All posts by Martha Wild King

Martha Wild King is a 66 year-young mother of five and a wife of 34 years to Captain Michael King, USN, Retired. We adopted our fifth child, an orphan from Russia when I turned 50. As far as keeping myself active, I have home-schooled for 22 years, and started three home-schooling support groups. My 100+ articles on homemaking-faith-frugality have been published in magazines, newspapers, and weekly bulletins since 1982. But most importantly, I have faithfully walked with my Lord Jesus since 20 June 1976, when I gave Him my life; and through that walk, I was led into the Catholic Church in 2009 after longing for it for 40 years. I had the Bridegroom before: now I also have His Bride--The Catholic Church.

The Frugal Catholic: “Consecrating What’s Most Important” by Martha Wild King– May 23, 2010

I will be 62 later this year, and The Good Captain, my husband of 30 years, will soon be 58.  On May 5, 2010, we were officially married in the Catholic Church.  Needless to say, a number of people have asked us why we were doing this.

I was divorced but a born-again, re-committed Protestant Christian when Michael and I met in October 1979, and we “tied the knot” August 1980 in a  Protestant wedding performed by Dr. Graham Smith in Alexandria VA.  However, when Michael came into the Catholic Church this past Easter 2010 ( I had joined the year before), Father Carroll said it was time to “get married in The Church.”  My annulment, which had taken a year, was granted the week before Michael was confirmed; thus, I had my First Communion the same night as he did.  By getting married in the Church, our marriage became a Sacrament which will draw us more fully into Christ’s grace and strength.  It is for that reason we chose to get married in The Catholic Church.  We have lived as husband and wife since his confirmation with the exception of husband and wife relations.  We have waited until we were married in the Catholic Church just as we waited for our first marriage.  We have waited because to NOT wait would have been a sin, and at this age, my only desire is to please God first; for in that pleasing, I know that only good will occur.  So we were married in the morning mass.  The choice of Wednesday, May 5th, was made by Michael because Fr. Carroll told him that that was when there were the smallest number  people.

Before the ceremony, I laid out a few items on the table to take with me.  There was something old–an antique locket I wore for my first marriage and the pearl earrings I wore when I married Michael.  There was something new–a silver bracelet he had just given me.  There was something borrowed–a white rosary from my youngest daughter.  There was something blue–my blue garter from my marriage to Michael in 1980.  Finally, there was a penny for your shoe–a 1980 penny for when we were first married and a shiny 2009 penny for when I came into the Catholic Church.  In addition, we also brought our Guest book dating back to 1980 for all to sign.  Yet the little miracle I want to finish this story with is of my simple wedding bouquet.  While sitting in Catholics Come Home the night before, I heard an older lady share  that she felt  that she couldn’t go to Confession (which was the topic) since  her first marriage wasn’t annulled.

Afterwards I approached her and told her how I too longed to join the Roman Catholic Church, but believed because I had been married before, it wouldn’t happen.  Fr. Carroll, however, encouraged me; and the rest is history or HIS STORY.  I shared that the next day I would be married to my husband whom had likewise converted to Catholicism.  She paused and said, “Do you have any flowers for your ceremony?”  “No,” I answered.  “Well,” she said, “Wait here.”   Reaching for her cane, she and walked outside Conger Hall and  shortly came in carrying a fragrant bouquet of The Lilly of The Valley in a small glass jar.  “I was going to leave these in the church by the Confessional, but I want you to have them for your wedding tomorrow.”

I’m reminded of what Sister Faustina Kowalska said in her (Diary, 1208), “May You be blessed, O God, for everything You send me.  Nothing under the sun happens without Your will.”


