Friday, August 24, 2007

Frugality as a way of life

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.


Christian Homekeeper said...

That is so true Anna! Another great post! =)

Kathleen said...

Anna, this is a wonderful post. After all, it's the moms and memories that make the childhood, not the gadgets and games. I love your last paragraph: it rings so true with me.

And I can sure agree with your thoughts about being a mom at home, "folding laundry...gardening...don't have to be spent in a frenzy..." I dream the same dreams.

Jeannine said...

I always wonder why people have such a bleak outlook on life as a family with just one income. My mother was a SAHM, so we depended on my dad's salary. Of course, the question what can be afforded, depends on the amount of the father's income. But one income does not necessarily equal deprivation of many things.
We could not have everything we wanted and sometimes it felt hard not to be able to do something others did or our heart was really set upon. But this is definately a question of attitude and priorities! But we went on vacations, we were well-fed, well-clothed and had plenty of toys :). (Not that that is all that matters, but it is those things many people think about).

Gothelittle Rose said...

Oh my word. Where to begin.

Will your kids feel deprived? Probably not. Well, they might if they attend a public school, because of peer pressure. But homeschooled kids won't. People put so much emphasis on kid years, barely a quarter of their lifespan! I've got a few years between me and adolescence, though I keep feeling as if I don't. :) I've talked to other adults my age. I tell them, "My mother stayed home with us. We didn't have much, but she was always there." They say, "You were SO lucky!" So if you want, you can always turn it around for the people who ask. "Did your mother stay home with you? Thinking back, would you have rather had her presence or the toys?"

There are some places that are beginning to offer homemaking college degrees now, and I think that's a wonderful idea, if only to get people to realize what it involves! For my own 'education' I've learned everything from minor electrical repair to painting techniques to nutrition information and more. I don't know if people realize how little life costs if you just do things yourself, if you have the time and energy and desire to be there when nobody else is. You don't need a maid, you don't need to buy prepackaged foods, you don't need a security system (my mother's house may be the only one on the street that in 25 years has never been broken into.. nobody knows her schedule, including me!), you may not even need a clothes dryer!

But you knew this already, I'm preaching to the choir. :) Let's see if I can think of a good response to these people, something that will help you.

When they ask how you can live on one income, change your demeanor. Speak with certainty and knowledge. Laugh. (Not a mean laugh. I have to say I honestly merrily laugh when people ask this.) Say, "I grew up on one income because my mother was a single mom. Don't you think my kids will have an easier childhood than I did?"

Point out that an awful lot more families live on single incomes than they think. Never mind just the men with stay-at-home wives. How about the workers who care for elderly parents? Custodial parents who have divorced? Those with ill or injured spouses, or live-in boyfriends who just can't quite keep a job? I worked in an office with something like 10 other people, most of them women. Out of that set, two of them were part of a two-income family, and they weren't doing much better financially than the rest of them. The rest all had different life stories... single mothers, divorced women with live-in adult children who were not working, women in the midst of divorce proceedings where no child support had yet been declared, etc. The burden on these people makes even a struggling homemaker's life look like sunshine, AND they have to work full-time in an office on top of it. There was one calm, cheerful person living a stable life in there, and his wife was a homemaker. (As a full-time worker and homemaker with a husband in college full-time, I might've kept cheerful, but I wouldn't say I was stable!)

Basically, be bold (but not unfeminine). Don't speak as if you have to persuade. Speak as if they are the ones who don't understand the majority of the world. (And I didn't even get into other countries!) Because trust me, they don't. Neither do most people living in this day of broken families understand the dynamic that flows through one intact, especially with a homemaker.

Anonymous said...

Kids don't need tons of new toys. When I was about 7, my mom gave me my grandmother's old paper dolls. They were first ladies (up through Roosevelt, I think), and there were four dolls. There were also inaugural gowns and everyday dresses from each president's wife. The back of each dress had a little history lesson on it.

I loved those dolls. They were/are my favorite toy. Hopefully I'll have a daughter one day and I can give them to her. :)

Tracy said...

