Forget low-carb, no-carb, South
Beach and Atkins. Where do normal people turn when they just want
to feed their family nutritious, inexpensive and easy meals?
Tawra Kellam says she has the answers in her book,
A few years ago, when Kellam was in serious debt and looking for
ideas on how to save money, she came across tips in magazines and
books. The instructions read like this: "Make your own baby
food and Christmas gifts. It will save you a bundle!" But they
didn't say how to make the baby food or give any indication of what
these homemade Christmas gifts would be.
Kellam, a thrifty homemaker from a long line of thrifty
homemakers, decided she would write a book -- with easy instructions
-- about how a family can be frugal . A few years later, she was
out of debt and the book was in print.
Bankrate spoke with Kellam to find out how she went
about the transition from frugal to plenty.
Bankrate: You said you paid
off $20,000 of debt in five years with an annual salary of $22,000.
What was the debt from and how did you pay it off?
Kellam: Our debt came mostly
from medical bills and two wrecked cars. And, my husband was $3,000
in debt before we married. He was a big spender before. Now he's
almost a bigger tightwad than me. Mainly, we simply nickeled-and-dimed
everything -- such as shopping for lower-interest-rate credit cards
to do balance transfers, not going out to dinner and using cloth
diapers. I have the whole story of how we paid it off on my Web
Bankrate: Does your family
help you save?
Kellam: Oh, yes. We've been
married 10 years and my husband wasn't that way at first. I tell
people, you have to set the example. You can't get mad when he spends
$200 on car toys if you go out and buy $200 worth of clothes. For
my husband, it happened when he realized he was working two hours
to pay for the pizza we ate in 15 minutes. People don't realize
how long they have to work to pay for some of the things they purchase.
We figured out one day that if we wanted to buy a new car that cost
$30,000, we would be working for one year and three months just
to pay for it. Is it worth it when a used car might only be three
to six months' worth of work?
Bankrate: Does your family
have house rules about spending money?
Kellam: Unspoken ones. We
work together pretty well on it. Anything over $100 -- except clothing
-- we talk about.
The kids have chores to do to earn their allowance.
They have to keep their rooms clean, empty the trash, set the table
and pick up their things at pick-up time. Right now, I'm very fortunate
in that they are willing. I give them extra for helping to sweep
the sidewalks. They used to help out with the dishes, but in our
new home, they can't reach the cabinets. When we know they are trying
to save for something, we give them extra opportunities to help.
I don't buy roll-ups, juice boxes or other made-for-kid
junk foods. We let them use their own money to buy it. They are
already learning that this candy bar is 60 cents and the other one
is $1; they get the 60-cent one. It's better for them to learn on
a $1 candy bar than a $100,000 house. A lot of parents hide their
money problems. They shouldn't. My mother didn't. We comparison
shopped. Parents don't give their kids enough credit to learn these
things when they are younger. They should.