Aren’t we spiritually schizophrenic, just like the psalmist, David? One minute we’re shaking our fist at God, the next, we’re repenting and praising Him for his sovereignty.
He so often echoes the cry of my heart. If you will look at the chapter just before this well-known 23rd Psalm, David is pleading, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
As we step into this exciting series about living on one income, we will often need to hold close to our hearts, the truth that the Lord is indeed sufficient.
As I was sleeping/thinking (I do the two simultaneously!) last night, I felt like I should share with you, briefly “our story”…humbling as it is, I think it might prove encouraging.
When we felt the conviction for me to come home from my teaching career, my husband made 23,000 a year. We had two children and one on the way. Shortly after I quit my job, pro-ration caused Aaron to be laid off. Perfect timing, huh? So, he was forced, prematurely, into starting his own landscaping business. It proved quite profitable in the summer, but lagged greatly in the winter. Struggling to keep up, he worked tirelessly to solicit business, hoping “the next job” would get us through the drought.
Long story short, in two years we found ourselves over $32,000 in credit card debt! We had used them to live, thinking we’d pay off the balance after the “next big job”, which never came. (I talk about the amazing nature of compound interest later in the post…if you don’t believe it, get yourself a credit card!)
Needless to say, creditors plagued our lives, with the added pressure of people wondering A. why I didn’t go back to work, and B. why on earth we were allowing God to give us as many children as He wanted!
Life was hard. I cried–a lot. I wondered what we had done, and why God was not honoring my decision to come home.
“Then, go through your budget considering any expenses that could be reduced or eliminated. Cable, cell phones, insurance plans, groceries, utilities, etc.”
Fast forward…today we still live very frugally. But we have paid off almost all our credit card debt (only about $700 to go! We’ve been paying on them for 5 years. During that time we have also paid for braces, a used truck, and out-of-pocket for one of our babies’ prenatal and delivery costs.) Creditors do not call us anymore. Our bills are manageable even though our family continues to grow.
A family can survive on one income…not as easily as before, due to dual incomes raising the cost of living and the ridiculous taxation policies, but it can still be done. And we are going to discuss the many facets of making that possible.
It all begins with the way we think about money. Our finances and all our assets belong to God. We are simply stewards of what He gives us. One of my many jobs of being a keeper at home, is to study resourcefulness, as a profession, and make it an integral part of my work to use my husband’s income as wisely as possible. I think a lot of women who work outside the home view a SAHM as someone who “does basically nothing”. How untrue! This area is just one of many that requires diligence, work and wisdom. And it can be fun!
For some women, this may involve a serious look at how you yourself spend money. It may involve getting over your “deprived syndrome”, and learning to be content with less. If you have always felt you deserved to buy the latest brands at the hippest department stores, you may need to deal with issues of pride and materialism. Needs and wants are very different. And while there are creative ways to enjoy material things, splurging is not usually an option for the virtuous woman 🙂
Another important element of our thinking involves understanding the value of a dollar, and even a penny. Most people never grasp the simplest of concepts about money: a little saved here and there adds up to a lot. I can’t tell you how important this concept has proven to be over the years. Using a tad less shampoo, laundry detergent, water, electricity–every consumable product, really adds up. Begin to think about the importance of saving a penny here and a penny there…it compounds in an extraordinary way.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a closer look at cutting expenses and finding some simple ways to save on necessary purchases!