The Frugal Catholic: “Depression Era Sayings and the 21st Century” by Martha Wild King–May 9, 2010

My favorite frugal sayings have lived on my tongue for 20 plus years.  I began saying them to myself when we made the decision to live below our means to fulfill a goal.  We wanted to go to England for a two-week vacation since Michael was going to be over there with the military.  We had our sets of parents to watch our two small children, but what we didn’t have were the funds.  In order to save up, I began cutting food costs and and investigating in the library on how to best reduce spending

It was during this research that “The Depression Era Sayings” surfaced, and they became my mantra.  Even today, they are ever on the tip of my tongue to gauge my spending.  These four sentences give boundaries to our consumption and force me to pause, regroup, and often not spend.  As I’ve heard it said, “The leach has two sisters: give and give me more.”  That is the problem most of us in America face, a consumption mentality.  Proverbs 13:18 states,”Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but he who heeds reproof is honored.” (RSV)  Proverbs 27:23 elaborates, “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds; for the riches do not last for ever; and does a crown endure to all generations?” (RSV)

So what are these four “Depression Era Sayings?”  They are as follows:


  1. MAKE IT DO.  How can you use what you have for what you need now?
  2. DO WITHOUT.  Do I really need this item I am coveting?  Would something else work that I already own?
  3. USE IT UP.  Have I used my resources wisely?  Did I finish what I have before buying more?
  4. WEAR IT OUT.  Before I buy something new, have I worn out what I wish to replace?  Do I really NEED to replace it or NEED more “stuff”?


By applying these four phrases, by memorizing them and teaching them to your children, wonderful events will occur. Try putting these sayings into your family living, and watch your savings go up and your budget stay better on track.

Making a Frugal Dinner--Family Style


The Frugal Catholic: “Toe-Nail Theology and You” by Martha Wild King–April 4, 2010

We are created in the image of God: our body, though our own, is meant to be shared within the BODY of the CHURCH.  Ephesians 5:23 says “…as Christ  is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” (RSV)  Romans 12:1 (NAB) clarifies this by stating, “I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.” 1 Corinthians 12:20 continues,”But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body.  The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you,’ nor again the head to the feet,’ I do not need you.’  Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, ….” (NAB)

When I first asked Christ into my life 34 years ago and began worshiping as a Protestant, I really sought to be something significant, like an arm or an aorta.  What I found was that no one deemed me as important as I wanted to feel; thus I settled into my place as simply greeting at the church door once a month and cleaning up after communion which meant I dumped the bread and wine into the sewer–the act of which led me into The Roman Catholic Church.  So through the years I decided my place in His Body was simply being a “toenail.”  Yes, I was a lowly toenail, hidden away in a smelly left shoe.  I had no real worth in the organization of His Body and His Bride, the Church.

Then a change of thought occurred when I went on a backpacking trip with my husband two summers ago. We climbed five miles straight up, packs and all, into the rugged Olympic Mountains in WA.  Since I hadn’t hiked like this in 30 years, I had forgotten one important aspect of hiking.  Your shoes should be one size too big, and when you come downhill, tighten the boots versus loosening them.  So from that two-day trek came a swollen, blackened, left, big-toenail.  Finally after a few weeks, it painfully fell off, and a new one started underneath it.  That new toenail took about a year to be normal.

So the moral to this “Toenail Theology” story is: maybe you feel like a toenail within your Catholic church.  Maybe you feel that you have no value and no one really notices whether you are here or not.  Maybe you are wrong!!  Do you realize what a pain in the foot it is to NOT have a toenail?   God needs you  here even if it is to smile at someone else during The Sign of Peace.  You are part of His Body–The Church–The Holy Roman Catholic Church.  Rejoice toenail; we need you desperately.

The Frugal Catholic: “Making Marriage a Priority or Cheap Dates We’ve Known and Loved” by Martha Wild King–February 7, 2010

Over the Christmas holiday, Jane arrived at a neighborhood party, her petite, pretty self.  I wanted to ask her about her recent separation.  Although I knew it was prying, I wanted to know from her so I said, “Jane I know it isn’t any of my business, but I was concerned when I heard about you and Tom.  Is there anything I can pray for?”  Some part of her private heart broke loose then she looked at me intently and said, “Martha, Tom and I quit working on the marriage after the children came.  We just kept brushing our feelings under the rug, and didn’t deal with them.  We didn’t make our marriage a priority and make time to be together.  Whatever you do, work on your marriage!”

