New Series: Living on Less than $28,000 A Year (pt.1)

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{UPDATE Feb. 2013: Welcome! These posts are from a series I started in February of 2012. Our income has since increased a little, but we still use these same principles to live on less so we can spend our money on our true priorities.}


Living on Less Than $28,000 A Year: Yes, our family of six lives on around $2200 a month and for the next few weeks I’ll be sharing how we can survive, and even thrive on an income that is less than half the national median income, and what the government calls “below the poverty line” (less than $29,990 annually) for our family size.


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Click here to read other posts in this series.


Before we get started, I’d like to address two issues: (1) WHY I’m sharing the information and (2) WHY we live on such a small income. I’ll address the specifics of HOW we live on a lower income in future posts.



I have written about money saving ideas for some time, but I have been hesitant to put an actual number on our annual income for a couple of reasons. Number one: it’s personal. Number two: it’s personal.

Growing up I often heard that there were two things that you never talk about–politics and religion. I would add a third: finances.

These three topics define who we are as individuals and families within our society, and therefore people have firmly held convictions about them. I really don’t want to get into a debate about someone’s firmly held convictions and let’s face it, people don’t just go around announcing their annual income.

I also don’t want to be judged. Looking from the outside, it’s very easy to say that someone should or shouldn’t do something. There are many choices that our family has made that you may not agree with, and I am taking a risk by sharing them. I am risking my “reputation” and I am risking being criticized and looked down on. (After all, when thousands of people read the blog, I have a bit of exposure to public scrutiny.)

So why am I sharing now? My husband and I have considered these factors and decided that the risk is worth it if we can encourage even one family in their financial decisions and struggles.

There are many people who have mortgages larger than our entire monthly income and who may be shocked that we can live on so little. If you are one of those families, I am honestly very excited for you that you make a larger income. Perhaps you would like to be able to save more, though, and maybe reading this series will give you some ideas you hadn’t considered before.

There are also quite a few of you who live on even less than we make and life is a daily struggle for you. Hopefully you can gain some ideas and encouragement from this series as well. Now to the second point.



There are many factors which led us to make the choice to live on one, smaller than average income. The two that come to mind as I write are reducing the stress from over-commitment and prioritizing relationships.


Simple is better.

Life with four children is busy for anyone, but throw in the fact that our oldest son has Asperger’s Syndrome (an autism spectrum disorder), our oldest daughter has a severe wheat allergy and our youngest daughter has behavioral issues coupled with me working a full time job, and you have a disaster. My stress level was unbearable and I was very unpleasant person to be around (sometimes I still am ;)).

Simplifying to one job and one school (home school) keeps me sane and our family happier.


We love Dad (and I’m sure you do too!).  

I am a former public school teacher and my husband has most of his experience working for a non-profit charitable organization. It would make more financial sense for me to work and dad to stay at home, but my husband is much better in the role of encourager and entertainer of the children than he is as homemaker :).

Having no higher level training, my husband’s only way to make a higher income right now is to work more hours and more jobs. He could do that, but we want to have family time just to relax and hang out.

Time with dad is important at every stage, but it is crucial with three teenagers. Girls need their father’s approval and attention to form their identities at this stage of life. Teenage boys need to see how their fathers interact with others, especially how they treat women. Seeing Dad interact on a regular basis with Mom and watching him treat her with respect makes a lasting impression on a young man. All teenagers need someone to bounce ideas off of. Having more relaxed time at home means we have more time to listen and discuss things.


Remember, the judgment I mentioned earlier? Well, at this point you should know that I do not judge anyone who makes different choices than we do. We each have unique circumstances and values, and we each have to do what is best for our families based on those factors.

As a matter of fact, we would like to make more money. We definitely don’t want to stay where we are financially, but if we have to choose between money and relationships (and for now we do), we are going to choose relationships every time. Relationships are eternal. Money is not.

Now that you know WHY we live on less, in the next few weeks I will be sharing HOW we live on such a small income. In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment. PLEASE remember to play nicely. I would like everyone to feel welcome here. Thanks! :)

Click here for an index of all posts in this series.


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  • Amy Domenech

    Thank you for your bravery and for sharing. I look forward to learning more from you.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Amy. :)

  • Laura

    This is a very exciting series to me. I’m looking forward to reading how you do it. We are looking to be able to buy a home next year and could definitely use some tips on how to live on less. I can’t wait to read this!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Laura! I hope you find it helpful. :)

  • Jennifer Rooney

    Wow, I can’t wait until you tell the “how” next week!! Although my husband makes 2.5 times what you guys live on it is still hard. I am now a stay at home mom that homeschools my three children. I stopped working almost a year ago after my then 9 yr old son was diagnosed with Asperger’s. Now we are a one income family. We live on Long Island where the cost of living is quite high. Although we have thought of moving our families, church family and job are all here. And since my husband works for a local town government he can’t ask for a transfer. Our property taxes alone are almost $8,000 a year for a 3 bedroom 1400 sq ft house on 1 acre. I just began making my own laundry soap and dishwasher detergent this past week and they work awesome!!! My downfall is groceries!!! I have looked at your $100 a week and need to be more diligent. I usually use coupons but am finding it too stressful to do everything AND coupons. Thanks again for sharing and I agree: Relationships over money every time!!!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Jennifer! I feel for you. It is difficult to live in an expensive area. Have you read my free e-book Save More-Clip Less? It’s got tons of practical tips for saving without couponing. Here’s a link in case you missed it earlier: Blessings!

  • Jennifer Rooney

    Thanks I forgot I downloaded that book and never finished it!! I am going to go read it now!

    • Kimberlee

      Sounds like me Jennifer! :)

  • Sapphire @ Life with My Pollitos


    Thank you so much for sharing. Our “stable” finances have recently changed & we’re looking for ways to survive on less. I’m looking forward to your tips & ideas.

    Sapphire @ Life with My Pollitos

    • Kimberlee

      Lo siento mucho! Espero que todo este bien muy pronto. :)

  • Cheryl

    I am so glad you are willing to be real–especially detailed. It does take courage. I have a family of six. We live on one income. When I hear of how some people can live happily (or contentedly or whatever word you choose) within their means, I am all ears. Without the details, I fill in all the wrong blanks and just figure it’s out of my reach. I think our income is similar to yours. I can’t wait to read this series.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Cheryl. Hopefully you will find it helpful! :)

  • Jeremy Logsdon

    My wife and I do feel like we are doing fine financially, but frankly, as we have progressed from living off of my one (low) income while she was still in school to my higher income after a promotion to finally a dual-income household, we haven’t really noticed any change. I know why; as we have more money, we are more inclined to “blow” it.

    I look forward to your series as I’d love to start actually SAVING money so we can buy a bit of land. :)

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Jeremy. It’s nice to know I have some male readers. :)

  • theresa

    awesome. thanks for sharing. we don’t make much (monetarily) either. i dropped from full time to 2.5 days a week after having our first baby and plan to work less in the future. i’m always looking for ways to do our finances better and try to be diligent about our spending. staying at home with our kids in the future is a big priority for us and i look forward to getting some more good ideas! thanks!

    • Kimberlee

      My pleasure Theresa!

  • Kathryn Nettles

    Keep writing Kimberlee!! Looking forward to reading more! Maybe you can share my idea of a new paper shredder—-gerbils! (Just kidding!) I appreciate you opening up here and letting others know you better, and learn from you! We are in the same financial boat as you guys and I am always wanting to learn more!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Kathryn! Love the paper shredder idea. LOL!

  • Danielle Estes

    Thank you so much for starting this series! It brought me to tears, it takes such bravery to post this and makes me feel less alone in our families decision. We live a VERY similar way!! (Really, really similar actually!) We live on the same annual income (almost to the $$), we have 4 children, I WAS the “bread winner” until we decided I NEED to stay home with our four children, we have a daughter who has autism (along with some other disabilities), our youngest has behavior issues… Once again, thank you. This series is coming at a time when I really need it.

    • Kimberlee

      Wow Danielle–maybe we are twins separated at birth. haha! It’s really important to be available to our special needs kids. I am proud of you for making that decision inspite of the sacrifices. Hopefully the series can help you.

  • Anne

    Praise the Lord. I cant wait to here your story. WE have been there and God was so faithful. Your testimony is worth its weight and Gold. Be faithful and do what God tells you to do and He will get the Glory from it. I have been on your side of living and family is way more important than money any day. The sacrifice is well worth it my husband quite a very good job to be home with our family and God has blessed and redeemed for his obedience. My husband doesnt travel anymore day after day week after week. Know that we home school we all go together. Praying for you my friend.

    • Kimberlee

      Wow Anne–thanks so much for that encouragement and your prayers! God is the main reason we can do what we do. :)

  • jerrysgirl1978

    Our daughter is married to a youth pastor and she is a stay at home mom. They recently had their 3rd child and she is a marvel at managing on next to nothing. I am excited to share this with her as I am sure it will be an encouragement to her. Thank you.

    • Kimberlee

      My pleasure!

  • Michelle

    Thank you for sharing your sweet story of how much you believe in making sacrifices for the sake of your family! There was a time when I also was a SAHM. We lived very frugally on my husband’s medium/low income salary job (but with excellent benefits) and it was the happiest years of my life. Life has a way of making U-turns on us though, and mine did just that. He was killed in an auto accident when the children were toddlers. God always proved Himself as the Great Provider and I am now retired, but I always cherish the memories of the days when we had eggs for breakfast AND dinner when payday was still a day or two away! It was a peaceful time, and there’s no substitute for the contentment that comes with knowing you are doing what’s best for YOU at that particular time of your life. Blessings to you and yours!

    • Kimberlee

      I am so sorry for your loss Michelle. God is always faithful no matter where we are in life. I’m so glad you have such good memories. :)

  • karen b

    Thank you Kimberlee for going out “on a limb” so to speak & sharing this. As of right now we are making alittle more than what you are per month, but a year or so ago thats about what we were making also, so know the struggles that you face.( My husband is a dairy farmer & 3-4 years ago our milk check dropped almost in half for about 2 years so trying to make that business work & bills get paid was quite a struggle we almost didn’t make (& many didn’t). We get paid a salary from the business account so we didn’t get a raise for several years.) I am looking forward to this series & have read alot of your online book, but always looking for ways to save money.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks for your encouragement Karen! I am glad things are a little better for you now.

  • Crystal

    Thank you so much for speaking from your heart, and for sharing something so personal. We are a family of 7. And gross about $1000 less than you, so we bring home under $2,000 a month. We also homeschool, my oldest daughter has aspburgers, as well as severe dyslexia. It is a very very big struggle. However, like you, the higher income meant less time with daddy, so this is the life we have chosen (Or God has led us too) We feel so blessed to be home with our children, our life is simple, it struggles, but we are super blessed. I can’t wait to learn from you! Thank you for being willing to share your advice, and what works for your family YOU are such a blessing to others!

    • Kimberlee

      Crystal, thank you so much. It is my heart for God to use me. Thanks for letting me know that He does. :)

  • T.R.R.

    Quote of the day, “Relationships are eternal. Money is not.” Couldn’t have said it better myself, Bless you and all that you are sharing!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks. I wrote that and then a few minutes ago it struck me again. It’s hard to keep the priorities straight sometimes.

  • cary polakowski

    Kimberly, I so appreciate your openness about your finances and your life. It shows that you have an open heart as well. As a former educator I truly admire your choice of relationships with your kids and husband as first in importance! I look forward to reading the rest of your series. Have a great day!

    • Kimberlee

      Thank you Cary!

  • Kim

    So excited to read your blog, I too have a son that we are testing for Aspbergers syndrome and we are missionaries,my son also has a wheat allergy, not to mention I have four kids. I am so interested in hearing more from you! Can’t wait to see how you guys do it!

    • Kimberlee

      Wow Kim, we have a lot in common! I hope you find it helpful.

  • mNewcomb

    I am interested to ready your tips. At the moment we are living on a lot less than $2800, as a family of four. We are just starting out as a family, but it has been difficult. I do stay home with my 2 little ones. My husband works full time and is going to school full time to further his education. It’s pretty rough! Thankfully up to this point we have been able to stay out of debt! I am hoping you have some tips to help stretch what we do have a little further.

    • Kimberlee

      Meredin-It is difficult, but I am really proud of you guys for making his education a priority so he can make more in the future. I hope I can be an encouragement to you. :)

  • LeAnn Burley

    I can’t wait to here what you have to offer. I think tips from other people help. Try them if they work great if not, your no worse off. I just became gluten free and have loved your tips. I have a family of 5 so just saving money and getting out of debt will help.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi LeAnn! That is such a good point: Try tips from other people and if they don’t work, you’re no worse off. Great advice!

  • Erin McCoy

    sooo excited!! I’m trying desperately to come home fulltime by December and that’s almost exactly my hubby makes alone so i am soooooo looking forward to this series!

