Monday, December 3, 2007

Dedicated Daughters: saving and making money, part 1

Being a daughter at home doesn't mean being a financial burden. A creative, hard-working daughter can be a blessing to her family (yes, financially as well) while developing the techniques of spending less and stretching every penny that will be very useful someday for a stay-at-home wife and mother.

Maybe a frugality isn't a habit for you. I know it wasn't for me; it required changing my entire mindset: from "must have it" to "can do without it", from "it costs almost nothing" to "I don't really need it", from "not buying whatever I want is suffocating" to "being enslaved to my whims is truly suffocating".

There are many resources you can find online which will help you on a path to a more frugal life. You will be encouraged by the stories of countless people who spend less and live more, people who made choices of frugality and simplicity, people who cut up their credit cards and have never been happier. Frugality isn't just spending less. It's being creative and resourceful, patient and thankful.

A few practical points that help me on my path to frugality:

I buy second hand. For a long time, I wrinkled my nose at yard sales, second-hand shops and thrift stores, equaling price and quality – that is, until by chance I found some real treasures. Yes, it takes time and effort, but it does pay off, and no one can guess I buy second hand. Also, no one would ever know how little I actually spend on clothes, unless I told them. You can also sell your unneeded items, earning some extra money and ridding your home of clutter at the same time.
You have to be wise with this one, though. Don't settle for low quality because it's cheap – it will cost you more in the long run.

I don't have a car. Most of my friends who insisted on having cars during college either ended up accumulating debt, or working many long, exhausting hours, or both, at the same time complaining for the money they had to pay for gas and other car-related expenses. I always had a much smaller side income for my own needs (giving lessons and translating), out of which I put a considerable sum into savings. I'm debt-free, and intend to keep it that way.

I give handmade gifts. I love giving gifts, and would be very put off if frugality meant I can now do less to make my loved ones feel special. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be so; far from it! Learning to knit, crochet and cross-stitch opened a whole new set of possibilities for me; even with the most basic level of these skills, you can make a variety of useful gifts everyone will love: scarves and blankets, doilies and dishcloths, and even bookmarkers. They are not only practical, but you can make them personal (for example stitching the initials of the person for whom the gift is intended), and people will appreciate the time and love poured into them, as opposing hurriedly chosen gifts from a department store.

Even if you've never held a needle, you still have a wide range of possibilities to be frugal and creative with your gifts. A personal scrapbook or a stack of handmade cards; baking mixes for special breads or cookies, beautifully wrapped and with a recipe attached; a collection of different sorts of tea, with homemade cookies to go with, and a lovingly written note – I'm yet to meet the person who would say no to one of these!


Bethany Sue, CFO said...

I absolutely concure with the buying second hand. It is so fun and addictive! I have fun adding up my duaghters clothes when she wears outfits. Most of them cost no more than $1.50. Did I mention she wears name brand quality clothing like Gap Kids, Old Navy, Sesame Street, MC Kids, and many more? It is really a fun way to buy clothes and shoes. (She also has name brand shoes I have paid a quarter for!)
It is a great skill to take into motherhood by buying second hand.

Adlyn said...

I agree, my baby neice got roc-a-fella jeans for one dollar (they cost 15$) and I jot juicy couture jeans for about 5$ (thier about 30-40$!) I love thirft stores you'll never know what you'll find like my foral skirt which cost about 2$! and don't get me started about sewing! I just finished a skirt that is to die for that is my unique style that will never be found in expensive department stores! oh well thier lost :)! I plan on making a baby blue plaided dress next this is going to be fun! can't wait for the next dedicated daughters series again I'll be looking!


Stefanie said...

Want to hear more about these changes you have made on your way to a more frugal life. Specifically how you changed your frame of thinking.
Keep up the good posts!

Sheri said...

Anna, this is such an excellent post for young ladies staying at home. I am really excited about this entire series you are doing and have emailed many young ladies I know to stop by your blog.