It isn’t often that someone you know only in a casual way shares such a deep part of themselves and her words hit me.  Not that Michael–The Good Captain–and I don’t work on our marriage of 30 years, but that she was verifying something which I know to be true, but so seldom hear.  Thus, dear reader, I pass this on: Take time to work on your marriage!

Looking through the eyes of Catholicism and frugality, what are some ways we can strengthen the sacrament of marriage?  Below are listed a few of which Michael  reminded me, and I will rate them according to restaurant symbols.

Remember: An investment in your marriage is like savings in the bank.  You dated before marriage and constantly reconnecting is a vital glue within your marriage now.  Dates don’t have to be expensive, but they speak to your children and the world that you make your marriage a priority!

$$$= OVER $50

  • Hire a baby-sitter and sail off to Seattle ( or any city for that matter) with your spouse for the afternoon.  Hit a hotel.  What fun.
  • Purchase season’s tickets to the symphony, ballet, opera, or a play series. These tickets will ensure that you get out periodically.  Michael and I have season tickets to the symphony at Benaroya Hall.  We go to six symphonies a year.  In the beginning, we bought these in the “nose bleed section” which is as high up as you can go at the cost of $15 a ticket.  On the first symphony, however, I had the feeling that I was going to faint and fall over the side (not a pretty site), so I told the usher.  He immediately got on his walkie-talkie and said, “Lady in the balcony with vertigo.  Need to seat her and her husband downstairs.”  He said to call the symphony and ask for the up-front same-price tickets which we did and have been sitting there with our $15 tickets for ten years.
  • Go visit a timeshare presentation, say at Whistler BC, and sit through the 90-minute event for the privilege of having two nights free.  Many couples do this but just don’t bring their checkbook.  We did, however, purchase when we went so this was not a cheap date, but it has proved to be a great family vacation investment which Michael calls “vacation insurance.”

$$=UNDER $50

  • Look on line and find coupons for dining out.  Heck, go to an expensive restaurant and order the cheapest thing on the menu.  Our favorite is cheeseburgers at an expensive seafood restaurant in Seattle.  Cost $10.  Or you can order one expensive entree and split it.  If you are looking for a reasonably-priced babysitter, check the Girl Scouts.  Often, the young girls take classes through The Red Cross, and they are looking for sitting experience.
  • For a dinner out without going out, try “dining in.”  Get two prepared meals from a caterer, Stouffer’s Lasagna, or a carton of grocery store soup (something you didn’t prepare); and when the children are down, enjoy a candle-lit meal with a $3 bottle of wine or sparkling cider.  The Breedens, parents of eight in Maryland, have taken this idea one step further.  Sharon purchased a little cafe table set for their bedroom, and they often retreat there for a “private dinner” while the older ones watch the younger ones.
  • Net flicks, of course, equals a movie at home.  So why not add to the event with some home-made popcorn.
  • And finally, consider family camping or even back-packing.  Dates work there also.  Some of my most precious memories are of sitting with Michael around the campfire when the children were asleep in the tent.