This is such a good post. I can testify that we do not have the same luxuries that many others have, and yet we are happy. Our children talk to us instead of walking around with an I-Pod stuck in their ear. We drive a car that is 10 years old. It squeals, but it gets us where we are going.

We use our public library ALOT! In fact, recently we went on a Friday evening to watch a movie that had been in the theatres around Christmas time. Admission was free. They even served popcorn and sodas. Free. One of Mac's friend's moms dropped him off to meet us. When he told her that we were watching the free movie, she commented that she guessed if you have four children you need to be frugal. I think Mac was slightly embarrassed by her comment, but I explained to him that everyone SHOULD be frugal, and he seemed fine. (BTW, his friend's dad is a dentist, and mom is a nurse!)

USAincognito said...

Growing up as a child, I was very poor. I remember my little sister and I playing with the tubberware and the cardboard box the fridge came in. I remember spending hours down at the river fishing with hotdogs to catch the catfish and northern pike (it is possible with hotdogs!) and bringing back the fish we would catch. I remember playing cowboys and indians with the neighbhorhood children. My little sister and I may not have had much growing up in way of possessions but we had a blast playing with whatever we could get our hands on! My mother was a stay at home mom - she could have worked and we could have had money, but we learned the value of hardwork and learned to enjoy the small things in life in the end.

My sister is now a stay at home mom. She doesn't have to work as her husband is very well off. And even though they have plenty of money to spend on whatever, she spends tons of time with her 2 children going here & there and letting them experience lots in life. She also spends time volunteering in the community and is actively involved in their church. My sister is able to travel with her husband all over the country when he flies to different places as part of his job. The children love these little mini-vacations! But thru this all, my 2 nieces are not spoiled. My sister and her husband raise their children to love God and appreciate all that they do have.

So whether you have no money or tons of money and are a stay at home mom, children can still grow up in a God-fearing home with values. :)

Anonymous said...

Anna S., I saw your comment on another blog on vegetarianism. I posted a comment there but in case you don't see it: here's a site on diet and health that I wish had been around before I had children.


MInTheGap said...

I'm late to the frugality bandwagon-- I know that my wife would be able to eliminate a whole lot more than I would.

That being said, there's definitely a benefit to living a simple, frugal lifestyle and always buying quality. If I had to do it over, that's the way I would go.

Anna S said...

Dear ladies, thank you SO much for your input! How I love it when you share your experience, it means so much to me to know I'm not actually living in some sort of crazy wild dream like people sometimes tell me :P

JoAnn said...

I think the biggest issue is the difference between want and need. There are so many things we want that we view as needs, but they really aren't needs. We've been on one income for 12 years, we don't own a house, we rent, and we took our first mini-vacation this past summer, and it's been great. We knew there were things we would have to give up to live on one income, and we've given them up gladly. The only time is not an 'easy' thing, is when we start to focus on what others have and think we need the same. But thankfully, once we get our eyes back on Jesus, and what He wants for us, we are just fine. :)

AnneK said...

I am with you on this. Although both my parents worked, we were never rich (money) when I was growing up. Now they are quite well off. When I recently mentioned to my friend that I have never had a single doll in my life, she was aghast. You know the truth is, I never missed it. I grew up with a LOT OF family around me (cousins) and what we lacked in material things, we made up in creativity. We went for lots of vacations though (my parents both got free travel as job perks) We did not have a TV until 20 years after my parents were married. Car we had even later. My parents still have the 13 yr old car. Looking back, I realize in spite of the lack of material things how rich I was in having a wonderful family. They taught simplicity by their lives. Today, when I am in a place where I can afford luxury vacations and sports cars, these lessons hold me in good stead. What is truly important in life? How am I making another's life better by my choices?

Kathleen said...

