Thursday, March 6, 2008

Living on One Income...Creatively

Yesterday's Works for me Wednesday was inspired by a recent conversation on a board I pop in on every so often. There was a discussion by a mother who didn't understand how anyone could live on one income when they were barely making it on two.

This is a question that quite a few women have asked me. They want to come home, but just don't see how in the world it can be done. I'm here to say that it can be done, if you want it bad enough. It may not be today or tomorrow, but you can do it!

A fear of mothers who are contemplating coming home is that they will have to sacrifice everything to do it. That they will have to give up any comforts and eat beans and rice for the rest of their lives. They fear not being able to give their children what they need or that they won't be able to pay their bills. I could go on and on.

We all need to stop thinking of it in terms of how much we have to give up. For those who are afraid of take that step to come home, just know that you don't have to sacrifice everything. You can still have comforts. You just have to be creative about it!

Yes, there will be changes made in the beginning. It's a different life when you live on one income, but God has given us, as women, the ability to creatively make ends meet. It's all about making your dollar stretch. I like to think of it as a challenge. The challenge is, "How can I turn that dollar into two?"

Well, one easy way is to learn to bargain shop. By being careful and watching for great deals I can buy double what I normally would for the same price. It's actually fun, and becomes a game of sorts.

Another way I can stretch my dollar is to learn to do something from home to make a little extra money. There are so many different opportunities out there to earn a little cash that I couldn't even begin to touch on them. If you go Biblical Womanhood and look under home business or frugality, she has alot of great ideas on this.

Another way to stretch my dollar would be to learn how to budget and get out of debt. Debt is the biggest obstacle to women coming home. We, as a nation, have too much debt and it is keeping us chained to our current situations. By getting out of debt, you actually can live off what you make.

I received so many great comments from my post yesterday. Let me share a few that I really enjoyed. Many of the ladies shared that they plan a weekly menu. Now if you know me at all, you will know this is something that is near and dear to my heart. It really works! I am already training my oldest daughters how to do this, they're almost as good as I am.

Another one, was to budget, like I said earlier. A few more suggested finding free things to do as a family. There was one lady who consigned all her kids clothes to buy the next size up, what a great idea! One really neat suggestion was to barter. My husband did this last year with my friend's mother. He traded painting services for a year of free haircuts for the family. What a blessing it has been!

There are so many creative ways to stretch your dollar. How creative can you get? Stay at home moms have to be savvy and smart. The best example of a role model that I can think of would have to be the Proverbs 31 woman. Talk about creative! She supplemented her husband's income and worked hard for her family, but they were well taken care of because of it. She even had enough to give to those in need.

Because of her hard work and creativity, her husband praised her and her children rose up and called her blessed. What really puts this in perspective is to understand what the word blessed means here. The word blessed, as used in this passage, is translated from the the word, ashar. Ashar means happy, blessed, prosperous, successful, and contented. That doesn't sound like a woman who had to sacrifice everything. Yes, she had to work hard, but she was blessed by it. I don't know about you, but I strive to be blessed like the woman in Proverbs 31.
Please leave a comment telling me the creative ways you live on one income!


Carlie said...

Good thoughts. I think it's time I start working with my dd. She already asks a million questions.

Anonymous said...

I don't see it as a sacrifice living on one income. Before I had my son I worked, and boy did I work. I was in management and worked 60-70 hrs a week. My husband and I hardly saw each other, we were almost like roommates. I finally said enough is enough. Of course at first he paniced thinking we would be out on the street and not being able to do anything, but we actually doand have more now then we did in the first 10 years of our marriage. We take our son to the parks, the beach, play games, make puzzles and just spend time together. That's what's important. Not oh, I have to have a new Gucci bag or something else like that. B/c what is that bag going to do for you? Is it going to say thanks for carrying me around with all your junk in it? I think I have more important things to "spend on". I would much rather spend time with my family.

As for creatively, I'm an artist and my hubby is very hands on/Mr. Fix-it, so we come up with all kinds of things depending on the situation. We use what we have around the house to fix things. For example we had a palm tree that was knocked over during a storm. It just needed some support. He took some old plastic fencing, cut it up to make stakes, got some rope and pulled the tree back to the side so it was upright.The tree is back to normal.Some people would have just gotten rid of it and bought a new tree.

Debbie in SoFL

Teresa said...

Hey Debbie, Majority of us who are home already do not see that we are sacrificing anything. It's just that some women who want to make the plunge are afraid that they will have to sacrifice everything to do so. That's what i'm trying to show, that's it's not all sacrifice, it's more blessing than anything.

Day by Day said...

This is a great post. Love how your posting is such a mirror to my thoughts, too! Your writing is filled with confidence and understanding. Thanks for sharing!
I hope to link to this article in a future posting.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I know that all of us who are home do not think that way at all.I was just trying to make my point that if someone (Mom or Dad) wants to stay home for their family then they can't listen to "society" says can and can't work. You can make it work if YOU want to. I think these parents who would like to stay home are afraid they can't provide for their family if they have one income. But what do you really need-shelter and food, and as for clothing you don't need to go to the mall to look good, there are plenty of other options. I think they need to differ between wants and needs and they can see that it can be done. So what if you don't have cable/DTV, most of the stuff on there is horrible and I would never let my son watch it. Children do not need alot of things. They need a loving home. They need someone there for them when they skin their knee and give them a hug and tell them everything is alright. I can see it from some of kids in my son's class who come from 2 income homes. They are always coming up to me and hugging me and just standing by me. It makes me feel bad b/c I know that they do not get the attention they need. And I am also not putting down single mom's either b/c my sister is and God Bless her. She has alot of support/help from my Mom, but that is a whole other subject. I just think you have to be in the right mindset to make it work.


KayleighJeanne said...

We get by on one income and find we would be spending about the same amount of money if I was working. Between lowering our grocery costs and not having to pay someone else to watch our child, we cover the money I would be able to make.

I do get a little side income from things online, and I also tutor occasionally. If you are strong in a couple subjects, tutoring is a wonderful way to earn some extra money in just a few hours a week.

Sonshine said...

Very well said! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

I do thrift store shopping for the kids clothes, exchange childcare(watch a friends kids instead of getting paid, they watch my kids in return) and watch grocery sales and stock up when the price is right! :)

Anonymous said...

Great post! We find our lifestyle on one income, even without children, is so much improved that it is more than worth it. It can be scary to make the change - as any big change is - but it's worth figuring out if you can do it.

BarbaraLee said...

Some of these women need to be realist. Every one wants this big dream home. Bigger to clean. Why? They only have 2-3 children. Wasted space. It's to bad they can't see the joy of living simply.

Meredith said...

I was scared to death to leave my well paying job to stay at home with my daughter. I can honestly say it was one of the hardest decisions that I have ever had to make. However, the cliche is true in most cases, "where there is a will, there is a way".

While things are definitely tighter around here than when I worked, they aren't as bad as I expected. I think this is mainly due to the fact that I now have more time to actually pay attention to where our money is going, and to search for deals. Before, I would go to one store and buy everything, because I didn't have time to do otherwise.

I truly believe that everyone has to make this decision for themselves...and that there is no right or wrong answer...what works for one family won't always work for the next one. But you are is possible, and you don't have to give up all extras to do you just have to learn how to be creative. :) Great post!