$=FREE or nearly so (these simple acts can truly add to your marriage)

  • Grad hands every time prayers are said at Mass.
  • Hold each other and pray together for the day before in front of your family crucifix before your spouse heads off for work.
  • Go for a long walk on the weekend.  We walk four miles on Sunday afternoons then have a cup of coffee and continue our walk.  This gives us a time to connect about family, finances, future, and get in exercise.  For the years we have done this, we have walked across the state of Washington in mileage at least twice–800 miles.
  • Read the Bible together at your dinner table which has been set with candlelight and place mats.  Dinner can be such a wonderful time to retreat and reconnect as a family.
  • Set up a place in the house for romance where you can light a candle, enjoy some wine or tea, and simply talk after the children are down.  Ours is in the living room and/or on the old wicker couch on the front porch.  Of course, now that the last remaining child is 13, she sometimes joins us on the porch as we all snuggle under the fleece blankets and chat.
  • Rent the first movie you ever saw together.
  • Re-read as a couple love notes or greeting cards you’ve given each other over the years.
  • Look through photos or videos of treasured times.
  • Write and share a list of 10 reasons why you love each other.
  • With a cup of tea in hand, recall the names of movies you’ve seen together, restaurants you’ve dined at, or vacation spots you’ve shared.

The greatest gift Michael and I can give to our five children besides our Catholic faith is our marriage.  Continue to “date each other.”  It is money well spent.

The Frugal Catholic: “New Year’s Resolutions” by Martha Wild King–January 10, 2010

Our lives are like magnets: whatever we put out there will be attracted to us.  And for what should we ask?  Well, first wisdom.  James 1:5-8 NAB

But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.  But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways.


What we in our family have found is that when we write down our five or ten goals and keep them posted, we often see them occur.  My eldest son, David, now 27, was living in Bremerton WA and wanted to make some changes.  So he took a paper bag, wrote down on it what changes or goals he wanted to see, and posted it on his wall.  Low and behold, by the end of that year all had occurred.  Inspired by her brother’s example, my daughter, Hannah, age 23, did the same.  Last year, 2009, she compiled ten goals, posted them on her refrigerator, and eight out of ten came true.  I have my goals, eleven of them, on my bulletin board.  They are life goals and I keep my yearly ones with my daily prayer cards.  Again, it amazes me how they are coming to pass.


Sometimes I wonder about our Lord and how He approached His ministry.  He remained essentially unseen for thirty years and then He changed the world.  What did our Blessed Mother think in her heart during this time?  Did she ever wonder when He would take on His mission which was promised to her?  I ponder these things.  I reflect on how He approached His life and goals.  The days are short; the fields are ripe, and the workers are few.  Let us accomplish all we can for Him with wisdom.

GONE-------- (a goal!!)



The Frugal Catholic: “A Simple Christmas” by Martha Wild King–December 20, 2009


Years ago, our family made the decision to get off of the Christmas roller-coaster.  We became blessed by understanding what was important about Christmas.  According to MSN Money Central, about 12 million Americans are still paying off last holiday’s bills, for too often we allow our gift-giving to become a larger statement than the gift of self and season.

Christmas is a time for friends to practice simplicity.

What we, as a family, decided years ago was to get out of the Christmas race, and this is how we did it:

  • We quit sending Christmas cards.
  • We quit giving to our extended family members and friends.  Instead we just gave small gifts to the children’s Godparents and a gift of fruit to our Mother and Father.
  • We give one small item to each of our five children and then a gift card.  Michael also is the one who shops for the children since he handles the budget, and he purchases the gift cards which they love.
  • We also fill the stockings with chocolates and a small gift such as a pocket knife, cards, a piece of jewelry or a chap stick.
  • We read The Gift of the Magi every Christmas dinner, and last year the oldest child took to telling his own version which had us all in stitches.
  • On Christmas morning, we say a prayer at the top of the stairs, light a candle, then go down in order from the oldest to the youngest child. We switch the order each year.  Of course, we take a picture as the children are descending, and when we open gifts, we do it one person at a time–not all at once.
  • For gifts to neighbors, I get coffee cups from thrift stores and fill them full of teas or a small candle,  and wrapping paper is usually newsprint or recycled gift bags.