Anna, you are definitely not "living in a crazy wild dream"! My mom was a SAHM and I am so glad that she was. When I was about six she started working one day a week and I hated it--but it wasn't out of necessity as far as I know. Most of my friends in the homeschooling community also had stay-at-home moms, and one was a SAHM even though she was single: she did little bits of work on the side, and had the gov't income cheque, I think.
Anyway, there are lots of families who live on one income, and I think they're richer in the long run.

Sheri said...

Anna, what a great post!

I completely agree with you that living frugally on one income is possible as well as desperately needed in this "love of money culture." No, "things" aren't sin, but loving things is... I wouldn't trade family time or being a stay-at-home mommy for all the "extra things" in this entire world.

My hero and I have lived on one income almost entirely since we've been married. Occasionally I make extra money on books sales, etc. Learning to be good stewards of what we have, whether a lot or a little has helped us to grow closer to the Lord and closer to each other. Yes, wise budgeting and planning (and not living like "the Joneses") make one-income living possible, and even wonderful!

Michelle Potter said...

Don't forget -- it's actually cheaper to be a stay-at-home-mom than a single mom! SAHMs don't have to pay for childcare, work expenses, and all the eating out that people do when they don't have time to cook. I grew up with a single mother (no child support), and my kids have as much, if not more than I did -- even though I have six and my mom only had 3. My mom wasn't able to buy a house until I was a senior in high school (after she remarried), whereas we are in the process of buying one now (and my oldest is 9).

Also, being a SAHM rather than a working mom means you can afford to have more children. Feeding one more mouth really isn't that much more expensive -- it's paying for one more in daycare that kills you! How many two-income families could afford 6 children in daycare / after-school care?

Frankly, I don't really feel like I've given anything up to stay home. I'm doing better than when I was growing up, and at least as well as all my friends. I've gained financially, and emotionally. Then again, like someone already said, I don't actually know anyone with kids and two incomes to compare to.

Mrs. Brigham said...

I could not agree more!

My sister and I grew up with more "modest means" than many of our classmates and there were times that we felt "deprived", however, we had parents who loved us dearly, worked very hard to provide for us, and had jobs that always allowed them to be there for us. When we were young, we may not have realized the value of having one of our parents always with us on the weekends, after school, and home when we were sick, but as we have both become older, we are both extremely thankful for all the sacrifices and hard choices our parents made for us.

Living more frugally has many benefits for the children. I really do think a parent's frugality forces a child to become more creative, more please with simple things, and more able to think outside the box than if they had lots of toys, places to go, and expensive activities occupying their time. I cannot tell you how many fun afternoons we had reading together, building snow forts, raking leaves and jumping in them, doing crafts, and all sorts of other inexpensive activities.

Along with enhancing our creativity, our frugal upbringing also taught us the true value of money and a good work ethic. Both my sister and I had to babysit, shovel snow/rake leaves, do chores for allowance, and deliver papers with the help of our dad to purchase those "must have" extras for ourselves. I clearly remember one time when I worked for several months to buy myself a really nice jacket for the winter. Many of my classmates were given this jacket by their parents, but there was a distinct difference between our jackets. While they were fine throwing their coat on the floor, mine was always hanging up as I knew how hard I had worked to purchase it and wanted to take great care of it.

KTHunter said...

Hi Anna,

Your dream is certainly not crazy. (However, the fast pace that lots of people are trying to keep up with IS crazy.) Any family can live on one income if they are determined enough to do so, and it sounds like you are very determined and have a plan in mind.

My husband and I have thought about "frugality" a lot. We've pretty much come to the conclusion that even though we are comfortable, we don't have an excuse to be, well, unfrugal and wasteful. (Whether or not one believes in global warming, we think it's still better to just 'do the right thing' and not waste things like gas, even if we can afford what we need.) We are slowly whittling away those things that are wasteful from our lives. It is a chore sometimes, and it is something we have to tackle one item at a time, but I think it will be worth it in the end. Frugality is more than just doing without. It's also about not wasting the things that we've been given and about being good stewards of the world that God made for us. The more 'stuff' we get, the more we have to throw away and deal with in landfills, whether it's the packaging they come in or the things themselves when they wear out. There's a spiritual aspect to frugality that a lot of people are simply not aware of.

