My Epic Journey Out of $30,000 of Debt

No matter how long you’ve been frugal, just about everyone wrestles with large bills and debts at some point in their lives. You’ll be going along fine and something blows you out of the water. Maybe it just wipes out the emergency fund, or maybe it does a whole lot more damage, leaving you in a deep dark hole that you slowly have to dig out of. It could be medical, legal, or some act of God that just cleans you out above and beyond anything you can prepare for. (I live in Tornado land, I’ve seen this first hand!)

In my case, I was hit with a string of huge life events over several years that made it feel like I would never climb my way back out of that hole. And let me tell you, the truth really is stranger than fiction. I could not make up the crazy stuff that’s happened to me in the past few years. If I can pay off $30,000 in medical, credit card and consumer debt, anyone can. Let me tell you my story.

Spending some family time hiking at Starved Rock State Park shortly after the divorce.

Me and my older boys at Starved Rock State Park shortly after the divorce.

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5 Frugal Books Worth Reading (And Re-Reading!)

5 great frugal books worth reading and rereading
Whether you’re new to frugality, or an old hand at it, there are certain books that are classics in this niche. They’re worth reading if you haven’t gotten around to it. They’re also worth re-reading, especially if you’re feeling like you’ve lost your frugal “mojo”. Reading just a few pages a day of any of the following books is a great way to refresh your frugal soul, generate new ideas and get excited again about your frugal journey. It can also help you reconnect with why you’re frugal in the first place.

Sometimes we all need that extra boost, especially in a society where we are constantly bombarded by advertisements telling us we need more, and that we’re somehow not enough. So grab a copy from the library, your kindle, your bookshelf or your favorite used bookstore and rekindle your frugal fires!

Update 8/6/2015: I’m excited to announce that we’ll be reading through most of these books in the next 6 months on Frugal Moms²! I’ll have more details soon!

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What To Do When Your World Is On Fire

dieting and life are both like hell sometimes

Dieting? How about life???

Ever had one of those days, months or even years where nothing seems to go right? Sure, there are always challenges, and life is rarely quiet on all fronts, but how about those times where every area of your life seems to explode in your face?

We’re having one of those months. I wish I could say, “I’ve been frugal all my adult life and my life is perfect and wonderful, we’re debt free and have no problems at all!” But that’s not reality. I doubt it’s reality for most people.

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30 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill

Here is a collection of strategies and tips for cutting your grocery bill. Some of these ideas I use religiously, others I am working on or struggling with! I have gleaned some of these from books, frugal relatives and my own improvising. By far the best resources are any relatives you have who remember the Great Depression (or check out cookbooks and stories from/about that time period) and The Tightwad Gazette books, my favorites! !

Start with strategies that you can implement without causing major revolt in your family, moving gradually to a goal of a lower budget for food that is healthy, wholesome and homemade! If I have left some out, please email me with your hints and tips, I would be happy to include them here!

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Frugality 101: Getting Started

Ok, you want to save money and tighten your budget, but where do you begin? Lots of people know they need help, but where do you start? Here are some ideas to get you started:

Set Goals-What is it you want to achieve? It may be something simple, like not living paycheck to paycheck, which would mean you are working towards having money in your savings and checking accounts. In that case, you will need to cut some of your spending and put it in the bank as a cushion. What if you are spending more than you earn? Then your goal would be to avoid accumulating more debt and get out of the debt you have. You also need to cut expenses. Take a hard look at your bank balances, your bills and your spending habits.

Discuss your goals-especially with your spouse, kids are optional. You may find that your spouse is feeling the same way and you can make a team effort. Or you may encounter resistance, which means you will have to set the example until your other half gets a clue about money. The key is not to criticize or make money the issue. Set the example and be the leader.

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