My Shoestring Story
“Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.” ~Napoleon Hill
Welcome to “The Shoestring Budget”
The Shoestring Budget was created to encourage and inspire others to plot their path to financial freedom, to develop a personal spending plan using simple strategies to get out of debt and save money.
My goal is to show you how to stretch your hard-earned dollars, become a frugal shopper getting the most bang for your buck and to enjoy a frugal lifestyle. In this time of national uncertainty and a struggling economy it’s more important than ever to take control of your finances.
I’m glad to have you here!
If you enjoy this site and find something that helps your family live a better life, please leave us a comment and share our site with others. I welcome your comments, as well as your own recipes and frugal tips. My hope is that we will learn from each other!
I have never been one for schedules, discipline and budgets. For the most part I let the day progress, as the day would progress. What I should say is I flew by the seat of my pants, was undisciplined and incredibly overwhelmed by what life threw my way. Of course I reaped what I sowed… “Life on a Shoestring”
It wasn’t until my four children grew up and I had eight grandchildren that the necessity for budgets, meal plans and price lists became survival tools. Learning to be disciplined in the art of budgeting, organization, keeping schedules and meal planning is somewhat like being in a foreign country, but it’s well worth the effort to learn your way around.
How I Got Here: A series of disastrous events that lead me to the land of Shoestrings
In the middle of March 2009, I choked on a piece of “Better Than Sex” cake; my husband performed the Heimlich technique and broke my rib, but saved my life. Two weeks later my mother had a major stroke. Early April my older sister, Sandy, drove in from Las Vegas to help with Mother, she fell, broke some bones and died later that week; after we took her home to Las Vegas and the funeral was over I returned to Oklahoma. Two days after I returned I was fired from my job. All of these major calamities happened within a two month period from the middle of March to the middle of May 2009. With my age and health against me, coupled with depression there wouldn’t be a job in my near future. With the main income gone our lifestyle changed dramatically.
I floundered along in a fog for awhile just trying to cope with all that had happened. I had pretty much become a hermit, rarely leaving the house or talking to anyone. The following year, as life would have it, my middle daughter relapsed; she is an addict-alcoholic. We struggled with her addiction and behaviors to no avail and finally I took guardianship of her three small children. Culture shock, big time! We instantly grew to a family of eight with the whole house having to be rearranged. I felt like the old woman who lived in the shoe!
Time For A Reality Check
With my husband, two daughters, four grandchildren and myself all living on $25,000 a year something had to give. I worked here and there which brought in another $4-$6,000 a year. It felt like we were starting all over again, except we were much older this round. It was time to take a long hard look at our finances and figure out a new approach.
I started working with the numbers and came up with a budget. My husband has never been interested in our household finances so I was pretty much left to figure out a budget on my own. One of the problems I ran into is I couldn’t seem to figure out our food budget, it was all over the place. Then there would be times I was just too tired to cook or forgot to take something out of the freezer so it was off to the fast food market. Somewhere along the way it finally dawned on me that meal planning might be the answer. Voila, now the food budget was in place. If you need to cut expenses the kitchen is one area that has a lot of wiggle room.
The road to success is filled with distractions, temptations, failures and good old determination.
The struggle to change old habits and learn a new way of living has been a comedy of errors, with lots of bumps, tears and giggles along the way. I have to say there are times it just plain sucks but for the most part it’s been a rewarding adventure. Priorities have changed, our personal spending plan is in place, we are becoming more disciplined, and we find joy in simple things like growing a vegetable garden, getting creative in the kitchen, thrifting and spending time together as a family.
Adjust Your Attitude and Stay Focused! You Can Do It!
The Shoestring Budget