I ENJOY BEING AT HOME WITH OUR THREE YOUNG CHILDREN, BUT WE LIVE IN AN AREA WITH HIGH EXPENSES. IN THESE DIFFICULT TIMES, WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE US FOR LIVING ON ONE INCOME?
Like anything you really want to accomplish, living on one income will take intentionality, strategy, and follow-through. Start by making the decision: We will live on one income so that our children can have their mother at home. Keep your purpose in mind.
Decide how long you are committed to remaining at home. Is it until all your children have entered first grade? Or ninth grade? Or college? It doesn’t need to be for a lifetime. Focus on your pleasure in seeing and guiding the progress and development of your children and in supporting your husband.
Control expenditures by controlling your wants. Create a budget and stick to it. Make it a family game. Then reward yourselves with a free, fun-filled activity when you don’t step outside of your budget.
One young pastor’s wife I know, a mother to three children, always dresses with class even though she shops in second-hand clothing stores. Colors are coordinated, fabrics are interesting. It can be done.
Here are some other ideas that we have used:
- Drive a “paid-for” car! Of course, a paid-for car is not the latest model—but do keep it spotless for your own self-esteem. Driving one car saves on insurance and other costs.
- Use public transportation when possible. Watching and meeting people can be fun! And you can even be intentional about witnessing on the bus or train.
- Choose a home within your means. Don’t spend so much on expensive housing that you cannot spend a little on simple family outings now and then. Keep the décor simple and colors coordinated. Enjoy hand-me-down furnishings. Learn how to arrange your things with flair.
- Provide family meals and hospitality with simple, inexpensive foods. Enhance your table settings with items gleaned from nature or things you already own.
- Live the eight natural remedies and save on doctor, hospital, and pharmacy costs.
- Dress warmly—keep the temperature in your home down. Be sure to have jackets and lap robes for guests.
- Learn how to cut one another’s hair—with style!
- Read borrowed books or check books out from your local library.
- Enjoy no- or low-cost hobbies—identifying birds, learning about different countries or cities via the Internet, or finding a hobby that will give you a return, such as gardening.
- Entertain one another. Play games as a family.
- Collect cans and bottles to recycle, which ones will yield exercise and spending money.
- Look at your skills and explore which would allow you to work from home. Should you consider homeschooling your children?
Home! It’s a beautiful word! Do whatever it takes to stay with those children and disciple them for Jesus. That’s the most rewarding job in the world. The reward? Joy now and joy throughout eternity.