Welcome to This Big Happy! Living a full life with more, for less!

I once told my husband that it’s a whole lot easier to fall into a hole than it is to crawl out of it. Time has been a patient teacher with us. In our 15 years of marriage we’ve had a lot of ups and downs, especially when it comes to our finances. Let me tell you, we’ve run the gamut. We’ve gone from having tens of thousands of “extra” in the bank to visiting a food bank. Mostly though, we’ve fit somewhere in the middle.

I spent the first 12 years of our marriage as a stay-at-home mother to our 5 children. In 2008 I entered the work force out of necessity, and when I say necessity I don’t mean we did it to pay for a new car or to be able to take vacations. Necessity meant that we were broke, 7 of us living in one bedroom of my in-law’s house after my husband experienced an extended job loss.

This post isn’t about all that; I don’t want to write about that experience right now. I just want you to know how desperate I felt. Things got better, things ARE better. Last winter I became very ill and eventually I left my job because of it. When I recovered I worked very (very) part-time for a company caring for the elderly , and I loved my job, but working 4 or 8 hours a week at minimum wage just wasn’t worth the time away from my family and gas put into my vehicle. So, I’m at home again, and for the most part I love it.

My job today, aside from seeing to the kids, is to keep our home and finances in check. I have no qualms admitting that I’m a lousy housekeeper. Seriously, lousy. I am pretty good at keeping our finances under control though, especially when I’m really motivated with a goal like being able to stay home with the kids for a few more years.

What I’ve found is that the little things add up. A $5 venti-mocha-latte-chino once or twice a week, for example, adds up to big bucks. A quick $10 fast food meal for two once a week because you really don’t want to eat leftovers is $520 a year! That would pay my water and electricity bill for a month!

Your expenses don’t even have to be that big. The worst temptation to my budget is the dollar store. Everything is a dollar. A DOLLAR. (repeat my mantra: “an elephant on sale for a dime is a great deal, if you really need an elephant and if you have a dime”)

I don’t want you to think that living frugally (I prefer to call it “financially mindful” but frugal has become the craze these days) is all about ignoring your wants and occasionally your needs. No, living frugally is about making small, daily decisions in order to prioritize your wants and needs to allow you to provide all of your needs and some of your wants. You can live a frugal life and have everything you want because chances are, you’ll find out some of your “needs” are really wants, and you want some things more than others.

I’m here to help you do that. Not all of the information and posts here will suit all of you, take what you can use and leave the rest. Please note that my opinions are just that and my advice is not meant to be used in place of an expert.

What you WILL find here:

My personal stories, things that have worked for us, book reviews, product reviews, recipes, inspiration and advice, honest observations and reflection.

What you WON’T find here:

Coupon link-ups (but I can tell you where to find those), daily deals for your city, links to stores running deals, refer-a-friend sites.

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