Hi, I'm Jordan, also known as the “Fun Cheap or Free Queen”. And I have a story to tell.
In 2010 we hardly had money to pay our bills. We had $10,000 debt on just one credit card (about $15K total) and $0 balance in our savings accounts. Literally. (Read about that HERE) I was a new SAHMom and my husband, Bubba, had a new business and wasn't bringing home much of a paycheck (if anything). We looked at each other and decided we wanted a better life for ourselves; for our children. We decided we wanted to stop getting by, and start getting ahead. We set firm goals and worked our tails off. We sacrificed lots of good things, having faith that it would lead to great things.
And it has.
With good old fashioned elbow grease and a scholarship into the school of the Hard Knocks, we were able to get out of debt in just one year. We worked harder and over the next year we built up a cushy savings. We worked even harder for 18 more months and snagged a killer deal of a short sale that we fixed up and sold for a grundle.
And now…just a few years after our financial disaster…we wake up every morning in our 8,600 sq ft dream home, on 1.5 acres, in a fabulous neighborhood (that we got for pennies on the dollar, of course).
And no, we aren't rich, haven't won the lottery, and no one has ever given us money. Ever.
This, folks, is the new frugal.
This is what frugality is all about. Being frugal is not about giving up everything you love, but rather learning to get everything you love – the smart way. It's not just about scraping by, pinching pennies, or clipping coupons. Sure, that helps. But to me, “FRUGAL” is a lifestyle. It's a mindset. It's a way of living that teaches you to stop saying, “we CAN'T afford it”, and instead say “HOW can we afford it?”. This mindset, the new frugal mindset, has led us to have more, do more, and live more now than ever before.
The incredible life we live is because of how frugal we are, not in spite of it.
During our F.D (Financial Disaster) I found a gaping void online in terms of finding someone I could relate to; someone who knew what it felt like to have 5 babies in 6 years and feel the stress of choosing between new socks or an extra box of cereal. Sure, I could learn how to pay off my house and put money into a (non-existant) 401K, or find coupons to clip that I had no interest in clipping. But how do I know how much to pay for groceries? Or how to look classy, feel beautiful, and stay fashionable on an actual budget? Or how to talk about money without wanting to kill each other? Or where to start when your finances are on the brink of disaster?
I rolled up my sleeves and figured it out myself.
I immersed myself in the world of what I call Family Finance; the real deal, meat and potatoes, grit and dirt reality of how a family spends money…and how to do it the right way. We created terms. Programs. Principles. Rules. Standards. And most importantly, a new way of living.
It worked. And fast.
Along the way we learned the value of being scrappy and entrepreneurial. We realized the world wasn't going to hand us any success in life; it was going to have to be earned through hand-to-hand combat. 5 businesses, 2 houses, 4 kids, 1 giant dog, and thousands of posts worth of trial and error later, we take pride in being a direct result of the truth that you CAN live the life of your dreams, on any budget.
I started the FunCheapOrFree.com we know today in February 2011 to share our progress, success, and tips with others. It took off like a wild fire in the prairie. Just as Rachael Ray became a cooking pro by…well…cooking, I quickly became a go-to everyday finance and frugal living expert that TV shows, friends, newspapers, magazines, and even my own family turned to for advice and hope. I became known as the “Fun Cheap or Free Queen”.
Ps, I love Rach and love being on her show. We're basically soul sisters.
I have been hard-nose focused on learning all there is to learn about family finance and frugal living, and won't let anything stand in my way when it comes to sharing it with you. Almost immediately the comments, emails, and success stories came pouring in, and I find no greater joy than celebrating small (and large) financial victories with my Freebs.
Along with Freebs Field Trips, Finance Date Nights, speaking engagements, one-on-one consulting, and live Q&A's, I also have an annual Budget Boot Camp here in Utah where I share all my best tips and tricks with attendees. (See upcoming classes and engagements HERE.)
After years of running a successful blog, being featured on incredible shows, in magazines, selling out of basically every conference and class I throw, I finally decided to listen to my Freebs and give them what they wanted – a program with ALL my best information, in ONE PLACE, that is EASY to follow, and FUN to use. I committed that this would be the year! After months of all-nighters, lots of caffeine, and over 16 straight hours in front of a camera, reading a teleprompter until my eyes hurt, Budget Boot Camp is now born and I couldn’t be more excited about it! Stay tuned too, this is only the beginning; it’s only going to get bigger, better, and more amazing from here on out!
It's my mission to bring the new definition of frugal to the world and prove that it's not the drab, miserly, miserable “frugal” of yesterday. No, sir. It's fun. Hip. Sassy. Organized. Beautiful. And, believe it or not, simpler than you ever imagined.
So pull up a chair, grab yourself a snack and a snuggie, and kiss your mama's “frugal” goodbye. You're in for the ride of your life because…
…Frugal just got a facelift.
Now, a little about me…
I'm Jordan Leigh Francis Page. Leigh as in “Lee”. But don't be mistaken- it is, in fact, spelled Leigh. I learned this the hard way in Kindergarten when my teacher informed me that, thanks to the cross-stitched name plaque gift hanging on my wall (since birth, mind you) I was incorrectly spelling my own middle name. Note to self: Spell check with mom-to-be before hand-making baby gifts.
I'm obviously still working through the trauma.
You might also know me as The Fun, Cheap, or Free Queen. What started out as a dinky blog to post random coupons and occasional good deals I would find has turned into a “New Frugal” revolution that has pretty much knocked my socks off. And maybe even my pants, but we won't go there.
