Favorite

Getting specific 

We asked our cover story subjects for some specifics on their decision to get more out of family life on less money.
Kyran Pittman says her and husband Patrick Houston’s strategy adds up this way:

• Car expenses: A $250 monthly payment for their one car, a 2003 Kia Sedona minivan. Gas, with most outings limited to less than 10 miles, costs between $175 and $200 a month. She admits, “On certain occasions it is a bona fide pain to have to share.”

• Utilities: They use compact fluorescent bulbs in all fixtures. They bundle telecommunications from one provider. They try to keep air and heat at reduced levels on floors they are not using. Because they work at home, some of these costs are tax-deductible.

• Health insurance. “I have catastrophic coverage at a reasonable premium. Patrick’s premiums, due to pre-existing conditions, are prohibitive without a group rate. He is uninsured and if I think about that for very long, I get freaked out. I am hopeful we can find a good group rate through a professional association eventually. Mostly I just tell him to eat his vegetables and drive carefully.”

• Credit card debt. Another concern. They acquired some credit card debt to establish their home business. “We still tend to reach for the plastic when the billing is still out and the cupboard is bare. The minimum monthly payments are large, and we would love to be rid of them.”

• Clothing: She watches prices. “We hand the boys clothes down through all three, so I don’t mind paying a little more for something for them that is durable, but I welcome hand-me-arounds from friends and pass our stuff along when the baby has outgrown it.”

• Groceries and entertainment: “I clip coupons and watch the specials like a hawk. I would like to keep our monthly grocery budget to $600. That takes a lot of work and self-discipline and sometimes we go way, way over.” Nights out are rare and bookstore visits are often “window shopping” for books to check out at the library.

She adds, “I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I think frugality equals morality. I love to eat fine food and I appreciate nice clothes. I enjoy material pleasures as much as the next person. There are just other things I value more, like watching my toddler son take a nap on his dad’s chest in the middle of the day. A second car isn’t worth that to me. Not even close.”

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Cotton seeks friendlies for town hall

    Is Tom Cotton working to pack his town hall Wednesday in Springdale with fans. So says one source.
    • Feb 21, 2017
  • Campus gun bill clears committee

    The so-called compromise amendment that will allow anyone 25 or older with a training certificate carry a concealed weapon on public college campuses was approved in a Senate committee this afternoon.
    • Feb 21, 2017
  • DiPippa to be interim dean at UALR Law School

    UALR Chancellor Andrew Rogerson told staff today that law professor John DiPippa would serve as interim dean of the Bowen School of Law while a search is made for a permanent dean. The appointment takes effect in July. The search should begin in the fall.
    • Feb 21, 2017
  • More »

More by Mara Leveritt

  • Illustrating the governor's message

    Our prisons burst with disparities. Eliminating them will take courage. Let's see if the Arkansas Parole Board can heed the governor's message with one matter currently before it.
    • Dec 3, 2015
  • Mara Leveritt offers governor a symbol for sentencing reform

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the state needs to get serious about sentencing reform if it is to cope with its exploding prison population.
    • Dec 1, 2015
  • Parole board hears arguments on parole for Tim Howard

    The hard-fought battle over the fate of former death-row inmate Tim Howard intensified on Thursday when John Felts, chairman of the Arkansas Parole Board, held a hearing at Cummins prison to consider Howard’s eligibility for parole.
    • Oct 9, 2015
  • More »

Most Shared

Latest in Top Stories

  • Good for the soul

    The return of Say McIntosh, restaurateur
    • Jun 1, 2010
  • Robocalls are illegal

    Robocalls -- recorded messages sent to thousands of phone numbers -- are a fact of life in political campaigns. The public doesn't like them much, judging by the gripes about them, but campaign managers and politicians still believe in their utility.
    • May 31, 2010
  • Riverfest winds down

    With Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm, Steve Miller Band, Robert Cray, Ludacris and more performing.
    • May 30, 2010
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

"Locally Labeled" passport expands to accommodate booming brew scene

"Locally Labeled" passport expands to accommodate booming brew scene

As if great beer weren't reward enough, you can earn prizes for sampling local craft beverages

Event Calendar

« »

February

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28  
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation