Skip to Content

Meet a Reader | Paige from Boston

Hello! Today we are meeting Paige, a reader who is also a writer, a business-owner, and a super-frugal-DIY-hair-dyer. 😉

Here’s Paige:

1. Tell us a little about yourself

I’m a mom of three young men ages 16-25 who make me laugh more than any comedian ever could. I live with my husband of 26 years near Boston, where I’m an author, blogger, and own a small business.

headshot of paige.

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

I started reading The Frugal Girl in 2015. I loved getting a peek into how Kristen handled Sonia’s special diet (with such grace) because my husband is a vegetarian (I’m not), and my youngest is a persnickety eater.

I’m constantly re-jiggering meals to meet all the “requirements,” which has always felt not-very-graceful.

skillet with meat in it.

One of my “rejiggered” meals to meet the requirements of my family’s persnickety palette: Italian sausage for my son and veggie burgers for my husband

3. How did you get interested in saving money?

I realized in my 20s that to save for what mattered to me, I would have to save money on stuff that didn’t matter at all.

I often say our pool was paid for with the tuna fish sandwiches we brought for lunch instead of eating out.

my lunch of leftovers.

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

When we started our business, we had no choice but to reinvest our profits into them, and because we had three young kids, we needed to watch our personal spending very carefully.

paige in her paint store.

While it felt awful at the time, having very little personal money and no plan B was a significant driver in our company’s success.

5. What’s one thing you splurge on?


I don’t care what it costs, if someone needs help (tutoring) or to develop skills (college, camp, etc.), I will write the check.

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

Salon hair color. I refuse to go gray, so in my 30s, I paid a hair stylist to help me choose an inexpensive, pharmacy-boxed hair color that matched my “younger” shade. I still use this $3.50/box brand.

Because my hair would often turn brassy, he even taught me to dump ½ of the white developer cream and replace it with the same amount of distilled (or filtered) water. Every time I do this (every three weeks if I don’t want roots), I think about how much I have saved over the years.

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

I’d add it to our “BFF – Brothers’ Fun Fund.” I have a policy that if my kids ever want to visit another brother, I pay their travel expenses. They also know it’s an emergency fun that any one of them can tap into if necessary.

I’d like to build this account up enough so they can use it for the rest of their lives.

8. What’s the hardest part of being frugal?

For sure, turning it off.

I go overboard even as things have eased up financially. For example, we’re taking a cruise later this year, and even though we can afford a balcony room, I fretted over whether to get the inside cabin instead (surprise: I sprung for the balcony, but not without pause).

Also, I’m not sure if I’ll ever buy brand name Cheerios or not buy (secondhand) clothes from Poshmark.

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

I love pickleball, and my town has converted dozens of public tennis courts into pickleball courts.

pickleball courts.

If you haven’t tried pickleball, you’ll be stunned that you’ll be immediately “not bad.” Right from the start, you’ll play well enough to have fun.

10. What’s your funniest frugal story?

When my kids were little, restaurants were a rare treat.

I remember when my oldest was about 10, he read the fine print of the kids’ menu at Red Robin and discovered their policy that if a kid was still hungry after they ate their kid’s meal, they could order another meal for free. Well, he was always still hungry.

When he pointed out this policy to the server, they always looked confused because they had never encountered this situation. I’m not sure if they still have this policy or if, after they met my son, they discontinued it!

11. What single action or decision has saved you the most money over your life?

Investing money automatically using paycheck deduction. We were automatically forced to live on less because the money was invested before it ever hit our checking account.

12. What is something you wish more people knew?

Your twenties are your shot.

If you want to follow your dreams, in my experience, your twenties are the time to do it. It becomes infinitely harder (not impossible, but harder) in later decades when you have dependents.

If you want to read more about this, you can read a free (frugal!) copy of my book Drift: How to (accidentally) create a life you don’t want.

Use the passcode: friend (all lowercase)

drift book cover.

13. Do you have any tips for frugal traveling?

One thing I know at 56 that I wish someone had told me at 31 is that kids don’t need fancy vacations.

In our town, most families go on grand trips during school breaks. I always felt guilty when I saw vacation photos of my kids’ friends riding camels, parasailing, and eating fancy food.

