Expert Interview Series: Melissa Vera of Adventures of Frugal Mom About Raising a Family on a Tight Budget

Frugal lifestyle
Melissa is a 40-something, animal loving soccer mom who has a slight coffee addiction and loves to blog at Adventures of Frugal Mom. We recently sat down with Melissa to learn how she approached common household issues like budgeting, saving money, and embracing a frugal lifestyle.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Why did you decide to start a blog?

I am a mom to two young adults and one teen. My husband is a native of Mexico. When my girls were younger, we decided that it would be better for me to stay home and raise the girls instead of paying for childcare. This has caused us to look at ways to cut expenses and spend more time as a family.

What is your philosophy on budgeting?

Stick to it. Even the times when it is hard. If you really want something, save up for it. You will appreciate it even more if you have had to work for it.

Since you are the parent of a teenager and teens often have expensive needs or tastes, what are some ways that you can practice frugality that are “teen-approved?”

Luckily, my girls aren’t into name brand-name items. They are thankful for what they have. I guess we have been very lucky in that sense. But for the most part, we try to take a hands-off approach when it comes to giving our girls everything. They have learned the value of a dollar and that with hard work, they can accomplish anything.

Name something that enterprising moms can make by themselves at home instead of spending money on it at the store.

Meals from scratch. I think that is one of the biggest things we struggle with. But I have found that if I have a meal plan for the week, we don’t stray and get take out. It helps to plan ahead.

Where are some smart strategies for reducing a household’s monthly expenses?

That is probably one thing we struggle with the most. But we have learned not to use a lot of electricity during the day, bundling up under blankets (it is okay to be chilly), and bundling insurance and saving money by asking for discounts.

With so many day-to-day expenses that come up while caring for a family, how hard is it for you to save money

We put part of each check we get into a savings account.

In the future, will it be easier for households to control their personal finances?

I think it will just be getting harder. We were faced recently with whether or not to buy health insurance for me or just pay the penalty. We decided that the penalty cost less than the insurance.

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