Freedom to Be Home by Being Debt Free and Living Frugally
Many couples are in bondage to debt due to college, credit card, and home loans. Most are told that a couple needs two incomes to survive, therefore, a mother can’t possible be a keeper at home and have a large family. Here are two women who have proved otherwise! The first one is by Amy Dacyczyn who wrote the book The Tightwad Gazette which I highly recommend and the second one is by Tamara Linkowsky.
“The change occurred when I got married and began to pursue my dream. I had always wanted a large family and a rural pre-1900 New England farmhouse (with attached barn). I had a crazy notion that I could have both without the two-income/daycare frenzy that has become the norm for the modern American family.
“Our first child was born nine months (and 15 minutes) after the ceremony. I set aside my career in graphic design to be a mom. It was during this time that I discovered daytime talk shows and first heard the commonly held myths expounded by intelligent audience members.
‘Nowadays, a family has to have two incomes to make ends meet.’
‘Nowadays, it is impossible for a young couple to get into the housing market.’
‘Nowadays, families cannot afford to raise more than two children.’
“As if the message could magically be shot back through the television tube, I raised my fist and shouted, ‘It is not true, it can be done.’ And so began my quest…to prove that it could be done…that it was still possible to raise a large family and buy a house without two full-incomes.
“Saving money rather than earning money became the means to my goal…Over the years, our average income has been less than $30,000 (including my husband’s Navy salary and all allowances, plus my spotty free-lance income). In less than seven years, we saved $49,000, made significant purchases of $38,000, and were completely debt-free!”
Just a week or so ago, a 19 year old woman was killed in a car crash. She was one of ten children and comes from a God-fearing family. Many of you most likely have heard about this tragic story but also how this family is using it to bring glory to the Lord. I wanted to share what Corinn’s mother, Tamara, shared on Facebook the other day in hopes of encouraging some of you who don’t see a way for you to come home full but with God ALL things are possible.
“Dear Friends, God has put on my heart to share this with you. We have always told Genavieve [one of their daughters], ‘When God gives you a platform it is for His glory and His alone’…now it’s our turn. Regarding finances, we went from two incomes to one ($11,000 per month to $3,000 per month), from two kids to ten, from being over $200,000 in debt to being debt free, and today we give more than we gave when I was working. We prayed very specifically ‘Lord, if you get us out of debt we will give more to missions.’ That is exactly what happened. I am sharing this to say our lives don’t make any sense. From beginning to end, our story is a God story. It was hard, and we had to sell our house but we started with a 1,300 square foot house full of debt to living in a 5,200 square foot house today debt free which gives us the freedom to be more generous in our giving.
“Our bank account is not large by any means. We thought we were going to transfer Corinn to U of M and the hospital told us if that happened the expense would most likely be on us with a minimum of $17,000. This is when we opened the gofundme. The funds came in quick…real quick. I’m SOOOO thankful for the love people show us. When she was refused the transfer,we shut down the gofundme. People kept messaging us asking us to reopen it because they wanted to help and this was the only way they knew how. So we did.
“I am sharing this to say this. God does not want ANYONE giving by compulsion (2 Corinthians 9:7). God loves cheerful givers. There are going to be charity events because other people are asking us to do them. They want to do that for us but PLEASE do not by any means feel obligated to give. We still don’t know what our expenses are going to be and either way God is and will continue to take care of us just as He will show us the next step.
“If anything, if you have a bit of money please go to IBLP.org and buy the Jim Sammons Financial Freedom Seminar [which is far richer with scripture and biblical support than Dave Ramsey]. God will use it to teach you MUCH about marriage, family, and finances. It is a 16-hour seminar on DVD. This is what God used to get us out of debt. It is very different from Dave Ramsey. We had to make some very hard decisions and do some very hard things but God delivered us from debt. If there is anything Craig and I would like, it would be for you all to watch and live out these videos and then see the mighty hand of God upon your life as we have seen on ours.”
For with God nothing shall be impossible.
14 thoughts on “Freedom to Be Home by Being Debt Free and Living Frugally”
So many people make foolish choices with money, and an attitude of materialism that prevents moms from staying home. I agree that time spent with kids is priceless and matters so much more to the children than some fancy toy…
One problem is that kids are generally given little financial education, and so don’t have good information with which to make financial choices. Making and sticking to a budget is a vital skill. Understanding the differences between various types of bank accounts, retirement accounts, etc is necessary. Having a credit card can be good–as long as you pay off your balance every month. Getting into the habit of “save some, spend some, give some” can help set kids up for success.
Honestly, and millennials sometimes don’t want to hear it, but you have to move out of the city to live on one income. Yes, you may have a longer commute from work, or will have to switch to a smaller company, but the cost of housing goes WAY down. If you choose to home school or send to Christian school, you will not have to worry about living in the town with the best school district, and that will lower your taxes.
I also encourage young ladies to work (either by going to college debt-free and getting a job, or by starting a home business, getting an hourly job, or babysitting, etc.) before they are married. Stay at home daughters are sometimes necessary depending on the number of siblings, I understand.
I worked as a teacher in a Christian school before my husband and I were married. I had no college debt and had a chunk of savings to bring to our marriage to dedicate to a down payment on a home (in the suburbs, for so much cheaper!!) and then his income pays the mortgage and all we need. I always suggest looking for a home with a basement, as you can easily add more space to your home at a low-cost.
