Oh, hey there!
Welcome to Mindfully Frugal Mom!
Before we start, I'd just like to lay all my cards out here. I can't tell you how to refinance your mortgage, consolidate student loans, or negotiate a better interest rate on your credit cards (well, maybe the last one!). What I can do is help you manage your family's time, resources, and energy more efficiently, while keeping an eye on how all our household decisions affect the larger world. As moms, our daily life is a microcosm of the external world, and it is easy to get wrapped up in the day to day minutia of life with small children. It helps keep us healthier physically. mentally, and spiritually, to remember that our "minutia" has wide-reaching consequences on the world at large, and small changes that we institute in our households not only help our lives run more smoothly, but can very well grow into something earth-changing!
When my husband and I both chose to attend expensive private colleges, we weren't considering the fact that hefty student loans + teacher's salary wasn't the best equation for solid financial footing. Add to that 2 children, and our decision to become a one-income family, and it has certainly required some fancy footwork, and yes, sacrifice, just to keep our heads above water. Do I wish that we had paid more aggressively on our student loans before we got married, had a mortgage, and I stopped working? Of course. But hindsight is 20/20, and since there isn't anything we can do about it now (except keep making those monthly payments *sigh*), we've decided to change our lifestyle. Is it the same as when I could go out and spend $85 on a pair of jeans on a whim? Not by a long shot.
It's better now. While our splurges currently consist of trips to Starbucks financed by gift cards from my husband's students, our lifestyle is more thoughtful, frugal, and considered. In between 2008 and 2010, we made the transition from a 2 income family with no children to a 1 income family with 2 children, and I can honestly say I've never been happier. I have learned to be a better steward of the resources I do have, and feel a greater sense of purpose knowing my choices will make the earth a better place for my children and their children.
I'm eager to share the things I've learned in the past three years about saving money on the things we buy everyday, cooking in a way that saves time, money, and is healthier than using prepared foods, and living an eco-friendly lifestyle -- on the cheap! And all the tips I will give you are things I already do -- I would never endorse a way of doing things I don't personally practice. Thanks for taking this journey with me.