If you have a good imagination, you don't need a lot of 'stuff'. We had plenty of toys growing up, but there is one thing that stands out about what my mom did for us that was the least expensive thing she ever did. She bought this book called a 'Fun Pad'. Each page had a different picture to color or a puzzle to solve or a maze or something. She kept it in her closet. Instead of giving me the whole thing at once -- in which case I would have doodled around with it for a day and gone on to something else -- she ripped out one page a day and let me work on it. And that Fun Pad lasted a long time because she did it that way. I also got more enjoyment out of it. Frugality gave her (and me) a chance to be creative!

People are always looking at someone else like they have three heads if their lifestyle differs in any degree from their own. Try to not let it bother you too much. Most of the time, people are just looking to others to validate their own opinions, and they react that way when someone else's behavior makes them feel like their own choices are invalid. Your choices are your own, and you are doing what you feel is right. Hang in there.

Katy-Anne said...

Good post Anna. People say I am "wasting my skills and identity" by being a stay at home wife and soon to be mother. I think my skills are being put to their best minister to my husband and child. They are my ministry. Frugality is very important to us. We don't believe in birth control and so we know we could end up with our one child or many children or anything in between. People look at me like I have two heads because first of all, we home birth. It's not just because it's cheaper, but a whole host of other reasons. Frugality is part of it though. Then I will also be cloth diapering. I never realized there were so many lazy women out there who would think that I was the weird one by cloth diapering. I think they are weird spending all that money on throw away diapers every month when if they would do a little work they would save so much money and their child would be healthier too. We don't eat a whole lot of processed food either, things like that. I even made cloth baby wipes instead of the disposable ones. Stuff like that.

Laura H said...

From the time I remember, Mom always shopped at Goodwill or Thriftshops. There was never new clothes, and if there was new clothes, they would be homemade. Mom would buy a piece of cloth for each of us girls and sew us some new clothes, jumpers, dresses, and such! I never complained because I knew that Dad and Mom had the income for our family. Unlike my cousins, who got a new set of clothes, every season. They would get more then one! And soon, what three girls used to share one closet, one girl jams full of clothes,that they now hate to wear! Whenever I go to visit them, I borrow clothes from them, and they say, " I really don't like that one, but Mom won't let me get rid of it!" How sad!? I have a closet twice theirs, and I fill one fourth of it. What is wrong here?

I really think that being thrifty is best, when you have a limited amount of income, coming in. God gave us common sense, and we need to use it, to use His blessings and resources wisely!

Laura H.

Alexandra said...

Wonderful post...the greatest gift we can give our children is our time, attention and Christian guidance. You can't buy love and happiness.

Mrs.B said...

I don't have children but I was talking with a friend of mine who does and we were talking about the scorn that SAHM's receive (And I get even more being a SAHW--people really think I'm nuts! But that's another subject for another day.) Anyway--we came to the conclusion that a lot of women don't want to have to spend all day with their children. Why? Because it's HARD work and requires a denying of self.

When you've done your 5th pile of dishes and your 10th load of laundry after having stayed up all night cleaning up vomit coming from a sick child, no one is there to say 'Great job!' and give you a promotion.

When you work a job in the world you get paid money and this society values money very highly. You also get recognition. As wonderful as being a SAHW/SAHM is, it calls for a denial of self and a spirit of sacrifice. I just don't think many women wish to deny themselves, so they work jobs.

Something else I've seen from spending a few years working in daycares, some parents don't enjoy being around their children. Oh they love them but because they haven't taken the time to properly train them, they don't enjoy spending time with them.

Of course I'm not talking about the single moms who MUST work. I'm talking about the women who could stay home but don't because they wouldn't be 'as fulfilled'.

Because of Christ,

Anonymous said...

You will not be disappointed, Anna, by choosing to practice thrift & industry in your marriage. It is extremely disrespectful to the income-earner to spend wantonly, to look only at short term needs & wants, & whine over what "I don't have...". On the other hand, by being frugal, you will be showing N.P. your faith in him as provider for you & any children to come. He will see your wisdom & creativity with what he earns, & will trust you more in other areas. I think this is very important for a husband.

