Frugality and Self-Empowerment

by D.

Being frugal has helped our family to afford things that are important to us while having to feel the pinch of the sacrifices very little. Using the techniques mentioned in The Tightwad Gazette , my wife and I have managed to have a great wedding, decorate our home with restored, antique furniture in Victorian style (I did the restoration myself and bought the furniture at a thrift shop), went to Rome for our honeymoon (bought the tickets from an Internet Hotel Discount Company and the plane tickets using our student ID cards getting 45% off), bought a used car (why have car payments when you can buy old used cars that work just as well when maintained?) and paid off $4700 in student loan debt. We plan on going on a cross country trip this summer (camping at KOA's, driving ourselves, cooking our own food bought at discount from a wholesale club), and seeing America.

We are only 23 and 20 and already we feel like we have so much and we are so happy and thankful. Together, we make less than $29,000 a year in take home pay after taxes. However, we feel like we are living like royalty. The challenge of saving money is something that brings us together and our marriage because we have a common goal we are working toward.

In the future, we hope to save enough money to become financially independent, or at least semi-independent (both of us only working part time). The thought of just doing volunteer work, going to adult education classes, and spending time with family and friends is so energizing. Most of all, we feel in control of our lives and our destinies. This sense of control and freedom is important to us. It helps us to know that we won't be slaves to corporate America forever.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it to

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