I’ve enjoyed all the comments on living on one income – Great ideas and inspiration!
I thought I’d share a few things we have done. Others have touched on some of these already, but these are some ideas which have allowed us to live on $800-$1000/month without going into debt. We have been through some very lean times financially, but God has always taken care of us and been so faithful to make the “ends meet” when we couldn’t work it out on paper. Even though things are not at all as tight now as they were the first two years of our marriage, we know that we can live on a lot less if we need to.
-Tithe. Vitally important! Recognize that all the money you have is given to you from God and you are to be a good steward of it.
-Read the biography of George Mueller and get in a habit of asking God for your provisions. I can tell you story after story of amazing ways God has answered our prayers for specific needs– from providing a washer and dryer for free, to furnishing our home for $100, to anonymous gifts in the mail just when we needed it most, to a good sale at the grocery store on something. God has provided above and beyond many things we have asked Him for. It has been truly amazing to see His provision.
-Pay cash for everything. Don’t even think of buying something if you don’t have the money for it.
-Pare down to the basic essentials. It is amazing what you can live without.
-Make a budget and stick to it. Pay for the essentials first. If there is money left over, put it in savings.
-Regardless of how little you have, put a little money in savings every month– even if it’s only $5.
-Don’t buy expensive gifts. Make something or write a letter, it’s much more meaningful when you put time and effort into a gift anyway.
-Have one vehicle (and buy it used!).
-Stay home more. It’s amazing how many things you don’t know you are missing out on, if you’re not out window shopping. Staying home and just spending time together as a family is much more fulfilling anyway!
-Don’t buy anything you don’t need and then, only if it’s on sale.
-Don’t eat out. I repeat, don’t eat out. You’ll save yourself a bundle of money.
-Find ways to have “free dates” with your husband. Pack a picnic and go to the park. Or, go to a bookstore and browse together. Make some homemade mocha and play a game. The possibilities are almost endless on this one.
-Learn to utilize the library. I love our local library– I can go and check out as many books as I want and never pay them a cent (We are spoiled to not have overdue fees at our library, as well)!
-Pack a lunch for your husband to take to work everyday.
-Cut back on meat consumption. (we only eat meat about 3-4 times per week and really have not missed it much.)
-Stick to simple meals. Cook and bake from scratch.
-Learn to mend and home dry-clean.
Crystal Paine is a 24-year-old homeschool graduate from Topeka, Kansas. She is the blessed wife of Jesse and joyful mother of Kathrynne.
Visit her site, Money Saving Mom, for books, articles, encouragement, and inspiration!