At the beginning of this month, I was picked as an Econobusters Reviewer. I was SO excited. I absolutely &heart; this series from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Molly Green always as such great ways for us to live a frugal, better lifestyle. So before I started out reviewing her digests I wanted to sit down and ask her a few questions...and she was gracious enough to agree. Hope you enjoy!
Have you always been this frugal and good at organization?
No—it’s been a learning curve, and I’m still learning! One great thing about frugality is that it builds on itself. Pretty soon it becomes second nature to ask myself questions like, “Can I live without this?” “What do I already have at home that could be used instead?” I started looking at things in a new light—thinking of ways to re-purpose and re-use instead of just throwing away.
So, I’m paying more conscious attention to the resources we have—money, time, belongings, etc. and I guess that helps with organization, too. I look at each commodity and ask “How can I best use this.” or “How can I store it, or look after it?” It’s a day-by-day process.
So, what led you to be this way?
Well, I’m probably similar to most people—usually some trigger, whether it’s cutting back to one income, or going through unemployment, or just growing a family and having more mouths to feed—causes us to clue in that there’s not (nor will there ever be) an inexhaustible supply of money, and there’s only so many ways it can be stretched. “Having it all” is a fallacy. Everything has a price tag, and conscious choices need to be made about what really is important.
I’ve experienced all of the above—unemployment, one income, and growing a family—and I’m still learning how to make the most of what we have available. Nobody else can do that for me!
What is your favorite part of being frugal, besides saving money?
I like that it’s a conscious, thinking, purposeful way to live. It’s about sensible choices and good stewardship. It’s about simplifying and bringing sanity to my lifestyle and home. Eventually it’s about freedom and independence. I do NOT need to be controlled by advertisements and other people’s expectations. It’s actually a very rewarding and fulfilling way to live!
What are your favorite tips you like to share with your readers?
I’d just like to first encourage readers that a frugal lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s not a get-rich-quick or a get-out-of-debt overnight story. But little by little, the small changes add up to big results. A marathon is long, it’s hard work, but it’s also exhilarating and rewarding.
Some more tips:
Think before spending.
Be grateful for everything.
Share what you have.
Keep things (budgets, plans, goals) simple—you’re more likely to stay on track.
If you fall off the wagon (and you probably will) don’t beat yourself up—just climb back on!
Plan ahead whenever you can—whether it’s meals, gifts, commitments, or anything else.
But remember the saying, “Blessed are the flexible, for they will not get bent out of shape.”
Do you ever have a moment when you feel trying to be thrifty and organizational is just too much?
Absolutely! And I actually think it’s important to understand and anticipate that those times will hit. Allow a little splurge once in a while. Last week I bought myself a gorgeous (though small) bunch of pink gerbera daisies at the grocery store for $4.95. I know that I could have bought 6 pounds of pasta instead, but I can’t put a price tag on how much I’ve enjoyed those daisies. I don’t know that I’ve EVER bought myself flowers before in my life—but I’ve probably bought 600 pounds of pasta. In the big picture it was $4.95 very well spent. On my budget, if I bought flowers every week it would NOT be money well spent, that’s what makes it such a treat!
And I’m not always busily trying to organize. I think it’s important to remember that organization isn’t an end in itself. Part of Webster’s definition of organization reads “…to arrange the several parts of for action or work.” It’s just putting things and time in place so that life runs more smoothly. The whole point of organizing is to save time, energy, and money for the things that are important and can be enjoyed—like playing with the kids, or curling up with a good book!
Any favorite sayings, scriptures....
Oh my—so many!
I think one of my very favorite verses is “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5) It applies to just about every area of our lives!
What made you decided to created Molly's Money-Saving Digest?
Molly’s parent company is The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine—a homeschooling publication. Many of our subscribers are one-income families at the best of times, and need to be thrifty to make it work. However, we realize that today’s economic challenges extend far beyond the homeschooling community.
There are lots of excellent frugal sites and publications already out there, and lots of thrifty professionals who specialize in one area or another, yet we feel there is a particular niche for Molly.
We want to be a cheerful, non-intimidating community, especially welcoming for those who are new to frugality. We want to focus on all the different areas of a homemaker’s life—not just food, or financial budgeting. We want to be a go-to resource and share resources and ideas and tools as we find them. We want to learn and grow along with our readers in a community of friends so that we’re all better equipped to make the best of all we’ve been given.
Did you ever think they would be as popular as they are?
We are thrilled with our readership community, and hope it continues to grow by leaps and bounds! We greatly value reader feedback—we want to know how we can help. Email MollyGreen@Econobusters.com with your suggestions!
What's your favorite article in the digest each month?
Wow. That’s really hard to say. I do enjoy the variety that comes from a different featured topic each month. I just finished the manuscript for the February 2010 Digest where the feature was no-and-low-cost ways to show family and friends that you love them. That was fun!
I also love the weekly menu plan as it encourages me to try new recipes. And I enjoy the Something Old-Something New column. It’s a fun challenge to see how things can be recycled—like the cooling rack turned jewelry display in January’s Digest, or 7 things to do with an old flannel shirt—coming up in our February Digest.
What would be the one thing you tell a person who has decided they want to save money and live a more frugal lifestyle?
Think before you spend. Think while you spend. Be patient and persevere. Oh, I guess that’s more than one…pick your favorite!
Do you have any websites that people who are just starting out should visit?
Well, www.econobusters.com of course! We’re always sharing links to other frugal sites and resources.
There are many excellent websites out there, depending on a reader’s particular interests. Some of my favorites include Get Rich Slowly, and The Simple Dollar.
Simple Mom is another great site.
Do you have anything else you'd like to share with the readers today?
Well, I’d just want to encourage each one that a frugal lifestyle is not a drag. It’s a good life! It takes patience and perseverance, and planning, but it’s so worth it. Plug into a community like www.econobusters.com for regular inspiration. It’s much easier to stay on track with regular doses of support!