Frugal Living Interviews: Jolene Whirrett


Today, I’d like to introduce you to my wonderful mother-in-law. Andy and I are thankful that we both had frugal Moms who taught us to live frugally. I am truly blessed to have married into such a wonderful family!

Tell us about yourself and your family.

I’m Jolene, married for 37 years to my handy, helpful, sweet and loving husband, Mike, and I’m mother of 4 amazing children. (Andy, wife of Kristen, is our oldest!) My employer is Lutheran Children’s Hospital where I am an RN on the pediatric unit.  I am also a volunteer nurse at A Hope Center, a pro-life crisis pregnancy center, here in Fort Wayne.  Our 3 sons have homes of their own and our daughter is a senior in college at Concordia, Mequon in Wisconsin so we are currently empty nesters.  Yay and Boo!

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

We live in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and our home church is Ascension Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.

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

I would say that we are equally frugal.  For example, Mike can shop around for WEEKS for the best price on a major purchase while I will make 9 out of 10 of our meals at home, rather than going out to eat.

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

My parents had 9 children so you bet I was raised to be frugal!  For Christmas, each of us usually received one piece of clothing and one toy and usually a game for the whole family.  I don’t remember ever thinking that I didn’t get enough, though.  Also, we were only allowed to have ice cream on Tuesday and Saturday nights and baths only on those nights, too!  And the only time we were allowed to have pop was when we had big get-togethers such as graduations, family reunions or on holidays!

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

My husband’s and my frugality probably came out of necessity. Putting four kids each through twelve years of parochial schools and three of through the Concordia Universities was certainly not very cheap. It was very much worth it but still not cheap.

How does your faith influence your frugality?

We know and have experienced time and again that God provides!  Mike has been laid off many times over the years from his job as plumber/pipefitter.  We’ve tried to be smart with our finances and frugal in our spending and we’ve always given a percentage of our income to our church and other charities.  We may not always have what we WANT but we always have been blessed with what we NEED.  To God be the glory!

What’s so appealing about being frugal?

Being frugal in everyday expenses allows us to splurge occasionally.  It’s fun to save and watch our pennies and then be rewarded by being able to pay cash for a much dreamed about purchase.

What is your biggest frugality challenge?

In our younger married life, it was making the monthly house payment.  Then paying for the kids schooling and college.  Now, it’s saving for retirement.  Like everyone else, through every step of our lives we’ve had different monetary needs and to be able to balance out our monthly budget needs with the future needs is indeed a challenge.

What’s your best frugality tip?

Pay off your credit cards every month, save money every week no matter how small and take a sack lunch every day to work or school.  It may not seem like much, but it all adds up!

Any final frugal thoughts to share?

Give freely with what you have been blessed.  Make a dish or meal for those church, work or other acquaintances who have been hospitalized, down or otherwise in need.  I don’t know if that’s a frugal thought  but it IS Biblical!
“…but the righteous give without sparing”,  “…freely you have received, freely give…”,  “…give and it will be given to you…”, “…let him give generously…”,

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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