The Thrifty Dad Story

The Birth of a Thrifty Living Blog


Hey there!

I’m John Shieldsmith, the Thrifty Dad of You might be wondering, “Why should we listen to you, what qualifies you to run a thrifty living blog, and how did you even get here?”

It’s been a wild ride. Let’s get started.


Thrifty Living: A Necessity-Turned-Passion


For starters, I’m nearly thirty, I’m a father of one crazy toddler, a husband to a wonderful woman, and a writer and marketer that works from home. Things are pretty stable now. Well, stable for someone with a toddler.

But they weren’t always this way.

Before moving to central Texas, my wife and I had recently found out we’d be parents. We were thrilled! And terrified. But, thrilled!

So, we moved halfway across the country and settled into a home. It was some pretty smooth sailing!

And then the little guy arrived.


The Perks of Health Insurance


You know how your parents are always bugging you about having health insurance? Well, this is why.

After staying at the hospital for four days, we were ready to head home with our little bundle of joy. (Note: Jaundice sucks. Big time.)

About a month after settling in with our little dude, we received that first dreaded hospital bill. It was a doozy. But, were we not insured it would have been “enjoy being bankrupt” big. Insurance paid off in a very big way.

“Maybe kids aren’t so expensive after all,” I thought to myself, naively.


The Creeping Cost of Childcare


Being fortunate enough to work remotely, we knew we wouldn’t need a babysitter or daycare anytime soon. My wife planned on being a stay-at-home mom, so our little guy would be spoiled with two parents at home. Again, we thought we were doing great financially. And for a brief period, we were.

Then the bills just kept coming.

As any parent knows, those first few months are a whirlwind of pediatrician visits. A shot here, a shot there. A test here and a test there. It all adds up, even with insurance. Not to mention my wife had numerous post-baby visits of her own, for both general wellness and to check on her cesarean scar.

Very quickly we realized the boat was filling with water and we were not okay. We were screwed. So, I did what any panicked parent would do in that situation – I opened another credit card.


Frugal Living is Born


As our hole deepened I realized something had to give. The new card was quickly swelling up,  the old card was trying its damnedest to be put out of its misery, and our bank account was dryer than Arizona on a bad day.

Finally, after numerous naive, panicked, rash decisions, we came to the conclusion we had to start making cuts. So first went the TV, then went name brands, then went – well, you get the idea.

We had begun living the thrifty life and immediately noticed a difference. And you know what? I loved it.

I’d read numerous frugal blogs, thrifty senior blogs, frugal dad blogs, frugal mom blogs, and so on, but nothing compared to actually doing it myself. It was actually fun to be thrifty.


So, what?


So, it’s been nearly two years since our son was born and we’re in a far better place than we were. Our finances aren’t an untamed nightmare, our spending is solid, and we didn’t sacrifice any quality of life. Hell, we even have satellite TV again! (Old habits die really hard.)

So, why should you care what I say? To put it simply: I lived it.

I’m not some well-off blogger that’s simply writing about a niche for SEO reasons or to get rich. I’m here because I lived and still live the advice I dole out. I’m still working from home as a content marketer, SEO specialist, and freelance writer. I’m still a parent. I’m still living the thrifty life.

There are countless parents out there trying to make ends meet so they can better provide for their families, and they deserve honest advice. Anything you see promoted on this site is something I stand by, and not something I’m being paid to push. I only link to products or brands I believe in. My opinion can’t be bought and my words are never fabricated.

No bullshit. I promise.