Prudent Joy

Daily Decisions Determine Destiny ~Gretchen K. Ulmer

Thoughts Beliefs and Attitudes Keeping You Poor: The Scarcity Mindset

Black Friday induces a scarcity mindset

Most people living on a low income do without most of the time. If we have enough to purchase necessities we go without the extras; many of us have been in the position to also go without necessities. We spend most of our time living in some state of lack so when the opportunity for a little reprieve arises we snatch it up. Being poor or low-income or working class,.. Read More

Our Experiment with Monthly Grocery Shopping and Menu Planning

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Our household has added a new member: My mother-in-law. The addition brings our head count to six, three adults and three children. The addition has completely rocked my world in the kitchen. I have had to completely readjust the way in which I menu plan and the amount of money we have had to add to food budget just cover one extra adult is astounding. It makes me fear the.. Read More

Thoughts, Beliefs and Attitudes Keeping You Poor: Work and Advancement

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    Last week I was talking about how we had discovered that we had attitudes and beliefs that were ingrained in our psyche, I would go as far as saying ingrained in our spirit. The first attitude or belief that holds us in the low-income cycle is: Our attitude toward work and advancement. I want to say up-front I DO NOT believe low-income earners to be lazy individuals; there.. Read More

How To Make Orange Cupcakes On The Cheap

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Friday night I received a text inviting us to a last-minute potluck dinner with family. We accepted the invitation and we were assigned: Dessert. One thing you don’t really know about me is that I LOVE to bake; cookies, pies, cupcakes….I love doing it all! I like to make everything from scratch so dessert can be somewhat time consuming, time I didn’t have Friday night but, everyone would still be.. Read More

Why Are We Poor? Can It Be Fixed?

  I have said many times that we have tried for years to pay off our debts, build an emergency fund and all of those types of wonderful responsible things. I have read financial books about investing and retirement. I have read books written by Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman; I read blogs written by early retirees…..and we would try to replicate all the wonderful philosophies we had learned, to.. Read More

Exiting Assistance: Leaving Medicaid Behind

  As of January 1st my entire family now has health insurance. The last few years my children have been Medicaid recipients; and while I am thankful the program was there to provide for their medical needs when we could not, I am very glad to be leaving it behind. I want to know that WE are taking care of our own children, and I am thrilled that we are.. Read More



In our household 2014 was a year of transition, adjusting to a new city, prioritizing, dreaming and taking steps toward making those dreams a reality. In the last year I went back to work full-time, earned a promotion and then took a job working in my area of education. I also started attending college (again) this fall with the goal of furthering my education in my current field. The beautiful.. Read More

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Last week I managed to do a decent amount of baking. I made apple crisp using apples I purchased for .68 cents per pound. I made pumpkin cookies, with Ruby’s help. The recipe calls for chocolate chips which I omitted, the cookies are much less expensive to make without the chocolate. All the ingredients were¬† items I had on hand. The pumpkin was canned pumpkin I had purchased last year.. Read More

October’s Task: Tracking Every Dollar, Find the Leak


  Well, it isn’t quite the very end of October but I have managed to track the dollars and have discovered the small leaks for which I was searching. Those “small” leaks have proven to be major budget busters. The problem really revolves around the debit card. The purchase of convenience items (grabbing a beverage at a convenience store, a candy bar at check out etc.) that we initially thought.. Read More

New Jobs, Medicaid, Foodstamps and Hope

I will begin a new job November 10th, it will be a little more money at a different hospital and I will FINALLY be able to use my CPC credential! Currently I am in school to earn RHIT and CCS credentials which will open the door to more money, working from home and other possibilities…right now I am just excited to finally have the opportunity to gain coding experience. The.. Read More

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