12 Jan Living Well on One Income
I joined a Bible Study with a few other young moms shortly after my first daughter was born. Our 30 year-old leader, Amy, had been married for six years, and we thought she was so wise. So very wise! One night she led us through a discussion on what it meant to live well on one income. Remember—she had been married for six years. Six whole years! Plus, she had two kids, was the wife of a pastor, and lived in a government-subsidized two-bedroom apartment. This woman knew how to live on one income.
But live well?
I was skeptical.
Amy passed around a stapled packet of papers. It included ideas for saving on everything from entertainment to clothes and toys, helpful recipes, and even a Bible verse:
“A truly good wife is worth more than precious gems! She is energetic, a hard worker, and watches for bargains!” Proverbs 31:10 and 17.
Still I wondered, could there be more to living well than living it up?
My oldest daughter is now fifteen years old, and until now I haven’t held a full-time job. We’ve even added three more kids! That means our family has had a lot of practice living on one income. Believe it or not, I actually held on to Amy’s tips for thrifty living. Nowadays, it’s not so much a how-to guide as a relic of my frugal past.
What I really learned about living well did not come from any handbook.
I can summarize what I learned in only five words: It’s not about the money.
That’s right. Money does not equal life. But you already knew that, didn’t you? Even though money can make life more comfortable, it also has the potential to make things more complicated.
I’ve found that the happiest people are those that do the most for others. They’re also often the ones that give the most away. My friend, Amy, wasn’t living well because she had it all together. The pee-pee on the floor and the fingerprints on the coffee table proved her solidarity with us. And even though I could have passed on the casseroles made from cream of chemical soup, I did find all those money-saving tips and budget friendly grocery lists helpful.
My point, though, is that Amy lived well even though she wasn’t well off. We loved meeting at her house. We sat on mismatched pillows and gathered around the tiny coffee table. We overlooked the worn out carpet and thrift store furniture. We listened intently as she described how she fed and clothed her family by re-selling on eBay the things she found at Goodwill. We loved it all. Actually, no. We didn’t love those things. We loved her. We loved Amy.
Living well is about embracing who you are where you are. One income or two? It doesn’t matter. Gathering, sharing, giving, and receiving describe what it really means to live well. Reflecting on those early experiences as a young mom bring context to the mission of Forever We. We didn’t create a doll for healthy kids and kids with cancer because we thought they needed more toys. We just thought kids needed more opportunities to connect with other kids. It’s a skill they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives.
A life lived well is something to celebrate all your life.
In the context of what we’re doing right now, “living well” actually has a dual meaning. There’s the living well that comes from creating a meaningful life and then there’s the kind of living well that applies to our kids with cancer. How do they live well? Well, right now, we just want them to get well…and live.
Will you join us?