I’d like to introduce you to another Kristen – Kristen Gregory. Kristen and I met in Cincinnati, and within two years of each other, found ourselves moving to Fort Wayne for the men we loved and married.
Kristen is a great source of information for all things natural and organic, and does a wonderful job staying home with her two little ones. Take a look at the beautiful family picture, just hours after Marta was born!
I hope you’ll be encouraged by Kristen’s words and her perspective on frugality.
Tell us about yourself and your family.
My husband and I live with our daughters, Mary and Marta, in Fort Wayne. We attend St Paul’s church, where he is the associate pastor. Our first daughter, Vivian, died at 5 1/2 months. We will welcome as many children as God gives us, so we don’t have the option of living decadently. Our family is more important than our “stuff.” I am a stay-at-home mom.
Who’s more frugal – you or your spouse? How so?
My husband is far more frugal than I. He would never, ever spend money on anything if given a chance. I would happily buy anything I wanted at any time if given a chance–espeically gifts for friends! We have compromised by doing the “Dave Ramsey” cash/budgeting system, which means we designate how much money we will spen each month, and we don’t spend what we don’t have and haven’t agreed upon together ahead of time. We haven’t owned credit cards for three years (and yes, we still got a great loan). It was a very hard transition for me, but helped us to keep spending in check. At the beginning of every month, we have “Gregory Family Budget Meeting” and allot where our funds will go.
Were you raised to be frugal? If so, how? If not, what made you become this way?
I was a little spoiled growing up – I got whenever I wanted whenever I wanted it, so learning discipline has been a hard thing. It gets easier as time goes on (and our mortgage shrinks…). We realize that if we want to be able to keep me at home with our children and live on one salary, then we (I) needed more discipline in our spending.
Who (or what) has had the most influence on your frugality?
I have a dream. When we pay off our home, my husband and I are going to travel together in Italy. It keeps me excited and focused on not overspending our budget. We also pay out-of-pocket for our home births, so we have to be disciplined about sticking to our budget.
How does your faith influence your frugality?
As a Christian wife and mother, I am a steward of my home. I have to spend wisely, which is hard because we eat really healthy. We don’t eat any food with MSG, or corn syrup, or anything processed, which means most coupons don’t apply to me. We also make a lot of meals for people and entertain a lot; hospitality is very important to us.
What is your biggest frugality challenge?
It’s getting easier to write that huge check at the beginning of the month for our tithe. I imagine how much faster we could pay off our house or buy better food without that. Yet my husband never flinches; and God has blessed us abundantly with good gifts, so I have no reason to withhold or complain.
What’s your best frugality tips?
- We buy almost all my clothes and kid clothes from used stores.
- We rent our books and movies from the library, instead of buying them.
- Two of my biggest money-saving tips are our cleaners and home cooking. Keeping our family healthy is really important to me because we don’t buy regular cleaners and don’t eat any processed food. This is where being frugal is not a priority–I would rather feed us well and keep us healthy than spend less money.
- I only buy non-toxic cleaners–Shaklee’s Basic H (which I sell). One bottle of concentrate lasts about three years and serves as window cleaner, degreaser, stain treatment, and basic household cleaner. It is safe for our family, and since you add the water to the bottle, you aren’t throwing anything away!
- I also do all of our cooking. We eat out maybe two or three times per year. I make all our own broths and yogurt.
- I buy part of a grass-fed cow each year, which means I don’t spend much money on beef throughout the year, except this one big chunk.
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!