Let me share with you what Hannah, age 23, stated, “What I like about a simple Christmas is having a small exchange of presents because it takes the pressure off an extravagant Christmas, particularly in tough economic times.  I also like filling stockings with you, Mom or Dad, because it involves older family members.  I like cooking with you (Mom) and making breakfast.  And by continuing to conduct small family traditions, it reminds my brain of childhood memories which produces endorphins and calms me during Christmas day.”  And to add a younger thought, child number five, Deahna, age 13, stated that she enjoys the way we go down the stairs with a candle, how Mr. Butte, our neighbor, comes into the house and steals the Baby Jesus and brings Him back on Christmas day so He can be in the manger, and how we can all spend family time when people are usually at home.

So there you have it.  Before you give, GET information from those your love on what truly is meaningful FOR THEM.  And don’t forget to get going on St. Cecilia’s Christmas activities such as The Giving Tree, the annual Matt Talbot Christmas Dinner, or the Super Supper on the last Wednesday of the month in Conger Hall for the needy on Bainbridge as other parish activities listed.

Remember, “Ask and it will be given to you: seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7 NAB) Let’s get information so our giving will be with wisdom.

2011 Stair Picture


The Frugal Catholic: “SOS Means Set Our Spending” by Martha Wild King–November 29, 2009

I asked my husband of nearly thirty years tonight while we were on our weekly four-mile walk (our cheap weekly date) what he though of our budget, stating that I needed to write an article on it.  Michael is the chief recorder of the budget in our “budget book.”  The Good Captain, USN Retired said, “Having a budget is critical to living within your means and avoiding debt.  Without a budget you are driving your car down a freeway at night without any headlights where a crash is imminent.”

All right: so there you have it.  We need the darn thing–the budget.  But how does one do it?

The SOS philosophy says: SOS: Set Our Spending (create a family budget).  I was impressed today, Sunday 8 November 2009,  by Father Emmett Carroll’s homily in which he stated that in the time of Jesus, in the temple, there were 13 different boxes placed around for the temple offerings.  Perhaps you dropped your coins into the “wine box,” or maybe you stuffed your  monies into the “flour box,” or the “oil box.” So with that in mind, lets look at category budgeting.  Picture, if you will, thirteen different envelopes.  This is the way families used to do it way back when and how we do our income now.  The first is tithe; the second, mortgage;  the third, food;  the fourth, auto; the fifth, medical;  the sixth, household; the seventh, savings/investment; the eighth, entertainment/education; the ninth, clothes; the tenth, insurance; the eleventh, debt; the twelfth, vacations, and the thirteenth, other.  Take  you income and distribute your money into each of these envelopes.  If you prefer to keep your income in your checkbook, then take your income and divide that earning onto thirteen sheets of paper like the above envelopes.  Now every time you spend something, either pull that money from the envelope, or after you have deducted the expense  from the checkbook then deduct it from the category which you penned.  When you add up all of those  remaining figures, then it will equal your checkbook final calculation. That is how category budgeting is accomplished.

For example, you go to the gas station and spend $50 for gas.  With the envelope system, you would take the funds with you, but with the pages system, you’d deduct it from your checkbook then from the penned category.  When the monies are gone, you don’t spend anymore. Period.  If you need a healthy shopping spree for stress, rob a category and take $3 in change and go to Goodwill.  Works wonders.

By living this way for thirty years, we have been able to understand clearly how much money is coming in and be aware of what the expenses are and how to plan for them.  With five children, that has been hugely important.  Category budgeting has given us the freedom to minimize the stress of not being prepared for everyday expenditures.  We haven’t been 100% successful all of the time, and it hasn’t always been smooth sailing,  but the Good Captain has guided us well.  And with a budget, you can plan for your operating costs, plan for your charitable contributions including money to The Church, and avoid living beyond your means.

Isn’t that what being a “Frugal Catholic” is all about??

The Good Captain’s Fifth Expense

The Frugal Catholic: “Shibboleths” by Martha Wild King–October 18, 2009


SOS: Stop Over Spending- one of the best Shibboleths.  The Frugal Catholic here at a Christmas rummage sale.