But here’s the good news – kids don’t need that at all. They just need you to be there. So watching SpongeBob on your staycation counts. Staying one night in a local hotel with a pool does too. So does playing Uno at the park.

a hotel pool

A 2 day “vacation” at a hotel near us with a waterpark (I told my kids we would visit their great-uncle and pulled in here instead).

To quote Kristen, “Ha!”

14. What’s your best frugal win?

Working while my kids were napping, at school, and all weekend when my husband could take over.

My husband and I built a profitable business on the “crumbs of time” I was able to work when my kids were little. I LOVE what I do, so this may not work for everyone. I’m glad many employers are waking up to this because many skilled employees who want to stay home with their kids still have (some) time to devote to a career.


Paige, I chuckled when you mentioned off-brand Cheerios, because I have always thought all the store-brand Cheerios were oddly dusty. So now I want to know: which off-brand do you enjoy?

Also: I think we all will want to know: what’s the brand of hair color you love? $3.50 is a great price!

And just so you know, sometimes I was not all that graceful about Sonia’s dietary requirements. That time when she was put on the temporary FODMAP diet on top of all her other restrictions? I stood in the grocery store trying to figure out some options and almost burst into tears. It’s tough working around multiple food issues, so please don’t feel alone in your struggles.

Readers, the floor is yours!

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

Ruth T

Sunday 2nd of July 2023

"To save for what mattered to me, I would have to save money on stuff that didn’t matter at all." What wisdom!!!

I love the story of your son at Red Robin. Kids are great. :) And I agree with what you said about kids not needing fancy vacations. My kids are still on the younger side (5, 6, and 9) but they are thrilled when we get to go to a new playground! Often on our camping trips we will try to get to a new playground everyday and it's a lot of fun.

Thanks for sharing, Paige!


Wednesday 28th of June 2023

You won’t regret the balcony. We kept going back and forth because it’s so much more expensive but we ended up splurging. Let me tell you, it was worth every penny. The room was so much more spacious. And it was nice to be able to get away from the crowds while still enjoying the breeze. It is also really nice to see the ports when you pull in. I hope you love it as much as we did!


Tuesday 27th of June 2023

Paige and Kristen- I love this post. It hit home in so many ways… especially the “crumbs of time”. I am a long time reader and rarely (if ever) leave a comment :) I screenshot your advice and sent your web page to my 22-year old recent college grad. I’m right there with you on education … I spend a lot of money on it because it is so, so, so important! And I’m going to start a “Sister’s Fun Fund”. I just love that idea.


Monday 26th of June 2023

Nice to meet you! I agree generally about kids and fancy travel, with a few cautions. I feel lucky that my parents were adventurous travelers and we shared many happy family travels, including some that weren't so happy at the time but are now funny memories. But our normal was moving a lot, and we were expected to pay attention to tour guides, geography, and history, and not to complain. I saw a group of American teenagers in France who were clearly enjoying an expensive trip without their parents. They paid no attention at all to the guide or to the chateau we were visiting, they were so absorbed in each other. Their parents wasted their money. They are likely to have reached home able to say they had been in France, but they learned nothing from the experience. I don't want to be unfair or too critical, but "vacation" is a trigger for some people that springs out of everyday life. An attentive trip to any nearby attraction can be interesting and exciting; it isn't necessary to travel a long way to exotic places to learn and enjoy. And of course it depends on the ages of the kids and what good examples their parents are, for making the effort to be good travelers: polite, interested listeners and observers, contributing to a good experience for everyone. Good travelers can be shaped close to home!

Central Calif. Artist

Monday 26th of June 2023

Paige, such interesting answers! Thank you for the book "Drift"; it will be fun to learn what you have to say about one's twenties being the time to set one's course. It is a shame that we have to make such enormous decisions when we have the least amount of experience, wisdom and brain power. Maybe I'll run into someone in her twenties to share the info with.

Loved the Brothers Fun Fund idea. Currently I am 750 miles from home, visiting my sister, and my mom who lives in the area. Do you think it would be appropriate to ask Mom for gas money to drive back home? 8-)

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