We did not have to sacrifice even as much as the tightwad gazette recommends. For example, we have never had to skip or finagle dental procedures.
I am blessed that my husband makes more than the story in Lori’s post, but it is still a below 100k salary, which in today’s world, can seem low to raise a family.
Yes to Jim Sammons Financial seminar! You can watch the first one free on the IBLP website. We first watched it 6 years ago and it was pivotal. Even though the seminar was recorded in the 1980s (I think?) it is fantastic. It looks like it would be boring too but he is NOT. My husband and I were both hooked after the first one. I actually went ahead and bought the DVD set on eBay because I knew I wanted to share it and especially for my kids. (I like Dave Ramsey too but Jim’s seminar is in a much higher category).
As I said, it has been pivotal in our lives. God has provided more than we could imagine. So many Christians feel they need to live like the world with two incomes, mortgages, etc. because they cannot imagine God actually paying for what He orders. But the cattle on a thousand hills are God’s and God does provide money for the life choices He asks us to make. He has super naturally provided for us. Our financial choices for us to be a single income family (making under the average income of our area) when we had 6 figure debt makes no sense to the world (or Christians who don’t believe God). But after learning and living by God’s principles, in a short time we are out of all consumer debt (never to return thanks to Jim’s teachings) and my student loans are paid off.
Once your eyes are opened to God’s provisions it is amazing the miracles you see in all the ways He provides. It becomes like scales falling from your eyes and the lies the world tells you about money and choices become revealed and odious.
I’m a student of Amy D., Tracey McBride (Frugal Luxuries), & later, Dave Ramsey. I learned so much from these three. I made it a challenge instead of a sentence to poverty, sort of like Amy D. did. I figure that if I could’ve done it in the very expensive city of L.A., it was possible pretty much anywhere. We never had children, but I was already at home in hopes that the work stress would be removed. We’ve never looked back and that was 25 yrs. ago. I still read the books once a year and listen to all the Ramsey CDs. They’re refresher courses to keep us on the straight and narrow. I often joke that “our income is so low that we’re one child short of qualifying for food stamps”. It always has been & we’ve had no inheritances. We do it because it has improved our lives 100%. I shudder to think back to the dual jobs. And there isn’t enough shudder in my body to imagine doing it with a couple of kids!!
I met several tightwad soulmates along the way. One worked very part time, but it was retail and she was on her feet. I saw her one day outside a Foster’s Freeze. I asked what she was doing. She said, “I’m hungry. I want a hot dog and small fries, but I’m calculating how many minutes I have to stand up at my job to pay for it.”
“And?” I asked.
“It’s not worth it. I’m cutting my errands short and going home to eat leftover pasta salad from dinner last night.”
I loved that! At the time, that hot dog and fries couldn’t have even cost $2.50, but she thought about it rather than just give in. How many times have working moms hit the drive thru’ for dinner because “it’s only $10 if we eat off the dollar menu.”
I watched my parents both work & our family fall apart. All that extra money went to pay for drug rehab, alcohol, marriage counseling, kid counseling, & eventually a divorce lawyer.
I highly recommend The Tightwad Gazette series for tips on frugal living. I am sure they can be found in most libraries or can be purchased used from Amazon. While some information may be somewhat outdated, the basic concepts are absolutely relevant today. Thanks for the post, Lori!
Debt is bondage. 100% agree. I am thankful for payment plans that hospitals offer though. There were a couple of emergency surgeries in the last 5 years that we just couldn’t swing. Finally got them paid off and wow! Freedom from that burden. Undescribable feeling.
The Millionaire Next Door. It should be required reading for all middle-school aged children.
It is an a-religious book that describes:
* Men who work hard and put in a lifetime of consistency at work. (Prov 10:4)
* Women who tend to the family, and make each dollar stretch. (Prov 31:27)
* The end result is financial independence of the family by age ~50. (Prov 13:11)
* The result of these coordinated efforts efforts are greater than the sum of the individual parts. (Ecc 4:9-11)
God’s design is best. When we follow His plans for our lives, rather than inserting our own lies, we will know earthly blessings in addition to the blessing of salvation that awaits us at life’s end.
Here is a link to a plethora of books on how to be more frugal:
I’m also a fan of Danny Seo. He is a big proponent of sustainability, re-purposing old items, inexpensive ways to spruce up your home or wardrobe, great cooking, baking and crafting tips. I love his magazine and I try to never miss his TV show Naturally, Danny Seo. Plus, he’s so cute and charming!
We are extremely lucky in Australia that we don’t need to pay for hospital admissions, surgeries, MRIs etc. I still have to scrimp to pay for glasses, though. My husband only earns around $AU 40k a year. I get a carers allowance. It is very hard! Debt free? Very soon thankfully. Living frugally? Always!
I’ll say this-the Tightwad Gazette is very old and outdated info. It gives information like, for instance, how to save on stamps. Not helpful for this day and age.
But, I do think you give good advice, Lori! With finances, I really find your info useful.
I have to take exception with the idea that “cooking from scratch” saves so much money. It really doesn’t. Buying all the ingredients and cooking a meal is oftentimes way more expensive than just buying it pre-made. Other than that, I agree!
I beg to differ, Paula.
When you buy simple ingredients in bulk (which is the way to feed a large family anyways) and plan your meals, the cost is much lower, naturally. Also, you need to factor in the health benefits from cooking wholesome, healthy meals. That in itself far outweighs any cost.