I sincerely believe that more parents would be open to their daughters staying home if she made an effort to live a frugal, grateful lifestyle. And, it's excellent preparation for marriage. What a blessing these traits will be to her future husband!

Terry said...

Good financial tips for anyone to adhere, to, Anna. Acouple of questions: Do you plan to remain carless after you have kids? Also, any thoughts on ways a daughter can generate any income from home to help her family? As you are well aware, many daughters these days were raised in single parent homes where mom would sometimes appreciate the help.

Abigail said...

I agree! You don't have to spend less on your clothing and look like you didn't even try! I bought a beautiful wool plaid Ralph Lauren skirt at Macy's for $40.00 and it has lasted me for 5 years now! I think that is a great investment and becuase it is quality, it has lasted me forever. Also, stores like Macy's, Lord and Taylor, etc. always have big sales so, if you see something you like, don't buy it full price. Go back in a week and it will be on the 50% off rack!

Anna S said...


Check out my sidebar and go to "Frugal Living" category. I'm sure it will make things clearer! :)


Thank you so much for your kind encouragement.


About having a car - it depends on where we are going to live and how convenient public transportation is.
I'll talk about making money from home in the next "Dedicated Daughters" post.

Maggie said...


Great post. With regards to shopping second hand, it truly depends on where you live. Where I am there is a drought of good second hand shops, and even then the clothing one finds there can be a bit iffy. However, large metropolitan areas may have more variety of stores as well as clothing to choose from.

That being said, I don't buy things full price, I usually wait around for sales and shop the clearance rack.

Another great option that I participated in a couple of times is a 'Naked Lady Party' (it's clean, I promise!) You invite a variety of your girlfriends, sisters, cousins together for a get together. The catch being is that they clean out their closets and bring clothes that no longer fit, they no longer like etc... Everyone has a chance to swap clothes for no cost and you usually walk away with some great things. We did this around graduation time at university when people were moving away and wanted to get rid of things.

Has anyone else tried this option?

Sue said...

I know someone who absolutely swears by thrift stores in affluent neighborhoods and she always dresses well. I don't know why I never caught on to this idea except that I used to be too heavy to find anything nice there when I shopped with her.

But we live in a metro area of ~1.5 million people, so we have a lot more suburbs or well-heeled city neighborhoods to pick from than others might.

My .02,


Jessica said...

Great Ideas!!

It's probably been a LONG time since I have bought new clothes, I buy all mine at yard sales or thrift stores (or even better... hand-me-downs from friends!! :)

Anonymous said...

Good for you girl! Stay debt free!!!

Mimi said...

you present some very good points... there are many ways to live comfortably without spending a great deal of unnecessary money... I commend you on your ideas... and I love hand made gifts by the way...

Anonymous said...

I believe frugality to be a heart issue. If our hearts are kept captive for all that Philippians 4:8 shares, then our desire to spend would be lessened as our focus would be on what God wants rather than what we want. I don't know if I explained that quite right...but hope you get my drift.

Bless you, Anna. I wish you could pop over tomorrow night for my handiwork fellowship. :o)

Mandy said...

What great ideas! I have given handmade gifts to my friends and family for years. When birthdays, weddings, or graduations come up, I always try to think of something I can make them before I go to the store to find a gift. I have a lot of fun making the gifts, too! :)

Alexandra said...

We do thrift stores as well. I love those prices and it meets our needs.

I'd rather live under my means and not carry debt. Debt is too stressful. You have more but then you've got the debt, which means you have to bring in more money, which means a second job or longer hours.

Ugh, life to too short to work yourself into an early grave for stuff you really don't need.

Allison said...

Our church has done an "All Things in Common" day where everyone brings stuff they don't want or need. We browsed others things and found some neat stuff, all for free! It was a lot of fun!

Kelly said...

