The Good Life on a Shoestring


When two creative people try to save money, they find…

I have a summer series in mind.

School is out in just one week. As a teacher, the gap in the year called summer presents an open space I don’t always know what to do with. I spent the last couple of months looking for a summer job to not much avail, as the vast majority of employers do not wish to hire workers temporarily. Any company worth working for is worth my honesty with them. I didn’t want to hide the fact that I am a teacher and would be returning to my regular job in August just so they would hire me. I don’t want to end up with a long list of summer jobs I can’t put on any resume because my supervisors hated me for lying to them.

Full time teachers have the option of having their paychecks spread out over the calendar year, rather than the 9-month school year, but since I am a substitute and therefore not full time, I don’t get paid during the summer. Which is fair, because I don’t have coursework to prepare or planning of any sort to do (although I am responsible for gaining professional development points to renew my teaching license before it expires).

Though I can still teach my piano students, my income was going to be significantly less without subbing. For an uncomfortable period of time, it was looking like my husband and I were just going to have to make do on a lot less during this year’s summer months. So my husband and I budgeted creatively and things started looking alright in our financial forecast. I felt like a trusting, faithful Christian. I become more hopeful and positive and thought of this blog series idea, the Good Life on a Shoestring: Two music teachers with time on their hands and an affinity for fun find creative ways to pinch pennies and have a fab summer.



Like a teacher, I even did a little pre-planning and made this list of guiding ideas:

  1. Re-imagine shopping lists – clarify needs and wants
  2. Find free local entertainment (um, blogging?)
  3. Swap services with friends
  4. Try recipes that make lots of leftovers
  5. Sell some music gear

I was excited to take my camera everywhere I went, snapping photos of this free thing and that free thing and pictures of how I was able to find fun ways of spending my summer without spending much, my mind was bursting with creative ideas! And then guess what?

I got a summer job! By the grace of God, a good friend referred me to her friend who needs a summer nanny for her daughters.

All of this planning was so exciting, now I don’t want to not do the series just because I found a summer job. The only thing different about it will just be that you, my readers, won’t be able to worry about me or take pity on me. Because I’m doin’ jus’ fine!

Despite not being on the brink of poverty (dramatic sigh – doesn’t everyone want the glamour of being a starving artist?), this posture of spending with humility is a good one for me to practice. And I think it could maybe be interesting, funny, and helpful to some readers.

So I’m going for it. Look for future Good Life Series posts I’ll be sharing every Sunday starting May 25th and you’re sure to find my tales of penny-pinching, iced-tea-sipping summer fun.

Do not worry.
Do not worry.

Matthew 6:25-34

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”


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