Budget Series: Is Frugality Worth it?

Get out of Debt on a low income

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I receive lots of questions and comments about whether or not our frugal lifestyle is worth it. My  answer is yes!

  1. It allows me to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. Yes, I could get a job, and we could have more stuff. But, that’s not what’s important to us. I know many people think we’re depriving our children, some of them have been so bold as to tell me so. But, I can assure you my children don’t feel deprived and they are not.  Third world children are deprived. Motherless and fatherless children are deprived. My boys with a safe and secure home, all the clothing and food they need, lots of love, and lots of toys and videos and books?  They are not deprived.
  2. We want to teach our children to be content. We want our children to know that happiness is not dependent upon having the latest greatest toys. Yes, we could tell them that, all day long while providing them with the latest greatest toys, but I think it loses effectiveness. So, we live a simpler lifestyle, within our means. That is what we want to model for our children.
  3. Freedom. I enjoy having a budget that allows me to know where our finances stand. We look forward to the day that we will be out of debt, and not have God’s money mortgaged. We look forward to when our money will be ours to do with what we need to do, and what God calls us to do, rather than using it to pay interest on debt.  Debt is an obligation, and by the grace of God, we want to be able to pay all of our debts. Debt that is not repaid is stealing. Plain and simple.

With that said, here are a couple of things that are not worth it to us:

  1. We won’t stop tithing. I read a comment on another blog the other day that said basically, “If you’re trying to get out of debt, why would you still tithe?  Why not use that money to get out of debt?”  Being debt free isn’t worth giving up something that we feel called by God to do.  Furthermore, God’s word promises blessing in return for tithing (Malachi 3:10-11).  God has shown us time and again how He is faithful to provide, and how the tithes and offerings we give to Him will come back to us when we need it.  Tithing is NOT wasted money.
  2. We won’t work extra jobs. One of the things Dave Ramsey recommends (at least on the page I read a while back) was to get extra jobs, as many as necessary, even if you’re working all the time, in order to pay off debt faster.  Time is where we draw the line.  Because, we are not promised tomorrow.  If our world ended today, or tragedy struck our family, we could live with knowing that we didn’t have the best material possessions.  However, we could not live with the regret from spending these days and years with our children working all the time. In fact, time is one of the key reasons we embrace this frugal lifestyle. These days are precious and we will never get them back!


This is my list.  What about yours?  Is frugality worth it?  To what extent?  Join the conversation below.


  1. Jessica Devine says

    I totally agree and we live this way, too. We are happy and blessed! Your blog is my favorite. I can relate to everything!

  2. says

    The extra jobs part really bothered me about DR’s plan, especially that pizza delivery thing – we live out in the country! The nearest pizza place is 30 mi. away! Any extra earned would go to the gas to get there! I also read another book, something like the cheapest family in america groceries (I don’t remember the exact title), and again, we only have 1 grocery store in a 25 mi. radius. To try and use those principles of shopping at different stores depending on their sales would cost us more in the long run than just getting it local! Our finance rule is: If we can’t buy it in our small town, or get free shipping online, it’s a want and not a need! :)

    • Crystal says

      Miranda, I agree! My husband does take the occasional side job, but we don’t want him working any kind of regular second job. We need daddy more than the extra money :) And, great thoughts about the need vs. want. I live in a small, rural community so I completely understand that problem.

  3. says

    I agree with your tithing and time! I love how you expressed it, because I hadn’t thought of the time management in that way. Was kinda urging my husband to get another job, and he wasn’t all that happy about the idea of missing our babies and I that much. Now…I guess this is the nudge from God to back off and let it be! ;)

    Thank you!

  4. journey4j.o.y. says

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!! So many people don’t see the REAL things….Thank you for your insights and staying true to GOD & the family.

  5. Brianna Bell says

    yes frugality is TOTALLY worth it, and I like your comment about not working tons of jobs too. You're totally right that our time is precious! :)

    • says

      I really love her point about extra jobs! Jason worked two jobs, clocking in 16-17 hours a day every. Single. Day. Monday through Friday for nearly three years. It did help some but it was really hard on our marriage and his faith simply because he lacked intimacy with either me or Jesus (or anyone else). He was always at church when he "should" be and was even in certain forms of leadership and looked good on the outside but inside he had all the junk that builds up when we aren't intimate with Jesus and repenting regularly–he was sullen, bitter, felt abandoned by God, entitled, and like he could only trust himself. I can share this now bc Jesus did a huge heart change about a year ago and Jas is a different man.

