Welcome, I’m so glad you’re here!
My name is Mary. For 29 years I’ve been leading people to get out of debt and into the joys of living below their means—saving time and money every day. It’s my passion. But things were not always that way.
I never aspired to become an author, blogger, or personal finance coach. It’s more like I stumbled into this through the back door!
To say I have a dark financial past would put it mildly. During the first 12 years of my marriage, I got mixed up with credit cards. And by mixed up, I mean hopelessly dependent and head-over-heels in love with them. How bad did it get? Really bad. Life-altering bad. Deceiving my husband, lying to creditors, and spending-my-brains-out-on-a-regular-basis bad.
I’ve written a lot about that part of my life, which you’ll learn more about later. Bottom line, by the time I hit rock bottom and woke up to what I’d done to myself and my family we owed more than $100,000 in credit card debt—and that was back in 1982! I know. I can’t believe it either.
Coming this close to losing everything that had any meaning in my life was a most painful catalyst. Finally, the pain of the consequences of my outrageous behavior became greater than the pleasure of spending. I realized I was the problem—it wasn’t my husband’s pathetic job or my dumb luck to not win the lottery. I could no longer blame my poor childhood or any other thing. It was me. And that day I sought forgiveness and promised that I would change. It was my turning point.
It took more than 13 years to pay every nickel of that debt plus interest, penalties, and fees. But we did it. And in the process, completely changed my life.
Why Everyday Cheapskate?
It was 1992. We’d been paying down the debt for more than 10 years, and I was sick of it. With only $12,000 to go, I got this wild hair to start a subscription newsletter (print delivered by U.S. mail because if you’re counting, there was no Internet then; no email either). I named it Cheapskate Monthly and honestly, I had no idea what I was doing. But I had a decade of experience in repaying debt. I knew a lot about that! And I was passionate to raise $12,000. I figured I could do that in one year, and be done with that unspeakable nightmare.
Long story short, Oprah called, Dr. James Dobson called, every major newspaper in the country wanted an interview. Within a year my subscriber base shot to the moon. Learning to spend less while living well seemed like such a new idea!
All these years later that print newsletter has morphed into Everyday Cheapskate blog. Getting out of debt is hard work. Even more difficult for many is learning to live on less than we earn so we can stay out of debt!
Everyday Cheapskate is not only a daily post. We are a tightly knit community of people who’ve learned that we need to stay focused on ways we can save money by cutting expenses, thinking differently, gaining strength, courage, and ideas from one another.
Truth be told, Everyday Cheapskate is my personal maintenance system. You have no idea how easily I could slip back into my old, debilitating, spendthrift ways. Writing, researching and responding to my EC family is the way I stay on track.
How to get started
You’ve already taken the first step—you’re here, and I’m so happy to see you. When you sign up for free membership, I’ll start sending my best ideas, tips, tricks, and home hacks for how to save time and money—via email daily!
It was a really bad day. Possibly the worst day of my life. So I did what I suppose any woman who’d ruined her husband’s life and managed to throw their home into foreclosure would do: I had a meltdown.
It’s not like I meant to do anything wrong. In fact, for 12 years I did what I was invited to do: I used credit cards to bridge the gap between my husband’s salary and the lifestyle I so richly deserved