The Frugal and Healthful house has had its share of ups and downs during the last nine months, and I wanted to share some of those with the hope that many will be inspired to overcome challenges and follow their dreams.

After many family discussions about resigning an eight year position as a medical secretary at a local pediatric doctor’s office I finally took the plunge almost nine months ago to follow my dream to start a blog and put things in place to earn an income from home. While my family knew what it would mean to be single family income again, they were very supportive.

Before the final decision was made we did the following…

We calculated our monthly expenses to make sure they could be covered by one income, and we lived on one income for a few months. If you have to dip into the second income, you’re not ready yet. Remember to factor in what it will save you to quit your job. It could be clothing, transportation expenses, childcare, the ability to live more frugally because you are no longer too exhausted or stressed to make those more frugal choices, more time to coupon and hunt for savings, etc. I’m not telling you to go out and quit your job. That is a very personal and family decision that would surely take a lot of planning and discussion.

We stopped buying and started saving what I call our emergency buffer, which is the money that saves you from disaster and the unexpected. We had our share of those this year, but we succeeded because we had money saved and were knowledgeable about living frugally. We also stocked up and paid things off using my income and saved the rest for that emergency buffer.

After resigning we were still able to:

Attend my daughter’s Navy boot camp graduation in Chicago, IL.

Have a nice “cash only” Christmas.

Go to the movie theater to see our favorite flicks, and we have a lot of favorites.

Go camping in a cottage.

Go on a beach vacation.

Some things in our lives have changed, but nothing that we are truly missing.

We did these things in spite of…

Several months of unexpected health expenses, up and above what was calculated as the norm over the course of years when I did my figuring.

Temporary unexpected loss of income due to one of those health issues.

Pet health issues and ongoing care expenses.

Vehicle repairs and unexpected household repairs, again up and above what was calculated as the norm.

Bad things are going to happen. We shouldn’t let the fear of bad things happening keep us from realizing a dream. Plan the best you can and give the rest to God.

Things we cut down on:

Eating out. We’ve found that we enjoy home cooked meals a lot better, and now I have a lot more time to prepare them. Eating out has become more entertainment than what used to be thought of as a necessity. Check out cooking for the freezer recipes for those times when you are busy and tempted to go over budget.

Buying a new vehicle right away. I see a lot of posts on popular blogs about making decisions to not have a car payment and even paying cash for a “new” old car. I’m one of those people and completely and absolutely love not having a car payment. When the time comes, our decision will be based on what’s best for the lifestyle we desire and not on just what’s in style.

Buying clothes. I no longer need special clothes for my job. I’ve also become more of a minimalist when it comes to wardrobe and love that approach. Less to take care of and less to worry about. I buy only classic pieces and things that go with everything else, or most everything else. I frequent sales and Target clothing coupons are awesome too. I’ve gotten several tees this year for less than $3 and sometimes even free. The regular retail ranged from $15 to $20. Love deals like that! Also, who needs an extensive summer wardrobe when you are spending a lot of your days enjoying the pool. 😉

Buying paper items. Items that I used to consider a necessity to save my sanity are no longer needed. They are now considered a luxury for tons of company or parties and purchased with coupons and great deal scenarios.

All of these adjustments in our lives are a small price to pay to be able to put things in place to work from home and be able to focus on one’s family, at least we think so.

How far would you go to realize your dream?