walking distance and around that pond a lovely part of nature to walk or bike or walk a dog.

A blonde girl standing at a pond's edge.

My daughter by the nearby pond

2. How long have you been reading The Frugal Girl?

I have been reading The Frugal Girl since Zoë started school. I think I found it on another similar blog. I follow you on a near-daily basis.

3. How did you get interested in saving money?

I think I have always been interested in saving money.

My parents had enough money to live conveniently, but my grandparents were in their 20’s-40’s during the depression. One grandfather lost his father during those years, leaving a widow (my great grandmother) and 9 children. I think that inheritance influenced my parents and in the end me and my siblings.

Being the oldest child, I remember getting secondhand clothes from cousins or friends. That wasn’t a necessity, but a never felt bad about it. I remember being thrilled to get a whole box of new-to-me clothes. When our children were small, I asked a mother of a friend if I could have her daughter’s clothes. I knew she had no younger girls in her family and my daughter was a few years younger than her’s. Willemijn has had lots of lovely clothes that way.

Once I was known as “the mom who is happy with hand-me-downs”, lots of others started offering me clothes or toys their children outgrew. I did the same when my children outgrew their clothes and toys.

And between my sisters and some friends, we also share clothes we don’t like anymore.

4. What’s the “why” behind your money-saving efforts?

A major reason was to be able to live off one income, so I could be a stay-at-home mom.

But I also think we have a duty not to use too much of our earth. Even if you have enough money to buy new clothes, why buy more than you could wear? Why fly around the world for a vacation to find time to enjoy yourself, if you can enjoy being around your loved ones on a walk in your own neighborhood?

5. What is your best frugal win?

Profitwise it was the first apartment I bought when I started to work. We sold it after I had lived there for 6 years and it had grown a lot in worth.

On a daily basis, it is sticking with little frugal decisions that end up being big over the years, like meal planning, mending things instead of buying something new.

6. What is a dumb money mistake you have made?

I don’t think I have made very foolish decisions, but I do sometimes buy things on an impulse that I don’t need and they end up on the attic.

7. What do you splurge on?

I allow myself a visit to the beautician every 6 weeks. That is a moment just for me (although I have been there with my daughter for her birthday). I enjoy being able to relax myself and feel happy and ready to face the world again after those visits.

8. What is one thing you aren’t remotely tempted to splurge on?

Make-up and jewelry. I have some jewelry from my husband, parents, and grandparents that is precious to me because of the people who gave it to me. And I sometimes wear lipstick or nail polish but rarely anything more.

9. If 1,000 was dropped into your lap today, what would you do with it?

I think half of it toward driving lessons for the children and half to a charity.

Driving lessons are really expensive here. You are not allowed to teach your child yourself and an average lesson is about 50 euro. You need 30-40 lessons at least, plus 2 exams.

10. Share a frugal tip.

I think it is mostly about attitude. Your situation in life may be very different, but if your attitude is one of gratefulness, if you try to see the beauty in things (and even more in people) around you, you are more prone to be happy with what you have.


Josine, I smiled as I read about you being known as the “mom who is happy with hand-me-downs” because that’s how I was when my kids were little too! And I’m also known as a person who will accept food to save it from waste, so sometimes people give me food they don’t need or want.

I have a question for you that I forgot to include when I sent you the interview email: what’s different about trying to save money in the Netherlands as compared to what you read about here in the U.S.?


Readers, the floor is yours!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Karen J Parlier

Wednesday 15th of September 2021

Wow I really enjoyed reading about you and your family. One thing that stuck with me is why buy more than you need! I am awful about buying too many clothes and I have so much that I never ever wear, yet I cannot get rid of them for some reason or another. One day I am going to purge and go crazy as ever and I hope it comes soon! LOL!


Wednesday 15th of September 2021

Man, I wish that same driver's ed requirement were true in the US... In some of the states I've lived in, if you're over the age of 18, you're not even required to take driver's ed - all you have to do is pass the written and in-car tests.

I was curious, so I looked it up - the Netherlands actually does have a pretty high percentage of adults who have licenses (80% vs. the US's 89%). I was surprised, given the additional burdens of cost and convenience for Dutch folks to get a license, along with the prevalence of cycling and public transportation, compared to the US!

Connie Abbott- Foster

Tuesday 14th of September 2021

Thank you for sharing. My paternal grandmother was from the Netherlands. It has always been a place I want to visit. She was a wonderful person in the hardest of lives here in the US during the depression with 8 children.


Tuesday 14th of September 2021

It is so nice to get to know each other! My husband’s relatives came from there, some of them- we don’t always realize that borders and allegiances changed rapidly, sometimes! I did, and still do, the frugal things, like paying on and receiving hand-me-downs,, and am SO thankful!


Tuesday 14th of September 2021

Nice to meet you, Josine. The medieval part of your city intrigues me. Is it kept up as a tourist attraction that has tours, or do some people still live there with a few business establishments?


Tuesday 14th of September 2021

@Josine, that is absolutely fascinating! As spectacular as castles are, I find how the majority of real people lived more interesting. Hopefully I can find some videos via the internet. Thank you for answering. That tidbit about the beer and water was eye-opening too. It’s energizing to discover new information.


Tuesday 14th of September 2021

@Shirley, some parts of the medieval city are still in use. Some buildings may only have a medieval cellar, with a new house built on top. Tourists love to take a tour on water, half under parts of old houses. Those little rivers were used for transportation and as sewage. That is also the reason people didn't drink water in those times, but made beer (that was lighter in alcohol than the beers we now drink).

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.