This is the beginning of a series of posts on how to live on one income.
I am writing these posts to help families figure out how to have one of the parents stay at home and raise the children and run the home. I realize that this viewpoint has become unpopular in recent times, but in fact, many of the problems of our society (increased drug use, lowered literacy rates, increased crime, lowering moral standards, and yes, even increased debt) could and can be improved by having someone who is "at home."
"But Bobbi, how can this be so? How can it be true that you can lower your debt by having one person stop working? That's impossible!"
Sorry to inform you of this fact, but the awful truth is that if you have a business that has a top executive post vacant and unmanaged, that company will not do well. Families and households are not exactly like a business, but they follow some very similar rules.
In the past, the person that was running a home was given a budget and told, "This is the amount you have to run the household. Make it work." And, if you were a good housewife, you made it work. If you were a good housewife, your family ate well, looked good, had good times, and felt the home was a safe harbor and a place to love and grow. If you were a bad housewife, the food was terrible, the clothes looked bad, the house was dirty and people were in general pretty miserable. Yes, I know I am being very black and white here, and there are lots and lots of gray areas, but I'm trying to make a point.
If you were a "good" housewife, you spent time figuring out how to do the things that you needed to do with the money you had. This might mean growing your own food, or making your own clothes or living another year (or two or twelve) with your current car or television. It meant continued study in the art and science of homemaking. My girlfriend's mother got her master's degree in HOME ECONOMICS. Remember that subject?
(A note here, I will be writing about houseWIVES, but of course, it can be houseHUSBANDS. Doesn't matter. SOMEONE needs to be home and in-charge and responsible for the products of running a home and raising a family.)
Now, we are in a "hurry, hurry, use it up, toss it out and get another one" society. There is always a new and better whatever and we must run, run, run to get it. Credit cards have made it possible to "get" whatever it is that the media tells us we can't live without. Getting "stuff" is easy. Paying minimum payments seems easy. Even in today's economy, the credit card companies are offering up cheap introductory interest rates to anyone who will sign up. (To find out more about this subject, watch or read, "Maxed Out.")
Once you get on the "living on credit" merry-go-round, it is pretty hard to get off. There are lots of books, websites, videos, groups and gurus who are ready to tell you how to "get out of debt." This is not the subject I am going to talk about.
I am interested in helping you learn how to either never get into debt or to stay out of debt.
Here's the problem. Most people under the age of 30 years of age have never had the experience of living in a household where there actually was someone at home running the home, budget and family. Even if there was someone at home doing this, it was most likely not observed. Children are not in the house. They are off at daycare, or school or afterschool activities most of their young lives - some from as early as six-weeks old. They have learned how to live in groups, eat processed food, and do what someone else says to do. How life actually works is behind some screen - like at Disneyland. It just "happens." They simply have not observed or been a party to the actual process of running a successful home and life.
How did we arrive at this state? How did we arrive at the situation where both parents feel that they HAVE to work in order to survive? That is NOT the subject of these postings, but you can certainty find the answer to that question, if you so desire. A subject worth studying, but, as I said, not the subject of these posts.
Here, I am going to share the wisdom of the ages. Wisdom that every homemaker has known for ages past, but information that has recently become lost knowledge. Information about cooking, cleaning, budgets, gift giving, entertainment, education, etc.
The first in this series has already been written and is entitled, "How to Save Money at the Mall." Certainly the shortest of my posts and not very detailed, it does, however, make my point.
So, that's my introduction. More posts will come. They will be listed under "How to Live on One Income" in my index.
Now, I must go and feed my children gruel.