This isn't your average blog. I don't take Pinterest-perfect pictures. I don't have a crafty bone in my body. I'm a horrible cook. In fact, if you're looking for any form of perfection, you won't find it here. I don't concentrate too hard on the blogging tricks (i.e. my posts are always waaay too long. Sorry, it's a sickness, really.), and my ultimate goal is to have my own TV show someday. I keep it down-home, back-woods, take-it-or-leave-it for REALSIES on this blog. Oh, and I definitely recommend reading the truth about how my blog makes money to better understand how things work over here.
The purpose of this blog is to help as many people as possible achieve their best life possible…and have lots of fun while doing it.
Though not a typical blogger, I am, however, your average, everyday, run-of-the-mill wife, stay-at-home-mom, and snake-avoider. No really, I super hate snakes. Like, I'll kick you in the nose and snap your elbow if you toss one at me. But otherwise we're good.
I grew up in a tiny town in Northern Oregon called The Dalles. Yes, THE Dalles. (Random, I know.) It was a good place to grow up but I was eager to say goodbye to a small town and hit the big city of glitz and glamour…
I went to Brigham Young University (Go Cougs!) and had the time of my life. My major was technically Recreation Management and Youth Leadership with a Recreational Therapy emphasis…but let's call it like it is; I basically graduated Summa Cum Laude in “Social Studies” (aka dating and friends).
I met my better half at a mutual friend's house my sophomore year. It was “ooh-you're-kinda-cute” at first sight…until I realized I was taller than him in heels and he realized I was only 19 and all sorts of immature. Wah Waaaaaah.
We promptly put each other in the friend zone and had a blast, until he went and ruined everything and formed a crush on me while I was working in Leprosy colonies in India one summer and accidentally showed him that I had a little ounce of substance to me. Darn it all…
It didn't take long for me to fall pretty hard for him too, so it was not even 1 year later I hung up my “commitment-issues” hat and got hitched in 2007 at the ripe ol' age of 21…and 1 month.
Bubba is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. He is the kindest, happiest, most positive, and most self-controlled person I've ever met. And he's also a killer athlete and entrepreneur which makes him all the hotter. Not to mention he dances and raps, so can you blame me for being obsessed with him?
We still laugh and have fun together every day, which makes all the inevitable, hard, downright crappy life and marriage-y stuff feel a little like Disneyland – even the long lines and annoying crowds are entertaining, and certainly worth the ride.
Isn't he the best?
Oh, and just to set the record straight, you can call him Bubba. It's not some creepy pet name or anything. Though his birth certificate says Brandt Hutchings Page, he's been “Bubba” since the day he was born. Heck, even his high school diploma and business cards say Bubba, so it's legit, I promise.
We settled in inner-city Salt Lake City in a cute 2br town home, where I worked with at-risk youth and my hubby quit his job to start a company, Launch Leads (more on that later). We had our first baby just before our 3rd anniversary.
January 26, 2010: Enter our bright, sensitive, rule-follower, Brandtsen Hutchings Page (“Hutch”) – baby #1 – named after his daddy who was named after his Grandpa.
July 29, 2011: 18 months nearly-to-the-day later, enter sparkly, dramatic and sassy, Miss Priya Jean – baby #2, named after a gorgeous little girl I worked with in India, and my Grandma Jean Francis.
February 25, 2013: 19 months nearly-to-the-day later, enter our sweet, happy, hilarious wild and crazy dude, Beck Avon – baby #3, named after Bubba's grandpa Beckstead and my grandpa Avon. (Hear the full story behind our baby names HERE.)
November 23, 2014: 21 months later (again, almost to the day), enter sweet, dream-of-a-baby Daivy Kaye (see her birth and name story HERE):
May 4th, 2016: and yes another 19 months later our beautiful Mory June came straight from Heaven.
Yes, they were all planned. Yes, we might just be a touch crazy. But hey, can you blame us?
We have absolutely fallen in LOVE with Utah and have an amazing life here. We have settled (in our above-mentioned dream home) in the suburbs of Draper, UT where we spend our days having dance parties in our kitchen (no, for real…check out #PageDanceParty on Instagram. You won't regret it.), hosting gathering after gathering after gathering at our house, changing loooootttsss of diapers, and trying to keep the kids from riding our 110lb dog, Ollie.
*Update: Our sweet Ollie passed away Thanksgiving day, 2017. Our hearts miss him but know he's having way more fun chasing squirrels in Heaven than cleaning up under high chairs here with us. Love you Mister Ollie!
I am obsessed with motherhood. Addicted to it, really (but don't worry, I'm successfully fighting the urge to be the next OctoMom…so far…). I feel that in a world where children are often times viewed as a burden that slows us down or hinders us from “bigger” things, I find no greater joy than being a mom and raising these precious little people to be the best big people ever…and find no job in the whole world as important. *sentimental tear*
Our journey started when our financial situation hit rock-bottom when I was pregnant with Hutch, Bubba quit his job to start Launch, and we lost all our money to a home that we built and decided not to buy (more on that HERE). But my favorite part is that our journey has no end. There is not “end point” to frugality. It's an ever-changing, always evolving lifestyle that keeps you on your toes, and teaches you how to be truly, undeniably, incomparably, unapologetically HAPPY – regardless of how hard life gets.
So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the FunCheapOrFree ride. I hope it's a good one, and I hope you can feel that I pour every ounce of who I am into every word I type. I hope you find inspiration here, in one form or another. I hope you take that ounce of inspiration, and plant it in your own homes and hearts to let it grow into an amazing path that leads to a life of absolute bliss. Thanks for becoming an official Freeb (aka my new virtual BFF), and welcome to the FCF family!