I am constantly looking for creative ideas on how to live well (and simply) on one income. I am blessed to be able to stay home, raising and home schooling my children.
Titus 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
My husband and I decided together what we really "need". "Needs" and "wants" are different. Do we really need 2 cars, a huge house, and brand name clothes? Learn to be content with what you have!
1Timothy 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
We decided a long time ago that we would never let debt or money ruin our marriage, and sought to find a biblical approach to our marriage and finances.
Proverbs 14:1 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
In an effort to get completely out of debt, we got rid of our big house (and mortgage payment) and moved into a modest 3 bedroom home in the country. We are within months of paying off our truck. We have vowed to pay cash for everything, and will never again finance a vehicle or anything else. Our 4, soon to be 5 children share 2 bedrooms. They wouldn't have it any other way. :)
I have found many, many ways to stretch each and every paycheck:
To be able to afford our almost entirely organic diet, I buy bulk. I buy very little prepackaged, or convenience foods. Boxed cereal is even a treat. I buy bulk staple items such as cane sugar, beans, rice, honey, oatmeal, and wheat for grinding and making into bread. I buy fresh seasonal fruit locally and freeze or can it for year round use. We plant a large garden, and freeze and can our own vegetables. I buy fresh raw cow milk and make my own yogurt and kefir, as well as butter and cheese. When the neighbor has an over abundance of goat milk, I make goat-cheese (think feta). Sooo good! My husband and boys hunt, so we always have a freezer full of venison and poultry for them to eat.
We save tons of money on medical and dental bills by eating whole foods diet! Prevention really is the best medicine!!!
Proverbs 31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
In order to be able to live well on one-income we did have to eliminate some unnecessary costs and activities. My kids enroll in one activity at a time, right now all 3 boys are taking taekwondo, which they chose over baseball and soccer. We also splurge for piano and violin lessons, which we feel is a necessary expenditure. This arrangement works well for us because it allows me to take care of things at home (laundry, healthy meals) and not be driving all over the place, all the time.
I hang my clothes out on a clothes line (this sure cuts down on the electric bill) I love being able to get fresh air and sunshine, and it helps my disposition to step away from the children for a few quiet moments. ;) I will also be using cloth diapers with this baby. I was given a bunch of gently used, very expensive cloth diapers from a friend, I was pretty excited!!! I also use cloth menstrual pads, and homemade cloth nursing pads. I am planning on making cloth napkins very soon.
Lend, borrow and buy used!! There really is no shame in second hand, shopping Craigslist and yard sales. Just don't buy stuff you don't need!!
Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.