Thursday, January 24, 2008

Surviving an income crisis

This past year and a half we experienced a job crisis and move that tried us financially. My husband worked as a military contractor and they lost their contract. He totally changed careers and started working as a network administrator. We lived in Florida where the cost of living with real estate taxes and insurance was killing us. For 6 years we had delivered the newspaper to make it in the area where we lived. We decided to look for a job in a city where we lived when we first married and he was accepted for a position.

The real estate market in Florida was totally saturated and you could not sell a home there. We moved from the area leaving it on the market and it took 15 months to sell. So, for 15 months we lived with two house payments. We tried to find the cheapest rental that we could get without putting our family in a bad area. We have five kids so 2 bedroom apartments would not rent to us. Our house payments were over 50% of our take home pay. So, how did we do it?

1. We stopped contributions to our retirement funds. We felt eating was a little more important at the moment.

2. We did not have any cable t.v.- just the basic 4 channels.

3. No new clothes, household items, or anything on our budget but gas, food, electricity, phones, tithe, life and car insurance.

4. I home school but my kids could not attend Friday classes with our cover group.

5. Our food budget was very low and we ate a lot of rice, pasta, beans, soup. Meat was only added in a little and I used beans as a filler. There were many times I would see that the end of our supplies was coming and someone would invite us over or I would get a coupon in the mail from a grocer for $10.00 off your $50.00 total.

6. I didn't drive anywhere I didn't have to go and I combined trips to pick up stuff on the way.

7. We took advantage of church functions, used free movie coupons and the library, parks. We went to festivals in nearby towns and enjoyed getting out.

8. I hung out my clothes to dry when I could. I tried to make multiple things in the oven while it was hot.

We had been Dave Ramsey fans and had $10,000 saved when we started out. We had to pay for yard service and house cleaning on the home in Florida. We saved money by hiring teenagers to do this. Slowly, the money we had saved disappeared and we got to the end of everything we had worked hard to achieve. We always trusted in God to provide and knew that He had a reason to allow this in our lives. If you are going through trials trust in Him to provide and to protect you. Get an emergency fund in place. I cannot imagine where we would be without that money to fall back on. There are many things you can do without. Count the cost of what you put your time and effort into. Family is worth it... things are not.

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