Lessons Learned While in a Financial Valley

financial valley

Guest post from Jennifer of The Intentional Mom

While growing up, I experienced what many would consider a privileged life filled with numerous niceties… like a 34-foot power boat, annual vacations, and a closet full of clothes and various things.

I was not given everything though. I had a regular job by the time I was in eighth grade since my parents instilled within me a strong work ethic and required me to work for some of the extras I desired. My parents also taught me the importance of budgeting and saving; but growing up with this privileged lifestyle provided me with a false sense of security and a warped idea of what I needed to feel satisfied.

As a young newlywed I was working 60 to 70 hours a week as a hairdresser while my husband made a career in retail sales. A few years later, we were able to build a house and began looking toward having children.

After being married for nearly seven years, we became parents and I reduced my work hours to just two short evenings a week. Shortly after our third child turned one, I left my job completely.

Fast forward several years to this past fall as I sat surrounded by the bins of clothing that have passed down from one to the other among our now seven children.

I opened the box of boys clothes labeled “4T/5T” and was taken aback. The tears began to flow like Niagara Falls, which soon gave way to heaving sobs. Inside the box were three neatly folded shirts on top of three neatly folded pairs of pants with one pair of pants covered in soot from the fireplace in our old house.

Those clothes were worn in 2008 and 2009 — when we could only afford to buy our four young children three pairs of pants and three shirts that were mix and match styles so it wouldn’t be obvious that we were… poor. It was during this time that we put a few measly Christmas ornaments on a large potted plant because we couldn’t afford a Christmas tree. I also had only five dollars to spend on each child that year for Christmas.

You see, it was shortly after I stopped working that the financial crisis hit, and my husband’s well paying job in retail sales was no longer well paying. Not in the least.

A with an eight year gap between my first and second sons, I hadn’t seen the clothes in this bin since 2008. Those soot-covered pants were free from stains when I put them in the box, but over time old stains have a way of seeping from the fabric and becoming new stains again.

Much like the deeply stained threads that had emerged once again, the emotions of the heart-wrenching journey we traveled rose to the surface again that day. During that time in my life, I learned to become humble and to swallow my pride, and I was forced to graciously embrace the gifts others gave us to help keep us afloat.

I wept over the nearly empty box of clothes that day last fall because that season in my life was not an easy one, but it is the season of my life that I miss the most. This sounds completely counter-intuitive, I realize, but it was the season in my life when I lived, breathed, and learned to internalize the words of Paul when he speaks in Philippians 4:12 saying, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

As a family we were incredibly blessed during that drought that lasted for more than two years. We didn’t lose our house, we always had food to put on the table, and we even had $1200 show up in our checking account completely out of the blue. We once opened the front door to find a gift bag with cash inside, we were given grocery money from a family member, and we had a different family member contribute towards car repairs that could no longer wait.

It was the lessons I learned during this time in my life, however, that made my heart bleed red all over the inside of the box of clothes that day. I learned what it means to truly be content even while in that valley.

Although losing our financial security felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me, I learned to find security in the faces of the little people I had been given to raise, love, and nurture. Traveling through the crisis of financial distress taught me that contentment cannot be found in what we have, but in who we are when our current securities are ripped away, leaving us completely raw and vulnerable.

I discovered that my contentment is found in the unconditional love and acceptance of my God, my husband, my children, and the loved ones who extended a helping hand along that rocky path.

I cherish that season of my life because it was then that I learned what I truly need to be satisfied, which is a lesson that could only have been grasped while in the valley.

Do you find yourself in a valley today? Do not be anxious, do not fear. The lessons you learn while in your own valley just may be the lessons you will one day treasure the most.

Jennifer is a busy, homeschooling mom of seven who enjoys keeping a home, living an active lifestyle, and loving the little and not so little people in her life. Her mission is helping other moms find contentment in living intentionally every day over at her blog, The Intentional Mom.

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How I find time to invest in things I love

How I Find Time for Things I Love

I’m so honored to be featured in this month’s edition of The Fringe newsletter that just went out today. In this issue, I share about things I’m passionate about, how I find time to invest in things I love, plus three things I’m really digging right now.

You can go here to read it. Psst! My Instagram link is incorrect in the issue. It’s actually Instagram.com/themoneysavingmom — I’d love to have you follow me there, if you aren’t already!

By the way, if you want to sign up for future editions of The Fringe newsletter, you can go here to sign up. I’ve loved the issues I’ve received!

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Free Summer Camps from Microsoft


Microsoft is offering free summer camps for kids ages 8 and above. Here’s more information from their site:

Kids ages 8 and older get hands-on experience with the latest technology as they learn how to code, create games, and use their creativity and imagination.

This summer’s four camps are all-new, with two designed for coding beginners and two for intermediates looking to take their skills to the next level with Project Spark, Kodu, and TouchDevelop, and more.


YouthSpark Summer Camps:

  • Smart Game Coding (Beginner, ages 8 to 11)
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  • Smart Game Coding (Intermediate, ages 11 and older)
  • Smart Game Design (Intermediate, ages 11 and older)

Each camp run four consecutive days, and last two hours per day. While your child is in camp, parents can learn about online safety for their kids, try out a Surface 3, get a PC tune-up, and more.

Please note: The parent, legal guardian or authorized adult caregiver of every camp participant under 18 must sign a Participation Agreement on the first day of camp and remain in the Microsoft store for the duration of the event.

Find out more here and see if there’s a store near you offering one of these free camps.

Thanks, My Frugal Adventures!

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HUGE List of Free Homeschool Curriculum & Resources

This is the weekly list of Free Homeschool Curriculum and Resources compiled by Jamerrill from FreeHomeschoolDeals.com. If you aren’t a homeschooler, but you’re a parent, teacher, babysitter, or nanny, you’ll probably find at least a few useful freebies in this list. You may also want to go through the Educational Deals and Freebies from earlier this week for more.

Some of you may be well on your way to a summer break, while others are settling in for summer learning. Wherever you are in your homeschool journey, we have something for you!

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Click here thousands of homeschool freebies!

*Don’t forget! If you are looking for additional free homeschool resources please check the huge growing list of free homeschool curriculum and resourceson MoneySavingMom.com!

Jamerrill is the homeschooling mother of a large and growing family. After seasons of spending $50 or less annually to homeschool her children, she started Free Homeschool Deals in 2012 to help all families afford the homeschool life. You can follow the homeschool goodness on Pinterest and Facebook.

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Free Ebooks: Fast and Easy Clean Eating, Organized Clean and Decluttered Home, DIY Protein Bars, plus more!

NOTE: The price of these ebooks is currently $0.00, but that could change at any time. Be sure to verify before checking out that it is still free.

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