      That's one HUGE problem we have with Dave Ramsey–he essentially establishes being debt free as paradise. There's this current among Christians of, "God can't do his work unless he has your money so buck up and work and perform so God can use you." It's just so wrong! We are paying off a lot of student loan debt and it's tempting to go into that mode–like we must earn God's ability to use us.

      But the truth is that Jesus doesn't need a single penny from us. He WANTS us to give freely, joyfully, regularly, and sacrificially because it flows out of joy and worship. He wants our hearts! So for us, we have a budget and we consistently go back to Jesus about every 3-4 months to assess and ask Jesus if things need to shift (whether income and outflow have changed or not).

      Money is important, but Jesus is supreme. And the echelon is Jesus, spouse, children, church, job, etc. If pursuit of freedom from debt sacrifices those things then it really needs to be looked at if Jesus is the one calling you to do it or if it's actually idolatry.

      Jason was reading this Ramsey thing where a woman wrote him saying that, basically, her husband worked two jobs, was never home, never saw his family, they were all miserable, and even at that rate it was still a solid 2-3 years at that pace before they could be anywhere near debt free. She wondered if they should be super careful still but maybe cut back on the husband's work some, maybe have a 3-5 year payoff plan. Ramsey's response was, "Suck it up and get over it. You'll have the BEST marriage and family life when the debt's gone." Argh! That's why I loved this lady's point–we aren't promised tomorrow. And not having debt doesn't ensure perfect life, either. I'm convinced Jesus can not only advance his kingdom but also build loving, godly families while some of the money he gave them is paying off interest, maybe a bit slower than they'd hope, but if their hearts are his then isn't that the greatest sign that Jesus' kingdom IS being established?

      Ok, end rant! I should really blog about this methinks :)

    • Crystal says

      Ashley, you are such an awesome encouragement to me! I know that God put you in my path for that reason and I appreciate it more than words can express!

  6. says

    Amen! But truthfully my hubby does work a few side jobs. But he controls the hours he works. I think if we all made the small sacrifices to do without some things We would be surprised how far we could get in life, spiritually speaking. Kudos to you for homeschooling too! This is also my goal! Any tips?? I’d love a post on this! You are amazing!

    • Crystal says

      Danielle, my husband does a few side jobs here and there, but they are mostly one-time or occasional things like mowing a neighbor’s yard, cutting someone’s tree, etc. And, with his job as a forest ranger, during forest fire season, he works a lot of overtime anyway. All that to say, I don’t completely condemn working extra jobs or hours, but we just wouldn’t want to be at the point where all he does is work. And, I completely agree with you about getting further spiritually when we simplify life a bit! So awesome that you’re looking to homeschool as well :) I did post my schedule, but it’s a work in progress. You can also check out ihomeschoolnetwork.com (search for ihomeschoolnetwork and blog hop or something), as they just did a HUGE blogging link up of homeschool schedules…very beneficial for a newbie like me to get some ideas :)

  7. cynthia says

    HUbby and I are becoming this way. Learning ever so fast that the “things” in life are not worth the headaches and stomachaches to keep up with. I love reading your blog!!!! It is so inspiring.

  8. Debbie Weber Hegeman says

    I agree about the second jobs. I had a job on a Saturday for a couple of years during the down turn of the economy. I only made 42 dollars for 6 hours of work. No one got raises for over 6 years. I was missing my family over 42 dollars. It did not get us anywhere but further in debt because my husband would go buy food because he didn't like making things from scratch.

    • says

      A friend of mine worked full-time, leaving one child in full-time daycare. I asked her how much it was costing her to work. After figuring in JUST the cost of the second car, daycare, and gas (and not clothing for work, of food for work or home) she said that her $30,000 a year job really only yielded her $5000 a year. Figure in food, and she could have found a way to save $5000 a year and stay home full time!

      • Crystal says

        Brandy, I completely agree! We figured out the same thing with the cost of daycare, gas, etc., and it would cost about $10/hr. just to break even.