I love your committment to be debt-free, Anna! It is a BLESSING! My husband and I (we are a family of three) don't use credit for anything. We pay with cash, even for home renovations and larger things like that, so our only payments are on our car (which'll be paid off in a year), our house (we have a low, low mortgage b/c we chose not to purchase an expensive home) and our utilities and monthly expenses of course. Not drowning in debt is a blessing. Totally, totally. Financial problems are a huge burden on a couple. God will surely bless you for your dedication to frugality, forsaking this world and living wholey for Christ. :o)

Kelly said...

P.S. Oh yeah, about my car payment - I love the idea of living with just one car, but we're in the country and I have to drive 30 minutes to my nearest Walmart and we live 1.5 hours from family, so being in the house all day (not able to walk of 500 people, literally, LOL, and our own "businesses" are a post office and a small luncheonette) is torture, LOL

Anonymous said...

"not buying whatever I want is suffocating" to "being enslaved to my whims is truly suffocating"

-how well said!

Thanks for the gift tips and have a lovely day!

Buffy said...

It's good that you can back up your ideals with practical advice. Much of what you say here applies to women of all ages, for example the mothers of young children who really want to stay at home even though it means less money.

Lydia said...

What really set me on the road to frugality was reading my mom's 3 volumes of Tightwad Gazzete by Amy Dacyczyn. These books have great ideas on how to save and also great article on the frugal lifestyle and it's wonderful benefits. You can find them online (I know Amazon has them).

maria said...

Hi, Anna!
I so like the idea of offering gifts that were made by myself. My husband (a great cook!!!) and I have been offering edibles for Christmas(one year we planted parsley in small pots and offered them as the parsley was starting to grow!) and we so enjoy it! It prevents the madness of Christmas shopping and it allows moments of fun as a family. Hopefully, I will learn how to sew in the near future and use that as well to make lovely gifts and clothes for myself and the kids!

Natalie said...

I'm looking forward to your next post on making money from home, as I am planning on doing some sort of home business eventually.

Jenn V said...

I was going to ask how you manage to live without a car, but then you commented on it and cleared it up. I dislike driving and wouldn't if it weren't a necessity for me and my family, but I agree that it depends on where you live and how close you are to public transportation. My cousin is a graduate student and school teacher and lives in Chicago where they have the L. She has never had a driver's license and has carefully designed her life around public transportation. Unfortunately, this society has stopped designing communities that one can live in without a car, unless you happen to live in a big city. *sigh* I could never live in the city.

By the way, I have only just discovered thrift store shopping. I am amazed at the treasure I can find if I only dig!

Jenn V

Anonymous said...

about you dedicated daughters series I was wondering are you going to post anything about about to find men out their that want to settle down and have children like you did? how did you find them? who introduced you? I would like to meet a man you wants to get married and have a large family but I don't know where to find them? I don't want to waste my time with men that just want to "hook up". I want to find a man that wants a tradional wife like I aspire to be. I would love to hear your advice.

Anna S said...

Anonymous, what an excellent question. I'm so glad you asked. I will definitely take the time to write about it. Stay tuned! :)

Rebekah S. said...

Homemade gifts are by far the absolute best!!! :) They make for wonderful family heirlooms to be passed down from generation to generation. I would always rather receive a lovingly made homemade gift then something that's storebought. Homemade gifts are so very very special! Ever since I was a very little girl I've made cards to give as Birthday cards to friends and family members. I still do that today. I occasionally buy a card from the store for someone in my family but then if I make a homemade one for their birthday the next year, they always let me know how special the homemade ones are to them. They enjoy the storebought ones as well, but they really really treasure the homemade ones.

Mama and I LOVE buying things at thrift stores!!! :) The awesome deals that we find are always so neat. No one knows by looking at us that we buy a lot of clothes secondhand. They are in great condition, and you can buy many articles of clothing for the price of one at the retail stores. :) We also really enjoy going to garage sales together-it's such wonderful, memorable mother/daughter time, and we can oftentimes find really wonderful gifts, furniture, clothing items, games, movies, etc. for really cheap prices! The Lord commands us to be wise with the money that He has given to us-we are to be good stewards of it, and living frugally is a great way to obey that command.

