When I talk about my plans for the future (I rarely do, but sometimes people will insist) and say my goal is to become a homemaker and make it my full-time career, the 'you can't make it on one income' argument inevitably springs up. To this, I usually reply with the numerous ways we have thought about that will help us save money: wise budgeting and planning. Carefully evaluating the things in our life and seeing what is necessity and what can be discarded.
Usually, people give up. 'OK, OK, I agree with you. It is possible to live on one income. But why would you want such a miserable life? And why do you want to deprive your kids of everything their friends have?'
Don't get me wrong. I don't see anything bad or immoral about liking nice things, wanting to be dressed in pretty and fashionable clothes or to go on vacation. The problem starts when we become enslaved to these things. When we become so wrapped up in them that we forget what's truly important.
I am proud to be a homemaker in training and I already think of countless ways I can invest in my home and make it a pretty and welcoming place; in my dreams, I see myself during busy mornings, cheerfully folding a load of laundry, making a menu plan or gardening; quiet afternoons, spent peacefully, mending clothes or doing crafts and reading a book to the little ones; evenings, when my husband comes from work to a sweet and welcoming haven, evenings that don't have to be spent in a frenzy, that can be dedicated to taking care of my husband and helping him unwind after a long day at work. This is my dream. This is my vision. If I have to make financial sacrifices to make it come true, I'm up to it!
What about children? Won't they feel deprived because their friends have more brand-name clothes and go on vacations more often? Since I'm not a mother yet, I can't know for sure. But here is my experience. As you know I was raised by a single mother who worked very hard to support our family. We only had her small income and had to make it somehow. At 22, what do you think I remember? That I didn't get expensive presents when I was 8 years old, or that Mom couldn't take a day off from work even on my birthday? That my room was small, or that I only saw my mother on weekends? Occasionally, I wished I could have more new toys or clothes. But this is not what made me miserable as a child, and indeed, it isn't what matters in the long run! No one asked my mother if this is what she wants. We made it, not without pain and frustration. But this is not what I'd choose for my children.
Frugality isn't about being miserable. It's about creativity and challenge. It's drawing the line between what you need, and what you can do without. It's homemade presents and costumes which made from altered old clothes. It's not signing up to a dozen afternoon activities, and instead having a blissful opportunity to explore freely and with curiosity. Playing outside. Climbing trees. Spending time at the local library. Drawing and writing, making stories, playing games… I loved doing all that as a kid, and I was never bored! Who said a child needs a big house and a heap of expensive electronic gadgets to be stimulated? Look at us. We have lots of things. Does it make us happy?
For more frugal inspiration, visit Crystal at Biblical Womanhood.