I invited Michele @ Frugal Granola to share further ideas and encouragement on how she has creatively sought to live well on one income. You can read more about her story and journey through her husband’s unemployment here. Thank you Michele! This is part of our Titus 2 Talk on the topic of being workers at home.
One of the biggest steps toward staying home, was realizing how little we really need. We didn’t need the two cars, large home, or new purchases. God’s blessings abound when we learn to be content with what we have.
One example as a way we have saved money on living expenses, is by renting a one-bedroom apartment. We use a futon for sleeping in the living room (the bedroom has always been for our daughter.) I have a friend with a couple children, who has a similar living arrangement.
In order to live well on a one-income budget, we strive to eliminate unnecessary costs and activities, in order to promote a better quality of life.
Initially, after our daughter was born, we took a close look at our debt (such as student loans), and focused on eliminating it as soon as possible. We canceled the internet and magazine subscriptions, and decided against having any pets (as we looked at the cost they would bring). In addition to limiting our spending, we sold items at garage sales, sold our house, and sold our car. The freedom in living without debt is wonderful! We have discovered that we can absolutely “live well” in a very simple life setting (small apartment, one car, etc.).
Spiritually, we also had to come to the realization that “one flesh” included addressing debt together that we as individuals may have brought into the marriage. With forgiveness in place, we chose to work together to tackle the debt, without placing blame. We would not allow debt to drive us apart (with “his and hers” issues), but sought to establish a Biblical foundation to our marriage and finances.
We discovered that many products available for purchase today are highly wasteful. They drain our budgets with constant “repurchasing” (such as paper towels or overly packaged foods). Here is a link to a discussion of this topic on my blog. I prefer to invest in (or make) items that will serve our family well long-term, such as cloth napkins and bulk foods.
In grocery shopping, I drastically pared down our usual purchases, as I examined the true nutritional value of foods. Pastas, boxed breakfast cereals, lunchmeats, and canned veggies were eliminated in favor of nutrient-dense foods such as grains, whole chickens, and fresh vegetables. We are no longer paying for the packaging/processing, but can enjoy a good supply of ingredients for our meals.
We haven’t had health insurance for awhile, now; although we probably will again in the future. We have had different insurance arrangements in various seasons of our life. There are some inexpensive plans available for major medical needs, if that is a concern. But we have found that the best “insurance” is in prevention. If we focus on nourishing ourselves physically and spiritually, we have been able to avoid the constant medical expenses that we used to have.
We also reduced the number of activities we were attending. Even if the activities were free, we were still paying for transportation costs. I especially enjoy walks while pulling my daughter in her wagon, as we visit nearby friends or the library occasionally. Also, we are better able to promote quality time together as a family, instead of rushing in different directions. The time I spend away from home can often cut into the amount of time I am able to use in meeting my family’s needs (such as laundry, healthy meals, etc.). I remind myself to take this “cost” into consideration as well, before making commitments.
God loves to bless His children, as we seek to be faithful stewards of what He has given us. When His children pray for wisdom, guidance, and provision, He is faithful to give it in His time.
Any resource recommendations?
One of our favorite books is “All The Way Home” by Mary Pride. It is a wonderful resource as families seek Biblical instruction. She addresses a Biblical approach to the marriage relationship, parenting, and homeschooling. My husband and I both enjoyed reading this book, as she presented her perspective in a very understandable and anecdotal, but well-thought out manner. I highly recommend this book as a resource for every Christian family!
I love Nancy Campbell’s article, “Called to Queenhood“. She perfectly describes our calling as Workers at Home!