  9. says

    Amen! I could not agree more with not wanting to take on extra jobs. You're right we're not guaranteed tomorrow! If someone has gigantic debt they might need too but I think for most people it's not worth it.

  10. says

    Amen! I could not agree more with not wanting to take on extra jobs. You're right we're not guaranteed tomorrow! If someone has gigantic debt they might need too but I think for most people it's not worth it.

  11. Heather Borth Jacobs says

    I came over from Titus 2 Tuesdays at Cornerstone Confessions. And I look forward to looking at more of your posts! I agree with the taking on extra jobs thing… this is such a hard decision, because it makes sense, but I fear the impact it would have on our family… the time issue. Thank you for your post!

    • Crystal says

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Heather! Yes, I can see how it would be tempting (or maybe even necessary) for some. But, the time issue is just too big for us.

  12. SAHMama says

    I find it ironic that you pick and choose which Biblical verses to include in your post. You insert the tithing one but forgot about God’s admonition of borrowing money. My husband and I made sure we were completely debt free before I quit my job. God also rewards the Proverbs 31 woman who works extra jobs to provide for her family. She could have just sat there and done nothing. God helps those who help themselves.

    • Crystal says

      Jessica, thank you for your comments :) I actually wrote an entire post about God’s admonition against borrowing money. That is awesome that you and your husband are completely debt free! That is our goal as well, and like I said in the post, I know that every family’s idea of what is “worth it” is going to be a little bit different. My take on the Proverbs 31 woman is that her first responsibility was to her family and that her extra money-making endeavors were worked around that main goal, and that’s what I strive for as well. I believe that ideally we wouldn’t have got into debt in the first place and now all we can do is get out of it as best we can without sacrificing other things God has asked of us.

  13. Jennifer Martz Thorson says

    Yes, I definitely think frugality is worth it, although sometimes I get tired of being frugal! There are times where we need to treat ourselves I think, to keep us motivated–ha ha! Thanks for linking up at Thrifty Thursday!

    • Crystal says

      Jennifer, that’s so true! And, I can’t say I never get frustrated by it…every once in a while I just want to throw in the towel and go on a shopping spree…luckily those moments are few and far between and don’t get acted upon! lol.

  14. says

    Love the post but feel compelled to add that Dave Ramsey only recommends doing the extra work thing on a short term basis… So, if you can get a 2nd job for a few months and really knock down the debt. He has stated many times on his show and talks about the importance of family.

  15. says

    I very much agree about the second jobs. My husband’s job requires 60 hours a week a few months of the year, to which people often say “it’s just a season.” However, when we add that up, those “seasons” equal approximately 1/3 of our children’s lives. Seasons in which they don’t see Daddy for more than 1/2 hour many days a week. We’re praying there will be an opportunity to change that. Time is so much more valuable than “stuff,” or being out of debt a year or two sooner.

    • Crystal says

      Amber, we have those “seasons” as well! My husband is a forest ranger and during forest fire season, he works really long hours like that. We ended up moving across the state, in part because there are less forest fires here so less overtime. Last fall, he worked about 80 hours a week, and one week he worked over 100 hours! In ways, his overtime is kind of alike a second job already. We’re hoping he’ll have less of that here. Thanks for weighing in.

  16. says

    I agree with you here. Especially on not being willing to sacrifice time. That’s my one thing about getting out of debt…I’m not going to give up time with my family. Of course, if I took a job, we could get out of debt a lot faster, but I’m not willing to sacrifice that special time at home with my son.

    Thanks for linking up with WIP!

    • Crystal says

      Thanks for the site! i’ll have to check it out :) I have recently found a homemade laundry soap recipe that I was able to get everything for at walmart, just holding off until I run out of our old stuff.

  17. Gloria says

    Found your blog while searching Pinterest for “budget.” Ha. Yours looks very similar to ours. We have made the same choices about staying home and living on the one job income. Our boys will be grown before we know it. Your reasons are spot on.

  18. says

    Keep at it. My husband and I followed Dave Ramsey’s plan and paid off everything (house, car & credit card debt), we just paid cash for a foreclosure that will bring us a rental income of $900 a month. We have gained so much by stopping the madness of debt and we have very few, if any, worries.

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