Monday, November 05, 2007

Staying Home on One Income

Most days I have two or three emails asking about how to live on one income without any debt. People want to know how you can do that in this day and age. Our average income during the 1990's was around $27,000. We had 4 children at home.
It takes a commitment. It takes learning to weigh each and every purchase and something that made it easier is that we didn't do things like go out to eat except to some place like Cici's pizza and that was certainly no more than 2 times a month. We opted to purchase a house we could pay for easily. It was a fixer upper, but it was ours. We never owned new cars, insurance, taxes etc are more on new cars and thankfully, Emery is handy at working on just about anything. We built on to our house when we could afford to. Meaning, when we had the cash in the bank ! We didn't have a television to give us ideas of things the media told us we could not live without ! I didn't buy glossy magazines that made me want things I didn't have.
A big factor to living on one income is not going to town to shop more than once a week. Going in the stores creates this WANT mentality, for the parents as well as for the children. I noticed today that I am heading off to town to shop more than once a week and I am spending more than ever before. You can after all justify many purchases if its in your heart to do so.
Our cooking is simple, always has been. Breakfast was hot cereal, oatmeal and cream of wheat are cheap to fix. We always had plenty of eggs too, so there was french toast, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, pancakes and waffles. We had our own milk too. The garden gave us lots of good vegetables and someone in the community was always getting a truckload of apples for a good price. A pound of hamburger in a casserole fed the entire family. Bulk orders helped a great deal. I did lots of once a month cooking, it saved time and I was always prepared for unexpected company, which happened LOTS ! One day I had 15 people arrive unexpectedly for a meal. It didn't worry me one bit, we were prepared. By the time Melissa was 12 years old, she was an accomplished baker, so desserts were often her job.
Sewing our clothes saved a great deal too. We never spent more than $4 a yard on fabric. We were blessed so many times with good fabric sales at Wal-Mart or from mail order.
Making my own soap saved money too...we made our laundry soap too. Pine Sol was my only cleaner, it works on floors, walls and the bathroom. We did buy furniture polish. We always had spray starch for the boys and Emery's shirts, and shoe polish for our shoes.
Our feed bill for all our animals was paid for by selling milk and eggs and for selling the baby animals. Which meant we got our milk and eggs free !
Even now our meals are not fancy or expensive. Our food bill is $400 a month for all our needs, cleaning, paper goods etc. We still try to keep our expenses as low as we can but have more spending money with the children all grown. So even with a bigger income we live much the same except for having money to eat out once a week. We do not use credit cards. We tore them up years ago. Too easy to use. If we don't have the cash, we don't buy it. The best way to hold on to your money for the important things is to stay out of the stores unless you have to shop for NEEDs and keep your mind focused on needs, not wants. We all think we deserve this or that. We feel bad for ourselves when we have a bad day and want to reward ourselves by purchasing something, only in the end its really not a reward, its often times a big regret when we tally up the expenses. We have made our mistakes, but hopefully we have learned from them.

6 comments:

Gift of Green said...

This is my dream but of course I don't feel like it's feasible. I guess every thing is a choice though. If I wanted to make it work we could move from this bustling suburb. Our bugaboo is health insurance - our options would be so much greater if we just didn't have to worry about having it...

Lib said...

Great post. I love the simple side of life. I've found a spending journal helps keep track of every penny spent. Also a change jar or tin ,you'd be surprised how much change you can collect in a short time. Growing veggies is a big help and it doesn't take as much ground as you'd think.I think sometimes when you think how can I start a simple life it can become overwhelming but try to take one step at a time and before you know it ,it has become a way of life. Keep up the good Post:o)
Blessins', Lib

2 LMZ FARMS said...

I enjoy reading about your life and how ya'll have made things work for you. I was able to stay at home with my first husband when my kids were little and I enjoyed it sooo much.(ok, we had a dairy barn where we milked over 300 cows, yes, I helped milked but my kids were there with us)You are so right about the tv and magazines tempting us with 'things' that we can't live without. Hope you and yours have a blessed day.
Laura

Mimi said...

I love to hear how made the simple no frills life work for you...
you haven't really given up anything.. instead you have gained so much more..
do you still not have a television?
we do have a credit card but we limit how much we allow ourselves to spend and we pay it off in full every month
it is just so handy when we need to purchase an airline ticket or rent a car when we go to see our children out of state...
I also love all your oil lamps.. I have a few but yours are beautiful.. and your wood stove in your living room is also very cozy...

Lucy said...

Great Post .... I am always wondering how people can't live from one income! It cost more disipline but it is not imposssible!

Christine said...

Living on one income is not always easy but I think it's possible for more people than even know it. We only have one income and we are raising 3 kids. Honestly, I don't think we'd be much better off finacially even if I DID work. If I worked during the days too, we'd be paying for someone to watch the kids and that is so expensive that I don't think there'd be much left over from my pay anyway. Of course I could work nights and we'd save on daycare BUT then I'd never see the kids and that wouldn't be any good at all. You mention things like making your own soap as a way to save money and I think there may be some people who read that and think that if they aren't prepared to do things like that then they can't afford to live on one income.

I for one have made soap and candles but as a hobby, just to learn how, not because I want to do it all the time. We have nice things, our van isn't brand new but it's only a couple years old. I think the biggest way we're able to do it is by saving up for things. We don't buy things on credit, the only time we use the credit card is for booking hotels and things where you HAVE to have one. Even then we are sure to pay the balance before it's due so we don't have to pay interest. We are careful with monthly expenses that for us aren't needed. We rarely watch t.v. for example so why would we pay over $100/month for full cable services that we wouldn't use? I buy some of the kids clothes second hand. Not everything because I find boys jeans are always worn out, but I can sure get the baby some nice things for under $1. We also keep our eye out for deals at places like Costco(my favorite store of all time) We do eat out a lot and could save a small fortune if I cooked more but right now I've just been feeling too in the dumps to cook and clean up afterwards every single day.

Anyway, my point is that isn't not as hard to live on one income as some people may think. I guess it just depends on how badly you want the $500,000 house and the 2 brand new SUV's in the driveway.

Sunday Blessings

Soft music, the gentle kind of music that makes you feel content with life... the view from the window as I sit and spin at the wheel makes ...