Suzanne of Missouri
For the last five years we have solely been a one income family. Prior to that, I worked part time. We are a homeschooling family and I felt led to stop working and make our family my priority. This choice is not without its complications and frustrations. Before we could face the practicality of living with one income – I had to overcome the emotional aspect of it. I found that I kept trying to affix my identity to something. I further had to overcome envy and dare I say a little coveting as well. By only having one income, I was faced with a lot of thoughts of what everyone else got to do that we didn’t get to do. Once the emotional was overcome – we sat down to figure out what were must haves. And then what was left we could see how to stretch.
These are some of our ways to meet the wants: Each of our children are allowed one outside activity that requires weekly dues or payment, such as Chess Club or Piano or Golf. For my husband, we allot a certain amount for golf – he only pays cash – in part so that during tax time when I am looking at all the receipts I don’t get mad at the amount allotted for golf and give him grief about what we could have done with that money!
We do not eat out at real restaurants except if we have gift cards. We do allow for fast food because I would go crazy if I had to cook every meal – as that is 21 meals a week and I find that I need at least one break.
We also shop 90% of our groceries at Aldi. We have found that for us, they are the most economical. I do look at the sales in the paper – but usually those are items we don’t eat. I have a menu schedule and I rotate it and can usually keep our food bill under $120 per week. The other 10% of our groceries is Sam’s Club for toilet paper, frozen chicken, milk (because they seem to always be the cheapest) and cat supplies.
I’ve tried coupons. I’ve tried a lot of different things – but with a 3 yr old, 13 yr old, 15 yr old and 16 yr old and homeschooling – I just don’t have the diligence to keep on top of that.
I also barter a lot. For example, a local church that my mom attends needed a new website. I helped them build it and they shared with us their leftovers from their gatherings that they had each week. They found they always bought too much food and so we were on the receiving end of that.
My husband is a contractor. Sometimes, our life is feast or famine. I’ve learned above all to trust God that during the famine – He will provide. Perhaps, not like I would like – but we have never had to go without – although we’ve had some tough times where I was faced with discouragement and a host of other emotions. Yet, when we get to the other side of those – I see that always God has met our need – even if it was going to a local food bank for a week until the next job came.
I think at the end of the day – find out what works for you. Websites like this offer great direction. But we are each on our own path and if we keep working through things (and praying) we will find what works best for each of us!