What a good post today. I always love reading about things like this!


Mrs.B said...

Anna, if you'd rather not post this comment, I'll understand.--It's completely up to you.


I also wanted to address this statement made by Katy-anne:

"Then I will also be cloth diapering. I never realized there were so many lazy women out there who would think that I was the weird one by cloth diapering."

I think it's WONDERFUL that you've chosen to use cloth diapers, but I think it is very uncharitable to brand women who don't as 'lazy'.

Because of Christ,

Devyn K. Smicik said...

I just wanted to leave a comment to let you know that, even though I only just found this blog today, and haven't had a chance to read it as much as I'd like, The bit I have read has really made me feel like I'm not crazy. Just mentioning to my parents and other family mambers that I'd rather be a full time homemaker when I'm ready to be married has caused them to make some comments that a 17 year old doesn't typically expect from her family members. Those who have always said "You can be anything you want to be" are now saying "You can't do that, are you crazy?" And finding just one other person who thinks like me is something I'm really thankful for. I hope to get a chance to read the rest of your blog.

"Count it all Joy!"


Anonymous said...

Everything you've said is so true. I am the youngest of 5-born 9 years after the youngest of the other 4. By the time I came along, my father owned his own business and it was thriving. My mother decided to go to work once I entered kindergarten. We vacationed and had many things that other families in our small town didn't have. My siblings were all a little jealous because I was provided with "things" they didn't have growing up. I would have gladly traded those things for siblings to play with and a mom who would have been home each afternoon when I got home. I hated going home to an empty house-I was only 6 and had to spend a couple of hours every day at home alone.
I've chosen differently for my family, but none of my siblings or my mother (my father died when I was 17) understand my choice. They all are professionals now and take several vacations a year to travel all over the world. My husband and I are happy with a camping trip once a year with our children. But I always tell them to not feel sorry for us-we are living the life we have chosen and we're happy with it. :-)
I could have finished my education and had a career as well, but I chose what I felt was the higher road and I am rewarded daily with appreciation from my family for all I do for them. I would never trade a fat paycheck for the chubby 3 year old face that sweetly tells me, "I wub you momma".
Living simply and frugally is a joy and I love to be creative within our budget.
Bless you Anna as you continue to serve your family.

Word Warrior said...

Very well said, Anna S.

It's funny how our culture gets things so backwards...(hmmm...perhaps because we know who the "prince of this world" is?)

It is my opinion that we do a severe injustice to our children when we even try to "keep up".

"Keeping up" means a less simple life, financially, physcially, emotionally, and spiritually. It means means segregated means ulcers and stress for parents, and an insatiable appetite for children. In essence, it means unhappiness.

How beautiful when children are content with simplicity...they don't know (unless they're in a peer group different from them) that they are missing anything, because realistically, they're gaining!

If we adults could see through the eyes of a child, we could relax a lot more about "things", and just enjoy life!

To me, frugal living is better living! I hope if we ever do have extra, we remain faithful to our simple lifestyle!

Meredith said...

Anna, I am blown away by this post! You have remarkable insight for such a young lady.

Besides, the creativity and challenge of frugal living are more fulfilling than shopping, anyway.

Wendy WaterBirde said...

Hi Anna,

Living on one income is what me and my finace will be doing too, absolutely. Simplicity is not a burden, its a gift : )



PaulaB52 said...

Anna, I'll say it again, you and NP are being so wise when you set financial goals NOW before you're married. You won't have to quit a job and get used to living on reduced income when you have a baby. You'll know how to budget and be frugal from the 1st day you are married, rather than have to learn it 19 years down the road.

