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Meet a NY Reader | Corrine

1. Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Corrine and I am 36 years old. I live with my husband, 7-year-old son, 3-year-old daughter, and 2 cats (one is a tuxedo, like Kristen’s, and the other is a snowshoe Siamese).

Corrine and her family.

My husband and I have been married for 11 years. We got married on an antique boat in Seattle, and we eloped after only knowing each other for 6 months!

We live in the Finger Lakes region of New York. My husband works full-time as a mechanical engineer. I hold a Master’s degree in social work and am also a certified lactation counselor. I work full-time as a social worker for a large health care system. I have been been in my position for 16 years and for the past 2 years I have been working as a supervisor on the team, which consists of about 10 people.

My job is very stressful emotionally, as a main part of our job is responding to individuals experiencing mental health crises. Although my job is stressful, it offers great benefits and a pension, I can work from home if needed, and my teammates are wonderful people.

As a family, we love to hike and camp. We purchased a small pop-up camper this past summer, but before that, we camped in a tent. We live in an area with amazing state and county parks and we also live very close to Lake Ontario and the other Finger Lakes, which have awesome beaches.

Corrine's husband hiking.

I love to keep a vegetable garden, tap our maple trees in spring, take walks in our neighborhood, pick fruit at local farms in the summer, and visit our awesome public market. We live simply, but I feel my life is luxurious.

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

a dock at sunset.

I think it has been almost 8 years. I believe I found your blog when I was on maternity leave with my son.

I only started commenting a few years ago though. I have really enjoyed reading your blog daily; I love the positivity and sense of community. I especially enjoy the Five Frugal Things posts.

3. How did you get interested in saving money?

My mom and dad both experienced poverty as children.

My mom is an expert thrift shopper and, for many years, has worked a lucrative side hustle selling thrifted items on eBay. My dad was a minimalist (he died of lung cancer 6 years ago), which I think he learned from his time in the Marine Corps. My parents were always very upfront about their financial situation and being responsible financially.

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

I think it is something I learned growing up, but my career also plays a big role in these efforts.

I witness extreme social and emotional suffering on a daily basis, so I feel it is my responsibility to our society to spend respectfully. I feel my spending and savings are important for our environment, and I also hope to teach my children financial responsibility.

5.What’s your best frugal win?

I took so many Advanced Placement classes in high school that I had a year’s worth of college credits. I attended a state school for my Bachelor’s Degree, which I then completed in 3 years. This saved me $12,000.

I then attended a state school for graduate school. New York state offers loan forgiveness for social workers who work in certain areas; it’s a lottery system, but I ended winning $26,000 in loan forgiveness my 2nd year out of graduate school! So, I have been very fortunate to not have any college loans.

6. What’s a dumb money mistake you’ve made?

I purchased a used car while I was in graduate school and it started to have mechanical issues after 10 years of owning it. Instead of fixing it, our friend who manages a car dealership talked us into leasing a brand new car. Luckily, the lease was only for 2 years and the payment was low ($250/month).

Now we both own used cars without loans. You live and you learn!

7. What’s one thing you splurge on?

We recently hired a housekeeper to come twice a month. This is not frugal, but it has saved me so much time each week. Time with my family is my most valued commodity. Life is too short!

kids playing in leaves.

I also always “splurge” on the best health insurance policy my employer offers.

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

A big house!

Our home is small (1,200 square feet) for 4 people and 2 animals. But, we own it outright and it is less for us to clean and maintain. I think as Americans we are taught that we need to buy the biggest home we can mortgage, but this can be risky financially.

I am also not tempted to buy expensive makeup, clothes, purses, shoes, or jewelry. Most of my clothes, shoes, and purses I have gotten from Buy Nothing for free.

9. If $1000 was dropped into your lap today, what would you do with it?

This is a boring answer, but probably put it in my children’s 529 accounts.

