Leah is a wife and mother living in NE Ohio. She is passionate about living a debt-free life. Some would call her a cheapsake. Although, she prefers the term ‘Frugal Living Enthusiast! We caught up with Leah to ask her about her connection to the West Side of Cleveland and what brought her to start NEOhio Frugal Living.
Where are you originally from?
I was born and raised in North Ridgeville. I lived there until I moved out at 18.
Where did you go to school & what is your current profession?
I went to Lorain County Community College (LCCC) for my Associate’s. I am currently a stay-at-home mom (with a little side hustle)!
Where do you live today and how long have you lived in this area?
I’ve been living in Brunswick for the last 3 years – I haven’t left the Cleveland suburbs!
How many children do you have & what are their ages?
I have two little girls – Lily is a year and a half, and Lacy is 3 months old.
What is your favorite thing about Northeast Ohio?
I loooooove fall. Celebrating fall in Northeast Ohio is seriously the best thing ever. I do enjoy all the seasons. But you just can’t beat everything fall has to offer in Ohio: apple picking, walks in the Metroparks, the scenery, the smells – you’re making me wish it wasn’t winter (though I guess that’s not hard to do)!
What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
I don’t own a TV, microwave, or credit card. We are known to watch Netflix on our iPad every once in a while, but because we don’t have a legit TV. We are able to be much more productive and connected as a family! We do have a toaster oven. In my opinion, it is 1000x better than a microwave. I’ve never owned a credit card, nor do I have a credit score. My hubby has a credit score, but only because his name is on the mortgage!
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I went to LCCC on a full scholarship for 2 years. However, I didn’t even go the full 2 years. This is because I earned enough college credits in high school to earn my Associate’s a semester early. There will always be someone who can one-up me by saying they graduated a year early or even while they were still in high school. But, I’m still pretty stinkin’ proud of myself for how hard I worked at it!
What is your biggest failure?
Motivation. I am horrible at keeping myself motivated. However when I get in the groove, I can really accomplish a lot. I’m constantly working on my motivation!
What is the one thing you’re most passionate about?
My faith primarily, but also striving for debt-free living. Money problems are prevalent in today’s society. It is so important to be on top of your finances. Even just for your sanity’s sake at the very least!
Can you give us one pearl of wisdom?
One of the best things I did when I turned 18 was refuse to get a credit card. A lot of people encourage their kids to do so (my parents did, too!). But it’s not a very good idea to give someone who’s never had to budget or live on their own the ability to borrow money that isn’t theirs. Instead, sit down with your child and help them create a budget. It will be way more valuable to them than a credit card!
If you could encourage more people to take an action in some way, what would it be?
I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but seriously, make a budget. Strive to pay off your credit cards, loans, and mortgage. You’ll thank me later!
Is there anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
Everyone in my life has encouraged me endlessly throughout the last couple years. I love my village: my husband, my parents, my in-laws, my church fam. I’m pretty sure I’d be a basket case without them!
How long have you been running NEOhio Frugal Living and how did you get started?
I decided to create NEOhio Frugal Living about a month ago after seeing such a positive response from the Facebook group I started called NEOhio Frugal Moms. I’ve been frugal-minded my entire life. I realized that people really need encouragement to live frugally and to achieve their financial goals. So that’s what I do. I motivate people to spend wisely by scoping out deals, providing tips, and info for saving money.
What is your favorite part of managing the NEOhio Frugal Living page?
I love interacting with people! Whether that’s the Instagram community who are doing what I’m doing (encouraging people to overcome financial obstacles), or the people that are benefiting from my tips and advice. I’m so glad I get to help in this way!
If you could give moms one piece of advice about living frugally, what would it be?
Before you spend money, whether that’s in-store, online, paying a bill, anything, think to yourself – “Is there any way I can save money on this?”
If you’re in line at Giant Eagle, go to their app and check the e-coupons. If you’re online, use Ebates to get cash back on your purchase. If you’re paying a large bill, ask if you can receive a discount if you pay in full. 9 times out of 10, there’s a way to save. You just have to be intentional about it!
What are all the ways people can receive your advice on frugal living?
Instagram is my #1! Follow me at @neofrugalliving. Facebook would be my #2 – just search for NEOhio Frugal Moms and request to join the group. Lastly, I blog a bit for Northeast Ohio Parent and share a lot of my frugal tips in detail there. Go to northeastohioparent.com, click on “Bloggers.” Here you can find all of my blog posts in one place.
Do you do financial coaching?
Although I am not an official financial coach, I am happy to help anyone in any way I can! If you need any tips or tricks for saving money, contact me through Facebook, Instagram, or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I’d love to help!