Meet Joni Smith

Hi, I’m Joni!

I love gardening, nature, DIY projects and crafts, organizing, spending quality time with my family, finding bargains, saving money, coding, cats, napping, warm weather, super heroes, and exclamation marks!!!

I founded Frugal Thumb in March 2018.

I am constantly trying to learn and grow to become a better person.

I’m positive and friendly, and I want to make a positive impact on the world by helping others.

My dream is that everyone will have a frugal thumb in the future – and live in a financially and environmentally responsible way. And I am working on that dream and sharing it with you.

But not that long ago, my life was a lot different. I’d withdrawn into myself and was very unhappy.

I was working in the IT field. It had only been 15 years and I was burnt out. I was getting sick all the time. I’d come home from work and would have no energy to do anything but lay in bed until I had to get up and do it all again. The exhaustion was overwhelming. I developed depression and anxiety. The stress of my situation was taking a toll on my health and I didn’t know how to make it better. I felt like I was failing as a wife and mother, and failing at life in general. I dreamed of a nice, long, restful, soul-searching vacation.

But I didn’t want to quit my job. The thought of the financial burden on my family had me guilt-ridden and feeling stuck. And quitting is not my thing. I work hard for perfection- I want to do a good job, and that was becoming the BIG problem with a heavy workload.

My solution was to request to work part-time temporarily until I could get my stress level under control and improve my health- or I would resign in one month’s time. This was a very scary step for me. My husband and I weren’t sure we could make ends meet with only his salary. But things had gotten to the point that I had to take this chance for my health. Luckily, my husband agreed.

Then my employer decided that they would take my resignation rather than allow me to work part-time. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. In my last month with the company, they hired 2 new full-time employees, a part-time contractor, and an intern, all of whom I trained to take my place. If I was unsure if I was overworked, that was eye-opening.

Then I got another sign. While I still had my employee medical insurance, I made an appointment for my yearly doctor visit. That’s when they made the discovery that I was suffering from hyperthyroidism. Many of the symptoms could explain the difficulties I was having at work. I took this as proof that I was making the right decision at the right time for me- to leave for my health.

I felt so much relief when I left the office on my last day. I knew I was doing the right thing for me despite the worry of how things would work out.

That’s how my dream of having a nice, long, restful, soul-searching vacation became a reality in September 2017.

Looking back, it is easier to see that, despite my fears, my family was financially ready for me to cut the cord from the full-time daily grind–without another job ready.

It might seem crazy and rash to quit working like that, but in fact, I had been making the frugal lifestyle changes to get us to that point so I could quit for years.

The unhappiness that I felt at work started creeping up in 2012, and that’s when I really started looking into what options I had. At the time, I was stuck like most people- with a big ol’ mortgage on the house, new car payments, and too many bills to pay. I tried getting a new job, but that didn’t help the feeling. I felt like if I could only be financially free, I could live a more fulfilling life. So I decided to do some research on how to make my money work for me. That’s when I found The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. That book changed the trajectory of my life and helped me work to jump off the hamster wheel when I needed it most. It taught me lessons that I’ve been able to apply to reach any goal, big or small.

It didn’t happen overnight. It took me about 4 years to get to a place both financially and mentally where I felt my family would be okay if I wasn’t working full-time. I’m not gonna lie- I still had my doubts and I was really scared!!! But I was finally comfortable enough to give it a try.

After 4 years, we had paid off the house, the car, and had no credit card debt. In preparation for turning in my resignation letter, I had gone through our finances and budget many times, trying to ensure we were close to making ends meet without my salary. It was close. But if I didn’t quit my job, I’d probably die from premature aging and never get a chance to do all the things I wanted to do in life- and there are a lot of things I want to do!

In some ways, the most important thing in reaching any life goal is to take that first step and try something new-despite your fears. I’m still learning to do that, but I must say I’m happy with the results of those attempts so far. So, onward I go.

This blog is about my frugal journey that lead to my leap and allows me to have a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life doing what I enjoy.

Here’s my main message to you:

Never stop learning and growing and becoming better. If you’re too scared to reach for your big goals, make a plan, break it down into small steps, and TRY- one small step at a time. When you look back, you may just be surprised at how far you’ve come.

Start now! Read my tips for beginning a frugal and fulfilling lifestyle.

Frugal Rules of Thumb

Social Networks