Living frugally can look vastly different to different people. This isn't the most comfortable topic for me to write about, but it's part of our story. If someone can glean a little something from it, great! But if not, well, it's simply our story.
I was raised in a thrifty household. Our mantra: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. That background came in useful when seven years into our marriage we were forced to make every penny last as long as possible.
Growing up, as normal for Amish families, neither LV or I received an allowance. Any money we may have earned was given to our parents until either you turned twenty one, or you got married. I won't go into my thoughts about that now, except to wonder how I could possibly have been so thrilled to have a whopping eighty dollars to my name when we got married.
We got married and took over LV's family farm. Bit by bit we squirreled away money, saving up a healthy nest egg.
Things started changing when we moved to Missouri. We wanted to continue farming out there, but that first year was hard. For some mysterious reason our calves would be healthy and happy until they reached around 400 pounds and then they'd get sick and many of them died. It was a blow to our nest egg, but we finally figured out what was causing them to get sick and we were able to make the changes we needed.
But a year later the real blow came. We had left the Amish, which meant we lost our Amish health "insurance". I became deathly ill from a ruptured gall bladder and required a lengthy hospital stay.
Thankful to have survived and our happy little family still intact, we now faced the impossible task of paying all the doctor and hospital bills. After we were wiped clean … down to thirty-six cents in our bank account, the hospital and doctors were willing to set up a payment plan to get our remaining medical bills paid off over the next twenty years.
Having already been living what we thought was a frugal life, we were about to take frugal living to a whole new level.
To be continued … in a series of blogposts of ways we made our pennies stretch and what living frugally looked like for us.