Tell us about yourself and your family.
I’m Kristen, the blogger behind Joyfully Thriving. I’m a former Lutheran school teacher turned stay at home mom.
I’m married to Andy, a Lutheran school teacher and Athletic director, who teaches junior high at St. Paul’s Lutheran School. We met while attending college at Concordia University, Seward, Nebraska. He was a senior while I was a freshman and although we knew each other then, it wasn’t until eight years later that we were married. I can say with confidence that Andy was worth every minute of waiting! God’s plans were better than mine. They always are.
Andy and I have been blessed with three children – Nathan, Emma and Lily.
Who’s more frugal – you or your spouse? How so?
That would definitely be me! My husband can be a saver, too, but I am the one who gets the thrill over watching my grocery bill go down as I hand in my coupons. I love seeing what I can get for free when I go shopping. Andy is getting good at answering my questions, “Guess how much I saved this time?”
Were you raised to be frugal? If so, how? If not, what made you become this way?
I was indeed! My Dad is a Lutheran pastor and my Mom is a Lutheran school teacher turned stay-at-home Mom. I lived a frugal life – without ever realizing it. We wore hand-me-downs, rewashed our Ziploc bags, packed our lunches and rarely ate out, but I never felt like we were lacking for anything.
Who (or what) has had the most influence on your frugality?
Besides my parents, I’d have to say the biggest influence on my frugality is our desire to save so that someday I can stay home with our children. Both Andy and I had parents who sacrificed financially so our Moms could stay home with us. We want our children to know the same.
How does your faith influence your frugality?
I believe my faith should influence everything I do. Why is frugality any different?
I believe God has called us to be good stewards of what He has given us. It doesn’t matter the amount of our paycheck but what matters is how we use it.
What’s so appealing about being frugal?
Let’s be honest. Frugality isn’t always fun – at the present moment. There are certainly times when I wish we had the money to finish a home project all at once – rather than stretching it out over two plus years. However…
Frugality is appealing because it teaches you contentment as you wait to reach your goals. It’s great to complete another project without debt! Our life is rich regardless of the amount in our bank accounts. God has given us enough for each day and frugality helps us to be content with what we have.
What is your biggest frugality challenge?
My biggest frugality challenge? Just one? It would have to be matching our desire to save with the ability to save. We want to save for retirement and we are – but we could (and should) do more.
While we love our ministry of teaching at Lutheran schools, the money can be tight especially for our long hours spent at school. It’s hard to make people understand that while we’re not in it for the money, we do want to be able to support our family on our salary. I honestly think people would be shocked if they knew what most church workers earned. That is the reason why I strive to be as frugal as I can – working to stretch our pennies and dollars – for today and tomorrow.
What’s your best frugality tip?
My best frugality tip would be to start small and start today living frugally. Chose one goal at a time and tackle it. Don’t wait any longer! Maybe you’re going to start by paying $10 extra on a loan or maybe you’re going to use a coupon at the store on a product you were already going to buy. Each frugal choice of yours will have lasting consequence. Besides, everyone has to start somewhere! Even the most frugal of us always has room to learn and improve.
Any final frugal thoughts to share?
Living frugally doesn’t mean you have to live without joy! God has given us so many blessings. We need to choose to be thankful for what we have – rather than dwelling on what we don’t.
Remember, God always provides for His children. We may not understand how or why but He does and He will.
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!