Children that have too many toys act spoiled. My children have each a bike, a razor scooter (not motorized), a scoop net (think fishing), some legos, and acres of wooded area to play in. Oh, and tons of books, both at home and the library. That's it really. For Christmas, I'm going to give them each a beginner's archery set (to be used under supervision of course). I've come to the conclusion, kids who get the WOW gift at Christmas every year expect a bigger WOW each and every following year. My dh on the other hand is not convicned.

Good for you. You're definetly on the right track

Kelly said...

Great post again Anna. Interesting how frugality used to be considered a good trait. Everyone needed frugality to live. It was considered a wise way to live. Now somehow it's a bad trait. My how far we've come.
Living on one income is very possible. I am blessed that my husband makes a decent living but our house is modest compared to most of my friends. Only two bedrooms. (Oh my! How do I manage?) Compared to my friends who both work to afford a four bedroom two bath house. We've only got one bathroom too. (Oh no!) I'm being silly but it's a matter of deciding what is important to you and going with that. I'm sure that once my daughter gets to school I'll be saying "no" to lots of things but it's your attitude about it too.
My father lost his job when I was 12 years old and we lived on and off of welfare for years. The thing that made it worse was the attitude of my parents. Both of them went at it dwelling on what we didn't have instead of what we did. I've learned from their mistakes. I don't think to myself, gee I don't have a big house with four bedrooms. I think I am blessed to have a nice, comfy, pleasant, and wonderful home and family to live with.


Candy said...

What an awesome post! And awesome comments too! Im been so encouraged by it today and blessed by reading it all.

I am blessed and thankful to be a homemaker. And Im thankful too that its Biblical, because I just love doing this. I LOVE it.

This is a first....but last night, a lady asked me "Candy, do you work outside of the home too?" (I love how she aksed this by the way..because she was acknowleging that working inside the home is also work) When I answered 'no, I dont work outside of them" She immediately said "Good for you! Thats wonderful, you are blessed!"
I nearly fell off my chair :) Not very often do I hear that type of response. It was so encouraging.
Just thought Id share :)

Hugs to you. I think your a lovely, LOVELY young lady. I pray God gives you your hearts desire and continues to bless you. You are a special lady Miss Anna.

Candy :)

Anonymous said...

Anna, I agree. It is important to give children and family all the love, sofistication in things you do for them - even unexpensive meal can be served as in the best restaurant; even nicer (miracles you can do if you have only a little garden with vegetable and aromatic plants); handy woman can create wonderfull curtains, pillows, even toys (I did all pupet theatre - and I don't even know how to use sewing machine :D ) - which my son adores.

I think it is good to afford some luxury of popular items for the child (if he attends public school or so) just to help him has some help in dealing with abusive culture - but that doesn't have to to be expensive. A bag, or shirt, or toy will do.

Your dream, Anna, is great. I just have to be honest enough and tell you - don't, please, imagine, to peacefull and too easy and too calm family life. Children can do many things that will inevitably make you a little hm - out of balance. In example - if they don't sleep well (which can happen in some period for most of the kids) days can be very, very difficult. Even cooking can be haaaard... and quiet afternoons will come only when your kids are not little anymore...

But, Jesus will help. And Holly Spirit. Just don't dream too idilic so that you protect you from dissapointment.

Love from Croatia!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. I grew up with a frugal family and I never felt left out with the other kids. I had everything I needed and didn't need anything more.

By the way, I'm loving your blog!


Mimi said...

Anna you have made some very wise decisions.. it may be hard sometimes to stick with them... but if you depend on God to take care of you... you can certainly live on one Income...
The world today has become so accustomed to having what they want when they want it, that people have a tendency to think they cannot survive unless they have what their friend or neighbor has... but if you know anyone who lived through the depression.. they can tell you a thing or two about being frugal

RMC said...

It really is amazing what can be done on a single income, but we are brainwashed into believing that it's "impossible." My husband and I have been married 1.5 years, and we have lived on a single income the entire time... a minimum wage income. We have made things work.

Now that he's got a better job, we plan to have children soon. So we now live far below our means as a way to save money quickly. Frugality is just something we are used to now, and is also something we do for environmental reasons. Using a clothesline is both basically free AND environmentally friendly. Harvesting wild medicines is free AND better for the environment than using synthetic drugs.