10. Share a frugal tip with other Frugal Girl readers

There are so many, but I think it is important to question societal views on money and spending. I think breaking free of materialism, as much as we can, can be so freeing both financially and emotionally.

11. Is there anything unique about frugal living in your area?

a view through the woods.

Our community places a lot of importance on being environmentally conscious and on living sustainably. Many of our neighbors, although we live in a suburb, raise chickens, keep bees, have compost bins, have solar panels, and have large vegetable gardens.

We also have a nationally ranked Public Market that is open year-round. I feel lucky to live where I do.


Corrine, thanks so much for sharing! I have never been to the Finger Lakes region of NY, but it looks beautiful! Do you guys have really cold winters up there?

I think it’s so awesome that you won the loan forgiveness lottery; what an amazing blessing. And I love that you are using your career to do something that makes such a difference for people.

Readers, the floor is yours!

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Wednesday 15th of December 2021

Great to read about your life! I have never been to that area- the northeast and northwest corners of our country are the two parts I’ve never visited. Now I want to, more than ever! It’s admirable that you and your husband have a healthy and happy partnership, which started so quickly! How did you know? Did you “just know”? None of my beeswax, of course! I was a long-time OB nurse and later worked with pregnant and new families who had serious problems of various types. It could be shocking, painful, and frustrating, but also heart-warming. I felt like it was a way to try to help babies, parents, other kids, etc. and maybe our whole community.


Thursday 16th of December 2021

@Jenny, my husband and I always say we wished we got married sooner. I think when you know, you know. He is a great person and I am lucky to have him.

Thank you for all you do as a nurse. My area of specialty as a social worker is OB/GYN. I love working with pregnant and parenting women.

Hoping you can visit NY in the future. It has so much to offer!


Tuesday 14th of December 2021

I have just loved all these reader posts.


Tuesday 14th of December 2021

Just reading this today. I lived for 8 years in the Finger Lakes Region of NY and aside from the mega amounts of snow, it is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Summer and Fall are spectacular. Winter, however, you can have! Altho my grand daughter is in Western NY and I do miss her. Thank you technology!!!

It was nice to meet you Corrine and reminisce about my time living there.


Tuesday 14th of December 2021

@Maureen, nice to meet you too!!

Winter is definitely not as great as summer, but still has so much to offer.


Monday 13th of December 2021

Thank you all for the kind words and support!!

Kristen, Our area is so beautiful and I am lucky to live here. Our winters are very cold and long. We get a ton of lake effect snow! I have lived here my whole life though, so it doesn't bother me too much. I like to remember how much less yardwork I have to do in the winter and how much less my cats shed too! Spring, Summer, and Fall are then very special because we wait so long for nice weather. Also, my kids love the snow. So we are frequently outside in the snow playing, sledding, or hiking. Hiking in the snow is one of my favorite things. It's so peaceful and quite.


Monday 13th of December 2021

Interesting. So great that your area is so conscientious about living in an environmentally friendly way. One slightly more frugal option for the question about getting $1000 dropped in your lap: put it in a Roth IRA instead of in a 529 account. College financial aid packages look at 529s, take it all, and then calculate your expected contribution on top of that. If you put it in a Roth IRA, it's hidden from the financial aid process but you can withdraw it for education. Even better, if you don't need it all for your kids for college, it's there for your retirement! We have friends who saved in 529s and had one kid who ended up not going to college and another who went to a state school and they didn't need everything they had in the 529s! Other friends ended up having to pay a lot even though they had three kids in college at the same time--just because they had so much in their 529s, the schools expected them to be able to more than they would have otherwise.


Monday 13th of December 2021

@Jo, thanks for the advice. We max out our IRA's every year already. So our 529 accounts for our kids are only contributed to once our 401K's and IRA's are maxed out yearly. The 529 in our state has great tax benefits, so for us it makes sense financially to contribute to these accounts. Even if our children do not end up going to college, the penalty will be less than the tax advantage and interest we have earned over such a long period of time. Definitely not one size fits all though!

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