    • Kimberlee

      Erin, that is a very worthy goal. I think that you will find that once you are able to come home you can save even more money because you have time to do more money-saving things. I pray that you can make it home even sooner!

  • Crystal

    Isn’t it amazing how something like a blog on Facebook can be there at just the right time! Thank you for sharing. This little tidbit is uplifting for me at this very moment. Some details are different but at the end of the day we are all trying to make whatever our financial situations are work. Thank you for blessing me with your open and honest story!

    • Kimberlee

      I am so glad Crystal. I hope you find it helpful.

  • Hannah Shefferd

    Thank you soooo very much for this series. We live on less but only have 3 kids right now and honestly I don’t know how to make it each month and because of that we have gone in debt a few times. I will look forward to any suggestions you have. Thank You!

  • Dianna @ practicng frugal

    What a great series Kimberlee! I look forward to it. I think everyone will be able to learn a bit from your series. No matter how much you make, if you learn to live on less it opens up so many possibilities. Relationships are worth so much more than we ever realize. Bless you for going where many people will not go.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Dianna!

  • Lyn

    I super admire you for sharing about your personal finances. You are right when you say that it’s almost a “no-no” when it comes to speaking of finances right along with religion and politics, even in the blogging world.

    I come from the same line of thinking that sharing what works and how you are able to make it can be more helpful to others than to not share. I actually wish more frugal/simple living bloggers would be more forthcoming. Not that I need to know what they make but rather it’s so helpful to know how they are managing on less. I greatly admire people like yourself who are making it, are proud of what they are achieving, and don’t have a focus on material wealth, stuff, and money in general. Your family’s focus is very meaningful.

    I look forward to your series. My husband and I live on less than your family does, but we also have a small family. I am home due to health, and cannot work out of the home. Nonetheless, we all share in common having to pay for many of the same things such as housing, heating, utilities, gas, etc. even if things such as food and clothing differ due to size. It will be awesome to see what you share, and hopefully we can all share back in return. :)

    • Kimberlee

      Definitely Lyn! I would love to hear other’s ideas for saving more. Thanks for your encouragement.

  • Sheila

    I just wanted to offer my encouragement and I can’t wait to learn more of how you do it. We are in a similar but very different situation. I am the “bread winner” and my husband stays at home. We know this is where the Lord wants us at this point in our lives and are facing some huge financial changes in the next several months so this series could not have come at a better time!

  • sheri

    I love your website and most people that are reading this blog needs some inspiration for the reason that they do not make alot of money. I love that you have been up front with us because I always thought that most bloggers had the money and was just trying to be nice and help us save money and they just put it in savings. Thanks Kimberlee for being real with us. Can not wait to see this series.

  • Dawn @ Tractors and Tire Swings

    Looking forward to this series!!

  • Jen

    I think it’s wonderful that you are able to live on so little money. I envy that! I am so excited to see how you are able to do this. I’m hoping for some great ideas. :-)

  • T.Niles

    I LOVE THIS! Can’t wait for the next installment! I too am learning to live with LESS and loving it! making relationships a priority…more Daddy time at home! I love how we free up time for our children and we are wanting to adopt…so having Daddy home will help with building a relationship with our new child/children? :() You go girl! I will be right behind you …cheering all the way! Woo hooo! God Bless!

  • Anna

    Thank you for opening your life up with your readers. I am a single mom with 4 kiddos including one with disabilities (also 2 kids plus myself have asthma). I take that one to PT and MD appts several times a month plus I work full time as a professional. I have 1 teen, 1 soon to be teen, one school age and a preschooler. I work hard to keep us in budget but the medical bills catch up with us frequently. I spend a lot of money on child care but I also take summers off to work at home with the kids at home. I need my insurance and other benefits that my job offers because to put it simply my ex (kids’ dad) is not responsible. I do not wish I could be a stay at home mom because that is not an option for me right now. I try to enjoy the time that we all get to stay home together and/or evenings and make the most of that time. Childhood passes very quickly so I do not “regret” what life has handed me. My only problem is always trying to keep us in budget with unplanned medical bills cropping up. I look forward to learning about your frugal lifestyle and hopefully being able to apply to my own life situation.
    Again, thank you.

    • Kimberlee

      Anna, you are absolutely doing what is right for your family and I love that you take the summers to be with your children. It is super difficult to be a single parent. I have a friend who is and it seems there is never enough, and yet the Lord always provides. Praying for more provision for your family. :)

  • Dineen

    Thank you for beginning this series, Kimberlee, with such open honesty with the reasons for your frugality. When I started reading your blog and subscribed a few weeks ago, our commonalities (family on the spectrum, fighting out of depression, and living frugally to name a few) appealed to me. Knowing just HOW and why you need to live so frugally touches me even more. I hope to learn more from you in the coming series.

  • Carol @arewethereyet

    Thanks for your courage and honesty in this series. I am looking forward to reading it. While it is only my husband and I we are retired and live on a very limited income (retired elementary teachers), so I am very interested to see how you do it.

  • Jay

    I appreciate this incite deeply, for I see similarities in your circumstances to ours. I am a full time employee, and a full time mom. Having had the past few years to be a stay at home mommy (and work an alternate schedule), I have found a tremendous relationship with my child and even my spouse. Thank you for the glimpse into your life as a form of support.

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Jay. So glad you feel encouraged. :)

  • Connie

    Thank you for being so transparent and honest. I look forward to learning from you and your family on how to be a better steward of the money that God has trusted each one of of to have. My husband was down sizes a few years ago which then his pay was reduced by half…what a shock to have to learn to live on so much less…then the company closed down completely after over 18 years working there..he has been working for a new company the past year or so but isn’t making what he used to..but God is good and always supplies..sometimes through people like you to share your experiences and knowledge with others..Thank You.

    • Kimberlee

      Connie, I am so sorry that your husband lost his job. That is really difficult and you could probably teach me a few things as well. Thankfully he is working again! Hopefully you can find some encouragement here.

  • Cindy

    I am very interested how you are able to live on a small annual income. I also have chosen family over career but feel frustrated often. I would like to put some money away for the future but it is hard to find the extra cash. Can’t wait to hear some more”11

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Cindy. Believe me, I understand your frustration. Hopefully my ideas can help you some.

  • Amee

    I cannot wait to learn from you. I too would love to learn how to live on less. I sure hope we see “Part One” this week. ;)
    Thank you very much for going out on a limb by sharing this very personal information. I commend y’all for taking a very responsible way of wanting to raise your children. I do believe relationships are way more important than money…but so many of us (me included) get caught up with trying to provide more and more but our relationships that are closest to us are to be short changed.
    Thank you again.

    • Kimberlee

      Yes m’am Amee–part one coming up this week! :)

  • Jean

    new reader… i think i am going to love reading this <3

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Jean!

  • Mary Ann Scholl

    You are to be commended for choosing relationships over money, and for being frugal and making your budget work!!!
    I know your husband must be proud of you, and vice versa.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Mary Ann–you are such an encourager!

  • melissa martinez

    Cant wait for your next installment.We too are living on around 2,000 a month after child support and health ins. taken out. It has been hard living on one salary but we are getting used to it. We feel that we should homeschool our daughter.

    • Kimberlee

      It is difficult, but I can tell you Melissa that if you feel you should homeschool your daughter, the rewards will be well worth the sacrifice.

  • LIz

    I struggle everyday leaving my 2 1/2 year old with a babysitter so we can have a two income family. I am very excited to learn how I can follow in your footsteps

    • Kimberlee

      I hope you can come home soon Llz.

  • Deborah

    I’m looking forward to this series–currently working two jobs trying to get out of debt …beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but would love to start “saving” more!

    • Kimberlee

      Good job getting out of debt Deborah. Hang in there!

  • rahilya

    wow sister, i’m all impressed and have nothing but respect for you. since i’m so bad with money, i actually am not sure exactly how your annual income translates to daily needs but i can imagine it must be very tight as my brother makes 33K a year and is single, yet he’s continuously in debt.
    you must be EXCELLENT at money management, and actually time management too cuz as a mom who homeschools, shops, takes care of house, is there for her dh and still finds time to blog AND share so many useful things with others in the world… yeah… you are really MASHALLAH flying very high in my respect:)
    now then, i want to say that i will be paying very close attention to the following posts because you are right, not many, if any, would put out their personal finance out there for all to see and i’m just so thankful to you that you have.
    i’m moving to the uk in a few weeks and well, its just dh working and he owns his own biz which is still young and developing so the income isnt that large and certainly not as steady but i hope to be of great help to him inshallah (God willing) in budgeting and also saving.
    i’m going to look to you my dear for any useful tips, and so far you’ve dished out some great ones:)
    ps. i love you on pinterest. i shared you with my sis who’s circumstances are also similarly tight and she LOVES your blog too. we are agog waiting for more posts.
    Thank you for sharing:)

    • Kimberlee

      Thank you so much Rahilya. Thanks for sharing with your sister. Hopefully you will find the posts helpful. :)

  • Janis

    What an inspiration you are. I look forward to following this series.

    • Kimberlee

      Thank you Janis!

  • norma

    I’m looking forward to the series. I saw it posted on facebook. My family and I chose to live on one income for 10 years. We were able to do it because we lived debt free and were frugal. We also put our son through college. I’ve recently started back to work, and I have to say the extra income is nice. We’re planning to replenish our savings, go on some vacations, and eat out (guilt-free) once in awhile. :)

    • Kimberlee

      Ah, yes Norma. Eating out guilt free. That is a treat!

  • Claire

    I am so excited about this series. My situation is similar to yours in that my income has always been more than double my husband’s income. When my son was a baby, I worked fulltime and my husband worked part-time, opposite each other so one of us was always home with the baby. I hated being away from him so much. When he was 18 months old, I had the opportunity to cut back go part-time, and my husband went fulltime. Since then, I have gotten several raises, and when I think about what our household income would be if I were the one working fulltime, I feel really guilty. My husband is great with my son, but I’m in a better position to facilitate playdates for him (which is important, since he’s an only child), advocate for his educational needs, etc. So we’re going this route, even though financially it makes no sense!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Claire. It may not make sense to the rest of the world, but you are doing what is truly important. Keep up the good work (and give up the guilt). :)

  • Samantha

    I want to thank you Kimberlee for sharing your story with me! My husband and I also have 4 children ages 17 – 8 and we live on about 600 less than you right now so I am REALLY looking forward to learning some great useful tips! I really commend your courage and thank you deeply because I know how many other families you will help by sharing this personal story! My family being one of them for sure. I am very thankful I came across your site a few months ago and I cant begin to express to you how grateful I am for you opening up and sharing so much with me! I wish you and your family the very best always!!

    • Kimberlee

      Thank you so much Samantha. It is really nice to hear positive feedback because it definitely is taking some courage! :)


    Thank you for all the helpful advice you give to us on a daily basis. I’m trying to do better with money issues but saying no to older children & spoiled grandsons is very difficult. So i’m excited to hear & learn from your experiences. I need to make some new lifestyle changes. So keep up the good work :)

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Cynthia!

  • Diane

    I’ve just read part 1 and 2, and am looking forward to this series! I do think it’s helpful for people to see the numbers in someone else’s budget although I also understand wanting privacy and not giving people those numbers. Our monthly household budget expenses are lower than that (right around 2000) but we make more than that and anything extra is an extra mortgage payment (our only debt). I think you will never regret this choice of being home with your children. One of my passions is helping moms with budgets so they can see how to live on one income so they can stay home with their children. Right now my husband works Monday-Friday and I work on Saturdays so we avoid daycare and we plan to homeschool once our little girl is old enough.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks for the encouragement Diane. My hope is that people will find it helpful and be encouraged that they can make it on one income, even if it doesn’t seem possible on paper. We have done the split shift work arrangement to avoid childcare costs and I think it is always a win-win for the kids to have their parents as the primary care takers. Blessings!

  • Janessa G

    Thank you so much for sharing! I am one of those who wishes we could live more simple and on less!!! I cant wait to learn about your tips and tricks!!!

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Janessa. I hope you find the series helpful. :)

  • TheDayCame

    THANK YOU! Thank you for being transparent! We have an 8 year old and a 5 year old. Before our first child was born, my husband made more than double what he does now. We were paying a high amount per month to get out of debt but little did we know just how much more we actually had then. We have learned a lot of lessons over the years and are still learning. While we do have less children than you, we are have a similar income scenario. I haven’t read through all of the postings but so appreciate the encouragement. We have made a lot of sacrifices for me to stay home with our children and although I would like it to be less “tight” I would never trade even the not-so-great moments with them, over having more money. These posts will help me re-think what we are doing and reread the Cheapskate book we have. :) I don’t feel it will always be this way but appreciate knowing we aren’t the only ones. Thank you!

