Today I'll answer the next question that was asked of me in the "Just Ask" post. "What do you do to make it on one income?"
There are two parts to solving this riddle for your family: spend less money and/or make more money.
Let's start with spending less. To be totally honest it's hard most of the time. But we've made the decision that our family is more important than lots of the material things that the average American family expects. So we drive older cars (and have no car payments), we don't have cable TV, I cut all the boys' hair, etc.. In general terms we strive to owe no one anything as much as possible.
Specifically, I make a lot of use of coupons. I plan our menu for the week based on what's on sale and what we have coupons for - preferably both at the same time! We buy clothes the same way: Goodwill, or Kohl's when they have sales and I have a percent off coupon.
On the other side of the equation, my husband strives to make money whenever and however he can.
He works full time as a teacher, part time as a pastor (teaching, writing curriculum, etc.), one day a week at an outdoor power equipment store, and any other spare time (usually in the summer) doing carpentry work. He often says he'll do just about anything (legal!) if the pay is reasonable.
For us, it's far more about saving money/spending less than it is making more - we're not exactly bringing in a huge income. But we make it work. My husband says the biggest single thing is not owing lots of people for lots of things: it's amazing what not having a car payment (for example) can do to your monthly budget. That means, of course, that our cars need worked on more often. That brings us to another point: do for yourself.
It's amazing what you can learn on the internet. We've not had a "professional" out to fix anything at our house in a long time. **Edit (12/16): Of course today we just had a septic company come clean out the septic tank. (Go figure!)** Sure, there will always be some things you can't figure out, but you can save yourself a lot of money with a determination to call in the experts only when you really need them. My husband does almost all the work on our cars, plumbing, electrical, framing, landscaping, etc... I and the girls sew a lot, repairing clothes others might throw out. By cooking from scratch, we not only eat better and healthier, but it's also a lot cheaper than buying a whole refrigerator full of frozen/preserved foods.
I also strive to earn a bit of income from this blog. People clicking on links and making purchases at Amazon, BigOven (recipe program), Motivated Moms (a cleaning/organization schedule for your home), and Tell Your Time (a life organization system) all help out a little bit at a time. I have items for sale on Old House Mercantile. I also have some exciting things planned for Old House Mercantile and Old House Kitchen in new year, too!
Above all these ideas is our commitment to keep God and family first (in that order), with the "stuff" of life much further down the list. I'm not sure that I can scientifically explain it, but somehow God honors that decision. He's never let us down. We strive to make wise decisions and trust the details to Him.
*Tomorrow* A cinnamon roll recipe that will knock your socks off!