She Stretches Her Husband’s Hard Earned Income

She Stretches Her Husband’s Hard Earned Income

She is an amazing woman who made an incredibly long comment on my post Making It On One Income. (You might want to go read it along with all the other wonderful comments!) She does everything she can to live within her husband’s income even if it means sacrificing some of the pleasures in life. Most women today simply put things on their credit card, thus digging their family deeper and deeper into debt. This is NOT a good way to live. Stuff will never bring happiness and debt makes us a slave. Why not learn from this very thrifty woman! Here, in her words, is how she does it.

We breastfeed, use cloth diapers, napkins, mama cloth, family cloth, line dry, solar cook,  and burn wood for heat that we harvest ourselves. We cook on the wood stove, buy all clothes that we NEED second hand (except socks and underwear). We pick as many wild blackberries as we can during the summer and freeze them.

I make my own cleaning products, personal care products, and most condiments. I would also add that we have a child with multiple severe food allergies, and I do buy our staple foods in organic versions and make all my own baked goods, treats, etc. from healthier ingredients.

We have SLOW Internet, no cable. No smart phones. No fancy gadgets. We do have newer vehicles, one that we are still paying on, and my hubby just bought a motorcycle for its fuel efficiency and his commute. We have a small backyard flock of chickens for egg and for meat.

We use natural lighting and open the windows when it gets hot. We don’t turn the air conditioning on until it gets to 85 degrees. We unplug all of our electronics when not in use, except for the fridge, upright freezer, alarm clock, and the electricity that runs our well pump. My kids don’t do organized sports. If they get a gift that they really don’t like, we store it to re-gift to a friend. We don’t do big birthday parties; just milestone birthdays. We limit their Christmas gifts to five things; a want, a need, a wear, a book, and a new Christmas ornament.

Vacations consist of visiting family in another state. We limit driving. We limit eating out, or impulse shopping. We stick to the grocery list. If the kids don’t leave the house or play outside, they don’t take baths. When they do bathe, they share bathwater. I clean the shower with baking soda when I take my shower. We ask for new shoes from grandparents at birthdays and Christmas.

We got rid of all of our carpeting so I could just sweep the floor and not have to use electricity to vacuum. We hardly ever, ever go to the movies, and if we do it’s the second run theater. We don’t have expensive hobbies or participate in expensive activities. I sell things we no longer need on eBay. I could go on and on. I’m always looking for ways not necessarily to SAVE money, but to stretch my husband’s hard earned income more.

Moreover it is required in stewards,
that a man be found faithful.
I Corinthians 4:2

24 thoughts on “She Stretches Her Husband’s Hard Earned Income

  1. My nonagenarian mother, who was a child during the Great Depression, is familiar with all of these practices. These are going to come back in fashion again, out of necessity and VERY SOON, due to the economic Armageddon headed our way that will force people to do much more with much less. It will be interesting to see if the post-World War II generations, among whom few have ever had to live austere lifestyles, will rise to the occasion.

  2. You know what’s disturbing…

    What’s she’s talking about is pretty much how everyone I know live…minus chickens and such because not everyone has a house with land.

    It’s actually nothing special. It SOUNDS special, but it’s nothing special.

    – I don’t have a car.
    – We don’t go to the movies.
    – We NEVER eat out.
    – I buy clothes on
    – We do take vacations, but are lucky to live in an area with SUPER cheap flight deals to nice areas (100 dollars round trip…epic) but I never book a room more than $100 a night. We are geographically very lucky, we are a bit of an outlier on this regard. And we only go twice a year for just a few days.
    – Who doesn’t shop at the Red Cross?
    – I’m building my own headboard from wood given to my husband from a friend…and if it goes well…I will build a dining table
    – My big decorating cost is buying Cheap Flowers from the Supermarket when they go on sale…it’s my weekly Flower Hunt but it makes SUCH a big difference in a house when you can’t buy new furniture…I can get bunches of roses for a $1 on successful hunts
    – Just this weekend we got a ton of decorative items from a friend when their mother moved into a nursing home (that’s sad for her…but I mean…nothing of hers was thrown away…if they want anything back they know where it all is!)
    -When I go out with friends…I order only coffee…or if I’m forced to go to a bar, I can nurse 1 drink for HOURS

    This is very bad to say…but if you see me wearing something Expensive in Instagram…I can guarantee you look at the background…probably indoors or right outside my house. I probably wore it for 5 seconds and then returned it. I do that to ‘Fight the Crave’ for new things. Maybe not a nice thing to do…but it’s not nice to bombard us with Ads every five seconds either.

