This is the archived first published post on Common Cents Mom by Hollie Pollard.
When I was younger, I always envisioned myself happily married raising kids and being a stay at home mom while my husband was the bread winner. Call me an old fashioned gal okay! I know what was I thinking!
Back in 1997, I had that. I was a newly married step mom to three children under the age of 8. I loved my life, we lived in rural New Mexico on the edge of Carlsbad, owned a small property management company and well were happy or so I thought at the time. I was pregnant with Roo and life was good. I was always busy between family responsibilities, helping my husband with the business and church responsibilities I was always on the go.
Then came that dreadful day and my life changed in an instant, my dream became my nightmare. I had been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, sealed in the temple, serving in the ward and community and my life changed radically and quickly. The night my life changed was the same night Princess Diana died. I felt like I wept as the world was weeping.
By January 1998, I was a homeless mom of a newborn daughter. Picking up the pieces after a shattered dream. I found I needed family close by so I chose to move home to Toronto, my birth place, and home to my dad and grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins. We arrived back in Canada in August of 1998.
Now it was time to get real and address what needed addressing; I found us a cute little apartment. I went back to school and then when Roo was 18 months old I finally returned to the world of work. Quickly, I found out that well that living off one income in Toronto was going to force me to get creative and learn all I could about living on a budget. I decided that living in the big city was too expensive and ended up in Hamilton for awhile (3 years).
Then on June 24th, 2004, the unthinkable happened. There was a deadly fire. At 3 am we were woken by firemen at our door. Our apartment building was on fire; the fire was originating from a unit very close to ours. We watched as the adjoining building burnt to the ground, and a young woman died just feet from where Roo’s bed was. After the fire, we were allowed to move back in but to honest, after the fire, it simply was not a place I wanted to be. At the same time, my dear daughter Roo was starting to have medical problems that were on brought to a head by all that we were going through.
I decided to come back to Toronto as the supports I would need in raising Roo were here, so I quickly had learned to live on the cheap. Budgeting was a must. For over two years I could not work as I was seeing that Roo got diagnosed, and saw that she was getting the best treatment and therapies that we could get. I am thankful this period in my life taught me that I can be self-reliant on little. Not to say I haven’t had help from family, friends, and even strangers along the way but I have learned to live on less. I know that I don’t have to wear the latest fashion, eat out much, buy the newest toy, or buy into all the material things that consume so many….I have taken a step back and am now a frugal money smart mom, and even though some days it is challenging I am blessed cause I now know that I can and will forever be a frugal mom no matter how my life might change in the days and years ahead.