Surviving on One Income – How we do it:
When we decided that I was going to be a full-time mother, we knew what that meant: I would have to stay home. Meaning we would have to survive on one income.
This post is to inspire those who would like to survive on one income. And not just to survive, but to live a happy, content and fulfilled life!
First of all, it is not about how much money you make in life, it is about how much you SAVE…
Sort out your food
We have to eat. It is one of the few things we really have to do…
Therefore we first of all started with a vegetable garden. I consider this the easiest component of living off one income to begin with. AND YOU DON’T NEED A BIG GARDEN! Only what your family need to eat which is quite less than you imagine. You can also dry your own herbs from your vegetable garden. But of course having a vegetable garden is not enough, unless you are a vegetarian. Which we are not. I don’t think we will ever be…
We soon realized our biggest expenses on our grocery list for our family of five were the following:
We like a diet high in protein…? Which brings me to the next step:
- We keep chickens for eggs and chicken meat.
- Furthermore we bought Saanen milk goats for milk, cream, butter and cheese. We also intend to butcher the kapaters. (Starting this winter 2017). Then we will have a variety of white and red meat.
- Furthermore we also keep bees for honey and for beeswax that can be used in balms and soap etc. And lately sugar has also become quite expensive. Honey can be used to replace sugar.
I feel the above covers all our needs concerning food. You have to ask yourself, do you live to eat or eat to live…
- Because I stay at home, I don’t need to spend a lot of money on expensive office attire.
- I save on make-up expenses. (The goats prefer a more “natural look” ? so do I.)
- There is no need for expensive jewelry. (You don’t need a Rolex to tell you the time on a homestead ?)
- We save on petrol because I don’t need to drive 35 km to the nearest town to get to work. And then drive 35 km to get back home again. According to the latest AA-tariffs of anything from R3,50 to R4 per kilometer that would cost me anything from R4 900 to R5 600 per month… That is just transport.
- Because we home school our children, they don’t need to get on a bus to go to school. Once again this saves money on transport.
- We don’t have to buy school attire.
- Textbooks that Mariesa uses can also be used for her younger siblings.
- Nothing my children use at home for school gets lost or stolen.
You have to sit down and work out for yourself if it is really worthwhile for a married women with children to work. Be honest. After paying for kindergarten, school, office attire, make-up, jewelry, transport, etc. is what is left of your salary (if any) really worth it? Can that what is left of your salary not rather be made from home?
Switch to Solar Energy
I don’t believe it would have been possible for us to survive off one income if we hadn’t switched to solar energy. Not at the rate Eskom tariffs increases. I will explain our solar system in a later post. Once again the key here is to do it step-by-step as you can afford it and not all at once.
Draw up a budget and keep to it!
This is the tricky part and probably the biggest challenge of all. My husband is the minister of finance in our household and see to this step. What I have to mention is that we do all our work ourselves. Let the maid and gardener go and get involved as a family in cleaning up after yourselves and maintaining the garden. This can be a fun challenge…believe it or not, and even teach your children some responsibility in life. Plus you are saving money.
Stop spending money you don’t have. In other words, cut up all your credit cards and clothing account cards and start paying them off. And don’t EVER open them again! You’ll be doing yourself a favor, trust me. We have been there, done it, got the t-shirts, and it is not really that fun or worth it to have debt. Just think for yourself what you could have done with the money you need to pay on installments this month. And what is even more scary is when you start adding up all those installments… You might have been able to paint your house instead or fix your car AND PAY CASH FOR IT! It is quite liberating when you start being in control of your finances and being able to pay cash.
Furthermore, stop buying rubbish that you do not need and cannot afford anyway.
The Bible says in Luke 3:14 “…be content with your wages.” which brings me to the following point:
My father always says: If you cannot sit in a sink shack on a paraffin canister and be happy, then you will never be happy!
It is all about contentment. Learning to be happy with what you’ve got and making the most of it. Forget about keeping up with the Joneses. It is not going to make you happy. Nor do I believe it is in your family’s best interest.
To recap on what we did:
- Sort out your food
- Home school
- Switch to Solar Energy
- Draw up a budget and keep to it!
- Learn to be Content
Of course all of the above did not happen overnight. It takes time and discipline. You might have to take small steps one at a time. Starting with the vegetable garden. Not everything you try will succeed. You might have to try different gardening methods and one mistake we used to make is that we always planted too much… more than we could eat. Luckily all the extras go to the chickens and goats.
Taking your time also gives you time to adjust to your new lifestyle. It might be difficult for some women who were used to earning their own money, to suddenly be dependent on their husbands and it might be difficult at first for some women to adjust to a life of staying home-alone with the kids. You will need to find ways to “entertain” yourself that is still cost effective. I have many hobbies including making soap from goat’s milk and if you can find a way to earn an income from home by selling some crafts or extra produce, that is a bonus!
What is important is that you are working towards a goal to be more self sufficient and to survive on one income. There is just so much to gain from living a more simpler life with a mother at home raising her own kids. I can go on and on about this for hours… Maybe in a later post. ?
Good luck to all of you out there who is going to make it their goal and mission to survive on one income. Always know you are not alone, and there are those who have walked the path before you.
I would like to hear from other people who are also living off one income in the comments below and any tips you would like to share are always welcome!