I have been a stay at home mom for seven years. During this seven years we have had many ups and downs. Lean times and times of plenty. How have we made it work when so many others have had to give up and go back to work?
Not long ago somebody told me that it must be nice to be able to afford to stay home. I wanted to say... You could do this too! Have a garden, make all your meals from scratch, buy all your clothes from yard sales, don't eat out, don't waste money on entertainment, etc. I didn't say that however because to her it was to radical! They didn't think they could live on less than $30,000 a year. We have never even made $30,000 a year since I have been home and we have five children, they only had one.
Making a choice to purposefully live below the poverty line isn't a choice many are willing to make. We have chosen this lifestyle and God has blessed it. Here are some things we have done to make our money s-t-r-e-t-c-h,
When we were "poorest" we didn't have Internet, cable, or cell phones. We also didn't buy clothes. We each had a couple "go to town" outfits and the rest were only worn at home to make the nice clothes last. I only hung our clothes out to dry. We did not eat out at all. We also didn't use our air conditioning so I would bake and clean in the morning and then we went outside if it was warm.
We have always been a one car family. NO, it isn't easy. We had to pass up many fun activities but it kept me from spending money just because I needed a pick me up. We also didn't have a entertainment budget. On payday we would go to the local ice cream place and get cones for under $5 and that was it. We used the library for videos and books.
I bought our toys at yard sales. Home school curriculum was only a phonics book and nature walks. Our children didn't get allowances, we couldn't afford it ( they all currently get $.25 a week and think they are rich! My oldest is ten... and it still works!) We have a yearly yard sale to buy extras for our school or fun books. We still buy 99% of stuff we want from yard sales or Goodwill.
I believe that God will bless your efforts in raising your children. It won't be easy. My husband has had many layoffs and injures that cost us months without any income but we have always stayed true to our calling. There will be times you want to quit. It is so worth it my friend. I wouldn't trade my time with my children for anything in the world.
When you feel like giving up or you're wondering what on earth you're doing God will reassure you. Just the other day it was one of those days, (you know the ones when you're wondering who are these kids and why are they calling me mom?) when my son says to me..." When Madison has kids they're going to think they're so lucky because she's going to be a great mom." It is worth whatever you have to give up to have those moments.