For those who don’t know, “shibboleth” is a catchword or slogan: a phrase frequently used or a belief strongly held by members of a group.  According to the Bible, the people of Gilead used the word “shibboleth” as a password because they knew their enemies, the Ephraimites, could not pronounce the “sh” properly.

Judges 12:5-6 says, “The Gileadites took the fords of the Jordan toward Ephraim.  When any of the fleeing Ephraimites said, ‘ Let me pass,’ the men of Gilead would say to him, ‘ Are you an Ephraimite?’  If he answered, ‘ No!’ they would ask him to say ‘Shibboleth.’  If he said ‘ Sibboleth,’ not being able to give the proper pronunciation, they would seize him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. Thus forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell at that time.” NAB

Also, “SOS” is a maritime international distress signal which in years past was tapped out  Morse Code–dot,dot,dot,dash,dash,dash,dot,dot,dot. (That piece of information was added by my retired submarine Captain husband).  The letters SOS can also help us focus on  frugal shibboleth living.

  1. SOS: Set Our Spending (create a family budget)
  2. SOS: Safeguard Our Savings (learn how to shop)
  3. SOS: Stop Over Spending (figure out ways NOT to use the credit cards)
  4. SOS: Stay Out of Stores (hummmm, that sounds interesting)
  5. SOS: Salvage Old Stuff (seldom say die to anything you own)
  6. SOS: Spot Opportunities to Slash (cleverly cut your spending)
  7. SOS: Support Others Spiritually (tithe, bestow, volunteer)
  8. SOS: Strive Only to Simplify (keep life simple, Sweetie)
  9. SOS: Share Our Selves (give and it will be given unto you)
  10. SOS: Sup On the Spirit (get that soul food into your diet)

There are my top ten SOS’s.  They are economical in the amount of brain space they require, but rich in what they can do for your life.  Try them on, for an  SOS Shibboleth a day will keep the creditor away.

The Frugal Catholic: “Tithing” by Martha Wild King– October 4, 2009

God provided so we could adopt our 5th

In our modern day, “tithing” seems like an ancient word which doesn’t apply to our tight finances.  Encarta World English Dictionary defines it thus: 1. Paying of tithes: the assessing or paying of tithes    2. one tenth: one tenth part of something

What Encarta doesn’t address is the importance of tithing to one’s overall financial wellness, and also what God and The Church have to say about it; as well as,  what those who have practiced it have found that paying of tithes has given them.

Let’s start with what God and The Church have to say about tithing.  The tithe is the first ten percent of our income, and this belongs to the Lord.  Offerings are above and beyond the tithe.  In 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, God encourages us to give bountifully as well as cheerfully, for “God loves a cheerful giver.” NAB

The tithe has a vital function not only for The Church but also for the giver.  Our ten percent not only supports The Church ministries, but it also helps us learn to fear The Lord.  God has promised to give wisdom and blessing to those who do fear Him.  Deuteronomy 14:22-23 states, “Each year you shall tithe all the produce that grows in the field you have sown; then in the place which the Lord, your God, chooses as the dwelling place of his name you shall eat in his presence your tithe of the grain, wine and oil, as well as the firstlings of your herd and flock, that you may learn always to fear the Lord, your God.” NAB

For The Frugal Catholic, the tithe teaches priorities.  If we give God that first ten percent, He lets us have the other ninety percent to use as we need, and He blesses it.  Proverbs 3: 9-10 expounds on this thought.  “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with  first fruits of all your produce; then will your barns  be filled with grain, with new wine your vats will overflow.” NAB  Truthfully, if you don’t give that ten percent to God right off the top, then the enemy will gobble it up, and the other ninety percent will disappear too.  One such example is debt.  Debt itself is often a witness that tithing is not taking place.  It should therefore be a motivation to begin tithing in order to allow God to show His power in one’s finances.

