What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

One Income, Two contributors

There are a few myths flying around about families who survive on one income.

Here are a few:

1) The true skeptic believes "It just can't be done! Not with MY family!"

2) The eternal pessimist believes that the only way to survive on one income is to reuse toilet paper.

3) The cynic believes that any woman who doesn't work and create income in some way does not contribute anything at all to the family, is a lazy mooch.

Here I am, taking it upon myself, to dispel any myths one might have:

1) It can be done. Look around. It IS being done. And very well, by many! It is all in the priorities you have.

2) Well, frankly, that is just GROSS. Sure, one income means being thrifty but golly. That is just wrong.

3) This is the one where I get my panties all in a bunch and start contorting my face into all sorts of weird faces trying not to explode onto people. I hate it when people assume this-because, let me tell you-I work HARD! This is the one that I need to write about today. And yes, I do mean NEED to. The air needs to clear.

People who have these viewpoints are misinformed (to say it kindly) and ought to be 'shown the light'. Not only that, but women who do live on a one-income need to own up to the responsibility THEY have in their families' financial state.

We live on one income: Matt is the sole 'bread winner' of the family. That said, I contribute an equal share of dollar signs to our family budget in the form of stretching every penny. What Matt works hard to earn each day, I work hard to save each day. To say it another way: Matt goes off to work each day to earn money-he devotes time and energy to earning wages and anticipates the end result. In the same way: In my home, I devote time and energy to saving wages and I anticipate the end result. Matt's work is to care for cows. My work is to stretch every single penny to be used as wisely as possible and to save the difference. Ultimately, both put income into the family pot.

When I buy clothing at yard sales, salvation army, on serious clearances or if I make them: the money I am saving by not buying brand-new, name brand clothes is what I am contributing to the family.

When I make homemade biscuits for $.07 cents a piece rather than a box mix for $4.00, the difference is what I have saved for our family. These are real numbers. Real contributions to the betterment of our financial situation.

When I cut coupons and shop CVS, and come out of there with a brimming cart and just cents missing from my pocket, that is just me putting in the hours at WORK : making good use of our money and stretching it to mean more.

I don't like to think of myself as FRUGAL, per se, because being CHEAP is not really something to be proud of. The bible speaks of generosity being a GIFT, one that ought to be poured out easily.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. ~ Romans 12:8

I guess I prefer the term: THRIFTY.

To be thrifty with finances means a couple things:

1) You recognize your limitations. This means, if you don't have the money for it~ even if you REALLY REALLY REALLY want that daybed (or that set of sheets on clearance-or that pizza)~you don't get it because you REALIZE that you can't afford it. Debt is no joke and every time you spend money that you don't need: you are affecting the financial state of your family. It's on your head.

2) You make every penny worth something. You know where your money goes, at all times, and you don't lose it. That means: you avoid late fees-(poof! That money has vanished and meant absolutely nothing except: you failed). You avoid fast food- the only thing that penny was worth was a few pounds. Budgets are important. Your money is too valuable to waste on...nothing.

3) You are able to be generous where you OUGHT to be. The only way to have extra money to help others with, is to not piddle it away buying 'this and that'. At least, if you don't have lots of excess money floating about. Save your money for the IMPORTANT things.

4) You are CONTENT. This is the biggie, I think. If you are content with what you have-then it is easy to let go of squandering dollar bills. You don't see that fancy shmancy kid toy, quilt, sofa, yada yada with envy and somehow equate that item with happiness. DUH! That stuff doesn't make you happy! In fact, that stuff is what CLUTTERS your home! That stuff is the stuff you curse every time you have to clean it, move it, unclutter it, etc. Personally, buying unnecessary stuff just because it is "cool" makes me feel like LESS of a person, not more. Because I am failing to do my job with wisdom and discretion.

5) You make sacrifices. A person CAN live on one income successfully. Even if that one income is not triple digits-or even high DOUBLE digits. I have recently investigated Dave Ramsey and that man has helped SO many people! I have heard stories of people who made 37,000 a year and paid off 75,000 debt in just three years! Now. That is unbelievable! Take your job seriously!

6) You get creative. Think about ways to achieve your goals 'outside of the box'. I can lower my grocery bill by gardening. We can buy a cow to butcher instead of paying outrageous store prices, etc. Using creativity, your home can become a palette of richness-without spending a fortune. Paint, use fabric, and rearrange to create a more inviting look to a home, without the cost. Be good stewards of the gifts you have been given.

7) Be patient. Wait on God to fulfill your needs instead of trying to force it on your own.

All the efforts I do to seek out sales, cut coupons, create things myself instead of buying them at the store~ all these things are ways to keep money into our account. And that is JUST as important as getting the money into the account.

We stay-at-home Moms really need to be aware of the impact WE have on the family finances. If you are in a real tight spot right now, don't automatically blame your hubby for not making enough money. How are YOU contributing to your family? Are you whittling away each penny on latte's, clothes, toys, and STUFF. Are you buying things you can't afford and then letting your money vanish in late fees and interest rates?

Knowing that we contribute to our family income should give us a measure of pride. At the very same time, it ought to make us sober. We need to take our JOB seriously.

We, of course, need to work at it more than our workforce-women counterparts. But never, ever, never fall for the lie that workforce women contribute to the family and you don't.

It's malarkey.
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