Six Questions About Money: An Interview With Missionary Stephanie Gutierrez

Stephanie Gutierrez and familyWelcome to Six Questions! It is a new feature where we’ll ask different people from various walks of life the same six questions. I expect that each person will bring something unique to a standard set of questions. Today’s guest is Stephanie Gutierriez. I’ll let her introduce herself momentarily.

As you read through this Six Questions interview and all the previous interviews, I hope your thinking is sparked. That as you hear  new and different perspectives you will be prodded to think about your own relationship to money. The views of our guest do not  necessarily  reflect the views of Pocket Your Dollars.com or its staff, but are a springboard for thought and respectful discussion.  

If you’d like to be featured in a Six Questions column, email me to express interest.

Now to Stephanie…

Introduce yourself in 75 words or less

I think of myself as a Peruvesotan—a Minnesota girl who has been living abroad for the last two years as a missionary in Peru…and loving it. My husband and I pastor a church in the capital city of Lima and we have two daughters who are 9 and 10. Additionally, I work as the Marketing Communications Coordinator for Victory Auto Service & Glass in the Twin Cities and do freelance communications for companies and individuals throughout the U.S.

What money issue are you dealing with in your life right now

Being missionaries, we live on a greatly reduced income. Half of our living expenses are generated by my job and freelance work and the other half come through the donations of churches and individuals who believe in what we are doing. We’ve learned how to live on a lot less. (PocketYourDollars here: And there aren’t any double coupon days in Lima to help you stretch a buck, right?) :)Â  

One thing you learned about money while growing up that has stuck with you into adulthood

Thankfully, my mother has always been frugal and she passed on her tips, tricks and strategies for saving and spending wisely to all four of her children. She taught us not to be embarrassed to pack a sack lunch when going to the zoo, how to wait for what you really wanted until there was a sale, and to hardly ever pay full price for anything. Mom made saving feel like an adventure, and to this day all four of us call her when we score a great deal.

One thing you didn’t learn at home about money, but wish you had

I sometimes struggle with prizing quantity or a great deal over quality. That didn’t matter as much in the States, but when we moved to Peru and could bring very few things with us, I had to learn to that sometimes it’s better to buy one quality item than ten cheap items that cost the same. Now, it’s still hard, but I am getting better at buying one great thing that will last me for a long time than lots of little cheap things that won’t fit in my suitcase anyway.

Name your favorite money tool, resource or book?

Thankfully I’d received a great foundation in finances from my parents, but about five years ago I came across The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke by Suze Orman. She did such a fantastic job of breaking things down, everything from student loans to FICO scores to investing, that I felt like I gained more understanding behind the general principles I had. It’s a book I think every college-aged person (and even those who aren’t so young!) should read. (PocketYourDollars here: I am loading this book on to my Kindle today)

What’s one piece of money advice you wish every American would follow?

You need so much less than you think you do. Having gotten rid of 95% of our possessions when we moved, we came to realize what really matters in life and what we really need versus what we want. Not that wants are bad. It’s great to have some indulgences in life, but not unless the priorities are met first. For us, family experiences have come to take precedent over family possessions, unless that possession contributes to memory-making. When I think back to my growing up years I don’t remember so much what toys I had, but the fun times we spent together as a family. That’s what I want my kids to remember someday too.

If you’d like to connect with Stephanie follow @SLGutierrez on Twitter,  read her blog, The Gringa, or her family’s blog The G’s Overseas.

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It’s PocketYourDollars again wondering how you can relate to these six answers to our six questions.