Monday, September 10, 2007

Cheerful Frugality...hacked

Kim C. has graciously invited me to contribute to her new site, Frugal Hacks.

Please join me each Monday for a new discussion about cheerful frugality...or, as I explain it at Frugal Hacks, saving money and doing it with a smile on your face.

Here is Kim's interview to kick off the Like Merchant Ships column:

"Meredith of Like Merchant Ships is not just frugal. She encourages readers to find lovely ways to exercise good stewardship over their God-given resources in every area of life. Her blog is a perfect example, from its beautiful header to the abundant high-quality photos. Her categories are well-organized and descriptive, and her tips and ideas are truly frugal but never cheap or stingy.

Why do you blog?

I’d love to say that Like Merchant Ships is a ministry to families on tight budgets, but I benefit more than my readers do! Blogging challenges me to complete those projects, find creative ways to save money, and occasionally whip up a photo-worthy dinner.

Why be frugal?

We began our frugal marriage out of necessity, on one teacher’s salary. Now that our budget has a bit more room, we still want to do the most with what God has given us. Besides, why would we pay more now that we know how to pay less?

Do you feel your blog has a special niche of its own? Did it happen by design or by accident?

Like Merchant Ships was a happy accident. I had been studying Proverbs 31, and my only talent on that formidable list was “bringing her food from afar.” I’ve always gone the extra mile to live well on less. Amazingly, people were interested in sharing our journey!

Did it take you a while to "find your voice," or do you feel you've always been the same as a blogger?

After a casual comment from my brother, Like Merchant Ships evolved into a more image-driven blog. Sharing life through pictures takes a lot less time than writing it down. Instead of describing that curbside motorcycle crate, I can show you the trestle table it became.

What do you know about your readers? What do you think draws them to your blog?

They are some of the most generous and insightful readers around! I learn so much from their comments and emails. I think readers come for the money-saving advice, but they stay for fresh content and links to other noteworthy blogs.

How important is frugality to you? Casual interest, hobby, lifelong habit, or insane fanatical obsessive compulsion?

Like Merchant Ships has turned “those tightwad ways” into something just shy of obsession. Having an audience will do that to you!

Does frugal living come easily for you or is it a struggle?

It’s natural. I’ve never been a spender. Even as a child, I made flowers out of Kleenex and decorated fairy houses with moss.

Do you have any frugal heroes or role models?

Marrying my husband doubled my frugal superpowers. He’s a true conserver, a thinking man who can refinish wood floors AND hunt the junkyard for ancient Volvo parts.

Do you believe the saying, "you get what you pay for"?

Absolutely not. If there’s one thing I hope Like Merchant Ships demonstrates, it’s that beauty and quality don’t have to cost much.

Is it ever possible to be too frugal? How about frugal enough?

Too frugal—when you don’t give credit to God and your surplus to others.
Frugal enough—when you achieve peace about money which only comes through restraint.

How does the rest of your family feel about your frugal ideas?
We’re a team.

We all have moments of glory and brilliance that we want to relive for the rest of our lives, right? What was your best ever frugal idea?

We bought the ugly home in the neighborhood that horrified my family. You know, the only house we could afford on one income? We brightened the outside with $9 in recycled paint, whitened its smoky paneling, and sold it two years later for a significant profit.

That house taught us that you can do a lot with creativity and elbow grease!


Miranda said...

I can't wait to read it. Can't think of anyone better to contribute. Congrats!

Hyperactive Lu said...

Looking forward to reading!

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed reading your blog. Have you checked Koger's this week? They are extending their sale. I posted about it on my blog. I had about 176.00 in coupons.

Anonymous said...

looking forward to reading your post at Frugal Hacks.

Anonymous said...


I loved the post today. SAving money with a smile. But once you learn, it is really quite easy. And spoiling too. I could never go back to spending even the little I spent full-price before. It is just way more fulfilling using pennies to buy things....!