Our Journey to Frugal Living: The Challenge Part 1

In part 3 of Our Journey to Frugal Living, I shared how we went from years wasteful spending to learning to budget. We were paying off debt and building up our savings. God was working in us and changing how we thought about how we managed what we’d been given. We had no idea that He was preparing us for what was ahead.

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On September 3rd of 2008, my husband lost his job due to restructuring; another company suffering the impact of the troubled economy. We did not freak out. We had no credit card debt and had cut our car debt in half. We also had three months of living expenses in an emergency fund and an almost fully funded Christmas savings account. My husband also received a severance package which we promptly put into savings.

I knew I could cut the grocery budget some more and still have plenty, especially since I already had a stockpile to work with. We ended up cutting it down to $40 a week. Thankfully we lived near a Kroger and they still doubled coupons so I was able to make that budget work quite well for us.

We cut back on things like entertainment, meals out, etc. We learned to be creative and more frugal in in how we approached family outings. We figured we could make more dramatic cuts if it looked like this period of unemployment would go on for an extended period of time.

We were able to live off of what we had in our checking account up until the last week of November when we finally had to dip into savings.

I was (and still am) so proud of how my husband handled himself during that time. I know it wasn’t easy for him but he did not let it get him down.

He treated his job search as a job and spent his days working on finding a new job. He did not slack off. He just kept moving forward.

It wasn’t easy. The job market was collapsing and we watched job opportunities dry up over the period of just a few months. Thankfully, he had begun the interview process with two companies before things got really bad and ultimately one of those companies would offer him a job.

He started a new job on December 8th, 2008. We were incredibly grateful for the job even though it came with a significant decrease in pay compared to the previous job he’d had, almost 40% less in fact.

The pay was enough to cover bills and expenses but we’d have to get creative to come up with extra money for savings. However, we knew that we had learned the skills to handle it and trusted God would provide what we needed. We were ready to move forward and had no idea that the challenge wasn’t over yet – not even close.

Join me next week for the fifth installment of Our Journey to Frugal Living: The Challenge Part 2.

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Janet is a mom to two daughters and is married to her best friend. Her belief that we are blessed so that we may bless others fuels her writing at frugalandfocused.com where she shares her thoughts on faith, family, and frugal living. She strives to make the most of what she's given in life and hopes to inspire others to do the same.