A Family Founded on Self-Reliance
Since getting married, Sister Julie Esther and Brother Dave Gambol have been striving building on their family’s food storage and securing their financial reserve.
Next to spiritual importance, good health, and financial security are their family’s priorities. Since their income is limited and their budget is just right, they find ways to be frugal and wiser in spending their resources to cover all their basic needs and appropriate funds for expenses—paying tithing and generous fast offering on top of everything else.
“Life is full of surprising uncertainties; nevertheless, the Lord is so mindful of us. He assured us that we can go through life’s challenges peaceably as we seek inspiration. Thanks to our dear prophets who emphasized the importance of temporal preparedness long ago,” Julie said.
“Everyone in the family knows exactly that they have a role to play so we can stretch our budget up to the last cent. We all help in the household chores so that there will be no need to rely for a helper. We limit eating at the restaurants, avoid buying unnecessary toys, eat whatever meal is prepared, and we limit using gadgets to save electricity,” Dave continued.
The Power Couple
Dave finds ways to earn extra income like buying and selling, repairing computers/laptops, and carpooling. He recently bought an electric scooter instead of driving our car every day going to the office. That way, he can save more money. Julie, on the other hand is a stay-at-home mom. To run their household efficiently, she employs a lot of strategies and skills that she learned growing up from her family and recently from the Personal Finances class she attended in her ward. For example, she buys her groceries from a nearby supermarket where she can save two to ten pesos per item as compared to buying at malls. She also makes sure to spare at least 200 pesos every payday to buy additional goods for their food supply.
On certain occasions, she leaves home at five o’clock in the morning to buy cheap but fresh meat in Pateros. This would mean additional savings of twenty to fifty pesos per commodity bought. To buy fruits and vegetables by bulk on weekend, she goes to Pasig Mega Market at around 2-4 AM, which is two rides away from their home, to get ahead of the crowd and purchase some food for a wholesale price.
Furthermore, she buys those “good reject” fruits to make juices, jams, smoothies, and ice pops for her kids. When mangoes are in season, she buys in crates, store them on sealed plastic containers, and freezes it. This guarantees that they can eat mangoes all-year-round. Amid the pandemic, she made homemade tuyo, tinapa, daing, gourmet tuyo; and dried beef and pork to keep herself busy. To avoid dining outside, Julie pre-cooks beef and pork every Saturday and secures enough broth for the coming week. All they need to do is just add vegetables and they will have a sumptuous meal in no time. Julie does all this to ensure that her family eats nutritious food, without the added preservatives when bought outside.
“Dave and I must roll up our sleeves and not mind what other people will say or think of us. Sometimes I am ridiculed for going out at 3am just to go to market. Others are bewildered why I go to Pateros early in the morning just to buy meat? My reason is simple: So we can save money,” Julie explained.
“I am continuously studying the different methods of food preservation on YouTube and I am now into canning! I was able to purchase 24 mason jars last week! God will truly help us as we seek for guidance.” Julie exclaimed.
For other items needed at home, Julie stashes supplies during storewide sales. The family has six months supply of toiletries and other essentials.
Following the Footsteps of Their Parents
Dave and Julie have three sons named Job,10; Enoch, 6; and Adam, 5. They all go to public schools and they work earnestly to stay in the star section. Once or twice a year, they go to Divisoria to buy a year's school and art supplies at a low cost. From these materials, their children could create unlimited arts and crafts where they can channel their imagination and creativity. In addition, they buy durable bags and shoes that would last for years. The boys do not mind having new things each year because they think more practically.
Their children are also used to walking to and from school for it is a great way to exercise, bond and get to say hi to their neighbors. After school and during weekends, the Gambol siblings take turns with household chores including feeding their native and organic chickens. Their hens give them a bounteous supply of eggs.
“The hard work we have started while we were young will pay off later in life. We owe our perseverance and determination to be self-reliant from our parents and our experiences during our childhood days. These experiences taught us to give our best in school and to learn practical life skills which we now teach to our children,” Dave declared.
And because Julie and Dave have trained their children to eat whatever is prepared at home, these kids find joy helping their parents prepare their favorite food such as taco, burrito, samgyupsal, pho, batil patong, beef mami, kare-kare, chicken nuggets, pakbet, mac and cheese, and siomai.
Julie’s father has vegetables in pots. He has grown peppers, alugbati, kamote tops, malunggay, basil, spring onion, thyme, ampalaya, kalamansi, and lemon grass. From this example, their children have learned to love and grow food in their backyard as well.
“My children are more health-conscious now. They do not mind if there are vegetables in their pancake, lugaw or champorado. Likewise, they do not mind if there are chia seeds or malunggay powder in their juice or smoothie! They are starting to be hard working at home and have increasing desire for knowledge. They know the importance of keeping themselves worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost and being an answer to someone else’s prayer,” Julie shared.
Efforts and Rewards
President Nelson said, “The Lord loves effort because effort brings rewards that can’t come without it.” For Julie and Dave, they believe that when they go the extra mile to follow the commandments, the Lord will surely magnify and bless their efforts. Being modest in their lifestyle has brought so much peace and joy in their lives because they “do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy.” (2 Nephi 9:51) Through their actions, they have influenced people around them to be frugal as well.
“Because we have limited resources, we remind each other to discipline ourselves in spending money and strive to bridle our passions. This is not easy for our children, but they are learning to use our resources wisely. We teach them not to compare our family to others; instead, to give thanks for whatever we have. We do all we can to stay in tune with the spirit so we can be ready for inspiration.” Dave said.
Because of their surplus, they can reach out to their families, non-member friends and members in the ward temporally and spiritually. And because they have stored oil in their lamps, their ability to lift others and light their way are possible. They brighten up their day, calm their fears, and help them feel God’s constant love for them.
President Russell M. Nelson said: “Every woman and every man who makes covenants with God and keeps those covenants, and who participates worthily in priesthood ordinances, has direct access to the power of God. If we do all we can to put Him first, we can have access to God’s power. We will not be able to go through life’s challenges without receiving revelations from the Lord.” As our family tries to stay in the covenant path and do all we can to nourish our souls and reach out to others, we can strongly feel how He pacifies our anxieties. He is truly guiding each step of our way,” Julie testified. ◼︎