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome. I need reminders too. :)

  • Nicole

    Thanks so much for sharing. Over the past few years our famly has decided to look at everythig we do as Needs v/s Wants. It has made a huge impact on our family and opened up our communication as a couple. We are not perfect, but I can’t imagine if we had kept up our spending habits. You are correct Relationships/Familes are forever! Can’t wait to see your next post!

  • Valerie Lumsden

    Just saying hello and giving my support for this new series. Kudos to you for choosing relationships over money- I completely agree with this choice. I got to your site from Pinterest- looking forward to following you. :)

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for your encouragement Valerie! Welcome! :)

  • Katie

    Kimberlee, thank you for this post. I’m sure it was a difficult decision to make to share your family’s income in such a public way. We are a family of 5 and we make around $30,000 a year as well. My husband works in retail management and I work at night doing hearing screenings on newborns. My income doesn’t provide much, but it pays for groceries. I think there are so many families living this way these days, but none of us want to admit it. I’m so glad to know I’m not alone!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks for your encouragement Katie. You are definitely not alone! :)

  • Sarah Johnson

    I am excited to read this series. My husband and I have had many struggles financially with our decision for me to be home with the kids. We wouldn’t trade it for anything! Good for you!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Sarah!

  • suzette cherrington

    Thanks you for being so brave to share very private money matters with all of us. We are a family of 5 and have an extremely rough 3yrs financially. We are finally to a point that I think we might just make it through this ugly storm. I am super excited to read any and all of your suggestions.

    • Kimberlee

      So sorry about your trouble Suzette, but I am glad that you are coming out of that season. :)

  • crystal

    I think it’s interesting that you are worried about being judged. I don’t see anything wrong w/ what you wrote. :-) You go girl! I’m excited to learn from you.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Crystal! :)

  • Jen

    Can I ask what your occupation is? Do you still teach or is blogging your full-time job? Thanks being open and sharing.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Jen! I am a full time mom and part time blogger. So far it hasn’t provided a lot of income, but hopefully in the future. :)

      • Jen

        Sorry, misread.. I thought you said your husband stayed home. I reread it and now I understand. Good luck with the blogging!

        • Kimberlee

          Thanks Jen!

  • Michelle

    Thank you for sharing this. I have recently lost my job. My husband and I are now trying to live off of one income. I am looking for inspiration in many ways. I am glad that I stumbled across your blog on pinterest.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Michelle!

  • crystal beutler

    Bravo to you. So excited that you shared this.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Crystal!

  • Dina

    I am overwhelmed by your sincerity and eagerness to share. I teach life skills to at risk young adults in Brooklyn, NY. Tips, tricks, legal cheats are always helpful when teaching finances and budgeting. Not to mention needing help and guidance myself!

    • Kimberlee

      Thank you so much Dina. Hopefully I will have some good ideas for you. :)

  • Hannah Wetzel

    Hi Kimberlee,
    A friend of mine sent this to me this morning, stating that she thought of me while reading it. I am so happy to find this series and I am looking forward to anything knew that I can learn! My husband is active duty Marine Corps so we live on what would be considered below the poverty level income as well. But we are completely debt free and are putting away a considerable amount of money each month. I am always finding ways to cut costs and save more money (we’re saving up to buy a house one day) like making my own laundry detergent or using cloth diapers. With baby #3 on the way, a lot of people have this idea that we will need tons more money in order to survive but, thankful, my husband and I both believe in living simply and within our means so that we can be a close and happy family. I am excited to read what else you have written! Thank you!

    Oh and on a side note, I grew up with a brother who has Aspergers. I love him to death but I know how it is, totally! =)

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Hannah! I’m glad you’re here. Sounds like you can teach me a thing or two. :) As far as the Aspergers, maybe you can give me some tips for how to help the non-Aspergers siblings cope. :)

  • Quinessa

    I also would like to share my gratitude to you for being so open and willing to share that private part of your life! My family of six has struggled for several years and it only seems to be getting worse! So I’m very very grateful and excited to read how you and your family thrive!

    • Kimberlee

      I hope you find some helpful ideas Quinessa. Welcome!

  • April

    Hi Kimberlee,
    I found this link to your blog on Pinterest. I was intrigued by your openness about finances (I know it’s not easy to put that number out there), but then I was hooked when I saw you also have a child on the spectrum! My son has autism, so I know all too well about what goes along with… well… all of that. :) I’m sure my family of four can make much better use of our finances, so I’m really excited to read the rest of this series! Well, I’m going to go poke around the rest of your blog… So glad to have found you!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome April! Parents with autistic kids have to stick to together, right? I hope you enjoy your tour around the blog. :)

  • Camara

    I think it is very noble of you to make this sacrifice for your family. I look forward to reading the rest of your series because I could certainly use some tips on saving money!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for your encouragement Camara!

  • Holly

    Thanks so much for taking the time to encourage and advise us. Just knowing that there are so many others out there who are succeeding under these circumstances gives me lots of hope.

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Holly! There is definitely hope.

  • Katie

    Looking forward to learning from you. I have 4 kids and stay at home too. Each year it seems to get harder and harder to make ends meet even when we are making a sincere effort to cut back. With gas and food so expensive it just makes it harder. Sometimes we think we will never get ahead of our debt! Thanks for sharing your insight.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Katie–welcome! It is difficult, but don’t give up. There is hope! :)

  • Monica

    I am a single mom with 3 daughters and I only make $28,000 a year plus anything I can make from my photography and crafting. I can’t wait to start reading your tips and suggestions. We went from $75,000 a year to $18,000 a year when my ex decided marriage was no longer any fun! It was a tough transition, but we made with the help of God, Family and friends. I had not worked for 19 years, as we had decided when we started having children that I would stay home, so I did. In the past year, I have moved up at my job so that I went from making $18,000 a year to just now making $28,000. Thank you so much for sharing!!

    • Kimberlee

      Monica, I am so sorry about your divorce, but congratulations on your raise! I have a couple of friends who are single parents and it is absolutely the most difficult job in the world. Hopefully you can find some helpful ideas on the blog. Blessings! :)

  • Tricia

    I’m looking forward to reading more about how you thrive on so little. I was wondering, what area of the country you live? Or is that soon to come in an new post? Thank you for opening up and sharing your story!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Tricia- We are in the southeastern part of the U.S., but in an area where food and housing prices tend to be higher than other parts of the south. I recently talked to a friend who moved from Boston and she said that while people feel that Boston is really expensive, the area we live in is about the same once you factor in everything. I was surprised, but I do know that it has been more difficult since we moved here a year ago than where we used to live.

  • Alyssa

    OMG I’m thrilled that I found your blog! I’m a graduate student studying social work and will never be rich. I live with my boyfriend who works and just bought a house, so we both feel like broke 20somethings while a bit envious of our friends who work in law or finance. I try to save money on groceries, but like to eat healthy and am allergic to gluten, so many things cost more than “normal” foods.
    I love that you are so focused on maintaining the positive relationships in your family! Money definitely isn’t everything, so if I can learn to cut back and shop smarter, I’m on bored!
    Thanks for wonderful ideas in not-so-wonderful economic times :)

  • Sarah

    I am so excited that you are doing this – and I commend you for putting yourself out there for the shake of ‘us’. I am just starting out my life with my soon to be husband…getting married this year and planning to have kids in the next couple. I currently can’t stand my job and cannot see how this is sustainable – but I often ask how can we possibly make it without my income. I hope this is going to help us :)

    • Kimberlee

      I hope so too Sarah. It is a sacrifice, but so worth it. :)

    • Linda

      I was excited to read your post and see that it’s been almost a year. Am curious if you found a way to save all of your monthly income, to prepare for the wedding and future children. I know when trying to learn to live on one income is easier without the stress of a little one & all that entails (though it is a tremendous blessing), but usually is more doable when your “in it”, unfortunately. I am curious to find out how things are going for you now.

      • Kimberlee

        Hi Linda- As a matter of fact, I will be doing a follow up post very soon. We did not save as much as we would have liked, but we were able to spend on some things that mattered to our family, so we are happy with the results. Thanks for asking!

  • Lindsey

    Thank you for being willing to share. I know it can’t have been an easy decision. I have a feeling what you are going to say over the next few weeks is EXACTLY what I need to hear right now.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks for your encouragement Lindsey. I hope you find it helpful. :)

  • Dorothy

    We raised seven children on a labourer’s income. Now we are retired and living on one pension with a new mortgage on a one bedroom small old home in need of repairs, but no savings or assets. Looking forward to your wisdom. Thank you.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Dorothy! I hope you can find some good ideas.

  • Melissa

    I commented on your recent post in this series stating that me and my husband live well below the poverty line. I honestly have never thought of us as “poor.” I know sometimes money runs thin, but we are so happy and content that making less money isn’t much of an issue.
    My husband is going through college and I really wanted to be a SAHM, so we finally took the leap and I have been staying home for three years now.
    I am so thankful I found this series! I am looking so forward to reading through the rest! I honestly do not know much about handling finances so I am hoping this will help me!

    • Kimberlee

      I am so glad that you are able to stay home with your children Melissa. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Shawna

    I rarely comment on other’s blogs, but you inspired me! Truly, to sacrifice what we seem to think we need, for something you know you need takes courage and consistency. It made me think of the story of the Mexican Fisherman ( – we work hard to provide, for what purpose? To live well – both physically and emotionally. You are doing that all ready. Enjoy every moment together, you are making the BEST choice!

    • Kimberlee

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment Shawna. I truly appreciate your encouragement. Have a Peaceful Day! :)

  • Jean

    I just discovered your blog. Thank you for sharing your insight on this matter.
    Yes, our mortgage is more than your monthly living expenses. I am wondering if where you live matters as well. Obviously, I haven’t read rest of your blogs and don’t know where you live. I will read on, but I am still skeptical if we can reduce our monthly expenses considering how expensive to live in Southern California. I joke that we pay extra premium for the wonderful weather here. ;)

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Jean–welcome! The area of the country you live in definitely makes a difference. My point in sharing our income is not to say everyone can live on the income that we live on, but to encourage people who would like to save money that there are ways to do it. Southern California is one of the more expensive areas to live in, but you do have great weather! :)

  • Connie

    Thank you! My husband and I have lived frugally for so many years but now that the income has increased, those habits have slipped. We were just having a discussion that we should save more money. Thanks for the inspiration to use our money more wisely.

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Connie!

  • Ariel

    Thank you so much! So very encouraging!!

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Ariel!

  • Kim

    I found your blog through a friend on Pinterest. I am so happy that you are sharing your story with everyone! My husband and I live on one income while I attend college one night a week and stay home with our daughter. We have also talked about him becoming a stay at home Dad when I am finished with my degree and am ready to enter the working world. There are people that don’t agree with the choice we have made, but I have learned to ignore the comments. We are happy with our arrangement. While money can get tight, I would not change the blessing I have of a great bond with my child!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Kim! The important thing is to make the choices that are right for YOUR family and it sounds like you have. :)

  • Melissa

    My 2 year old is NOT allowing me to read this at the moment, but I VERY much look forward to getting to read this article. We are a family of 5 (a 14 year old who is homeschooled, a 2 year old and a newborn) so I’m a SAHM and my husbands take home pay is under $2000 a month, he’s also currently in school (hopefully in a few years we’ll be able to do better!) but between full time school and one full time job he doesn’t have time for a second job (much less any family time at the moment!). But with all that I am very excited to learn more tips on managing our budget and being able to survive on so little. :-)

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Melissa-Go spend time with the two year old. The blog will be here when you get back. :) Hopefully I can give you some good ideas.

  • Savanna

    It is so amazing that you are putting yourself and your family out there to try to help others. Thank you so much for all of the insight you are sharing. And may I just say that you truely sound like an amazing person for all of the interest circumstances you are facing at home. I hope that you and yours continue to be blessed. And lastly, good for you for choosing your family over finances!

    • Kimberlee

      Thank you so much for your encouragement Savanna. I truly appreciate it!

  • Faith

    Thanks for sharing. I look forward to following as well. We have made similar choices.

    This paragraph:
    “As a matter of fact, we would like to make more money. We definitely don’t want to stay where we are financially, but if we have to choose between money and relationships (and for now we do), we are going to choose relationships every time. Relationships are eternal. Money is not.”

    Says it all.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Faith! Thanks so much for your encouragement. I hope you enjoy the blog. :)

  • Stephanie

    I’m not very good with words, but here goes nothing. Reading your blog has brought inspiration to my household. I have been trying to find more ways to save the little money we do have. Having just 1 child and 1 on the way. I am ALWAYS willing to learn new things. Can’t wait to see what comes next!!!

    • Kimberlee

      Stephanie-thank you so much. You have truly blessed me by saying that.

