But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches
in glory by Christ Jesus. ~ Phil.4:19
There are a few questions we get asked often. Whether by complete strangers in a store or people we know. One of the more popular questions is, "How do you manage to get by on one income and raise 5 kids?" We live in a time where the majority of families have both mom and dad working. The majority of families I know are this way. With the cost of just about everything rising I understand why people ask this question and there are many times when I look around at all we have and stand amazed at how God has provided for us. So in an effort to answer this question here are some things we do in order for me to have the blessing of staying home and taking care of my family.
1. No consumer debt. This is a big one. The only debt we have is our mortgage and Ben's student loan. If we want something we pay cash for it. If we can't pay cash for it then we save and buy it when we do have the cash. So far the Lord has allowed us to pay cash for all our vehicles. This is a huge blessing. We sacrifice having what we really want and having new vehicles but this sacrifice has prevented us from spending more than something is worth just for the sake of having it "now" or having it "new". When it came to buying our home we bought a home well below what we could afford. There are no guarantees in life and Ben may have a great job now but that might not always be the case in the future so we wanted to make sure that if anything did happen then we could afford our house on a smaller income.
2. We buy second-hand and are willing to take hand-me-downs from clothes to furniture to toys. We have been so blessed by other's "junk"! It's really quite unbelievable. I feel as though every time someone is at my house and says, "oh I love that" I am always saying, "Oh, so and so gave that to me". And almost all the clothes that my kids wear are hand me downs or from thrift stores. Is it because I don't care what they wear or what I have? No and just ask my husband. I have really expensive taste. But when I put things in perspective and look at what is really important in life, I realize that having the nicest of everything is not at all important, especially if having those things would mean I would have to work outside the home. Remember too that when we die, we can't take it with us so how important are all of those things really?
3. Buy food on sale and in bulk when possible. The grocery bill is probably one of the hardest areas for us to stay in our budget and as the kids grow this will become even more challenging. We have two chest freezers in the basement. I generally only buy meat when it's on sale. I also buy extra of our staples like bread and freeze it so I'm not always running to the grocery store. The less time I spend at the store, the less I spend. We also don't eat out a lot or eat prepared foods a lot. Making your own meals can be a real money saver!
4. Don't get caught up with the latest & greatest. This can be one of the more challenging areas for me. In particular, cell phones. I think it is amazing what cell phones can do now. I still only have a tracphone for emergencies and Ben's phone came with his job. I definitely have days when I wish I had a "cool" one but again I have to put things in perspective. The only thing I really NEED a cell phone for is when I am out in case the school needs to get a hold of me or when we're traveling. So to spend hundreds of dollars on a phone, and the plan seems really foolish. Yes we can afford it but that would mean that I would have to sacrifice in another area because let's face it...we can't have it all. At least I can't! In order for us to continue doing what we do we have to be willing to sacrifice some things and decide what things are really important and what things are not. Staying up to date on the latest and greatest is just not something we have categorized as important.
These are just a few things we do. When we have chosen to wait on God to provide something instead of running right out and buying an item we needed or wanted, He has always provided better than we imagined. I could fill a book with all the the things He has given us that we never thought we'd have. With God's help I really believe it's possible for just about any family to live on one income (there are of course situations that it's not possible) if it's something they really want to do. It just requires a willingness to make sacrifices-and as I think about it-I rarely feel I'm sacrificing because I'd give up just about anything to be able to stay home with my kids-it's just THAT great!