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Amy Patterson – Ace Reporter

Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm

My thoughts


Given the state of our current economy, I know I am not alone in saying that I try to save money in every way I can. I have spent many an evening scouring Pinterest for crafty and clever ideas and tips on how to turn one potato and some cream cheese into a high class meal, and a Kleenex box into a nightstand. All of this in the name of saving a few bucks.

Imagine my thrill when I was tipped onto a blog site in which a woman (Danielle Wagasky) claims to support her family of four on a $14,000-a-year budget. (I’ll give you a hint: I was pretty excited).

Anyway, I immediately emailed this woman and asked for her permission to share these tips with my readers; she happily agreed. Here’s the scoop:

Danielle begins the tale by explaining how frugal and financially conscious her Iraq-War-Vet husband is.

“Finally that sweet hubby of mine had a very serious conversation with me. He asked me if I wanted to buy a house someday, which I did. He reminded me of our goal to pay cash for a house. The way things were going, it wasn’t going to happen. He told me he understood I was sad, but shopping was not the way to deal with him being gone.”

She then explains that her husband asked her to read a book. It was called  “America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams.”

This book gives amazing tips on how to live comfortably, within your means.



Make a Budget

Set a budget. Literally make a list of every bill you pay in a month. Electric, water, gas, trash, cable, groceries, gas for the cars, insurance,  etc. These are all bills that need to be budgeted.

Do not include “extra” things like dates, movie trips, shopping trips, etc.

Add up all of your bills for the month, and compare it to your income for the month. This will tell you right away if you have enough money to cover the basics of life.

If you have money left over, that’s when you budget in a date night or two for the month.


Say No to Cable

If your Dish or DirecTV doesn’t fit into the budget, consider a service like NetFlix. Their services begin at just $7.99 a month.


Pay Cash

Paying cash for everything means you will spend less. You know exactly how much you can spend, because you’re holding the money in your hands.

She budgets $400 per month for groceries. Once that $400 is gone,  it is gone. There are no extra shopping trips made because there is no more money.


Buy Second Hand

Danielle says most of her home has been bought at thrift stores. She usually finds name brand things for the whole family. They have found Hurley, Quicksilver brands, just to name a few at thrift stores. She also makes a lot of their clothes.


Go Homemade

She says going homemade has saved them tons and tons of money. I make our own bread, a lot of clothes, detergent, and more. Danielle also cooks at home every night.



Watch Your Miles

Gas is crazy expensive right now! Danielle and her husband fill  up no more than twice a month. Combine errands so you don’t waste gas. Also check your tire pressure. When tires are filled correctly, you can make your tank go further for you.


No Credit

Say no to charging it. A good philosophy, when it comes to credit cards, is that they should be for emergencies. If you do have to use them, pay them off as soon as you can. Danielle says to know your limits; if you know you’re tempted to spend when you have your credit card, just don’t carry it.


Set Goals

Danielle and her husband had a dream to pay cash for a house, and they did it. They bought our house for $30,000 and paid cash. She said “it took us seven years to save it, but oh boy was it worth it!”

Talk about our future. Make plans and dream together. Set a goal and decide where you want to be financially this year, next year, five years from now. Write the goals down and talk of them often. This is a great way to see if you are own the right track to achieving that goal.



Decide Today

Decide today how you want to live. Make the choice now and commit. Don’t try to do every tip right away. Baby steps. Pick something simple. Decide you will not charge anything this month, or you will stick to a grocery budget. Those small changes will make a huge impact on your budget and finances.

Decide now how you want to live and do it! You will be a happier person when you are free from the strains money can cause.



Seems easy enough, right? Fortunately, all of these tips are simple enough to be considered “common sense,” so no one needs to turn their world upside down to save some money. Just be frugal, and use that common sense when it comes to spending and cut corners where you can.


You can find Danielle’s blog at