  • CoreyAnn

    I am so excited I just stumbled across your blog post! I am so comforted by what you have already said. My husband is about to start medical school and I am an RN. I alone have a decent earning potential, but we have a son and plan to have more children. I love that you have chosen relationships over money, and that is what I want to do. We have decided that once he starts medical school I will work very little, but I wonder how we will get by financially. I can’t wait to read your future posts! I admire you for putting your family first and want to do the same!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi CoreyAnn! Thanks for your encouragement. Will you be able to work weekends or evenings when he starts school? I know sometimes nurses can work fewer hours and still make pretty good money. I hope you can find some good ideas here. :)

  • Catydidd

    My friend pinned your blog, I’m glad I clicked through to here. I’m really happy that you shared your story. When I first started reading, I was afraid I was going to be judged for not staying home with my child. I recently went back to college full time, which was the best decision for our family. Some people thrive being homemakers; I was falling deeper and deeper into depression and my family was not getting the best of me. For a long time, every homemaking blog I came across told me that “good” mothers stay home, and that I could be happy if only I would do X, X, and X. I did those things, and yet it still wasn’t the place for me. I came away from those blogs feeling like a failure. I’m grateful that there are other voices, like yours, out there. Thank you.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Cait! I am so proud of you for realizing that you needed to do something different and taking the initiative to do it. I absolutely agree that staying at home doesn’t work for everyone. I’m glad you’re here! :)

  • crystal becker

    WOW! Talk about God timing! I was a stay at home mom working very part time during my daughter’s first few years and my son’s first 18 months. I went back to full time work that includes working EVERY WEEKEND. I have been doing it for a little over 2 years and have been feeling very strongly about quitting because I have no full day off with my daughter and no family days very often because of the weekend commitment. We made it before, but struggled, thus the reason I went back to work. I’ve been looking for ways for us to get a handle on our budget and actually budget and possibly quit some time this year. “stumbling” over your blog gives me hope that if I choose to quit and go back to part-time, I’ll have some “tools” to help me feel more peaceful about us making it financially.:) THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing-the blessings this could provide to families will outweigh any negative criticisms.:)

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Crystal! I’m so glad you found the site. Thanks for your encouragement and I hope that you find some helpful tips. :)

  • Elisabeth

    I am excited to learn what you have to share with us. I thought we were doing well, but now I know that we could be doing better. I have said to people many times what you have said; I was just more blunt- I tell others that I would rather be poor and with my family, than rich and never around.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Elisabeth! I hope you find some helpful tips.

  • Danielle Swanson

    I am very interested in reading everything you have to tell us! Very excited to see how you do it. Also, do you guys do this and have debt to pay on? I am sure you will mention this in your upcoming posts but still very interested in knowing!

    One last thing, how do I “follow” your blog?

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Danielle-We do not have any debt at this time, which is a big reason why we can live off my husband’s salary alone. As far as following the blog, you can click the green “subscribe” button in the right side bar, or you can click the Facebook or Twitter buttons on the right side of the header. Glad you’re here. :)

  • Mercedes

    I have to say that I read the comments with the warmest of hearts. I can only imagine how vulnerable it must feel to put “the number” out there, but there are so many of us who are learning how to do the best we can with what we have. My oldest son has Williams Syndrome, and we’re constantly doing therapies, etc. My middle is a rambunctious wild girl, and the baby was premature so we’re also doing several therapies with her to keep her on track. I’m so delighted to be here. Thank you for fostering such a friendly atmosphere! What a pleasure to swap tips in what feels like a safe place. :)

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Mercedes–thank you so much for saying the blog feels like a safe place. That is my intention and so good to know that I am achieving it! Sounds like you have a lot going on. Please do share any tips that you have learned along the way.

  • Allison Majure

    Thank you for your transparency and risk-taking by revealing the truth of your income as you approach this topic. Jacob Needleman in “Money and the Meaning of Life” predicted that financial transparency would be to the 2000’s 2010’s as the women’s lib and sexual revolutions were to the 1960s and 1970s, and I believe he’s right. I’m looking forward to your posts here. Take care.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Alison–I hadn’t heard that before. Very interesting.

  • Erin

    Thank you SO MUCH fir writing this. You are such an answer to prayer. I’m thrilled to read future posts. My husband & I have a 2.5 year old precious son & a baby girl due in June. I need your help through this exact message more than you know! Thank you again, we are definatelt that “one family” that will be positively affected!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for letting me know Erin. Hopefully you can find some helpful tips here. :)

  • Jocelyn

    Kimberlee, you and your family are an inspiration. Right now, we are doing good, mostly because my husband is a software engineer and so far still has his job, and I have a job where I make about $20K (before taxes) plus a side job at home. We have no living children together – our daughter was born prematurely in 2004 and died when she was a week old – but his two kids from his first marriage (in their mid-20s now) are both still particially financially dependent on him. Our biggest worry is that he will lose his job and not be able to find another. I think what you’re doing is great and I wish you the best success…thank you for sharing and keep up the great work!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Jocelyn-thank you so much for your encouragement. I’m so sorry about your daughter. I pray God’s comfort for you.

  • Kelsey

    THANK YOU! I have just joined your mailing list because I do live on about $28000 a year as well. Although I am a single woman, I am still struggling and would like any information and help that I can get! Thank you again for sharing!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Kelsey! I hope you can find some helpful tips here. :)

  • Danielle

    I have to say you are an inspiration! I am a 23 year old who just finished college, between credit card debt while being in college (I had to eat and pay the rent somehow) and just plain college debt I am looking for EVERY possible way to make ends meet. Your blog is already inspiring me to make changes in my life. :) Thank you so much!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks for your encouragement Danielle. I’m so glad you found the blog helpful.

  • Summer

    Right there with you sister! I’m looking forward to reading more.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Summer!

  • Kristin

    Thank you for sharing! We are a family of 4 living off of $28,000/yr. Every week is a struggle to get all the bills paid and food on the table. I’m interested to hear how you guys do it. I appreciate your spirit of choosing relationships over money. I need to remember that as our stress level and fights about money often hinder our relationships. Our marriage started off in loads of student loan debt and stupid credit card debt. After 8 years it never seems like we’ll get anywhere close to financial freedom and security.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Kristin. It is so easy to fight about money, so I understand. Debt makes things more difficult as well. I hope you can find some helpful information here. :)

  • Ellen

    Thank you so much for sharing:)

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Ellen!

  • Jennifer

    I absolutely LOVE that you are sharing this. My husband too works for a charitable non-profit and I am a stay at home mom. Thank you for the reminder that the choices we are making are far more valuable than a larger income at this time!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Jennifer!

  • L.W.

    I am so happy to see this post. Not for the information, I haven’t gotten to the rest of the series yet, but simply because someone else has chosen a path similar to my own. I am the single mother of 4 children, and I choose to live only on the support their fathers give. I occasionally wish I were “rich” and could spend money without guilt and watching every penny, but the reality of our lives and relationships while I was working was frightening for me. I hated the way we interacted. I missed my kids. We were all worse off for it. I manage by doing without. We live simply, and mostly debt free. I own my home, my vehicle, and live without public assistance. Yet I am frequently judged as being “lazy” and not giving my kids what they deserve. I happen to think they deserve ME and my time more than the latest clothing fad or electronic gadget. It’s my duty to them to be there for them and help guide them towards being an adult. Can’t wait to read the following posts…

    • Kimberlee

      Good for you for choosing relationships over stuff! I am sure your life is difficult in some ways, but I know your sacrifice is making an impact on your children.

  • Stepanie

    Thank you so much for your post. We live on less, as my husband has been unemployed for a couple of years and is at home with our children. One income is hard but my daughter loves that her dad is here for her. Thank you again.

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Stepanie!

  • Danyle

    Thanks, for doing this!!! I cannot wait to read along and find out how you do it. We have a 7 year old and one more one the way.

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Danyle. Congratulations on your new baby!

  • Brandy

    Ahhh, thank you so much for this! I found you via Pinterest, and your reasons for living the way that you do are exactly what I try to explain to people when I tell them that no, I don’t want to work 6-7 days a week, and that I like a healthy work-life balance. No one I work with seems to get it (and, shocker, they all have some unhappy portion of their lives). My fiance and I are getting married next year, and we are definitely looking to live more frugally and be able to save more money for the wedding and our future. :)

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Brandy! How exciting to be in the beginning of your life together and being on the right track. :)

  • Jina

    You are brave and strong, amazing! Thank YOU for standing up and speaking out for those of us who are not just sitting back and watching the world crumble with our children in it! I will definitely be reading and watching your blog. We just went to the Colin Gunn’s “IndoctriNation” (Highly recommend!) Premiere and talk back with the Director…you are in the same vein and MAKING A DIFFERENCE!!

    • Kimberlee

      Wow Jina! Thanks so much for your encouragement. :)

  • Jennifer

    I just wanted to say thank you for posting this! It is a true insperation to hear about your life & choices! I found this at a time that I truly needed it most & so for that thank you!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Jennifer! I’m so glad that you’re here. :)

  • Sabrina Massie

    I love your site, and wanted to share something with you ..
    My husband and I both had been married before, … When we tied the knot we did it with FIVE children … Both our previous marriages and the subsequent divorces had been difficult for the kids.. SO, .. we made a CONSCIOUS decision for me to stay home and raise the kids…
    Hubby is a cop .. (a non-union public servant) and they make VERY little money here in the South. It wasn’t always easy, but in hindsight I can honestly say it was the RIGHT decision for our family .. The kids are now grown and I have 3 wonderful grandchildren with two more on the way !
    It CAN be done, you and I are both proof of that.. Thank you so much for being “brave” enough to lay it all out there for us …
    Sincerely …
    Sabrina Massie

    • Kimberlee

      Sabrina, thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s good to hear from someone who is a little further ahead of us and to get affirmation that we are making a good choice.

  • Ashley

    So excited to read more of this little series. I too, choose to stay at home with our son. We can use all the help, ideas & tips we can find! I agree, relationships are what matter most, not money. Something more people need to remember. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks for your encouragement Ashley!

  • Alyssa

    Thank You so much for posting this! I found your blog through pinterest and I am very excited to read how you do it!! My husband is in school and we have a one yr old that I stay home with so all the tips I can get help!! =] Thank You!!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Alyssa! Glad you’re here. :)

  • Tiffany

    I found your site via pinterest. I am so excited to keep reading. Your life sounds very much like mine…in so many ways. :)

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Tiffany–glad you’re here!

  • Christi

    Thank you so much for all your hard work. I have 4 children, too and I am looking forward to improving my finances with your help!

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Christi!

  • Joanne

    Thank you so much for being brave enough to share your story! My family also chose to live off one income and my husband is a stay at home dad. People really seem to have a hard with this and always make comments about him finding a job. They don’t seem to understand why we would choose this. There is definitely much less stress having a spouse at home to take care of sick kids and day to day business! Can’t wait to read your blog and learn more tips on budgeting :) Keep up the good work!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks for your encouragement Joanne. Living off one income is definitely going against the grain, but just remember that you make choices for your family, not for those who want to criticize you. :)

  • LDJ

    Thank you for sharing this! Your story sounds so much like that of my family. We, also, Homeschool and live off of my husband’s small income. I have a degree also and feel that I’m constantly judged for our decision. It’s comforting to know we aren’t alone. I look forward to reading what you have to share. Thanks for being open and willing too help others.

    • Kimberlee

      You are definitely not alone–just read through some of the comments on this post. :) I’m so glad you are finding some encouragement here.

  • Sara

    I am sooo glad that I came across your site on Pinterest. My boyfriend of a few years and I have started talking about moving in together and between the two of us we will have 7 children between the ages of 2-16. Financially we will both have to work but with our combined household size and the income that we will bring home it will be very tight. I look forward to learning as much as I can from your experiences!!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Sara–welcome! I hope you can find some good ideas.

  • Brandy

    Thank you for being proud of who you are and strong enough to do this. I admire this so much and cannot wait to read on !!

    • Kimberlee

      Wow, thank you so much Brandy.

  • Bre Dale

    Can’t wait to hear more! Thanks for this! Saw this on Pinterest and went straight here


    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Bre!

  • Claire


    Thank you for sharing this. I’m in a temporary position with no benefits and my husband is really unhappy in his position. It’s nice to read an article that reminds us that your job and income don’t define you.


    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Claire. :)

  • Amie

    Very well put…it’s about personal choices. We choose for me to stay home as well and make it work. Yes, we could have a bigger tv, or more than one, and fancier stuff…but time together is more important. Playing games and music together in the evenings has been more than watching cable, etc…good for you for finding what works for your family.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Amie! We like playing games too. :)

  • Angie

    Hi! I also found your blog via Pintrest and honestly can’t wait to find out more. We are a one income household and making it pay to pay is difficult too much of the time! I am now following via email! Can’t wait to find out more!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Angie! I hope you find some good ideas. :)

  • Christy

    Found your blog on Pinterest and so excited to read it, I make a bit more but I am a single Mom so I live on one income and support two girls. We do okay financially HOWEVER, I have a HUGE student loan debt that I would love to tackle and I’m hoping your website can help find ways to cut corners so I can start paying this debt off and living simpler!…Thanks for your help!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Christy!

