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Meet a Reader | Beth (a veteran reader!)

Beth is a super longer-term Frugal Girl reader…she’s been around since 2008, which is the year I started blogging! Thanks for sticking with me so long, Beth. 🙂

1. Tell us a little about yourself

I’m a homemaker and teacher! I’m the mother of three girls (7, 2, 2 months) and a boy (5), and I homeschool my son and oldest daughter.

Three children hiking.

My older three hiking last year.

We just moved from California to Oregon, into a home twice the size and lower in price than what we rented in California. It feels absolutely palatial. We are renting while we feel out the area and save up a down payment.

Three children hiking.

My three hikers this year!

I taught Language Arts for three years, then stayed home once my first child was born.

Beth with her baby in a carrier.

Hi! This is what I look like while hiking with my kids. (Can you see the fatigue in my eyes? I understand it might go away in 18 years.) That’s my youngest in the carrier.

I started homeschooling last year during the pandemic, which I think was probably the worst year ever to start, but I’ve been planning on it for a while. Reading The Frugal Girl was part of what originally convinced me to go for it! I find Kristen’s can-do spirit and attitude of gratitude super inspiring.

Montesorri supplies.

I sometimes wish all my homeschooling efforts looked as Montessori as this (they do not!)

When I’m not busy at home, I love reading, hiking, and canoeing.

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

I’ve been reading The Frugal Girl since 2008!

After I graduated from college, I worked a job I didn’t like (administration for a medical device corporation) in order to have money coming in instead of going out. I did it first in order to start paying off student debt,and then, after I got married, to support us while my husband finished a second degree.

I found the blog during spare time on the job.

When I started reading it I was a newlywed. Now I have four children, I homeschool, and I make my own yogurt, pizza, and sourdough.

four sourdough pancakes.

Sourdough pancakes are a family favorite!

3. How did you get interested in saving money?

My mom is quite frugal, and she taught me her ways! My parents had to be careful with money to raise four kids on one salary, and I always knew I’d need to do similarly if I wanted to stay home with my kids too.

I also love the creativity that comes with being frugal; I enjoy solving problems with the constraint of minimizing expenses.

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

I believe that my work at home has a greater value to my family than the wage I could make outside of it, so I strive to steward our resources well to make that possible with my husband’s salary.

A green view from a kitchen window.

The morning view from my kitchen window. I love how green it is!

I think trying to accomplish good things without money is worthwhile and provides opportunities to build relationships…e.g., asking for help to fix a problem instead of just buying our way out of it.

What I have in mind is our two-year-old smashing our son’s self-painted dinosaur bank last week…we could afford to buy him another kit, but gluing it together instead let the kids join in solving the problem, and preserved his work.

Our income is comfortable, but it’s possible to be profligate at any income level, and I don’t want lifestyle creep to sabotage our longterm goals.

5. What’s your best frugal win?

The current winner is that we were quoted $16,000 for a full-service move and instead cobbled it together ourselves for less than $5,000.

A big yellow moving truck.

We rented a truck that my husband drove, hired some muscle to load and unload, and had a humbling amount of packing assistance from dear friends and family. The help was freely given and was such a loving sendoff.

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

Not the most extreme, but I clean forgot an appointment and had to pay the “no-show” fee, and that felt just awful. I also sometimes overbuy secondhand because “it’s so cheap!”

(Kristen butting in here: I have done the appointment thing before and I felt SO frustrated with myself! Ugh. In fact, I wrote the post, “5 Ways to Make Yourself Miserable After a Money Mistake” after I missed a $120 appointment!)

7. What’s one thing you splurge on?

We just made an interstate move, from California to Oregon, six weeks after the birth of my youngest. It’s been a little crazy.

So right now I’m splurging on help: convenience food, a paid mother’s helper, and a once-a-week outdoor school for my two oldest.

California produce on a countertop.

I am going to miss the abundant, cheap, and delicious California produce.

Ordinarily, I splurge on high-quality cotton kids’ clothes (secondhand, but too often…still learning to right-size their wardrobes!) and fun snack foods from Costco.

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

Beauty treatments! I take care of myself but I feel no need to spend a lot in search of eternal youth.

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

Tithe, probably make an extravagant Costco run, and then sock the rest away in my kids’ 529 college savings plans.

10. Share a frugal tip with other Frugal Girl readers

It doesn’t hurt to ask!

I asked for a discount on rent for our first apartment, and we saved $2400 over the two years we lived there. This week, I wasn’t sure whether a sibling discount applied to my kids’ outdoor school, but it does! And I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t asked. Most often, the worst that can happen is you get  a big “nope.”

My other tip is to make friends; it’s so lovely to share and share alike with people you love, and it often happens to save money and build relationships at the same time.

______________________

Beth, I love your kitchen window view! I’m gonna put that on my dream-house list: a kitchen window with a view.

My current sink faces….the cabinets:

A kitchen with white cabinets.

My counters were only this tidy for a photo. Just so ya know.

Thanks so much for sending in your photos and words, Beth! I love how our lives are coinciding in sort of opposite ways; you started reading my blog when I was homeschooling with four young kids, and now that I’m moving towards empty-nesting, you are home with four young kids.

Readers, the floor is yours!

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Jenni

Tuesday 19th of October 2021

Our lives are very similar right now! We just moved from California at the end of May and I already miss the abundant produce! I tried to find a lime the other day with no luck. And then we moved a week after my youngest was born! (Also my 4th). I keep reminding myself that convenience foods are still cheaper than eating out. Luckily there’s a Costco within an hour that provides a great assortment!

Ruth T

Tuesday 19th of October 2021

Thanks so much for sharing, Beth! It was fun to read about a mom in a similar life stage as me but on the west coast - which I admit sometimes feels like it's probably a whole different world compared to my rural Midwest hometown. Congrats on the new baby!! So excited for you!! And if there was ever a time to splurge on help, it's seems right where you're at is the perfect time! :) Enjoy those sweet baby snuggles!

Jenny

Tuesday 19th of October 2021

Really nice! I like your yard, flagstone terrace, and your kids are cute- that long-haired baby! And the 2 yo trying to keep up with the big kids. Your cap looks like it could tell a story itself! I hope you get to rest a little before 18 years are up, but it looks like peace and joy in your family. And if you are what low-maintenance beauty is, we would all be happy!I so wish I could have been a Mom at home, but that wasn’t possible. It’s nice that there are choices and that there is support and understanding for those choices- at least here on this blog! Enjoy your palatial home- when we moved from a tiny apartment to a bigger one, it was thrilling! Then a townhouse with an extra half-bath-Wow! The next move was to our 1200 sq foot house with a yard. We felt like royalty, so, yes- palatial is the word.

Dorinda

Monday 18th of October 2021

Love "meeting" you, Beth! And your picture of you with the youngest in the Ergo and the backpack on your back on a hike made me smile with my own memories. I had a Beco, but yes -- we hiked so much with it! I'm glad you captured that moment. So yes, fellow homeschooler here -- I've done a few audacious things when my babies were little, but I've never moved with a little squish.

May God give you connections and community at your new location, wisdom to know when to push on and when to rest, grace to do the things that need to be done, and grace to leave the things undone that need to be left undone for the time. <3

Beth

Friday 22nd of October 2021

@Dorinda, thank you! Grace is what we need :)

a curious reader

Monday 18th of October 2021

Beth, the woods around your home look absolutely dreamy. What a beautiful view to wake up to and for your kids to grow up in!

I'm very impressed by your frugal win. With four little kids, I think I would have just gone the lazy route and hired the move out, no matter the cost!

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