Enough About Me — I Want to Hear About You!

The imminence of August has me in a back-to-school kind of mood, and this time I want to learn from you.

Here I am, I thought, pontificating about all I do to save money, yet I know that each of you is busy with your own strategies and tricks.

So this year — beginning in September (since that’s when the year really starts for me) — the theme is YOU.

Besides wanting to get out the front door and see what the rest of the world is doing, I am percolating a book idea. It has something to do with finding happiness in saving — or making — money, and I want stories from all sorts of people to be the main inspiration.

Request Topics and Share Your Snippets

I also want to write about the things you want to hear about. For example, Melanie requested a post about how people can begin a new frugal way of living, and Nicole was wondering about flying internationally with babies. What do you want to hear about?  Send me an email at amy@frugal-mama.com or comment at the end of this post. I’ll do my best to fill your order!

Submit Your Tips and Pictures

How do you save money? What is making you smile these days? I’d love to hear what is working for you — and even what is not.

Karen, for example, would like to do a year-long experiment where she tracks all the money she saves by using coupons, loyalty cards, or discount shopping, and reports about it here. Allegra and her family have gone out on a limb two years in a row with a “Month of No Spending,” and she is going to share her experience with us.

I know that Meagan Francis at the Happiest Mom is doing a farm share this year and having canning parties. John Cave Osborne is going camping with his kids. Simple Mom doesn’t use shampoo. Nancy Shohet West bonded with her son and saved on a gym membership by going on a running streak with her nine-year-old son. Jennifer Roberts created a prehistoric world in her dining room for her son’s birthday party.

What do you do to save money?

It doesn’t have to be unusual or weird or creative. I’d love to cover the whole gamut of thrifty pursuits — the newness will be your perspective, your voice, your unique experience because there is only one you.

So, as my grandfather would say, “Put that in your pipe and smoke it.”  Meaning: please consider submitting a short (or long) story about a way that you have saved — or earned — money that has been fulfilling, rewarding, educational, uplifting, peaceful, or just silly fun.

Feel free to leave me a comment now, or stay tuned for another call to action (once those kiddos are busy in school)!

And p.s. — just because I like to keep you in the loop — we are now back in Washington, D.C., in our new house. I swing between feeling elated and exasperated, as I look at all the piles of lampshades mixed with spatulas and bike pumps and wrapping paper and unpacked suitcases. The poor place is a mess — and honestly, with four kids and more and more writing work (which is great), is it ever going to look fabulous? Oh well, I love it anyway. And: embrace imperfection, right?

Take care,

p.s. The photos are from the countryside of Emilia-Romagna, where we spent a few days with Enrico’s dad and his friends. Who gave us lots of fruit.

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  • Jennifer August 3, 2011, 1:51 pm

    Hi Amy,
    Your blog goes on my top 10 favorite finds of the Summer! I love your tagline- Simple Life, Happy Family. Some of my favorite posts are anything about quick healthy cooking (kale chips- awesome!) and your family life posts that focus on staying organized, being on time to school, cleaning house, etc. Thank you for the babysitting co-op post. I am dying to do this. Paying for babysitters is a huge pet peeve of mine (since when did babysitters hourly wage skyrocket past min. wage). My idea for your book… ideas to make your own Simple Life, Happy Family… you’ve certainly inspired me to try. Keep the great information coming!
    – Jennifer, mom of 3 (Maddie, 5, Abby, 3 & Jack, almost 1)

    • Amy August 6, 2011, 11:28 am

      Hello Jennifer!

      What a wonderful note! I’m so glad you found me too!

      I’m glad to hear about what kinds of things you are interested in. Some of the ones you mentioned are my favorites too. I will take note — and also — thanks for the book idea!

      I hope to see you here again,

  • Nancy July 28, 2011, 5:47 pm

    Those are some very nice pictures by the way~ Is that a pear? It looks really good! Did you grow it yourself? I’m trying to be frugal by starting my own herb garden…but it’s not exactly growing to be much. :P

    • Amy August 7, 2011, 10:02 pm

      Hi Nancy,

      Great to hear from you!

      Yes, those are pears in an orchard in Italy. Not mine, but friends of my husband’s family.

      I’d like to hear more about your herb garden. What do you mean it’s not growing to be much?

      Thanks for writing in,

  • Samantha @ Let's Get Digital July 28, 2011, 11:54 am

    @Karen – that sounds like a great experiment. Please track your time spent as that would be interesting as well! Good luck, I look forward to reading the results on Frugal Mama.

    • Amy July 28, 2011, 2:03 pm

      Good point, Samantha, about tracking the time.


  • Samantha @ Let's Get Digital July 28, 2011, 11:50 am

    Hi Amy, I’m enjoying your blog very much and I look forward to the book. I have oodles of ideas for you! Ranging from the thorny – like how to cope when you and your partner do not share a similar mind-set on spending and saving. And the corollary, how to help your parents downsize and prepare or adjust to life in retirement. Managing both issues with care and thoughtfulness could save you in the end. Topics may be out of scope as they could fill a book on their own! Moving out of the thorn bushes, I just earned $20 for my kids’ saving accounts by filling out a form of 10 books we read (one per child, earning $10 each). It’s something we do anyway and took me next to no time. Check to see if your bank (ours is TD Bank) offers a similar summer reading incentive program. My 20 month old obviously isn’t reading, but I read to her and that counts too.

    • Amy July 28, 2011, 2:02 pm

      Hi Samantha,

      I would LOVE to hear your take on how to deal with those thorny issues. Of course taking care of them makes life better, and as you say, saves you money over the long haul. Any interest in writing a guest post?

      And great idea about getting a bonus for summer reading. Had no idea that banks offered this! Easy money and for a good cause.

      Thanks so much for writing in,

      • Samantha @ Let's Get Digital July 28, 2011, 11:09 pm

        I would LOVE to guest post! Unfortunately those issues are more challenges in our lives right now and less areas of expertise. I was hoping you might have some insights there! lol. I would of course be honored to guest post, maybe something more in my wheelhouse like using technology to save money, or staying safe online (which could save a lot of money and headaches by preventing identity theft, data loss, phishing scams, etc. These topics can be real snoozers but necessary these days). If you have a chance to visit my tech blog please do, see if this type of content might interest your readers and I would be happy to discuss offline. My email is samantha (at) letsgetdigital (dot) biz. Thank you so much for considering me!

  • Nicole@ Kids Bedroom Furniture World July 27, 2011, 4:39 am

    Great post and beautiful photos! And also great idea and topic to share coming from your reader! Keep us posted!

  • Jen @ Jen Spends July 25, 2011, 10:39 pm

    Thank you for linking to my post – that was a nice surprise! Welcome back!