  • Brooke

    Thank you for being so vulnerable! I have a young family (two daughters, ages 2 and 3) and my husband and I have made some decisions very similar to yours over the last two years, decreasing our income drastically, and improving our quantity and quality of time together drastically as well. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Brooke! I am definitely a proponent of quality of life. :)

  • Lauren

    Thank you so much for doing this! My husband are going through a similar situation right now. We have two small children, I am in school fulltime, work partime and my husband works fulltime. We are working with a budget very similar to yours( slightly less) and we are really struggling right now. I am excited to follow your posts and gain insight! Thanks again!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Lauren! I hope you find some good ideas. :)

  • Ashley

    I’m so anxious to see how you guys make it and compare notes. Between full time job and full time school in another city, my husband is gone from 7am-10:30pm most days. We don’t have children, but were in the same boat of being frustrated & irritable all too often. We recently decided that I would stay at home & we would live off one income. Mind you, I went from working 70-80 hrs a week to NOT AT ALL. I’ve always been pretty good at stretching money, but I’d like to learn to stretch it further so we can hopefully go on more little weekend adventures before we start having to worry about paying a sitter down the road ;)

    • Kimberlee

      Weekend adventures sound fun Ashley! :)

  • Shan

    Love this! We made the decision to live a simple lifestyle. We have two kids and I stay home with them. My husband is currently a substitute teacher, waiting for a full time job to open up (tough jobs to get where we live.)

    We agreed that he would not take on a second job or work extra hours at his brothers company because it is more important for him to be home with us at dinner and on weekends. I never would have thought we’d get flack for a decision like that but it’s amazing how much we do!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Shan! I have found that other people are all too willing to tell you how you should live your life. Oh well. :)

  • Nicholle

    I am a stay at home mom and we to make very little money each year. My husband works as a chef in an office building cafeteria and while he could make much more money in a different setting we (the kids and I) like having him home in the evening and on weekends and holidays. For us it isn’t about the money either but the family time and memories we are making. Can’t wait to hear more from you. Oh yeah we have 5 kids so also a big family.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Nicholle! It’s good to have dad home if you can swing it. I hope you find some good ideas here. :)

  • Melissa

    I am so thrilled to have found this on Pinterest! I am a Tay at home mom. I have two sons, my oldest is 2 years 9 months and my youngest is 9 months. My oldest son has autism and sensory processing issues. I want to give my boys the world, save for them to go to college, plan for retirement and enjoy our lives now! I look forward to finding a better way of thinking and planning!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Melissa! My son has sensory processing issues too. Have you seen my aspergers/autism posts here: ? I don’t know if they will help you, but maybe you’ll find some encouragement. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Melissa

    Thank you! When my boys go to bed I will read them all! We are very new to this so I appreciate all the advice I can get!

  • Janet

    Congratulations on making such wise decisions! My family is grown (my husband and I have just retired–part choice and part lost job) and we could use more tips on being frugal. I stayed home when my kids were young, and we did without some stuff, but none of us regret it at all. Healthy children are way worth the sacrifice. Thank you for doing this for all of us! Blessings on you!

  • Julie

    Thank you for being real. We firmly believe that it is the husband’s job to provide for the family and so we live a much different life than most. We would not change it for any amount of money! It is our own conviction and we understand that others may not feel the same way we do, but for our family it is what is best right now. Especially with 4 kids ages 9 and under! Thanks again!

  • Cory

    THANK YOU so much for doing this! I’m going through a very hard time right now and I’m a saver by all means but I’m always looking for more ways to do it! I’m a SPED teacher too, so I don’t really make that much $, and with a toddler daughter another job is not something I want to find right now! So looking forward to reading all about you and your family! :)

  • Robin

    I look forward to reading your series! Kudos on doing what works for you and choosing what was (is) more important for your family and thank you for sharing it!

  • Susan Betke

    Can’t wait to read more…. I have 7 children and one more on the way and I left a full time well paid job (I’m the bread winner) to work part time so I could enjoy probably my last pregnancy and my children more. I have 2 special needs children and frankly wanted to be more available to all of my children. My husband stays at home and we tag team very well…. We save our income tax return and budget tightly. We make it on less than $20,000. Half of that goes for housing….. I am so happy to see your blog!!!!

    • Kimberlee

      Wow Susan–sounds like you can teach me a thing or two!

  • Diane

    We are a blended family with 5 kids ranging from 1 yr to nearly 10. It would have cost more in child care than I make doing admin work so I stay at home. We have always had tight finances with all the unexpected expenses that come up in life. I’m really hoping to keep up with your blog and see how you’ve managed to handle these things as they come along on a budget. I’m hoping I can incorporate some into our life and make things easier so my husband doesn’t have to work 80 hours a week to keep us afloat. We both really want him to be able to be home more because we have seen the changes in the children with him being away from home more and more. Looking forward to reading!!

  • Jeri

    I have a small child with a milk intolerance (bordering on an allergy), and two step daughters with weight related health issues. we live ok for what we make, far below the poverty line, and do very well all things considering, but I am always looking for ways to help make our lives even better.
    Thanks. :)

  • Diane

    We are a blended family with 5 kids. I have 4 of them full time ranging from 1yr to nearly 10. Do you recommend homeschooling to someone who doesn’t have any educational or teaching training? I went to college for business but I don’t have any teaching experience or knowledge. Public school has lots of unexpected expenses. Is that another reason you homeschool? I’m trying to decide if we should homeschool or rather, if I would be capable.

    • Kimberlee

      Diane, there are so many resources available that you really don’t have to worry about having teacher training. Check with the requirements for your state ( is a great resource) as far as the requirements for your educational level. Most states only require that parents have a high school diploma.

  • Andrea

    We have very different lives as I am single with no children, but I am trying to live on less and simplify my life. I applaud you for putting your income and numbers out there. It’s not something most of us were raised to do, but I think if more of us did it, it wouldn’t be so taboo and people wouldn’t try to pretend they have more. We all have different priorities and things we are willing to splurge or save on. I love to hear people’s ideas and see how they save money even if that isn’t how I would do it! I wish you the best of luck with your blog and I look forward to reading more!!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Andrea!

  • mamabear

    Thank you for this. You got (excuse me for being blunt) Balls.. I have been so afraid to talk about it until recently.. still am to friends.. because I do not think they would understand,
    2 years ago, We went from making 60k a year to I think less than 24k. After purchasing a home, and DH getting laid off 3 months later, it hit us hard. Thank goodness we took into consideration possible layoff before the home was purchased.
    ( and paid off all debt but student loans ) but still we did not expect to lose so much income. Being a SAHM for 5 years, and being thrust back into full time work was so hard. I could never make what DH made. Thank goodness as a SAHM I researched more and more ways to cut costs at home. I wish when we were making what I considered decent money at the time, we were smarter about it. We finally learned through God, our church, that should have never been about the money, but about the relationships. Funny thing is, now that we are not making the “big bucks” we are happier, DH is happier in his new job. But he learned through all this, that his identity is not what he does for a living or how much he makes.. I am happier. Our relationship with each other and our kids is better. When we are not focused on buying this or that or having this or that, and we focus ourselves on each other and our relationship with God instead, how much more fulflling life actually is. I have so much pride and joy in making things now for my family. It is a sense of accomplishment when i can proudly say I spend 300 bucks a month on food for a family of 5 ( to be a family of six soon!) or, that I made something from scratch that cost me .50 to make instead of 5 dollars to buy. ( thank you Miserly Moms book and internet) Knowing for me, my purpose is to raise my kids the way God wants me to, show them what a woman, mom and wife is suppose to be and I am content and happy where we are at. The lay off was a blessing. It Put everything into perspective. It is possible to live on a small income and be happy. I, like you, choose relationships over more money. I may have no TV, cell phones, etc. but all those things distract us from our relationships anyway. I believe I have a more fulfilling relationships because I don’t have those things (I also have more money in my pocket too :)

    • Kimberlee

      Lovely comment! You and I share the same perspective. Thank you for sharing. :)

  • Christie Martin

    Holy cow, what a trip it was stumbling over your site! My husband and I don’t really talk about the reasons why I am at home and we are homeschooling to anyone outside the family, so it was very strange to read our reasons here in someone else’s words! I would like to add that the discipline needed to function at this level of financial means makes us more disciplined (that’s a no brainer, eh?). When we were DINKs we had more stuff, but we were always chasing after more. We’ve learned a whole lot more about life and ourselves and even charity choosing to live this way. So glad to have “met” you!

    • Kimberlee

      Nice to “meet” you too Christie! This lifestyle has definitely produced more discipline in my life and let me tell you, I needed it! Thanks for stopping by. :)

  • Alicia

    When I was pregnant I knew I would resent not being their to watch my baby grow. I chose to work part time. By not having daycare we have saved money, but we also have an amazing relationship with out son.

    I am great at being poor. ;-) We don’t miss cable (we do have Netflix) and even though we qualified for food stamps we didn’t take them, we can afford to pay for our food by being smart.

    What you are doing is great, and I look forward to reading through for more ideas. I could rant forever, but you probably share similar sentiments on most of what I would say.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Alicia! We have chosen not to take government assistance as well. Makes it harder in a way, but I’m glad we made the choice.

  • Judy

    You are making such good choices. I find it sad that you have to be sort of cautious that people may judge you because you make little money. Everyone should have the same idea as you, to live on what you have and to be happy. That’s what life is all about! My husband was in the army and is currently going to school so we live off of my income (which is actually very good) and I am ALWAYS looking for ways to live more simply so that we can save money to help our little one have a stress free and debt-free education when he is older. I often wish I could stay home because I feel like we all have life wrong (living to work instead of working to live) but currently that’s just nto an option for us. I am so proud and even envious of you to MAKE what you want happen. Congratulations!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks for your encouragement Judy. The important thing is to make the choices that are right for your family, which is exactly what you are doing. :)

  • Kelly {the Centsible Life}

    I found this series via Pinterest. I’m amazed at many of the commonalities in our lives. Looking forward to reading this series, and digging back through your blog.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Kelly!

  • Christina

    Thank you so much for sharing! I can’t wait to read through this series. My husband and I have been married for 2 1/2 years and have an 8 month old. We’ve made the decision for me to be a stay at home mom and would both love it if I could homeschool when the time comes. As of now our income is not quite as much as yours and we could use any encouragement and advice we can get on how to cut back. Again, thank you so much for this!

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Christina!

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Christina!

  • Jackie Walters

    Well, Kimberlee – you apparently made the right choice to come out and write about your income and how you live on only $28,000/yr. Kudo’s to you and your family. I look forward to following your blog.

    There are a lot of comments :)

    • Kimberlee

      It looks like you are right Jackie. I seem to have hit a nerve with this series. Thanks for following. :)

  • Emily

    My family also lives on an income of 29,000 a year with 8 children. I do all I can to make EVERY penny count! It is often hard, but I would rather raise my babies to love Jesus and themselves more than going out and getting a job so we can spend less time together and more money on stuff not needed!!! I know I can not provide All their wants, but I do provide all their needs and we allow ourselves a CHEAP vacation EVERY year…..It is so worth the efforts to spend time with my kids!!!

    • Kimberlee

      You can probably teach me some things Emily!

  • Carrie

    I came across this when a friend pinned it on pinterest and it came at the perfect time! My husband and I have decided for me to take a break from work (I work part time from home but it has become such a source of stress), so I can focus on raising my 4 month old. Its something we just started praying about and feel like finding this was an answer to pray as it will be a bit of a strain financially for me to not be working. I’m excited to start reading along!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Carrie! You will never regret spending more time with your baby. Good luck!

  • Katy

    HI! I am already so encouraged by this post! I was teaching in a public school last year and my husband is also a teacher. We decided we wanted to start family and knew we could not keep our values with me working full time. I am not staying home and am pregnant with our first baby. We are living on my husband’s salary which is about $2,200 a month as well (health insurance, retirement, etc. takes away about half of his check). I can’t wait to read the rest of your posts and get a some good ideas before we welcome our new addition! Thank you for being willing to be vulnerable in order to bless others!!! :)

    • Katy

      I’m sorry. I meant that “I am now* staying home.”

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Katy. Glad you’re here. :)

  • Tina

    I’m so excited to have stumbled on this series. I found it on Pinterest. I’m really looking forward to seeing how you do things. We are also a family of six, homeschooling, one income and don’t bring in much more than you do each month. It’s a struggle. I’m very excited about your series. Thanks for being willing to share.

    • Kimberlee

      You are welcome Tina!

  • Sarah


    I just found your site off of Pintrest. Thank you for stepping out and sharing. Sometimes I think people forget that we are meant to help each other out and I feel you are doing this well by sharing your successes. My family has made the choice to live off of my income alone while my husband returns to school and helps out around the house with our two little girls. It is challenging and not everyone in our life understands our choices. Please for everyone who was precious enough to comment above do not be discouraged by anyone. For every one negative there are a million positives. I look forward to reading more.

