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Living on Less is Harder Than it Looks…


At 4AM on Saturday morning, my husband’s cell phone blared loudly, shocking me awake from my sleep.

Here’s my deal about middle of the night phone calls, my husband and I both work two jobs and he attends night school on top of it. Unless someone is dead, don’t call at 4AM on a weekend, otherwise, it will be your funeral I’m planning.

Fortunately, no one was dead. It was my in-laws calling to ask my husband for help fixing their water heater that had sprung a leak and flooded their basement. The water had long since been turned off but I’m guessing since they had been up since 2AM cleaning the mess, 4AM seemed like a semi-decent hour.

My husband went over to help fix their pipes and uncovered some other problems with the gas line while he was at it. Having gas line problems while using industrial heaters and fans to dry out a flooded area seemed a bit on the dangerous side, so he fixed those as well. He ended up working on their plumbing until 3PM.

Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal but we had already promised to move my brother’s father-in-law’s stuff out of his condo in exchange for some much needed furniture. Unable to postpone the move since the property closed on Monday, we worked until 11PM (with some great help from my brother-in-law’s) before finally giving in to sleep.

My husband spent Sunday morning re-piping the neighbor’s bathroom in exchange for helping us finish moving the furniture. The neighbor’s plumbing had problems too (surprise surprise) so we didn’t get started again until about 3PM. We finally finished moving, vacuuming, and sweeping around 8PM and made our way back home. After unloading and rearranging the furniture, we didn’t to sleep until after 10PM.

Monday morning, as our alarm clocks chimed at 4:30AM, my husband whispered, ‘I changed my mind. I don’t want tools for Christmas, I want a weekend of sleep.’

Can’t say I blame him.

But the weekend of hard work paid off with some furniture we could never afford to buy ourselves.


  • Reply Prince of Thrit |

    I agree with your title. It is so easy to sit here behind the keyboard and computer screen, and tell everyone to “live on less then you make.” It is quite another thing to actually try to put it into practice.

  • Reply MyMoneyMess |

    There’s a saying, can’t remember when/where I heard it first, that goes something like, “There are two ways to get anything done, spend the time (and effort) necessary to do it yourself or spend the money to pay someone to do it for you.”

    When you’re trying to live frugally you usually have to put out a lot more effort than someone who is willing/able to spend money to get the same things.

  • Reply Lori |

    Maybe he should put up a donations jar at his “work” sites! On the jar he could put “Time IS money” Maybe folks will either donate to the jar or think twice about calling for help all the time!

  • Reply Wil |

    I think the hardest thing to learn when trying to live on less is when you really do want less (stuff that is). I’ve had several instances when I realized I didn’t want something I had once thought was “impossible” to live without. Usually it came from seeing what else I had to give up (either in time or money) to have those “must haves.”

So, what do you think ?