A Suddenly Frugal Life: Project Mom Casting

July 26, 2010

Suddenly Frugal founder Leah Ingram

What does it mean to be suddenly frugal? It’s when a family realizes that everything they understood to be financially sound turns out not to be so and they have to reinvent how they spend money–and reconsider the financial lessons they are passing down to their kids. This was the epiphany I had in 2007 when I started my Suddenly Frugal blog.

Through daily blogging I could hold our family accountable for the financial changes we were making in our lives. For the first time ever, I took an interest in our finances–previously, my husband had handled all the bills and I had stayed happily in the dark–and we worked actively to decrease spending. We started using online bill paying so that we’d never pay a late fee again, and we drastically altered how we fed our family.

Along the way life threw us a couple of curve balls, such as when our car died three months into our frugal lifestyle. We had to take out a loan to buy a new car and that felt like instant failure. But thanks to the frugal habits we’d already put in place, we were able to save enough to pay off that three-year car loan in 12 months. Then the economy tanked and I saw my income drop 50%. Once again our frugal habits helped us know how to tweak our spending so that this difficult time became a little less painful. While things are still tight around here, we’re in a pretty good place psychologically.

Good things happened along the way, too. My fashionista daughter developed a sense of buyer’s remorse, and both of my daughters learned to budget their money. I embraced the challenge of cooking dinner at home every night, which helped to cut spending (natch) but it also brought us closer as a family. Because being able to sit down together for a meal provides benefits way beyond saving money.

In addition, I was able to attract a literary agent and get a book deal based on my blog: Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier and Healthier for Less. Then I got a second book deal: Toss, Keep, Sell: The Suddenly Frugal Guide to Clearing Out Clutter and Cashing In.

Truth is we’re not out of the red completely yet. My oldest daughter is a sophomore in high school. My younger daughter is two years behind her. So in the very near future, we’re going to have to find a way to pay for college, and I’m not quite sure how we’re going to do that. This would freak out most people. I’m excited about the challenge. I’m confident that having developed a frugal point of view, we’ll figure out creative ways to find cash for college–and you can be sure I’ll be blogging about it as we go along.

This blog post is part of the submission/audition process for a new reality TV show about mom bloggers.

9 Responses to A Suddenly Frugal Life: Project Mom Casting

  1. […] Suddenly Frugal: Discover what it means for a family to be suddenly frugal. […]

  2. everydayfrugaleverydaygreen on August 3, 2010 at 9:56 am

    My niece is a rising h.s. senior and actively looking at colleges. She is considering several Canadian and British universities because the costs will be considerably lower than American schools. Also, high performing students can shave up to a year off their time in college by attaining a 4 or 5 on AP tests, thought not all schools will award college credit.

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  4. Leah Ingram on July 28, 2010 at 5:06 am

    Thanks for the link on the college-savings topic!

  5. Kate on July 28, 2010 at 3:11 am

    Sounds like you really have got your head screwed on the right way. I wish more families would spend the time really looking at their lifestyle and spending habits it could save so much heart ache.

    Sadly here in the Uk reports have come in of a man killing his whole family an then himself because he just couldn’t cope financially. This is so tragic and may have been able to be avoided if living frugally was something taught more in schools etc.

    As for your college fees etc check this page out for some ideas


  6. Linda on July 27, 2010 at 7:06 am

    How about checking into accelerated distance learning as a viable option for college. Check out College Plus http://www.collegeplus.org/ for one approach. College Plus is a Christian based program but I’m sure there are other programs out there as well. There’s also CLEP testing too which can greatly reduce costs. Taking loans for college in this economy can be pretty risky considering the number of recent college grads without jobs!

  7. Shannon on July 26, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    I really enjoy your blog so I thought I’d let you know what we’re doing for college for our girls.

    Our older daughter will be a freshman in college this fall. She toured and fell in love with one of the most expensive colleges in our area. I explained to her that if we’re in a position to help pay back loans when they come due that we would help; however, if we weren’t, then the responsibility was all hers. She wasn’t too thrilled with that idea, so she’s going to community college for the first two years. After she decided on the community college, she was notified that she had won a $3000 scholarship for an essay that she had written, so her first year of tuition at the community college is almost entirely covered!

  8. pbkennedy on July 26, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    College for the kids – Three affordable options:
    1) Two years at community college plus two years at a Very Expensive School
    2) Four years at a state school or the equivalent anywhere
    3) Two years at a community college plus two years at a state school (most affordable)

    For those interested in the medical field, you can get an RN with a special two-year community college degree program. Google “Associate Degree Nursing” and your state or local area.

  9. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Leah Ingram, Leah Ingram. Leah Ingram said: My submission for a new mom blogger TV show: http://bit.ly/9zCMLz […]

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