    – I have a small extra side job

    Most people live like this. My parents are the same way.

    The only things I do spend money on are…
    1) Necessary Skincare…I was very bad yesterday but I bought an expensive MEDICAL skin cream the other day because of the Coronavirus lock down and I have excema pretty bad on my arm
    2) Vitamins…Christmas Gifts tend to be Vitamins…it’s sad looking under the tree but yeah…vitamins
    3) Exercise–No I’m not a gym bunny, but I did just join a 3 month program which was ironically cancelled..BUT…it was really great for the few days It lasted before the coronavirus cancellation and I was feeling way better about myself.

    I get my hair cut once or twice a year.

    I think most people are living on pretty tight budgets now so none of this is special.

    And after all of the above…I STILL get in trouble for spending too much money.

  3. What if the husband refuses to work hard or hardly now and no income is coming through?? Bills are lacking, utilities are being shut off etc.?? Stay at home mom now pregnant with twins…

  4. Yes, where there is a will, there’s a way, mentality. It’s all about attitude.

    Our priority is my remaining at home, and all of our financial decisions are geared toward that end.

    My friends’ children are all learning how to drive, and lament the expense of another car and insurance. They are shocked we aren’t going that route, too. But we know our priorities.

  5. That has been one of my most favourite comments on you’re blog! I still can’t get my head around ‘family cloth’. ? My husband likes his toilet paper. ? However it’s something I can definitely learn from. Does she still comment on you’re blog?

  6. Contrary to one comment I read, I believe this lifestyle IS exceptional, rare and very special. Perhaps in certain parts of the country or within some conservative church circles it’s not. I guarantee you, this is not the norm where I live. And its certainly not the norm with today’s liberal minded woman. I can just see some of my former coworker’s heads spinning at the very idea of some of these. No wifi, whaaa?! When a woman is preoccupied with self and career she’s often looking for ways to splurge during her free time. Afterall, she deserves it right? This WAS me a few years ago. Picking berries and slaughtering my own chickens would’ve ruined my gel manicure.

    Yes, most people want to save money. But few people will go to these lengths to do it. I only recently began exploring options like these since deciding to stay home. These are golden, and this woman sounds amazing!

    So I’m wondering, how many chickens do I need for a family of 10? After all this crazy going on, being unable to find essentials at the store. I see how good it would be to not have to depend on a store for everything.

  7. I love tips like this!
    This is how we live (except we use toilet paper).
    Our cars are old. We have fast internet, because we need internet and fast internet is the only option available to us, but we are on the cheapest plan there is.
    I make sourdough bread – it’s actually cheaper to buy bread, but the cheap bread is full of additives and doesn’t fill my children up.
    My oldest son works on a dairy farm so is able to bring us home milk, so I separate the cream to make butter.
    We are not able to keep chickens on our small town section but we do have a big vegetable garden (unfortunately under snow in winter) and fruit trees.
    Our fire heats our house and our hot water. In the summer our laundry is hung outside to dry. In winter it is dried on a rack suspended from the ceiling using a pulley system.
    We don’t have any air conditioning but in the summer when it gets hot we have a couple of fans we run. But it’s cold here, we only need to use fans for about 2 weeks of the year.
    We do have an electric kettle but in the winter I keep a whistling camp kettle on the fire to make hot drinks.
    Most years charities offer free “seconds” fruit – blemished, but fine for bottling and making sauce. I enjoy experimenting with different recipes.
    Stretching out money is something I enjoy and I’m always looking for new things to try.

