Frugal Living Interview with Bethany Nummela-Hanel

Today, I’d like to introduce you to my second-cousin, Bethany. Our grandpas were brothers, and amazingly, through family reunions and college years together at Seward, we have become as close as first-cousins. I love both her and her witty husband. Bethany and Mike were actually the first ones to hear my dream of creating this website when Mike and I compared shopping notes, much to Bethany’s entertainment.

Bethany has a great perspective on frugality which I know you’ll enjoy reading. You can read more by Bethany at her website, The Dimly Seen. Thanks, Bethany, for sharing with us!

Tell us about yourself and your family.

I’m 29. I like to read a lot and do crafty things like sew, crochet, and other DIY stuff. My husband, Mike, and I have been married for four years. We moved to Cincinnati for Mike to start a Ph.D. program in Classics shortly after we were married. To help support us in addition to Mike’s stipend, I started working part-time at a law school library. In 2010, I started working on a master’s degree in Library and Information Science to increase my flexibility in the library world (and also to take advantage of a tuition benefit through work that I had ignoring for 3 years!). This spring I moved to full-time at my library and increased my course load. Things are now officially busy! Hopefully within 2 years, we’ll both be out of school (for a little while) and ready for the newer adventure!

Where do you live? What’s your home church?

I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. We moved here four years ago so my husband could attend graduate school. Our home church is Zion Lutheran, here in Cincinnati (but on the other side of the city–we drive through Kentucky to get there!).

Who’s more frugal – you or your spouse? How so?

My husband is definitely the more frugal one. He grew up on a farm where while money might not always be tight, it definitely wasn’t consistent and often at the whim of mother nature. Also his personality is just one to save for the uncertain future. So his mentality is to save as much as possible, and mine is to get the best deal on the things I want.

Were you raised to be frugal? If so, how? If not, what made you become this way?

No, I wasn’t raised to be frugal, though my father still laments that neither my brother nor I reconcile our checking accounts. (Don’t worry my husband does that; it’s nice to divide up those household chores.) The biggest lesson I did inherit from my parents was to always have a good money cushion–that really set me up for living on my own and then working with my husband’s frugality.

Who (or what) has had the most influence on your frugality?

Definitely my husband has had the most impact on my frugality. Learning where he is coming from and why he uses money the way he does helped me to think more about my spending habits and work my own way of treating money in way that’s compatible (mostly 🙂 ) with his.

How does your faith influence your frugality?

God is the one who ultimately provides for our well-being so I want to be sure that I am using what he has given me in the best way I know how. I don’t want to waste my money, but I also want to enjoy the gifts he’s given. So I try not to stress out too much about purchases or the lack thereof.

What’s so appealing about being frugal?

I love frugality when it’s a game. How much can I save and still get what I really want? It’s been a personal quest since I began making my own purchases. However, it’s been ramped up a notch with my super-saver husband in the picture. I know how to save, but having someone to save with makes it easier. He also affirms my good decisions and ohs and ahs over my savings.

What is your biggest frugality challenge?

My biggest frugality challenge is enjoying spending the money I have. If I worry too much about how much things are costing, I don’t enjoy the shopping experience. You can’t NOT buy things so when I do spend money I want to enjoy the experience not begrudge it.

What’s your best frugality tip?

When I’m going to have a shopping day–especially for clothes, I scour the internet for coupons for the stores I’m going to. That way, if I find something cute I already know I’m getting a deal. It’s even better if you find that cute thing on the clearance rack (though check your restrictions).

Any final frugal thoughts to share?

Being frugal is an attitude. If you aren’t enjoying yourself, you aren’t going to stick to it.

Each month, we feature an interview as part of our “Meet a Frugal Lutheran…” series. The interviewees share how their faith has shaped their frugality. If you’d like to participate, simply send me an email at [email protected] and I’ll send you a questionnaire!

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One Comment

  1. The last few years My wife an I have been practicing “frugalism” (haha I coined a new term:) and I feel less stress and alot better.

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