    Thank you – Sarah

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Sarah and you are right, we shouldn’t be discouraged by others negative comments. We just need to do what we feel is right for our family based on our beliefs.

  • Kadi

    I also found you on pinterest and I am glad I did. I love that you are brave enough to this; that by itself is inspiring. I definately agree about the relationships and money (family is EVERYTHING). My Uncle Andy even quit his job one time along time ago because they wouldn’t let him have Christmas off to spend with his family and that is exactly how I am. Anyway, I can’t wait to read more. Thank you Kimberlee.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Kadi!

  • Kristin

    Thank you for doing this! So many people are quick to judge others financial decisions and it can be so hurtful! I am so excited to follow this series!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Kristin!

  • Mandi

    Yay! For similar reasons, we also live on a pretty small budget with four children, and I’m struggling trying to make it work. I’m really looking forward to your ideas + suggestions. Thank you!

  • Bonnie

    I too found you on Pinterest and I am so excited to see what you have to offer! We are working on becoming debt free and any help in the area of saving and budgeting is welcome. I admire you for sharing and look forward to following!!

  • Bridget

    I am so glad I came across this on pinterest. It is so refreshing to see that there are still people who value relationships and family over things and money. I live in a community where things and money are considered far superior and its sad. Also as a single mom of two making far less it is essential to make every dollar count.

    • Kimberly

      Bridget, I completely understand your situation. I grew up in an area where most people live in poverty, but where I live now, things and money are definitely superior to family values. I get frustrated with co-workers who always preach about having more things and making more money. I LOVE being married to my husband and best friend and don’t care that he doesn’t make much money doing a job that he absolutely loves and that I admire him for (he’s an EMT, which makes me so proud). But I have co-workers who tell me I made a mistake because I didn’t marry for money, despite that I say I’m happy and have a wonderful family with my husband and our 2 sons. One co-worker always says to me that she’d rather be crying in the back of a Bentley than happy on a bike. In other words, being rich and unhappy would be better than poor and happy. It makes me sad that people think having money is much better than happiness. But that is the attitude with people where I live. It frustrates me sometimes as I get tired of hearing it, but when I go home and find so much to be happy about and thankful for, I don’t care what anyone else says or thinks.

  • Lori

    How blessed your children are to have such wonderful parents! I think it is overwhelmingly unselfish of you to make such a sacrifice for your family…..although I’m sure you feel blessed to be able to spend so much time with them. May God rain down blessings on your sweet family. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with other moms.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for your very kind encouragement Lori!

  • Anna

    I am so impressed by the hard choices that you have made for the greater good of your family. You are sooo right that relationships are eternal and money and possessions are not. I live in a pretty affluent area of the country, and needless to say, priorities and values seem mixed up. People can say what their values are, but how you live shows what you truly value. No matter what a family’s income is, we all need to live within our means. Your children are learning such valuable lessons from you. I feel blessed that I ran across your site and can learn from you as well. Thank you for your transparency, so that others may learn from you! God bless!

  • Kelsea Flinn

    Thank you so much for this! I’m still a college student and am getting married this decemeber to my high school sweetheart. Even though we have the support from our families we still worry a lot about how we are going to make ends meet with school. You give me hope that we need to put our relationship first and not money, with being smart and frugal we can do just that. As you said I will never regret being with him and having that quality time, however I would regret working 60 hour weeks. Thank you I look forward to reading more!

  • Michelle

    I am so thrilled to have found out about this! I saw a pin for this series on pinterest and had to look.

    We are a family of six and until last July, made less than $28,000. My husband left a job he loved for an increase in pay only slightly above the poverty line. This job, however, is more of a burden to us than we had expected and I’m not sure it was worth it for us. He is now looking for work again. He still has work, but we both want him to find something more suitable for him.

    This is an extremely encouraging post for me. It reminds me that it can be done! Even if we never wind up under 28,000 again, this has encouraged me to be more diligent with our finances. I love both Mary Hunt and Dave Ramsey, by the way. It has been a rough year for our family in more ways than one and the careful budgeting we had in place kind of fell apart for awhile there. Time to get back up and start again!

    Thank you for having the courage to share this with the public.

    God Bless!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks for your encouragement Michelle. Good luck getting back on track. :)

  • Frank

    I want to preface my comment by saying that I am sooo excited to read this series. Though I make almost 3 times what you are living off of, I have started to think that I should learn to live with far less than I do now (as I used to when I was younger). Mostly this is driven by my desire to live a simpler life and to depend less on my job (living on less allows me more job opportunities).

    Now on to my comment, which it not really on the topic of your series, but on one comment you made:

    “Growing up I often heard that there were two things that you never talk about: politics and religion.”

    While I agree with you on the latter, the former I have to disagree. As a nation, as a world really, we need to be more involved in our government and be willing to discuss openly our views on that subject. Yes, people will disagree, but learning to get pass that and really come together is something we need, now more than ever. I don’t look down on you for your decision to not talk politics, but I encourage you to give it a try and make sure you preface any conversations with the idea that you are looking for an open forum of discussion where anyone’s ideas are welcome. Maybe if we really learn what each other think/want, we can start to understand and eventually compromise for a better country/world.

    Just my $.02.

    Now on to your articles! Can’t wait!

    • Stephanie


      I was thinking the same thing! Well said :)

      We don’t have to agree but we must talk. Sharing ideas is best.

  • Jessica Sheridan

    Just wanted you to know that your story is such an inspiration! So excited to know that it is possible! Our family also values relationships/family more then money but we just needed to know how to make it work. Thank you for sharing!

  • chrisd

    Hi and congratulations on your new adventure.

    I am a stay at home mom. I have a 15 yo with asperger’s, a daughter who’s 13 and lost her mind and an 11 yo with ADHD, OCD and probably some learning problems.

    I am looking forward to your suggestions!

    • Kimberlee

      Have all 13 yo’s lost their minds? haha!

      • Janet


  • Audra Curtis

    You go girl!! Hang in there knowing that, though some may criticize, there are many more of us standing behind you!! (And willing to stand in front of you too, if you need it!)

    • Kimberlee

      So sweet Audra–thanks! (Really, that just made my day.) :)

  • Jenn

    Thank you for posting this! I am a (former) public school teacher who decided to become a stay-at-home mom when my son was born last year. My husband owns his own small trade business so our situation is somewhat similar. I have been very encouraged by your post. Things have been tight at times but God is good and He has always provided. I think God shows us favor when we put relationships before money and I pray that He will continue to bless your family (and mine) :)

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Jenn. He will because He is faithful!

  • Shannon

    Our recent financial hardship has been a bonding éxperience for our family. My daughter actually sent me the link to this article. I can’t wait to read the next one. Thank you for opening up your experiences for us to share.

    • Kimberlee

      Shannon, I am sorry for your difficulty, but I have found that God can work the best during those times. I am glad you’re here. :)

  • jo

    I think it’s really great that you are doing this. We are a family of 3, living on less than $28,000 is sometimes a struggle for us, and I feel like I get a lot of judgement for choosing to be a stay-at-home mom. I am excited to read about your tips for living on a budget. Thank you for being brave enough to “put it all out there”

  • Meg

    I just wanted to say that it truly is amazing the lifestyle that you are able to lead. I wish that I had 1/10 the financial sense and self control that you do! I make about what your family of 6 lives off and I feel like things are tight just for me and my one dog!

    Reading this has made me really consider looking at where I can cut back (I’m one of the ridiculous people who buys $200 jeans you spoke of in another post – that’d be a good place to start, huh?) Thanks so much for sharing all of this and good luck with everything, your children are very lucky.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Meg. Don’t be hard on yourself–just decide what your priorities are and stick to them. :)

  • Tammy

    Like a few others I read found this through Pinterest. I have made some monetary choices most people won’t also. But like you I deal with Asperger’s syndrome in my oldest child. I also have a wide gap in ages with my oldest being in her teens and my youngest in preschool. I look forward to reading more about how you did it. I know I can learn something.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Tammy!

  • Julie

    Thank you for sharing – we made the decision for my husband to stay at home last year with our daughter. It was the best decision we ever made, but a year later we blew through most of our savings, and we need to start being a little more intentional about our finances. It’s worth every dime and saved our family for one of us to stay home – I can’t wait to learn from your experiences!

  • Amy

    Hey! I just found your blog through Pinterest and I am already encouraged. My family is in a similar situation… I had a teaching license, but we decided I would stay home when our daughter was born. My husband has struggled to find a job that fits him, and this past year he said no to a higher-paying career because it would take him away from his family. I’ve often felt judged or guilty when friends have asked him, “why doesn’t she go back to work?” but that wasn’t what we wanted for our family. I’m excited to read your blog because, although I know we’ve been able to budget with one child, I sometimes wonder if we’re crazy to want more kids on our income! Knowing that you’ve found a way is so encouraging to me!

  • mona

    love this series and love you too….

    • Kimberlee

      Oh, thank you Mona! :)

  • L.

    Thank you SO MUCH for writing this series! My boyfriend and I are seriously considering getting married this summer. I was browsing Pinterest and saw that someone had pinned this series. It jumped out at me because that’s what he makes after taxes! This will be such a blessing as we start to learn to manage a household together! Thank you!

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome L.! :)

  • L.

    I forgot to mention that I have Celiac disease, therefore I have to eat Gluten Free. I’m so thankful for finding your blog! Such a blessing!

  • Dawn

    I am so grateful to have come across this post on Pinterest. I, too, am a former school teacher. I, too, have decided to stop working for the sake of my family, thus living on far less money than we are used to. I was going crazy trying to juggle my demanding full time job (that I always took home with me) and my husband and three kids. I think people thought we were crazy, at first, that we made the decision we did (maybe even my husband!). We even have debt we are still trying to reduce, but I couldn’t take the stress and chaos in our family anymore. My house still isn’t spotless, and I am definitely not the perfect homemaker, but it was definitely the right choice for us at this time. With faith in God, we have made it just fine so far (a little hard to believe when I really think about it). I am looking forward to following this series. Thank you for your bravery, and know that you are not alone!

    • Kimberlee

      Dawn, who has a spotless house with kids in it? :)

  • Robyn

    Wow…I read this and it is nearly a duplicate of my crazy life! I too have a child with Asperger’s (a daughter), another with severe asthma and a third that thankfully just wants to be busy! They are all girls (triplets) and just became teenagers. I work full-time as a one-on-one aide and also have a part-time job as an on-line instructor. My husband substitutes in our local school district. We live so close to the wire sometimes that it is very scary. I am so excited to be following your blog so I can help our family learn to live better with less as I do not want (or need) yet another job to keep me away from my family!

  • Tessa

    So glad I found this on Pinterest! I’m 22 and work as a massage therapist while trying to put myself through physical therapy school. I like any ideas on how to stretch a dollar because I certainly do not make much money to live off of!

  • MommyNamedApril

    good for you. we also went down to one income (my husbands) which was the smaller of the two for similar reasons… hoping to learn something from you!

  • Ashlee

    wow over 300 comments! Amazing what opening up your heart and being honest does! I am so so so excited about this series, I cannot even describe it. We are a family of 4 and we have chosen to have me stay at home with our 2 daughters (1 will be 3 in May and one is 3 months) and my husband currently makes $24,000 and just accepted a new position, in a more expensive town that he’ll make $28,000. I left a job where I made nearly double, but not only would my husband be a miserable as a homemaker he is also a veterinarian, so using his doctorate degree is important. It just is long hours and doesn’t pay well during the residency/training years. We know it’ll be a sacrifice to have me at home with my girls, but it’s what is truly best for our family. I cannot wait to hear the other parts!

  • lydia purple

    thank you for sharing this this is really encouraging to see somebody choosing relationships over money even if it requires discipline and careful planning. lots of people i know would in theory choose relationships over money, but they actually don’t, even though they have a choice with a much better financial outlook than your family (or mine). My husband works for a non-profit organization too and we are below the poverty line considering the numbers… but we do much better financially than lot of people we know who earn up to 5x more than we do and it just doesn’t make sense to me. I wonder where all their money goes?

    I will be back to read on and maybe learn a few more bits for our financial planning. we do have a strict no debt policy ever since we got married and stick to it. for budgeting we did try different things but haven’t settled on a certain way… which is not a big deal, because after rent, bills and groceries there isn’t much to budget so usually extra money goes for clothing or shoes that are needed. for hobbies we either use birthday money, or I sell stuff we don’t use/need or things I made to get some funds for craft supplies.

  • Stephanie

    I am very interested to find out your ideas. I work full time and so does my fiancee but we by no means make a lot of money. I have two girls 4 and 7. I would like to have another child but money is a concern for me. I would love to be able to stay home and can’t wait to hear your great ideas. I like the idea of focusing on the family and not the financial.

  • Alaina

    I was so excited when I discovered this on gave great hope and encouragement to my family who value family over anything and are pretty much in the same boat as you! thanks so much!

