Today, my friend, Gwen, is sharing her frugal family tips for her large, gorgeous family! You’ll find Gwen blogging over at Tolivers to Texas. Welcome, Gwen!
Today at Gwen’s house . . .
When we first got married, I considered frugality to be a bit crazy. My sister mentioned that she had a subscription to the Tightwad Gazette, and my first thought was that she’d soon be collecting large balls of leftover string and forcing her husband to eat potato peel soup.
Fast forward twenty years, a life of full-time ministry, and eight kids — you will find that frugality has become a necessity for our family, but it’s often a lot of fun. Frugality is not necessarily dictated by your finances, but just by your mindset.
There is a certain measure of joy in showing your kids your grocery list and saying you have to buy everything on it for twenty dollars. The kids learn about comparing per ounce prices, they like competing against their siblings for the best bargains (sibling rivalry can work for you!) and they also learn that there are things they can do without. It requires creativity while teaching your kids that being a good steward of our money doesn’t have to be tedious.
There is also a certain measure of joy when Dad walks in the door telling us about the great bargain he just found – free materials to build a henhouse (giant black tubes leftover from a construction project that just required some cutting), a big bucket of paint that he bought for 70% off (just because he was willing to dig through the clearance section), or a giant box of Legos that a homeowner was tired of storing.
One of the ways we save money is by looking for alternatives, and not just trying to buy cheap at the local grocery store. For example, when we bought our fixer-upper house on three acres, John did some work for an electrician in exchange for a large, slightly used, air conditioning unit.
We needed a new stove, but with ten people in our family, a larger-than-average size was definitely in order. My husband located a restaurant supply store where we purchased a used Viking convection oven, extra-wide with a center griddle, for cheaper than what a new standard sized oven would have cost.
He also finished off the attic space of our fixer-upper house to make more room for the kids, rather than putting out a large amount of money for a big house addition. I’m blessed with a handy, mechanically-minded husband who can fix or build about anything. This has saved us a tremendous amount of money over the years. Not everyone has those talents, but you can certainly utilize what you do have. Creativity, ingenuity, and a bit of determination can take you from spending vast amounts of money at the store, to living a frugal, comfortable lifestyle where you find joy in the little things.
“Much ingenuity with a little money is vastly more profitable and amusing than much money without ingenuity.” – Arnold Bennett
Gwen Toliver, crazy tightwad, mother of eight, and wife of her one true love, writes about her family and ministry at Tolivers To Texas. Living in the country in Texas with a regular parade of chickens, cats, wild hogs, and skunks provides great blog material. She is also the author of Seed Sowers: Gospel-Planting Adventures – a true, modern-day collection of exciting, sad, scary, and hilarious missionary adventure stories targeted for children and families.
Don’t miss a thing! Subscribe to Ben and Me and get our articles right to your inbox!
©2007-2013 Ben and Me. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. https://www.benandme.com
We are thrilled to have you join us and pray Frugal Family 2013 will be a blessing to your family!