Hi! I’m Kate! I’m a high school science & math teacher turned stay at home mom to three kids. I love coffee, music, cooking, gardening, and the great outdoors. And of course, my family! Our oldest, The Bookworm is 13. He’s in eighth grade, loves being in band and chorus, and he takes piano lessons once a week. Monkey is 9, in fourth grade, has a big imagination, and loves to read and write comics. Then there’s Lady Bug. She’s 7, in first grade, and is small for her age, but she always has big hugs and keeps her older brothers in line. All three have me running around between soccer, musical theatre, and dance classes, so lately I seem to live in my car more than I do at home.
After high school, I began my long journey through college; it’s where I met Hubs! We both majored in Environmental Science. When we were juniors in college, we found out we were having a baby boy! Even as new parents, we chugged through school and continued on to graduate school. Two Masters degrees, three kids, and four moves later, we bought a house. It sits on a little over 1.6 acres, and is at least a 30 minute drive from the closest town.
As parents and graduate school students, we tried to be aware of how much we were spending and exactly what our money was being spent on. But let’s be real. It didn’t always happen. After having Lady Bug, I was not keen on a job that would land us further in debt between travel expenses and daycare. We had decided that in order to save money, I would stay home with the kids while they were young. It was not an easy decision, and it’s one I still struggle with from time to time.
Then in 2013, Bookworm needed to start Phase 1 of orthodontic work. We were already stretching our income with rent, utilities and paying down our debts. I simply refused to lower what we were paying on our debt to extend the inevitable. It was time to get creative with our budget and make cuts where we could. I started couponing and stockpiling items we use regularly, but in the end it wasn’t saving me gobs money.
In 2014, we bought our house. It may have been a reverse move to some, but we live where prices of housing were being driven to sky high prices because of all the Marcellus shale drilling activity. By buying a house, we reduced our housing payment by over $300 per month. At the same time, with the newly freed up money, we started getting serious about our debt payments.
As we strive for our debt freedom, I’m keeping our eyes on the prize: making wiser decisions and long term improvements to our spending habits so we can do things we enjoy and make more memories as a family. In the process, I’m finding a renewed love for a simpler life by reducing our belongings, growing and preserving more of our own food, and cooking from scratch. I’m also finding a renewed pleasure in sewing & knitting, as well as making our own cleaners and personal care products.
Thanks for joining me in this adventure as I share how we’re learning to live a fun, frugal and fulfilling life!