  • Julianne

    I am SO excited to read these posts!!! My husband and I have been completely blessed to have our housing included in our employment, but it means that we make minimum wage. Budgeting what we have can be difficult and I can’t wait to hear your advice. I am definitely with you on this journey :)

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you so much for sharing this!!!! It seriously warms my heart to know that there are families still out there that know the true meaning of a family. I come from a family of eight and money could be tight sometimes but my parents always made time for each individual. It always helped me knowing my parents were there for me and I could talk to them about anything. I hope to be the same way with my family whenever I become a mother and wife! Thank you again for sharing and I hope your life is filled with many pleasant adventures! :)

  • penny

    I’m so glad I found your blog. You inspire me. We do ok financially, but doesn’t everyone want MORE!! I know I do. there are lots of things we would rather spend our hard earned money on, than overpaying for ANYTHING we NEED. So, I hope i can be motivated as well as inspired, unlike pinning all the things on pinterest that i will do ONE DAY. LOL. congrats to you, and your family for the hard work and god bless you for sharing with others.

  • Liz

    Good for you guys! We too, value our relationships. We are in a similar boat. While my husband does have a master’s degree, he is a teacher so we’re in no way rich. We are always looking for ways to save money and I’m excited to learn more. Thanks for being so brave as to share!

  • Erin

    I am glad I ran across your blog. I am in almost the same circumstances. My husband is the only one that works, and he only makes $15/hour, which gets us about $31,000/year for a family of 7. It’s pretty tough. We don’t live in the house we want, things are tight, but we manage, and we do pretty well at it. It’s all a matter of priorities.

  • Lindsi

    God Bless you and your family. how beautiful it is to know there is a family who values each other. I try to imbed that with my husband and daughter as well. We are currently in debt with medical bills, etc and I am very much looking forward to learning your tricks.
    Thanks for taking that step and sharing. what a blessing to find your blog!!

  • Carla Budde

    Good for you! My husband and I made the same choice. We raised 5 children. A lot of people judged because I choose to be a stay at home Mom instead of working.I will never regret my decision! Often times, less is really more! You cannot put a price on time spent with your family and being able to pour into your children. They won’t remember the material things, but they will remember that you were always there for them……..God always provides! He showed me time after time how to be creative and use what resources I had available. I am glad you are sharing what you have learned. Blessings to you and your family!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for your encouragement Carla!

  • Anou

    Wow – so happy i’ve found this site! In this day and age your words are so honest and refreshing, it’s exactly the kind of thing we need more of!

    Keep up the good work!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Anou!

  • Marla

    Thank you for the encouraging posts! I will be following. We’ve made very similar choices and the ONLY thing I’ve ever regretted about these choices is that I am a poor money manager. Looking forward to learning more!

  • Erica

    I just want to thank you for making this blog…I so desperately needed to hear this…my husband and I have 2 children (a 16 month old boy and a 3 month old girl) and we have had financial struggles the whole time we have been married…a few weeks after getting married, my husband lost his job and I was working as a preschool teacher for a church preschool (more of a ministry than a money maker) so needless to say, we didn’t have enough to support ourselves. Thankfully our church family helped us a lot. When I became pregnant with our second child, I decided not to teach the following year, and my husband still hasn’t been able to secure a job. I feel so strongly that I need to be home with our children (and I plan on homeschooling as well). It is so difficult for me to do this because my husband isn’t working, and I know I could have a job quite easily with 3 years teaching experience and a cosmetology license. I want to work, and I hate having no money, but I want to be home with my children. Lots of people do not understand my choice to stay home, and I hate the feeling of being judged; but I am so blessed to say that God has provided for us despite our circumstances, and the relationship I get to have with my children is worth so much more than all the money in the world. Thank you for sharing your story!!! It has encouraged me, and I look forward to reading your blog :)

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Erica-That sounds like a really difficult situation. Can your husband find any work to do (like delivering pizza or working in retail) until he can find a good paying job? I pray that he can find work soon. Glad you’re here. :)

  • Lindsay Y.

    I saw your post come through on Pinterest and thought it looked interesting so I pulled it up. But that’s where it stayed – as a tab, just waiting for me to read it….for probably a good two weeks. Well just the other day we had our taxes done and while I knew we were pretty broke last year due to my husband losing his job just 8 weeks after our 4th child was born, I had no idea that our family of 6 had lived off a gross income of $23,000. I was FLOORED to say the least. I mean I had an inkling, but when you’re living paycheck to paycheck anyway, what’s the point of actually figuring out how much you’re making?! Like you, from the very beginning, my husband and I decided that I would stay home with our children. It just comes down to priorities, plain and simple. I think it’s AWESOME that you are being so open and honest about everything. I was wavering myself about how open to be on my blog about this, too. I do think that subjects like this can be super helpful for those struggling to decide if they can “make it” on one income, or other situations. God provides – there’s no denying it.

    • Kimberlee

      Wow Lindsay! That is a great testimony of God’s faithfulness. Thanks for sharing. :)

  • Christi

    Thank you for sharing. I am a stay at home mom of two. We also make sacrifices with my making this choice but every time I feel like, gee, maybe I should get a job, I read something like your story and it keeps my perspective in tact. There are so many positives to being at home with your kids and daycare is so expensive! God is great and He will provide. Keep doing what you’re doing because it really is helping others. :)

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Christi!

  • Elaine

    We are at a different stage in our life – empty nesters! We’ve been where you are, but now we have more money. However, we would like to be good stewards of our money and use our money unselfishly. So, I would love to learn how to maximize our income not just spend every dime we make!

  • Holly

    I love reading this very first introduction! Our family too values relationships over money. My husband could easily find a higher paying job, but with the current one he has his employer is understanding and flexible when it comes to when our children are ill and such. To us right now that is a huge benefit versus money right now. I’m glad to find someone else who values those relationships and know they will be around much longer and more valuable.

  • Tressie

    Thanks for sharing this! I am currently a school counselor and mommy of a 15 month old daughter and new baby due in July. My husband and I are considering me staying home after this school year, as I desperately want to be home with my kids. We are working on our budget and this post has really inspired me that we are moving in the right direction. My husband is self-employed and does well, but my income is huge in our budget. Learning to re-think our spending and reduce our debt is challenging but able to be done. We are trusting God will lead us in the right direction. I am looking forward to reading more of your blog and learning more ways to save. Thanks again for sharing!

    • Kimberlee

      Tressie-I really hope that you can work it out to stay home with your children, and I’m happy that hopefully I can help you in some small way to do that. Blessings!

  • shawnda

    Just wanted to let you know, I appreciate all of your advice. You are such an encouragement. My husband just got a new job and I quit mine to be home with my boys and take some classes to further my degree. So anyone who judges you is ridiculous. Thank you for your blog! I love it!

    • Kimberlee

      Thank you Shawnda!

  • Maria

    I’m so happy my friend shared this on FB. Our family of 5 lives on about $21,000 a year and I’m not sure how we struggle through. I’m excited to read the rest of this series.

  • Leah

    I am so excited and blessed to read this series on your blog! We also live on less than $28,000. I stay home with my 3 kids, one who has celiac and another with a sleep disorder. My husband works for his family’s business and works at least six 12 hour days a week. It just doesn’t make sense for me to work, at least not for our family. It is very reassuring to see other people in this situation. Thank you for sharing!

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Leah. Please feel free to comment on any of the posts with ideas you have found. :)

  • Ali

    I think its great what your family is doing. We have chosen family to live in less so that I can continue to be a stay at home mom. It had been difficult so far, and I may go back to work part time eventually. I look forward to your tips!

    • Kimberlee

      Being a stay at home mom definitely has it’s challenges, but I think the sacrifice is worth it. I hope you can find some encouragement here. :)

  • Courtney @ Bake. Eat. Repeat.

    I am so glad I found this! Thank you so much for sharing. My husband and I are considering having children, but I would like to be able to stay home when we do. This, of course, means transitioning from two incomes to one, and adding the expense of a child. This post was a huge encouragement though. Made me realize maybe we don’t have to wait another 10 years for that to be possible!

    • Kimberlee

      Definitely not Courtney! Could you possibly cut some expenses now and start saving most of one of your incomes? Then you would have a realistic idea of the kinds of changes you would have to live with. The other issue is that children really aren’t as expensive as people would lead you to believe. You can get many items cheap or free and if you breastfeed you can save an amazing amount of money. Good luck!

  • Kim

    I want to applaud what you are doing. I followed the same path and all of my kids (4) are adults now and they ENJOY being around us (their parents). We didn’t have a lot, and we still don’t, but our kids are the best proof that people who put relationships first always win in the end.

    Other things I’ve noticed because we did this:

    1. The kids interact with other people of varying age groups better. I attribute this to the homeschooling environment because they didn’t have their *age group* around – but had something better – variety and diversity of ages.
    2. The kids have a “I’m going to choose the better things in life – like philanthropy and relationships” mentality. They are also very practical and know they have to support themselves, but you can choose to live simply and be rich in other things.
    3. They weren’t “sheltered” – we had lots of examples in our neighborhood of some really bad environments and situations. But because we emphasized relationships, we had the time to talk to them about the choices others made and how it produced the bad results they saw.

    I just want to encourage everyone out there that living simply can be done. Since I am speaking from the other end of the path – it is entirely worth it. The joys will be in the fruits you produce in your kids.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for the encouragement Kim. I too enjoy the fact that my children can interact with people of many different ages and walks of life. It’s funny that people think home schooled children are socially backward. I have found the exact opposite. :)


    I am so glad I found this! My husband and I want to start a family and it is important to us that one of us stays home. I was scared we could not afford it but this gives me hope that we can! I look forward to reading this blog.

    • Kimberlee

      It is definitely possible Michelle! Good luck!

  • Elizabeth

    I am SO glad u decided to share this and that I found it! Can’t wait to read the rest of the series! After taxes, tithes, insurance…we live on probably around 16,000. And that’s being optimistic! And we’re doing well! It’s hard, but it can be done!

  • Sara

    I haven’t even finished reading your entire blog and already i say THANK YOU FOR SHARING SUCH GREAT INFO! My husband and I both work so we can pay our mortgage, bills and be able to go out a little. We have a little one and we hope that one day I’ll be able to stay at home with him and (God willing) our future kids. I hope to try to use some of what you are sharing so I can raise my kids instead of a sitter. It’d be nice to spend more time with my family. By the time I get home from work, alls I have time to do is wash dishes, get dinner ready, feed my little one, eat, play for about 1/2 hour, bathtime for my little one and bed time. It’s just rush rush rush. I spent a weekend with my neighbor who is a stay at home mom and we WALKED to the grocery store (i’m always in such a hurry and our grocery store is only a mile away- but i stil drive to get there faster!) and our kids were playing around and she looked at me and happily said- “Well, we’re in no rush”.. and FOR ONCE! I thought- wow- we aren’t! And this is so darn nice! I don’t want to become bitter – I am a happy person! But work, motherhood, and being a wife is tiring me out and the stress is sucking the happiness out of me. :( So thank you! You give me hope and inspiration that YES- IT CAN BE DONE! :)

    • Kimberlee

      Thank you so much for telling me Sara. It makes me so happy when moms can find a way to stay home with their children. Blessings!

  • prasti

    i came across this post through a friend’s pin on pinterest, and i am so excited to get into the series. my husband and i are working towards becoming debt free, and are striving to simplify our living. Lord-willing, by the end of this year we should be able to live off of approx. the same amount as your amount per month (and we are so excited for that!). we are also a family of 6 (soon to be 7) and living off of one income (and currently partially supporting my father-in-law who is also living with us). God has really convicted and transformed our views on living and money, and how much more peaceful and stress-free it is when you simplify your living. like that one commenter said about God showing us favor when we choose relationships over money…i think he blesses us abundantly when we are walking with him and staying faithful to him (even when it comes to money).

    thanks for your honesty and for sharing something so personal.

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Prasti. So glad you are finding it helpful. :)

  • Bekah

    I too found your blog through pinterest. I cannot wait to read more! We are a family of 6 soon 7 … working on becoming debt free … simplifying living … one income … gee kinda sounds like prasti’s pots all over again, huh?

    Thank you so much for this series – I am looking forward to hearing more!

  • Amanda Clark

    I admire your bravery in being so open! You have every right to be very proud of the way you manage your finances & your home. I look forward to reading all you have to say. Thanks!

  • Dr. Briana

    Well, at this point you should know that I do not judge anyone who makes different choices than we do.

