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

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

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.
  • Arkansas archeologist does his job, is asked to leave

    Amid Department of Arkansas Heritage project.

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

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »

December

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 29 30 31
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation