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Dear mom who is so tired of living on a tight budget…

Dear mom who is so tired of living on a tight budget...

Dear mom who is so tired of living on a tight budget:

I know that you want to give up.

You’re worn down from watching every penny you spend.

You’re exhausted from carefully calculating how you’re going to stretch your grocery dollars to feed all those mouths that seem to never stop eating.

You wish you didn’t have to wait for ever until that item you need goes on sale for the lowest price so you can make it work to purchase it on your beans and rice budget.

You are tired of re-wearing the same thing over and over again. Tired of praying every time you get in the car, hoping it will start. Tired of having to turn down yet another get-together with friends because there’s no way you can afford to pay for dinner out at a restaurant.

You just want to check out of your money-strapped life and go have a latte and a massage. Or maybe money is so tight right now that you would just love to have a few extra dollars to spend on something you want at a garage sale, instead of having to reserve every nickel and dime for only the basic necessities.

Can I encourage you? The difficult choices and hard sacrifices you are making will be worth it… and they could make a major impact on generations to come.

Not too long ago, I was being interviewed by a magazine writer about raising financially responsible kids. I shared with this interviewer some of the things we’ve done with our kids, such as: letting our children handle money from the time they were young, giving our children opportunities to earn money, and encouraging our children to become givers.

As the interviewer continued to ask questions, she became more and more excited about the things I was sharing. At the end of our conversation, she said, “It seems like you’ve done so many things right as parents. Do you ever make mistakes with money or have you failed as parents when it comes to teaching your kids about money?”

I was able to share candidly with her that, yes, we’ve failed in many ways (see yesterday’s post for an example!), but because of our parents’ and grandparents’ examples, we’ve made a lot fewer money mistakes as a couple.

The sacrifices they made to live on a budget and get out of debt paved a trail for us so that it wasn’t as difficult. In addition, their sacrifices inspired and motivated us to want to stand on their shoulders and do even better than they did. We, in turn, hope to inspire our own children and grandchildren to go even farther than we have or will.

In those moments when you want to throw in the towel, when you are discouraged about your budget, when you are tired of all the short-term sacrifices, when you just want to pull out that credit card to buy something you don’t have room in your budget for, remember this: your children are watching. The example you set before them will impact them in powerful ways — either good or bad.

So don’t throw in the towel. Don’t give up on your budget, even though it’s tough.

Your children and grandchildren will thank you one day for your wise money management… and that will make it all worth it.

Don’t quit! The best is yet to come!

Cheering for you,

Crystal

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117 Comments

  • Love this!! We’ve been chugging along for a while now, and it does get old sometimes. Just a few days ago, I had a good friend say to me that she couldn’t believe some of the things that we don’t do because “she knows that we could afford it.” Yes, if we wanted to live in debt and above our means, we could “afford” a lot of things. But is that really being able to afford it? We don’t think so.

    I love your testimony of how your parents’ commitment in this area has inspired you and Jesse. It brought tears to my eyes thinking that we have the opportunity to give this kind of gift to our boys. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  • It may be the difficult road to choose when it comes to living on a tight budget and a frugal lifestyle, but it is definitely worth it to help future generations. My family and I do make sacrifices now to not only teach our children but to benefit them in the long-run. I will admit it is difficult going day to day and constantly thinking about money and worrying about spending money, but in the end it is worth it. Thanks for sharing how even though you have done great when it comes to money management, that you have also made mistakes. Many people compare themselves to others and think they ‘have it all,’ but this helps to show that everyone makes mistakes. As long as you can learn from those mistakes then you will be fine! Great post!

  • Melissa says:

    I was just thinking how it never ends. We have been trying to live a little more comfortable. Eating out a little more shopping for more items when they go on clearance and then I dropped my (it was cheap way back when) but still very pricey phone. Now I have sat here all day knowing I need to get a new one ( work files were on it I have to get a smart phone) but not having the time and ability to shop around as much. I know it will all be better one day that one day just seems to take awhile.

  • Anna says:

    This was an awesome, awesome post. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes and I just feel compelled to comment. I have followed you for years, and I love you and your blog, but I have to admit it gets discouraging when you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel…when you feel like your finances will always be tight and you will never have wiggle room. Thank you for the encouragement. This world is not our home…even if my situation never changes, it is okay…that’s not where my hope is supposed to be anyway, but reading posts like these help me to stay focused. Thank you.

    • Amanda says:

      This comment was just as encouraging as this article for me! I feel very much the same way when it comes to our finances. Discouraged, somewhat hopeless, and exhausted by it all. Your comment really put things in perspective. Our hope is found in Jesus, NOT earthly things. Thank you for the blessing!

  • Joye says:

    very much feeling this way lately, but I’m not a mother, so how does this apply to me? :/

    • {Hugs!} You can have an impact on those around you and inspire them to make wise choices… you never know how your sacrifices and commitment could inspire others for years and years to come!

  • Thank you so much for this. It’s only the two of us for now (three in December!) but money is tight and it feels like most of our conversations revolve around money. This post was very encouraging for me. 🙂

  • Debbie says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I started working full time again while my husband has been out of work for the past 4 months. Thankfully, he just started working again. We have two children and do not live extravagantly. I struggle with some health issues that my job contributes to so while working more is helping us make ends meet, at the same time it’s taking me away from my family when I am home due to the pain and fatigue. I continue to experience God moving on our behalf consistently. However, there have been a lot of days lately that I struggle with seemingly always being in a financial struggle and thinking we should have it more together by this point in our lives. Thank you for the encouragement to keep moving forward.

  • Teresa says:

    Thanks for writing this. We are supporting our children through college to give them an education and allow them to not be $$$$$ in debt when they graduate. Our oldest graduated in March from an out of state school debt free. we have been blessed that both sons received scholarships to the same school. My husband and I have struggled but it has been well worth it. I do coupons, we all drive old cars that we paid cash for. My Hubby’s car has been broke down for a couple of months. We are hopefully getting it fixed this week. We just live by faith in God, and that is what gets us through.

  • Liz says:

    I need to learn how to budget

    • Becca says:

      You can find Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover for cheap usually. Even better, borrow from the library. Get the workbook, it works wonders! Crystal hearts him too!!! He will turn your life around! Baby steps, just keep that in mind.

  • Crystal says:

    I feel like this was talking directly to me. I’m sitting in my car reading this after hoping my car will start up again. This is a particular hard day for me and I honestly don’t know why. The last thing you said was “cheering for you,
    Crystal” but I read it as “cheering for you, Crystal” lol thanks again!

  • mie says:

    Wow…this is great! !
    I am living exactly like the post.
    I was working part time but since my kids are home during the summer and we are no close to be able to afford summer camp.
    So I am staying. It’s been very very tight.
    My husband was going to laid off around April but the company gave him opportunity to go work in another state. And he took it to support our family.
    I will planning on going back to work after the summer.

    I want to buy few extra things at grocery store! I want to fill up my car. I have been just putting $20. Take my kids to places.
    And if I have extra I want to go Starbucks and buy me a latte!

    Feel like I am in deep deep hole and can’t get out……

    • Monique says:

      I know exactly how you feel. The little things add up..Gas has gone through the roof here in CA. Every day I think about moving my family but there’s no money to pack up and go. We are trudging along day by day and it truly gets frustrating.

  • Shelly Dalton says:

    I feel so helpless. I’ve been feeling like this for years. Caring for a disabled husband and 4 children . Trying to support, feed, and cloth my family, working 10-12 hour days. When does it get better? When do we get to the point that we don’t have to fear going to the grocery store because we simply do not have enough?

    • Lyn says:

      Hi Shelly,
      Just want to give you a hug. I am sure it’s frustrating and very difficult at times to do what you are doing. I am living on a minuscule budget myself and have for a very long time now. It can be very discouraging at times. My heart goes out to you and everyone who is doing the best that they can.

      It would be great if all that we needed to do was to work hard and to persevere and all our dreams would come true. But that doesn’t happen for everyone in this life. We all can only do the best that we can, but that doesn’t always guarantee financial success. It’s hard to plan ahead for tomorrow, next year, or years from now when there is not always enough to just get through now and today.

      Is there any type of assistance you can receive for now? Sometimes people need a little help, and there should not be any shame in seeking it.

      My good thoughts and prayers are with you. I hope it helps to know you are not alone. I truly wish you and everyone else here that is struggling better days ahead.

    • Kariena says:

      Shelly, it will get better!! 10 years ago it was tough, here…new town, new babies, new home…and we were poor poor.. We struggled daily to pay our bills, and to live within our means , it was SO hard to have nothing left at the end of the week, no matter how much I tried to budget…those were Dark Times for me …
      But, every year things got slightly better. After five years of it, life started to get easier and easier. Maybe I had learned how to budget better? Cook better? Find better deals on things?
      Flash forward ten years..we have our home mortgage paid off, own a second home and have enough saved to send our oldest off to college in the fall..
      Without those dark days, I would not have had the opportunity to learn how to manage money , would have not been been able to teach my children how to manage money.
      It WIll get better, it isn’t easy…nothing worth while comes without a fight.
      Chin up !! Fight the fight! It WILL be worth it! Xoxoxoxo

  • Karen says:

    The two adults (only) here live on one income. Even when both of us worked outside the home, we lived mostly that way. It is much easier to live below one’s means than to run up debt, especially for toss-away consumer goods.

  • Kenda Wathen says:

    Thank you for this post. I really needed it. Recently our already tight budget had gotten tighter with car repairs. Your post today and God working through a woman at the grocery store last week who handed me money saying she remembered those days have encouraged my heart that God knows and cares. I was even able to talk to my children about how God supplies for our needs and wants when she gave us the extra money. The little she gave us was enough to let the children each pick an extra item at the grocery store. I was also able to see this play out with my oldest just last week when she agreed to go thrift store shopping for a messenger bag she wanted instead of buying a new one and she saved us $6 in the process.

  • Pam says:

    I needed to hear this encouragement today! I sometimes don’t feel like I am doing anything right with the kids, but reading your article made me think I am! Thank you!

  • Nicole says:

    Thank you! I needed to read this today. Just… thank you!

  • T. says:

    Crying here. I didn’t know this is what I was coming to read…the hot link just said Rice and Beans…but the Lord knew. Thank you for this glimmer of hope, but more importantly, thank you for understanding. For having been through this too.
    I just so badly need to know I am not alone, as I watch every one of our friends and family do so much better than us.
    I am not alone. So, two years later, thank you <3

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