Ladies, for any of you who don't know about Crystal Paine and her website, you must check it out!! Go to Not only does she speak out so eloquently on what Biblical womanhood really is, but she also offers many many wonderful tips on how to live frugally. She's always sharing new tips on one or the other of her two blogs. So, be sure to check her site out!!

Rebekah S. said...


Hi!! There are SO many things that a young lady can do from home to earn some money if the household is in need of it. I plan on writing a post on that subject myself very soon, so be sure to check for that on my blog if you're interested. Also, have you heard of Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin's book, So Much More? It contains many wonderful ideas for earning money from home. For more info, go to or


Rest assured that if it's God's plan for your life that you receive the rich and blessed gift of marriage(for most people that is His plan; only some are given the gift of singleness), then He will lead you to the wonderful young man that He already has picked out for you! Before the foundation of the world, God chose who would marry who, and He planned out all of the history of the world. Not only did the Lord already choose who would be your husband, but He also laid out the plan of how the two of you would meet, when you would meet, where you would meet, etc. God is the one that has given you that wonderful desire to marry a wonderful, God-fearing young man, and it is He that will bring that about. So, rest assured! :) Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He WILL direct your paths! ;)

Have a blessed day,

Adlyn said...

thanks Anna & Rebekah it was me that asked for you advice Anna I accidently pressed the Anonymous buttton my mistake and did not notice untill just now LOL!. Also, Rebekah thanks for the encouragement I never thought of it that way thanks... really.


P.S. Rebekah I plan on buying the Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin's book very soon it sounds wonderful :)

Andrea said...

Anna, I'm having so much fun catching up on all your posts. This is an especially wonderful one, I think; frugality isn't the name I knew it by, I just knew it as "buying smart!"

My mother has always been great at teaching my sister and me how to save, watch for sales, etc. For her I learned things like buying meat when it's on sale and freezing the bulk for later, using economic, healthy staples like brown rice instead of refined white pasta . . . all the little things that add up ;) And from my grandmother I learned that something that costs more isn't always a waste of money if it's of truly excellent quality, and will last three, four, even five times longer than that ten dollar Wal M*rt skirt ;)

Thrift stores aren't in abundance here; we basically have three standard choices (Frenchy's, Value Village and the Salvation Army) and the quality of the clothing offered varies from one town to the next. I usually dress in a mixture of things I buy new from shops that sell durable, good quality clothing, and some treasures I've tumbled across at second hand shops. I can certainly see how some people can clothe themselves entirely with thrift shop finds, though; when visiting a friend in NYC I was simply staggered by the choice that's available in larger cities!

I do find that the one time I can be extravagant is when it comes to gift shopping, particularly at Christmas. It's not because I have to buy somebody a wonderful, expensive gift; ordinarily the gifts I give are quite inexpensive. But I have such a passion for buying people things that will suit them perfectly that occasionally I end up spending more than usual; typically one gift each Christmas was bought at a markedly higher price than the others because it was exactly what I was looking for (this year it's my grandmother's salt and pepper shakers, of all things!)

Of course, the only reason I can do this is because for the rest of the year I am ruthlessly economical, which means that when I do need to spend a little more, it's possible to do it without flinching!

Rebekah S. said...

Oh, Adlyn, you're so welcome!! I'm so happy that I could be of some encouragement to you. I hope what I said helped you. :) Also, I'm so excited to hear that you're going to get the Botkin's book! You definitely won't be disappointed! It is so wonderful and very life changing. While you read it, you'll have to tell me what the Lord teaches you! I would also love to have you visit my blog, if you'd like to.

Have a blessed day! And, if you're ever in need of more encouragement, please don't hesitate to e-mail me at

In Christ alone,