Frugal, not so frugal

Frugal: The biggest news around here is that I got that OB job at the local hospital.  I’ll start in early April and will work 3 shifts a week for a month as I get oriented. Once I am oriented I’ll cut back to two (night) shifts a week. Since John works only 3 (day) shifts a week, one of us will still be home the vast majority of the time. But it’s been SO long since I’ve worked away from home that it’s going to feel different, especially on the mornings where I’ll need to sleep.   The teens tend to already be fairly independent in their school, but I’m working up a simple checklist to help Em (12) and Julianna (10) stay on task.  It will be an adjustment, I’m sure, but I’m excited at the thought of helping moms and babies again– it’s such an exciting part of nursing.   And we’re really looking forward to getting our house paid off turbo-speed, which will free us up to work on some other projects we have in the works.  (I’ll talk more about those later.  🙂  )


Frugal, (eventually, probably): Since Lidya has been driving our minivan, and John usually has our tiny car, I’ve been driving our big 12-passenger van for my errands.  At 14 mpg, the gas costs are pretty high. Thinking of the increased driving that I’ll be doing, we bought commuter car for me for the princely sum of $1500.  So when John and I spotted a 2001 Hyundai Sonata with 127,000 miles on it, we checked it out and decided the price was right. It’s not pretty, but it runs great, has A/C and uses lots less gas than our big van. Since the paint is flaking off in chunks,  I am toying with the idea of having Emily, my resident artist, decorate it something along these lines.  Wouldn’t that be fun?? Probably not the whole car, and probably quite gradually.  But she thinks it sounds like a really fun summer project, so we’ll see how that goes.

Not so frugal: we started a project to replace the tile backsplash in our kitchen. At first I brought home a boring-looking tile sample that neither John nor I ended up liking with our cabinets.  Too blah compared to my cabinets which have a definite red tinge.  We went together to Home Depot and immediately found something that we both liked. It’s a glass one-inch tile with colors that remind me of copper pennies.  It is fun and sparkly and gypsy-ish.  I am hoping to have a post next week once we get the project finished– we’ve been hard at work on in this week.  The tile priced out at about $80 for the whole project, which I thought wasn’t too bad at all.  But once we’d bought grout and tools and everything, it ended up being more along the lines of $160.  Ah, well.

Frugal:  I did pretty well cooking out of the freezer and pantry this past week– it helped to have the menus laid out ahead of time.  I also got bread at the dollar store, and stashed a few casseroles in the freezer for easy meals on days that I work.

Not so frugal:  I am already finding myself heading toward more convenience food to stash in the freezer for the kids on my work days.  I want the kids to be able to easily feed themselves, especially in the first month or two as we are adjusing to this new thing.  My work will be a big boost to our income, so I think it’s an acceptable tradeoff.  But I will still need to be aware, and try not to go overboard with the easy stuff just because we will have more income. Ya know?  Also, I need to get back in the habit of double-batching food every single week, so that I can keep a freezer stash for the busy times.

I’m sure I’ll be writing more about this adjustment to part time work–  I already have it in my head that I just need to be super-intentional about all the time I will still have at home, and make sure to fit in fun with the kids right along with the mundane.

How did your week go?  What’s new in your world?  Are you looking forward to the end of the school year?  I know I am!



  1. Congratulations! So exciting. Not so frugal, buying a cake at Costco to celebrate our sons role of willy wonka and the conclusion of the play :-). Frugal- borrowing much of his cast outfit for the play 🙂

  2. Tiffany R says:

    Congratulations on your new job! About a month ago, I started a part time job for the first time in 13 years of being a SAHM and it has been an adjustment. I also have been cooking for the freezer to have on nights when we are busy and tired. Working has not only increased our income (which we are saving for the kids college fund) but has also decreased our expenses since I am at work for part of the day and not driving around running errands. Expect to be tired and a little flustered the first month but I promise it gets easier!

  3. Congratulations and I hope you have a smooth transition. I work from home but recently had to go into the office for a few all day meetings and wow, it takes more time and planning for sure! I made dinners the night before and left notes, but we got take out on my one much later than normal night just because. Between parking costs, buying new shoes and a couple of new items to stretch my thin “out of the house” wardrobe, lunches, new make up etc it wasn’t frugal but I have to say it was a welcome switch up and I enjoyed talking to co workers in person for a change.

  4. Mary, you are going to be great. Sounds like you have a great plan in place. Congrats on your job. Everyone who comes in contact with you is going to be so fortunate. Xo. Enjoy your time. Xo

  5. Congrats on the new job! I hope you have an easy transition. I’m sure you will enjoy it. That car doodle idea is really neat. As the tile back splash will probably give the kitchen a whole new look, $160 really doesn’t sound like too awful much. Just think how long it will be there… you’ll get your money’s worth!

  6. A few days after you posted that you had interviewed for that job, I had a random, out of the blue, job offer. I wasn’t looking for a job, and I’ve been a stay at home mom for 12 years. But it’s actually a great opportunity: part-time, at my kids’ private school. And after a few weeks thought, I took it! I won’t start until next August, but I’m already thinking, like you, about how I’m going to need to be more intentional about my time at home, and get rid of a lot of the fluff in my days. And keeping my expenses down too – I’m going to need to do some wardrobe updating, but I’ve got to keep it in check! So keep posting and let me know how it’s going when you start!

  7. first..congrats…second…keep in mind you will be tired and out of sorts with this change along with household…patience and compromise.

    When I was in your shoes (decades ago LOL) I assigned a day to each child that they were responsible for the meals of that day.We homeschooled so it counted as home ec and health.Guide line was healthy, balanced and under a certain amt for the day and everyone ate what was fixed. (I didn’t think about my son fixing liver being the only one out of 9 to like it). Even had a couple boyfriends and a girlfriend getting in on it.