David and I have never made big money while we were a couple, but we are fantastic frugal ninjas, and we have been able to live a good life. What’s our secret? We are content with what we have.
Our biggest financial challenge yet came when David was long haul trucking and got into an accident. Don’t worry, no one was injured, but the company let him go. I was pregnant, but I wasn’t worried yet, since I thought he could easily find another trucking job. Then his job search stretched and stretched and stretched on. Instead of living larger, I had saved aggressively when his income was way more than we needed, so we had enough to get by on now. We found out it was twins, and then we had the twins, and he still hadn’t found a job. (Well, he had, but it was pizza delivery—been there, done that, and I knew he could do better.) When the twins were 2 months old, 9 months after losing his job, David was hired again.
I’m not made of stone. It really hurt to see our diligently gathered savings dwindle. But out of that hardship came one of the best things when having twins—David was able to help me care for them full time for two months! Just seeing the strong bond between the boys and their dad made it all worth it.
David is still working at a warehouse, and yes, for a family of seven, it is a small income. We give up a lot of things we don’t care much about to make sure our necessities and our most wanted luxuries are covered. I can’t change our income much, but what I can control is my attitude. And if I get the itch to buy something expensive, I make a comparison. These shoes cost four times as much as the other ones, but are they four times better? Almost every time, the answer is no, and I can happily buy the shoes in my budget. I also get a kick out of using things up completely, a handy knack for a frugal ninja. We are about to buy our next car, and I will enjoy passing our 18-year-old minivan to its next owner because we got full use out of it.
Kids are masters of being content with enough. My son Brendan raids the recycling to create robot suits, and he created his own deck of Faux-kemon cards instead of buying some. My daughter Ivy regularly buys her own candy, and then shares half the bag with her siblings. She also used her own money to bribe the twins to do a chore, even though I said she could use the money for allowances (generous, but also big brain). She doesn’t care about giving of her own as long as she has enough for herself.
This stage of life has its perks. My kids are funnier than any Comedy Central special. I get all the snuggles I need. (Everyone needs snuggles!) I’m making an impact on the world that will last long beyond me by raising competent, caring adults. It’s easy to be happy with a bounty like that.
Aubrey True is the mother of five kids under 11, including 4 year old twins. She has lived in Azle and Weatherford for most of her life. Her interests include coffee, reading, minimalism, and cognitive behavioral therapy.