It is just our way of life, and we have no doubt that we can support at least two children in our current situation. Breastfeeding, gardening, cloth diapers, cooking from scratch, etc, help reduce (or will, in the future) expenditures on "essentials." When we rent movies, we share them with our friends, who then share with us, so we may pay to rent one film for every 3 or 4 we watch. Almost all of our books (and they are many!) are secondhand. We often go on picnic "dates" instead of restaurants. On and on. Our household is so much richer in the ways that matter than the homes of my friends who have more "stuff."

You can stop almost anyone on the street and ask them what is more important: love, or a new car? Peace, or a tv? Family, or a raise? Almost everyone will answer love, peace, and family... but when they walk away they will walk right back into their life which so deeply denies what they have said.

Brenda said...

For my kids, less TV = more being content. More TV = less content. The more commericals they see...well you get the idea. Also, going to daycare or public school made my older daugther aware of things she wasn't even worried about before. This summer, she has been free to play with her little sister (how UNcool!) and do whatever she likes.

Jordin said...

Excellent post, Anna. Frugality certainly isn't a burden--and I definitely wouldn't call it miserable! Like you said, it's a challenge, and I think it's FUN, like a game. :)

When I think of my childhood, I don't immediately remember the fancy, expensive trips or the nice gifts. What I do remember is what my father named "Stuart's Famous Backyard." Actually, it was a huge mining pit about 200 yards behind our neighbor's house. :) My brother and I were fascinated by it--and had no idea it was an old mining pit. We thought it was cool! My dad gave it a name, and it became our favorite place to go. About two years ago, he told us that he didn't know what he'd do if it weren't for that pit. We were too poor then to afford anything else! Just spending time with our dad in such a "cool" place was more than enough for us.

You're absolutely right, Anna. Childhoods can't be measured with money! What a sick idea our society has formed. :(

Sharon @ New Urban Mom said...

What a joy it was to find your site! You have such composure and sharpness of vision...already! I believe I shared your vision as a young child right through my college years. But I was quickly swayed by "modern life" and didn't quite follow the path of homesteading.

I stayed home until my kids were around 2 and 4 and then I returned to work. There were so many "things" we needed! I think it takes great courage and sharpness of vision to make the changes and even sacrifices to stay the course and adopt a frugal a more simplistic lifestyle in order to stay home and dedicate your time, energy and joy to nourishing your families home life.

I wish you all the best Anna - and I'll be visiting again!

Jenn said...

Just wanted to leave you a little encouragement...because you have encouraged me. I have been in danger of losing my peace because God isn't moving quickly enough in my life. But reading your blog regularly has reminded me to keep blooming where I am planted...while I am on my way to where God leads. You do that beautifully. I pray you will find a wonderful husband and become the fantastic wife and mother you desire to be.


CappuccinoLife said...

Anna, lots of people will call you crazy, especially because you're young and not yet married. I felt the same as you about many things since I was about 15, and was constantly told "Oh, you'll change your tune when you start living a "real" life". Funny thing, real life (5 years married and three children and one income) simply served to validate my convictions.

Anna S said...

Wow, ladies! Thank you *all* for your amazing input. I wish time allowed me to answer each and every comment personally, but just wanted to let you know I read them all and deeply appreciate them. Thank you for coming and sharing your experience!

And, ladies, let us be nice and courteous to one another. Let us not judge others for choices they have made, which might be different from our own.

Bonnie said...

For half of my life it has just be my mum providing for five kids (working from home), and although we have to do without some things, there is nothing major that we 'miss'. We have food, clothing, music lessons/etc! We can't go on holidays every year, etc (not that we need to, but some people go four times a year! ^_^)

My siblings and I have never had TV, playstation/video games, and we don't play computer games. Imagine remember back to a childhood full of toys that broke the day after you bought them (what happend to wooden blocks, Lego, etc??!!), and just noisy things that really aren't all that fun...