Thrifty and Nifty: {Guest Post} (and Winners of the Giveaway!)

Welcome to another installation of the Thrifty & Nifty series. Joining me today is Emily Watts, a eco-conscious, homeschooling mom with an adventurous side:

What’s your idea of a perfect day?

I can’t choose!  Do I have to choose?  I’m greedy for perfect days.  Hiking, knitting, camping, swimming, museuming (new word!), eating, gaming…all with friends and family.

Do you like your own handwriting?

I must admit that I have no strong feelings about my handwriting.  It’s functional, if not lovely. 😉

What are you listening to these days?

My musical love at the moment (actually for quite some time now) is Jonathan Coulton.  *dreamy sigh and giggle*

If they made a movie about your life, who would play you? What would the movie be titled?

Karen Gillan in The Happy Nerd.

Who or what inspires you?

My husband. I admire and adore his ability to stay calm and maintain a sense of humor in any situation. I also find myself inspired whenever I’m in the woods…which is a lot lately. Something about being outside reminds me to keep life simple and natural.

What is your money philosophy and how does it affect your daily living?

Honestly, I haven’t had much of a money philosophy in the past.  It seemed that no matter how much money we made, we were still always scraping by. Now that I’ve left my job in order to homeschool Grace, we’ve had to take a really hard look at our finances. At this point, our financial situation has gone from disastrous to slightly less disastrous. We are trying to focus on budgeting, spending for what we need (instead of what we want), and getting out of debt. When we do spend money on desires rather than needs, we make sure that we’re paying for experiences, not things.  We’ve also started using envelopes for budgeting, my dear Budget Maven. 😉

What sacrifices have you made to create the life you live now? What benefits have come from making these sacrifices?

I don’t get my daily Starbucks fix. It turns out you can make your very own coffee at home! Who knew? We’ve cut our dining out activities to once a week, and I’ve discovered the whole “using coupons, planning meals, cooking at home” concept. The benefits are amazing! We’re slowly starting to get our finances under control despite now being a one-income family. We eat healthy, home-cooked food. We go outside and get exercise for entertainment. Of course, the biggest benefits involve Grace…I wouldn’t trade the opportunity to homeschool her for any paycheck. I also think it’s great that she’s learning about budgeting and avoiding frivolous purchases.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received, financial or otherwise?

Vote with your money. We are very concerned about the slavery involved in making chocolate, industrial agriculture, and shady corporate practices, so we refuse to shop stores/buy brands that we consider “evil.”

Any money-saving tips you’d like to share?

Limit your shopping to a small number of stores.  The fewer places you go, the less likely you are to be tempted by sparkly things you haven’t seen before.

Emily, a former public school teacher, homeschools her stepdaughter, Grace, and chronicles their adventures at She is also a fan of geocaching, adopting stray dinosaur toys found in the park, and knitting. Follow her on twitter @homeskoolhijinx and like Homeschool Hijinks on Facebook. 


Congratulations to Mary Ayers & Cathy Baker! Please send your address to, and Jenny will ship a copy of her book to you. Thanks for entering, and happy reading!


7 thoughts on “Thrifty and Nifty: {Guest Post} (and Winners of the Giveaway!)

  1. Jenny says:

    I loved reading this, Allison and Emily!
    Emily, you always have such a unique perspective on things. 🙂

    Oh, love that photo in the gigantic, old tree!

  2. csgbaker says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this interview with Emily. My favorite line: we make sure that we’re paying for experiences, not things. Such wisdom!

  3. Jane Green says:

    Everyone should click on the stray dinosaur toys link. I loved “Dan” the dinosaur. He lives the good life! I would love to spend the day with Dan. Ha Ha.

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