  8. i stay home with my baby
    i do all the finances
    hand me downs
    generic items
    all the same, at lease i have heat, water, food and a house in great shape compared to how i grew up without water, and heat and trailer falling apart

    a lot of us younger girls stay home, but we are not recognized for it, we are still grouped in the “bad women” group.

    poor hubbs works outside in ALL weather conditions and terrible abuse to his body

    ps. men are also very very very horrible with credit cards, just saying, its not just women

  9. My husband is the same! It took him a long time to adjust to “mama cloth” for myself and two teenage daughters. He has put his foot down completely with reusable toilet paper!

    Although, with the way crazy people are currently stocking up on toilet paper with coronavirus he might not have a choice.

  10. In the last few years that I had my period, I used the mama cloth and loved it since it was so much more comfortable! I wish I had known about it years earlier.

  11. This is all well and good, but my husband doesn’t like to live cheap, so even though I like to be thrifty, he does all!!

  12. Really, how sanitary can either be even if they’re washed/sanitized?! I’m sorry, but that is one area (no pun intended) I don’t think should be skimped upon.

  13. My in-laws have chickens and several other people I know and I know from experience you don’t actually save money by having chickens. By the time you pay for doing all that’s needed to care for them and to keep them healthy you break even. Breaking even is not bad when you think about not having to depend on going to the store to get eggs but remember having chickens won’t make you rich or even save you money. Many have the misconception that it saves money but those who have chickens know it does not. Not trying to discourage you from getting them, just know that at best you will break even. If you are just desiring security of having a good source of food in your back yard, knowing you make no money or save money then go for it. It’s worth it for that security!

  14. Yes, I’m familiar with cloth diapers, I’m 50, I’m sure they were on my bottom; however, I think there is a difference between baby/toddler waste and adult’s. Fecal matter is not the only thing that carries pathogens, so does urine and, as a wife, mother, and accountant, I understand stretching ones income; but, I don’t think some areas should be skimped upon and THAT is one of them, especially the family cloth. Cloth diapers have been around for years and years, and I’m guessing some sort of family cloth has also, but just because it was “good enough for our ancestors” doesn’t necessarily mean we need continue the practice. I understand that some kids are allergic/sensitive to store bought diapers, I can see why parents would use them-I know families that did-but they accelerated the potty training process up. This is just my opinion, I would neither encourage or nor discourage anyone from doing what they feel is right for their family.

  15. I can’t speak for family cloth as we don’t use it, but mama cloth is great! They’re rinsed thoroughly, washed in the machine and hung out in the sun to dry. The sun is disinfecting. They don’t need to be sterile, we’re not using them to dry dishes or anything like that! Disposable ones aren’t sterile either. But if you were worried, bleach would kill everything.

  16. Ways I stretch my husband’s hard earned income:
    I buy good quality clothes and shoes(no “trendy styles” that are out of style next season) just classic style that’s good quality, because they will hold up for years. I have clothes and shoes that I have worn for ten years and they look just as good and stylish as the day I bought them. Better to buy quality than cheap that has to be replaced more often.
    I don’t attempt to have my own home business, like all the other homemakers do these days(i.e. Blogs, back yard chickens ect.) because in the long run these things can pull from his income to finance such ventures.

  17. Yes, yes, and yes! I love this woman!
    I have told my kids it is a woman’s duty to help the household financially as well…by doing this!
    By saving and being a good steward of the resources the husband brings home. I know so many couples who struggle financially, only to find out they make far more than my family. And then you get invited to a b-day party and see a $200 cake.
    My husband had the gift of giving and during a time we were struggling twice he tried to give away our car to someone who was “struggling financially.” Both these men had asked prayer bc they had need of a car and couldn’t afford one. Both times he was asked the make and model, and then told no thank you. About three years later we received bags of clothes from one of the families that was struggling. There were multiple items of toddler girls clothing unworn with price tags still attached. These clothes had come from the nicest stores in town and many had price tags on them for close to a hundred dollars for one clothing item, and that for a toddler. I thought back to them struggling financially and was deeply saddened at the reason.
    Yes, women, help financially, by learning how to stretch a dollar! And also, by learning to be content with meager things!

  18. Yes. I agree. Austere economic times are here. We will be reverting to frugality and simple living. Trust in God!

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