A friend asked me to share what economic, practical thoughts I have on how we make it as a single-income family. First off, I have to acknowledge: we’re well-blessed, and I “get it” that not everyone has all the tools in their basket that we do. That said, other people do have tools in their baskets that we don’t. In a nutshell, we have to find thankfulness for what already exists, rather expending time, energy, money, and frustration on pining after what isn’t. In a world where instant gratification and marketing and sales and “shoulds” and “obligations” are often hailed as gods above real needs, real relationships, and multi-generational investments, finding thankfulness for what already exists is not always the easiest path. We don’t walk it perfectly, but we do walk it, learning along the way.
In no particular order, some things that make our world function on one income:
1. Home Hair Cuts: I do all of them, including my own, and I get compliments on them! If you’re not brave enough to try it right off, practice on a doll, and barter with someone who’s done it before ’till you’re feelin’ ‘yer oats 😉
2. Drying Line: Cuts down on the power bill. Wood heat in the winter helps w/ this, as it serves dual purpose: re-humidifies the air a bit, and you’re not paying for the heat twice.
3. Bicycles: We have an update post here on the “family car.” Between insurance and gas and overall health improvements, it’s been an awesome gift in our world. Not an easy one to initially imagine, considering I was pretty arthritic when we first gave up the car, but no regrets 🙂
4. Giving: Ancient Hebrew Pictograph of the word give here. What goes around comes around. Find someone in worse shape than you are (it’s usually not as difficult as it sounds), and do something about it that you *can do.
5. Become Debt-Free: Ancient Proverb says, “The borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” Find a way out of your slavery.
6. Family Relationships: It’s a team effort. We all have to understand that we’re working toward something bigger and more important than money. We have to find the place where we want to build each other and our home into a healthy, peaceful place more than we want the next trinket.
7. Grow Something To Eat: The closer we get to dirt, the more “grounded” we can be, not only emotionally and physically, but also financially. Our health is one of the most expensive things to lose, and one of the fastest ways to improve it is through organic gardening. Chickens are good, too. Check with local restrictions, though. Some cities will allow hens but not roosters, and there may be a restriction per square foot of land area.
8. Tiny House: More land; Less House; Less Stuff. Find the minimum quantity of “stuff” you need to be happy, and do the house size that just barely fits. Land gives food. House & stuff just drain the budget. Shelving, bunk beds, and Straw-stuffed (make sure it’s clean & dry) mattresses have been a great help for us in making a small house work.
9. Natural / Alternative Medicine: There’s a learning curve to it, and the first few years, we did use modern medicine for a bit. It didn’t work for us, so I studied on my own, and listened to the health-nutty guru’s that had conquered this, that, and the other thing. At this point, our world doesn’t revolve around gas money to get to the doctor’s office. The doctor can’t research as quickly or as effectively or as intimately as I can, here, from home, on my computer. Outside of dismemberment, I haven’t found any use for modern medicine: I can do better for my own family. They’re just people with fancy papers who have been through a system that’s run by money. I’m not. I’m just as smart as they are, but less brainwashed, and better-motivated. All of that said, check out the disclaimer below 😉
10. Growing Herbs: Seasonings and Medicines and a lot of herbs that double as both. A gold mine!
11. Convection Oven: In the absence of a very efficient wood stove (will post on Hubby’s invention / modification later) that runs on twigs, rather than logs, a convection oven uses a lot less energy (money) than the regular sort. Our counter-top version was a second-hand purchase, and has been great!
12. Craigslist: That second-hand thing. The world gets a lot less trashed with re-using what someone else figured out they didn’t need. Meanwhile, I pay less than half what everyone else did for theirs, originally.
13. Build Something: Hubby’s built a business that will, hopefully, sell for enough to pay for the materials for us to build a place where we won’t have to pay rent anymore! Meanwhile, he’s built a sauna for me (LOVING MY MAN!!!), and a shed to sell or maybe trade for the vehicle to move us to our new place to build 😀
14. DIY: Look up whatever it is you find you need, and build it, make it, cook it, brew it, medicate it, repair it. Whatever it is, chances are, it’s just not that complicated… unless it’s a computer… and you’re like me about computers. Still working on conquering that “giant” in my world. LOL!
15. Writing? I’m writing a book… hoping it sells a billion or two copies, and we can retire, fat-and-happy! LOL!
Love to all of you, who are working to do the single-income thing! It’s been well-worth-it for us: our babies know who we are, and we know them. We’re building our home together, one life lesson at a time.
I’m no doc, and don’t pretend to be one. I am therefore not legally licensed to diagnose, cure, treat, prevent, or otherwise mitigate any disease, and neither is the stuff I generally choose for healing… but then, I’ve not been educated / indoctrinated by boards with big pharma reps on them, either so do your own research and find what works for you