Maria Lactans

Maria Lactans
Maria Lactans (wikimedia commons)

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Ideas for Living on One Income by Andrea Nease and Gina Peterson


1. Affordable housing.

Andrea:
The most important decision my husband and I ever made to ensure one incoming living possible was purposefully buying a home that we could afford with one income. When we purchased our home we were both working full time. There was a huge discrepancy between what we qualified for and what would be realistic in the future if I were to stay home. We picked a house that was nearly half the price of what we qualified for with the bank. We had to look in a more rural area in a small town and make some compromises on our wish list.

Gina: 
When my husband and I first married, we were both college students.  When we started our family, we both felt it was important for me to be home with our children.  When looking for housing, we kept that in mind and chose accordingly.  For two years of our marriage we even lived in a one bedroom apartment (650 sq ft in size) with two kids.  At that time, we lived in CA and could not afford anything bigger.  We knew it wasn't permanent and just tried to make due.


2. Tithing
Andrea:
We have found over the years that if we aren’t tithing it works against us. Even when we thought tithing would take food off the table, if we tithed faithfully off the top, God always provided. Money would pop up, sometimes down to the penny that we needed. If we stopped or squandered our money on frivolous things, it was somehow worse than it should have been. We also have tithed backwards- meaning if we knew we needed more money (for legitimate things) we tithed what we would have if we had already been making that much. It was an act of faith that God would provide. Prayers to St. Matthew have also been very helpful.

Gina:
I think tithing is important, too.  I try to write out my checks at the very beginning of the month before I start receiving bills, so I am not tempted to use the money to pay something else.  Although one of the precepts of the Catholic Church requires us to provide for the needs of the Church in some way, no particulars are stated.  I think starting where you are and possibly increasing the amount you tithe as time goes on is one good option.  It doesn't have to be 10% or nothing.  Also, both spouses need to agree on the amount you tithe.

3. Cloth Diapering and Elimination Communication

Andrea:
When my oldest was born we used disposable diapers for a time. I spent well over a hundred dollars a month for about the first year of his life. At that point we switched to cloth diapers and also used elimination communication (at least part time) with our subsequent children. I ended up spending about $500 over the years on quality cloth diapers that I used on three kids until they were completely potty trained. Using EC helped my cloth diapers last longer and also saved me on wipes. For example, when a child has a bowel movement in a diaper it smears all over and  you must use several wipes to clean the child. With EC, I caught most of them in the toilet and generally only needed one wipe for clean up. I also had less blow outs with cloth and EC, saving some clothes that may have been ruined. EC and cloth can lead to quicker potty training mastery, saving even more in the long run over disposables. From talking with many families who use disposables and stretch out changes to save diapers and money, I know it is common for families to still have four and five year olds still in diapers or pull ups. All my kids were completely done with diapers around two and a half years old.

Gina:
I found cloth diapers to be a very economical option.  As we had more babies, I did use generic disposables for bedtime, going out and sometimes switched completely once my toddlers were 18 months or 2 years old.  However, my cloth diaper stash lasted many years and through many babies and saved us a lot of money.

4. Ecological breastfeeding 

Andrea:
Ecological breastfeeding has saved me a lot. No bottles. No pumps. No formula. No pacifiers. The only expense has been a little more food for mom and nursing tank tops. The ecological breastfeeding lifestyle also has saved me a ton on baby “stuff”. I do need a baby sling, but keeping baby close to me or on my person saves me from needing equipment like baby seats, high chairs, baby bath tubs, swings, play mats, walkers, etc. Cosleeping saves on cribs and bedding. Baby led weaning, which pairs very well with ecological breastfeeding, saves on baby food and toddler snacks.

Gina:
Ecological breastfeeding also saved me money.  I also didn't buy bottles, formula and pacifiers.  I did use a stroller and baby carrier but we did not buy a crib, swing, play pen, etc.  Having a king size bed definitely makes bed sharing easier, but we also bed shared in a queen size bed for many years.  I used a bassinet with a few of my very young babies - mainly for naps during the day so I could keep baby close to me.

