We are a family of 7 and growing. We are also a one income family, and not a $50,000+ one income family, we're talking between $24,000-$30,000 a year.
I would like to say we're living comfortably, but we're not, and for one big reason.
No, not the amount of kids we have, DEBT. Yep, we have been young and stupid (sometimes we still are) and have gotten ourselves into debt. Oh if only we knew then what we know now. It's taking a lot of hard work to get out of it, but we'll get there, we're determined, and we know this isn't what God wants for our lives. In the meantime, He has used it to teach us some very valuable lessons, a lot of them on being frugal. I write this as much for me as I do to inspire you. Though I know these lessons, as I'm sure many of you do, following them is often another story. Maybe we can encourage each other to stay on track with this.
I love this old saying, and I think everyone, large family or not should adopt it as one of their family motto's!
Oh if only this world could learn to "Do Without" (if only I could). Baby steps right? We're getting there.
So, on our over-debted, low income budget, we still manage to ease through (though sometimes, like winter when hubby is laid off, we wish we had spent a little more time following these guidelines ourselves). I want to share with you some of the ways that a family of seven and growing can get by on under $30,000 a year.
- Learn the difference between Needs and Wants: and APPLY it to your daily living and shopping. This will be the biggest financial change you can make! Do you really "need" a cell phone, jewellery, new shoes, two or more cars?
- Take a GOD Sufficient Mentality: Learn to be content with what you have, and that God is enough. When we're in need we should turn to Him (and not our wallets) first and foremost. Trust God more in providing for your family. Allow Him to reveal Himself to you and bless you.
- Take a Self Sufficient view of things: Look up ideas on being self sufficient. I really believe this is a lifestyle God wants us to try to emulate for the sake of ourselves and the earth He created. If you're doing this, everything else fits into this category.
- Make it from scratch: Every chance you get, make it from scratch. Don't buy prepackaged anything if possible. No packaged bread, baked goods, takeout, anything. Nothing beats hanging out at home making pizza with your kids, and no takeout pizza can bring those same memories...or bizarre kid creations.
- Stay Out of the Stores: If you don't go in, you can't be tempted, simple as that.
- Grow Your Own: Start a veggie garden, get some chickens for
eggs and meat, maybe even a goat or cow for dairy and meat. If you're saying I don't
have the space, really look into it before making that assumption. There are a
ton of "Urban Homesteaders" out there. Start with a "growing" some sprouts on
- Take the biblical view of debt: It's bad bad bad, if you
don't have it, stay away from it, if you do, pray and use every ounce of
willpower you have to get rid of it!
- Get Rid of TV FOR GOOD: If you already have the hypno box
out of your house, good job! If you're like us, and love to curl up at night and
watch a movie, and find yourself accepting the free for a month cable offers,
STOP! It's not worth it I tell you, it's not worth it! I can write a whole post,
maybe even a series (maybe I will) on the horridness of television, but let me
put it simply for now. It takes time from everything else you should be focusing
on, it costs money you don't "need" to be spending, and it makes you want to
spend a whole lot more money through advertising and unrealistic shows. Should I
even get into what it's doing to your kids? We have also tried netflix to avoid the commercials, no better, still a time waster, don't do it. Now that I've said that, we're still working on kicking ours to the curb.
- Save your leftovers and USE them: You wouldn't believe some of the amazing meals that I've managed to come up with using scraps of food we normally would have thrown away.
- Buy Used: Do this whenever possible. Why buy new when you can get the same thing at a fraction of the cost. The world is filled to the brim with stuff, we don't need more of it, use what's already there.
- Go to the library: The absolute best spot for great free entertainment. You really shouldn't need anything else.
If you change your thinking and study carefully the true meaning of needs and wants you will very easily begin saving money.
You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.
What's the biggest thing you've done or heard that has changed your views or habits on spending?
Check out these posts for more on this topic:
"You Can't Afford All Those Kids!"
Forgive Us Our Debts
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