Today, we get to meet Jody S., another familiar name from the comment section here.
1. Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Jody, and I’m in my 40s. My husband is a pastor of a small, rural church in the western part of Maryland, and we live in a parsonage with a most beautiful view of hills and ridges (I can see three states!).
We have 7 children (ages 5-16), and, yes, I homeschool all of them.
We also have some animals that belong to us (currently, an outside cat and chickens), but many other animals hang out for fun sometimes (deer, turkeys, bear, and once even an emu).
Our household now also includes my father who moved in last week.
2. How long have you been reading The Frugal Girl?
I am not certain, but I think I started reading The Frugal Girl about the same time I started my blog (2014).
Originally I thought, “Hey, I can do this for some extra income,” but I soon realized I don’t have what it takes to do what Kristen does.
I blog when I have time or want to, but I keep reading TFG faithfully.
3. How did you get interested in saving money?
My first year out of college, I was teaching 8th grade in a public school. There wasn’t much left after paying bills, and I resented paying rent for an apartment because I thought I was throwing money away. I wanted to save up for a down payment on a house.
Back then, I don’t think I was strong-willed with regards to money and spending, but I did save a little and avoid credit card debt. When I quit teaching to marry a man who was still in seminary full-time, I knew I’d have to get serious about saving.
And then, about one month after the wedding, the all-day morning sickness set in, and it became clear I wouldn’t be finding a paying job anytime soon. My husband was not a spender, and I learned a lot from him.
4.What’s the “why” behind your money-saving efforts?
With one income and many children, we have to be careful with our spending habits. When my husband retires, we will not own a home because part of my husband’s compensation for his work is the parsonage we live in.
We live carefully to save for retirement so that we might have a place to live and to provide what our children need now (no, we do not have college saving plans for our children).
5. What’s your best frugal win?
I’m not the kind of frugal person who budgets and keeps track of numbers because I don’t have the extra time and because, if I do have the time, I want to read a book instead.
I do have an Etsy shop to earn a little extra money, and once I bought a closet full of vintage puzzles at an online auction for $7. There were over 50 puzzles, and I’ve sold most of them for at least $10 each.
6. What’s a dumb money mistake you’ve made?
I think the biggest mistake I made was right out of college. I was driving my 1980 Buick Century, and it was not reliable. I had been stranded multiple times, both in the middle of nowhere and on the side of busy interstates. I decided that I was not going to be late for my first job and that I needed a new car.
So I drove Big Blue into a Honda dealership and drove out with a brand new Civic and a loan with 9.75% interest.
I didn’t shop around. I didn’t find a reliable used car. I just wanted a car that worked every time I turned the key in the ignition.
7. What’s one thing you splurge on?
We splurge on vacation for our family. We can’t do a “staycation” because we live right next to the church, and my husband does need a break from work. If we stay, he works. It always happens that way.
We do not normally do the most extravagant holidays– we usually rent a place, cook our own meals, and go to attractions that have no admission price.
However, we really went all-out on our “Big Trip Out West” a few years ago (many hotel stays and restaurant meals), but I do not regret it one bit because our children were able to see so much of the country and meet my long-distance family.
8. What’s one thing you aren’t remotely tempted to splurge on?
9. If $1000 was dropped into your lap today, what would you do with it?
It would either be invested or be spent on braces for one of my children.
10. Share a frugal tip with other Frugal Girl readers
I’m not sure if this qualifies as a tip, but remember that frugality isn’t only money. You really have to figure out what your priorities are and focus on them.
Sometimes saving time and energy is just as important as saving money. The stress of ALWAYS counting pennies can really rob you of your focus on your priorities.
For example, I could save more money by shopping around more and checking every price, but then I would be neglecting my children by not giving them the time they need.
I could save money by not going crazy at super-cheap book sales, but then I would be missing an opportunity to have education always at my children’s fingertips (and that is a priority for me).
If you want a real tip that’s less philosophical, don’t ignore auctions–online (local auction houses) or in-person ones. We have found so many items we needed so cheaply!
If you are patient, you can find what you need for the right price.
Jody, thank you so much for participating! It was so fun to learn more about you and to get a peek into your life.
And of course, feel free to leave her any questions or comments here; I’m sure she’ll be popping into the comments.
P.S. I realized that so far, all the readers that have sent me submissions have been moms around my age or younger.
But I promise we are going to have variety; coming up, we’ll have a a dad featured. And a reader in her 60s. Aaaand one of my readers in her eighties has also promised to fill out the questions.
So. If you don’t happen to be a mom in your 30s and 40s, hang in there. You’ll get to meet some readers like you coming up!