5. One Vehicle

Andrea:
Technically we have two vehicles, but one is owned by our business and solely used by my husband. We only have one family vehicle, and if my husband didn’t have a work vehicle we would either have home take it to work or I would pick him up and drop him off if I needed he vehicle. We also negotiated an extremely good deal on our last vehicle. Proverbs praises a woman who is able to get a good deal.

Gina:
When we first got married and had our first two children, we did have only one vehicle.  For a few of the years, we were in college and lived close to campus. Then when we lived in CA for two years, I walked everywhere with the kids.  I even used our double stroller as a shopping cart, so I could grocery shop during the day when my husband was at work!

6. Minimalism

Andrea:
A friend introduced me to minimalism. It really helps me evaluate what we really need and what I should say no to. I limit possessions, toys, and clothing. It has helped me be more conscience about not living beyond my God given means.

Gina:
I am also interested in minimalism.  When you have a large family, you need to limit what comes into the house and also declutter and donate things regularly or all the "stuff" will take over your house!  Minimalism is different for everyone.  You don't need to get rid of everything but your bed and two outfits to be minimalist!

Another area that can be minimalized is furniture.  A friend and mentor of CNML reminded me of that.  Such items such as a headboard or a footboard are not necessary for a bed.  When my husband and I were college students, we always had a couch, kitchen table and chairs and bookcases but for a time didn't even have a dresser!  We were poor college students after all!  The world did not end because we were missing a few items of furniture!  When we moved from CA (with two kids) to Los Alamos where we still reside, the movers packed up the truck in one hour and said 1/5 of our possessions were books!  Also, now with good laptop computers available, we don't even have an office desk or office in our house.  We need as much space as possible for family areas and kids' bedrooms.

7. A Loving Husband

Andrea:
We have had some rough times and thankfully my husband always took his role as provider seriously. There was a brief time he worked two jobs and considered a third to make ends meet. This time helped us develop our trust in God and humility in how reliant we are.

Gina:
I agree that a solid marriage is important.  I try to treat my husband with love and respect and as well as or better than as I would treat a stranger.  The reason I mention that is because sometimes family members treat each other much worse than people they meet in town or at a store.   Isn't it easier sometimes to love someone in another country than someone in your own family? 

8. Hand me downs

Andrea:
With my boys, I had multiple generous family members who continuously gave us hand me downs yearly for several years. This saved us a ton of money and I made sure to pass on what I could to someone else. Other than socks, underwear, and shoes we rarely had to buy any clothing for them for them. I know some families who are able to trade clothes if they match up with the right family who has kids younger and older than their own.

Gina: Even though I try to keep the clutter under control and aspire to the minimalist lifestyle, I also have kept all my kids clothes and toys over the years until just recently.  I have four sons who were all born in the summer (and one daughter born in the winter) so most of the clothes worked well with each child.  It is fun to look at old pictures and try to figure out which one of my four sons is wearing a particular outfit that they all wore.

9. Meal planning

Andrea:
Meal planning, when I do it, really helps. First, I eliminate waste by using up left overs and not moving on to the next big meal until the last one is gone. Second, it saves on random unplanned trips to the store that add up and leave me over budget. It also helps eliminate wasting money eating out because there was no plan.

Gina:
I plan the week's meals ahead of time, and I try to do all of my shopping in one big trip.  However, I do sometimes forget a few things and need to go back to the store.  I also use coupons and generics as much as possible.  Even if you are a label reader like me, you can often find acceptable generics to fit your needs.

10. Do It Yourself, Bartering

Andrea:
My husband has saved us thousands of dollars over the years by figuring things out himself. From working on vehicles, repairing plumbing, installing windows, building cabinets, installing flooring, sanding and refinishing hardwood floors, to repainting our house. I can think of one time in the last decade we had to pay a contractor to do something on our home. We have also bartered for items such as furniture and even with midwives for home birth. We have a working relationship with trusted friends and neighbors for borrowing and lending tools so we don’t always have to shell out money for a tool we would need once or twice.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic article! Thanks so much! My life experience...one income, one vehicle, cloth diapers, breastfeeding, minimalism, all of it, and lots of kids. Always happy to find other people out there who know it's possible! Now that the kids are grown and we have 38 and a half grandchildren who love playing with each other, and are such a great blessing, I am so so aware of the value of our investment!

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