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.


devildogwife said...

Rebecca, tell us how you really feel. ;) Just kidding. That was very well written.

dr_bristow said...

I haven't really ever commented on your blog before, but I have been reading it (lurking) for a while now. :)
I totally agree with you...I come from a family with four children, and my mom did not work at all from the time her first child was born until her last was grown. She was home with us kids full-time (we were homeschooled) and she worked harder than any employed woman I know. And the gift that she gave us, by being with us and teaching us all the time, was priceless. While we could have had a bigger house (the house we grew up in was 1200 sq. ft. with 6 people living there) and things like that, we didn't want for anything ever and the size of the house truly didn't matter.
Thank you for sharing! God bless!

Tracy said...

This was very well written. Would you mind if I linked to it in a blog entry?

Mrs. Bonnie said...

I'll echo the others-Well said!
I am so thankful that B. had our finances in hand when we married. Our house is payed off, we were able to pay cash for our brand new mini-van last year, and we have NO DEBT becasue of his carefulness. I am also most TREMENDOUSLY thankful, that he is willing to be in charge of our budget. I am simply terrible at math, and not as meticulous in my record keeping as he is, and since he already had a system worked out, he is keeping it going.
We have plenty, and it is a little frusterating because I am more of a penny-pincher , so he doesn't completely understand why I love thrift stores and yard sales. I was brought up this way. 10 kids raised in a single income household, and we managed. To me you learn to shop thrifty so that if the rug is ever yanked out from under you, you are already adjusted to buying that way.
It always brings me a happy smile when I realize I am not the only one who thinks these things. Sometimes I feel like the Lone Nut out there!

Rebecca said...

devildogwife~ sheesh! You scared me there. I thought I was too shove-it-down-your-throat! Stinker!

Alane~ thanks for sharing your story! it is really heartening for me to hear stories like that. And-that children grow up to be appreciative adults! :-)

Tracy~ of course you can! Silly!

Mrs. Bonnie~ One thing I love about this blog is the opportunity to get to know others more fully. Or atleast, when THEY allow it by opening up in the comments section! I didn't know you originally came from such a large family! I just have to say KUDOS to you and your hubby for flowing against the tide and actually being RESPONSIBLE with your money! A house-PAID off? At such a young age?!? I am going to go bury myself in the sand now...

Grandma Bibby said...

The biggest thing we can give our husbands is a happy home. I don't see how when we have small children we can do that by working outside the home as moms. It usually causes more stress. And with the childcare, clothes, gas, etc. I don't see how we would really be contributing much monetarily anyway.

And Mr. B. always told me that he wouldn't be where he is today if I had worked. We would be needing to work around two work schedules. If a mom feels like she isn't fulfilled at home, she should be looking inside herself (and her husband) for the reasons.

It can be done. You just need to prioritize. I think you did a terrific job in writing this. Don't get off your soapbox, and I won't either!!! :-)

hearts812 said...

You willnever regret the choice you have made. I was lucky enough to be home with my children full time until they started school.. Then I owned a gift shop and they came there after school...we were able to share stories, after school snacks, help with homework...I never felt I missed out on anything. I loved being a stay at home mom and tease my husband that I still would like to be one...he reminds me that we don't have any kids at home anymore. ;-)

Andie said...

Rebecca, you have such a way of words! Such an open heart, a heart for loving your husband, children, and God. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.
Even though I have been able to earn a paycheck for most of the past 8 years, I have been able to be a full-time mom by doing things where I could involve my kiddos. Being my husband's secretary and being a child care providers were jobs where I could both take care of my own children and earn an income. But, I know that being trhifty and caring for my family are my highest priorities, not the 'job.'
Thank you for reminding me that what I do is of value!


Christine said...

Thanks, I needed that today! And congrats on the house! You deserve it after all your hard work and patience with a hubby who works everyday! It is so easy to question the validity of my job as a stay at home wife and mom when the world keeps asking, "What do you even do all day?!" Thanks for reminding me of all that we do that doesn't get a tangible paycheck. Ruth 2:12

Deborah said...

Well, I will have to ditto most of your commenters (is that a word??). Well said, Rebecca! Would I be allowed to link to this post sometime too?

Rebecca said...

Thanks for all your comments ladies! Deborah~ of course you may!

My intent upon writing this post was to focus on the financial contribution of a woman, to her marriage and family, despite a lacking 'career'.

As I live and breathe, staying home with my children and being a constant part of their lives is something I cherish more than anything else, and certainly, I would continue to make it work regardless of the cost or lack of contribution. As several of you have stated already: the benefits to your family brought by staying home far outweigh the financial contributions. Mrs. Bibby brings up a good point too: even those who work outside the home have more expenses: clothes, food, gas, childcare, etc. so it really isn't all THAT much of a financial headstart afterall.

While everyone knows where my family stands personally on staying home, my intent of THIS post was not tell those women who work outside the home all of what they are missing, but it was to encourage women who DO stay at home-that they ARE contributing to the financial state of the family.

You all probably knew that, I just thought I ought to reiterate.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

My daughter and I were just talking about this last night. One of her girls is turning four (on the 4th of July!). I had already found a beautiful doll for her at a garage sale with the original tag on it.

Yesterday I was shopping at Wal Mart for a few groceries when I noticed the little girls items on clearance. I called my daughter to get the correct sizes and came away with the cutest pair of denim jeans for $2.00 and I paid "full price" (gasp) for a sweet shirt ($4.95 I believe).

We were talking about how we hear so often women say they can't afford to stay home when all of their children have clothes from the "Mall stores", like the Gap.

It can be done and even though it can be a challenge, sometimes it is a lot of fun... most often it is a lot of fun... to see how God leads us to amazing deals.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this wonderful post! I really needed to be reminded today about how this is a JOB, somedays it's easy to get lazy especially because my children are older 13,10,8, and 6.



Pao said...

This is so good! I just had a quick look over your blog as I saw your comment in mine...and I have to say, this has really blessed me! There's so much truth in it, and so encouraging and inspiring!


mrl101502 said...

Hi there! I have been lukring your blog (I LOVE the pillowcase nightgown) and I came across this post. I agree with you in most aspects of this post, however, there are things that I must point out. Not everyone lives in a rural area and has the option to butcher their own meat. I live in Las Vegas, and my husband and his family hunt deer and elk, it is a luck of the draw, and we are not always fortunate for him to have the opportunity to go hunting. I am trying to become "thrifty," but I am finding it difficult, especially here. Any suggestions for a city slicker?

Rebecca said...

thanks for your comment mrl. The fact of the matter is...we live in the country and haven't really butchered any meat yet. That was typed as an example of getting CREATIVE with meeting your goals by going down a different road. Local farms and stores (even in Nevada) sometimes sell "whole animals" already butchered. Buying a whole butchered cow, while a large chunk of change at the onset, saves a bundle when you think of buying that amount of meat throughout the year. Co-ops are great resources for veggies if you can't grow your own. Even shopping the super sales that grocery stores have and eating those foods that are in season/on sale WHILE they are in season/on sale will save you money.

I didn't mean to suggest everyone butcher their own meat or grow their own food-those are fabulous options for those who CAN, but for everyone else, I would say run with the seven main points and translate them to suit your lifestyle. City slicker or country bumpkin, and anyone in between CAN afford more wisdom in their spending and can succeed with what they have if they realize the impact they have on their own finances.