Now what about those who have practiced tithing?  What do they say?  Jill Moore of South Carolina states, “Tithing is very important.  I suggest have the sum withdrawn automatically so that you aren’t tempted to spend it.”  Adrienne Oleson of California adds, “The Lords blesses us with so much.  It’s the least we can do to give back to Him in a small way.  I believe that tithing is more than just money.  I believe giving to the Lord should be in total your time, your heart, your mind, your life, your everything.”  Doris Schroeder of Washington confirms, “I consider tithing a privilege and a possibility to share with others.  Tithing is the way to opening the door to God’s blessings, and it gives us the assurance of His protection.  If you don’t tithe, you’ll lose the money in other ways and wonder why bad things happen.”  And finally Dixie Moore in Bainbridge Island WA remarks, “Tithing is an expression of a Christian.  Simply take ten percent off each paycheck and put it into a special account.  We then have money to give to the church and missions.  By doing it that way, we are not deciding between food or gas but giving it to the church.

For The Frugal Catholic, tithing is the best investment we can make with our money.  I challenge you to try it.  God most certainly does as Malachi 3:10 exhorts, where He says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me in this, says the Lord of hosts:  Shall I not open for you the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessing upon you without measure?” NAB

The Frugal Catholic: “Cutting Back to Give Back” by Martha Wild King–September 20, 2009

I don't imagine Daniel was thinking about "Cutting Back"

Perhaps the best explanation I ever heard for watching one’s money was presented by a family called the “Breedens.”  They had ten children, were strong Evangelical Christians, lived very simply in Maryland, and Sharon, the mom, home-schooled the entire group.  When I asked Sharon about budgeting, she succinctly stated, “If you save it over here, you can spend it over there.”

Is there profundity in that thought? Well, say you cut down on your food budget by cooking more at home–everything from home-made bread in a bread machine to half powdered milk mixed with half fresh milk.  Perhaps you limit yourself to only one meal out a month versus several meals out a week in your quest to be more frugal.  And you begin “brown bagging” it or actually lunch-boxing it (more ecological) and are using that bread-machine bread you made.  Well the bottom line of all of this cost-cutting is what are you going to do with that savings?  According to Sharon Breeden, “If you save it over here, you can spend it over there.”  So your food-cutting-cost savings can be put towards tithing, college fund, or into a clear-day (not rainy day) savings account.  The goal is to learn to live under your means not above it or at it.  And to live this way is like any competitive sport: it takes constant practice and discipline.

Mother Theresa said, “We can’t always do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”  Is that not what The Frugal Catholic does?  Does he or she not emulate the Proverbs 31 woman: “She rises while it is still night, and distributes food to her household.” NAB  She knows what is in her kitchen and does small things wisely.

So too, we can do small things with great love.  We can make small cuts here so we can tithe/save/give over there.  Being The Frugal Catholic is a thought process enabling us to use His resources prudently and to His glory.

One of the best adages I know concerning economical living is a saying which came from The Great Depression era: “Make it do; do without; use it up, and wear it out.”  Plant that  on your brain and say it each time you grocery shop, look on your favorite internet shopping site, or pick up a catalog.  Being prudent with your funds doesn’t mean hoarding ketchup or stealing towels from a hotel.  It means being content with what you have, doing without new, using up what exists, and wearing out what’s there.  Sirach 18:30 states it well: “Go not after your lusts, but keep your desires in check.” NAB If we were following that verse, credit cards and debt wouldn’t haunt us.

More thoughts?  With each article of clothing that comes in, give one away.  Check for USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food at home at four levels to compare how you and your family are doing regarding eating costs.  Employ the envelope system where you cash a certain amount of money for each category/envelope, and when that cash is gone, you stop spending.  Lastly: SOS Stay Out of Stores.  Create a family budget with all participating.

Remember frugality teaches self-discipline; if you save it over here, you can spend it over there. Or in the words of Aesop’s Fables, “Save while you can, for you might not have a chance later.”