    Love that line! Keep it up! :)

  • tarah

    i came across your blog through pinterest. and its AMAZING. I tried to figure out how to set up something like this with our budget but I cant seem to figure it out. we get paid every 2 weeks. is there any way you can help me with this?? i would greatly appreciate it! i am so tired of living paycheck to paycheck.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Tarah! Basically you would figure out your monthly expenses and divide them by two to get the amount you need to put aside from each paycheck. You probably have some bills you will need to pay immediately with the next paycheck. Pay those and then leave the minimum amount you need for living expenses (food, gas, toiletries) in your main account. Transfer any extra money (even if it is only a small amount) into a second account. As much as possible try to leave that money alone. With each paycheck as you add money to the account, you will eventually get to the point where you have enough to pay the bills that are due and have enough in your regular paycheck to save for the next month’s bills. Does that make sense?

      You can also read my post here about how to quickly get some extra money to fund the account or read this post about how we changed things around in 3 months.

    • Crystal

      We, too, get paid every 2 weeks (well, actually twice a month), and what I did was to sit down with our bills and divide them out so that we would have an even amount of money coming out from each check. So, some bills that are due the 3rd of the month, get paid early from our 15th of the month check. I have a lot of my bills set to auto pay through my bank’s billpay system, and when we get our paycheck, I can sit down with the checkbook and budget, write down everything that’s going to come out…then go to the ATM for our cash envelopes (gas, groceries, household/misc. needs, date night, small amount of spending money), and not think about my finances at all until our next pay check. It’s actually quite nice to know it’s all taken care of!

  • Kathy

    I too love these posts. I have a question? When you plan your meals do you buy or plan any snacking? and How do you keep your kids from eating some of the stuff you bought for meals. Meaning they eat them for a snack. My son who too has aspergers tends to want to eat all the time. I try to do menues, because like you I am on a very tight budget, and when I go to make some of the meals I end up with missing ingrediants. Like the pop corn, cheese, corn chips.
    As I have told you before I love your blog. You are the one mother I can really relate to. My son will be 16 this month. I would love to chat sometime about our sons via e-mail if we could.
    thank you so much for you time you put into this blog.

    • Kimberlee

      Our solution to the snacking has been to designate a shelf in the pantry just for snacks that the kids can eat. Everything else is off limits. When my son was younger, his snacks were kept in a separate box with his name because he would get very upset when his siblings ate “his” food (something he wanted). We have a fruit bowl that is available at all times and I buy things like microwave popcorn, banana chips, nuts, fruit snacks, raisins, etc. when I find them on sale. We also make homemade yogurt or fruit juice popsicles (click here for the yogurt pops recipe). Anything that seems “snacky” like the corn chips or tortilla chips is kept on the very highest shelf of the pantry and I make it very clear that those are off limits. So far it has worked for us.

      I would be happy for you to send me an email. My address is kimberlee (at) thepeacefulmom (dot) com. I look forward to hearing from you. :)

  • April Counts

    You are doing exactly the right thing for your family and marriage, and I applaud you for it. God bless you.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much April. :)

  • Michelle DeHart

    Thank you so much for sharing! Our family, too, has made the decision for me to stay home. I am so scared about our financial future but am trusting God. He knows our hearts. I have a 10 year old son with Aspergers Syndrome and am a home school mom as well. With 5 children ranging in ages from 3-23, I am so excited to hear how you are making it all work. Thank you, again, and God bless you and your family!

  • tracy dickinson

    love the idea of this series…..just started reading…found you through pinterest. maybe this has been asked already…but is the 28k your gross or net income? just curious. my husband and i are also a one income family and stretch the limits to make it work. looking forward to maybe getting some new ideas.

    • Kimberlee

      We make between $1800 and $2200 a month net which is $21,600-$26,400 a year. I used the “Less than $28,000″ as a round number since our income fluctuates and I didn’t want to exaggerate how low it actually is.

      • Len

        Thank you for sharing, finances are very personal. We are a family of 5 living on about the same as as you, we get told all the time that there is no way we can live like we live, be debt free and make that amount, it’s about priorities. Thank you for sharing, it’s nice to see we are not the only one that places family and sanity above money.

  • Danielle

    Like many others, I came across your blog through a pinterest link. I am so looking forward to reading more! My husband and I are expecting our first baby any day now and while we have known all along that me staying home is a priority for us, we have still struggled in making the decision because of past financial decisions we are still living with. I follow many money-saving blogs, but at times it gets discouraging because it seems like no one (even the frugal bloggers) lives with the reality of a budget as small as ours. Thank you so much for taking the risk of being open and honest and actually putting a number to it – I am sure you will bless many more than you know!

  • Tammy Eifert

    I just found your blog and find it very encouraging. Just like your family, my family decided it was more important for dad to be home than for him to earn the big paycheck. He went from working for the US government to working for the local public library. We cut our income by more than 2/3rd. Though it has not been easy–we have gained more than we lost. Thanks again and I will keep reading.

  • Kathi

    I am a single older woman living on a small salary. While our circumstances are different, the goal is the same, to live a comfortable life. So I will follow along to learn new ways of living that life. You will never regret your choice of spending this time with your kids. It may be difficult at times, but you will be rewarded. My girls are mothers now, and if I could only give them one piece of advice about raising kids, it would be “give them your time and attention”. It is simple, cheap and the results will be so rewarding as you watch them grow into their own lives!

  • Alyssa

    I am glad to hear about more people devoting time to financial awareness. I have learned that it is rarely about how much money you make but rather it is largely about how you handle it. My husband and I currently both work full time. We have been married for almost 2 years and do not yet have any kids (and probably won’t have kids for at least another 3-4 years since we’re still young, at 24 years old). However, when we first got married we made the choice that our future was more important then the present. To us, right now, that means the following: Even though we have 2 incomes (and we make roughly the same amount) we CHOOSE to live off of just one of our incomes. We save the other income for our future. This way, in the future, we can buy a house when we want, we can afford to take time off for family, and we can have plenty of savings to help when we start having kids and so forth. We honestly get made fun of by friends and family fairly often because we are careful with our money- we both drive beat up cars, we don’t go out to eat every night, we thoroughly research and bargain hunt before we make any large purchase, etc. They don’t understand why we are so uptight and don’t “live a little more.” But, like you mention, this is extremely freeing to us. We never have to worry about basic bills and are totally at peace with our situation in life.

    • Rachel


      I am a mother of three with our fourth on the way and I wish someone had talked to us about doing this!!!!!! I worked for 2 years before we had childeren and we “played” with my income. I wish we hadn’t!!!!!!!! This is the one thing every young couple should do. Stay as debt free as you can and save, save,save!!!!!! I also wished someone would have talked about a budget with us. It would have saved us a lot of headache and debt. We are getting out of our debt now and it feels so good to be freed from it! I guess I just wanted to say way to go and keep it up!

  • Linda

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! We have been living on 1/3 of our “normal” salary for the last 4 years now. It has been tough, especially considering our hefty mortgage. However, with 2 years of haggling and LOTS of prayer, Bank of America has given us a loan modification!!! We are still tight, but holding on. And do I want to go back to spending the way we used to??? NEVER!!!! I love our life!!! Thanks for your transparency!!!
    Linda in GA

  • Annette

    I found your blog via Pinterest! I’m so excited to start reading this! We have a 12 year old (13 next month) and a 7 month old. It took us 10 years to get our 7 month old, (fertility treatments, shots, surgery, etc…nothing worked) when she finally came along we were thrilled. We decided to try for a 3rd, expecting to need fertility treatments to get pregnant, but it only took one month and we’re pregnant. We’re excited, but scared too. My mil has always watched my kids, but because she has other grand kids to watch she refuses to watch another baby. Choosing not to put the babies in daycare, we decided I will stay home after the baby comes. This will cut our income in half. The thought of it is already causing my husband to be on edge with me. I’m glad I found this blog…I am definitely needing encouragement right now.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Annette! I hope you can find some encouragement here.

  • Crystal

    I love that you are being open like this! I’ve planned to do a full financial series on my blog but never really got around to it. We have a smaller family (4 people, but diapers are, but live on about the same amount per month. I’m often criticized for why we choose to do so, but people just don’t understand.

  • K.T.

    Thank you for sharing, I am so impressed! Can’t wait to read more :~)

  • Rachel

    This is wonderful! Thank you so much for doing this! I can’t wait to read through all of your tips.

  • Jayanne

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience. I look forward to reading more.
    Sincerly, Jayanne

  • sarah

    i am so encouraged by your first posting on why you do what you do. my husband and i have been struggling for the past 3 years to keep our kids in a private school that i was working at part time. we have made the choice this year to homeschool, and live on only his income. i was a monster of a mom and wife at the end of each day, and i realized that my relationship with my husband and children were way more imoportant than my job or keeping the kids in a private school. i realized that i can be who God has created me to be by first serving my husband and then my children. thank you for sharing, i look forward to reading and hopefully applying some of them.

    • Kimberlee

      So happy that you could come home Sarah. :)

  • Lisa

    Hi! I found your blog this morning (thru your post on moneysavingmom) and already read thru your ebook. I am SOOO excited to read thru this series. We waited a long time to get pregnant and when we did we found out we were having twins. I ended up deciding to stay home since daycare costs just as much or more and I didn’t want others raising my kids I had waited so long for. SO many people ask me why I don’t go back to work since it is a struggle to survive on half our previous income with 2 kids in diapers. No one seems to see the value in purposely choosing to give up luxuries, cable, meals out etc. It is hard to live a life against the mainstream culture and continually focus on the fact that you made this choice for your family. My husband loves not having the stress of what to do with our kids when they are sick, or having to get done with work at a certain time and pick them up before daycare closes etc, there are perks to our decision as well. I agree with a previous comment that most of the budget sites I follow have way more $ in each budget category and we just don’t have that option. I can’t wait to read how you do it-you are a true inspiration and I wish more people could be honest about how hard it is but also how worth while. You are helping way more than one family! Thank YOU!!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Lisa!

  • Jennifer

    I am really looking forward to reading more of your blog and seeing the ideas that you have here! I have (had) worked two jobs for 21+ years and recently gave one of them up. Reason one: poor management (manager was new and we didn’t see eye-to-eye on customer service) and Reason two: I’m single. I’m 40. I’d like to have time to meet someone, take care of my house, etc. The fact that you shared so much of yourself makes you seem unbelievably credible. And sincere. Again, I’m REALLY looking forward to reading more! THANK YOU!

  • Tylene Hayood

    I haven’t finished reading your blog, but I can tell that you’re family values are much like mine. I wish you would concider writing a book of some kind that can show people they can make it a lower income and build their relationship with their family at the same time. I would buy it, read it, and use it as a tool in my life.

  • Gaby

    I totally agree with you… family comes first, relationships are eternal, and your children need you. I am very excited to learn more from your website. THANK YOU for sharing.

  • Kelly

    Came across your blog on Pinterest and can’t wait to follow. We are a family of 4 on a very close income with just one working parent as to stay home with our children. We have eliminated a second car and various bills we considered extras such as cable in order to make our family dream reality. My husband gave up a second job and is now home 2 days a week and every night. We wouldn’t trade this time for anything!

  • chandra

    Thanks for sharing your story. I prayed this morning, right before finding your story, asking for guidance, a new way to make it. We are also a family of 6 with an income of less than $28,000. I too have chosen to be a stay-at-home mom, sacrificing “things” for relationships. I greatly appreciate you sharing. I will pray for you and you for me!!!

    • Kimberlee

      Chandra, several people have mentioned to me that they found my blog after praying for help. It is so humbling to know that God is using me in this way. I pray that He will reveal Himself to you in a spectacular way as your Provider. Here are some stories to encourage you:

  • Rachel

    Thank you so much for sharing with all of us! I am a mom of three with one on the way. My kids are 4,2,1, and I am due in October. My husband is in the military and I am a stay-at-home mom. We started out fine with our daughter on one income and then came our son. I kept spending like we had two incomes and that is when we started living from pay check to pay check and using our credit card when we didn’t make it! Now with three and owning a home at our last duty station and renting a home at our current station we find very quickly things had to change and fast! We sat down with some friends that have gone through Dave Ramsey’s finacial books and we got on Crown Financial and planned a budget. We have a spreed sheet that looks very similar to yours for our long term and not “monthly bills” but ones that we pay through the year. We then pay our bills due that pay check (every 1st and 15th) and then we get cash out for everything else like grociery, misc,clothing, ent/rec, and childcare (we pay a sitter for our small group with our church). After that we pay as big a chunk as we can on our debt and then what ever is left we put in our savings/spreed sheet. As you said to try to “stock up” the accounts that will come due first and then work from there. We do have fun goals on there as well but those are waiting for now untill we have paid all our debt!!!!!!! Once we have used up the cash in the catagory it is gone! We have really learned to use it only when we need to and learn to live without things! We get asked often by friends to go out to eat and have to say no because the money for the 2 weeks is gone. We have very small amounts in the “fun” ones but we are able to do it so we do. I am so thankfull that we have started doing this. Bills are not stressfull like they once were! O and the meal planning has been a LIFE SAVER for us!!!!!!! I shope once every two weeks and most times we have cash left over!!!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas. I hope one family changes the way they budget there money and there life can be changed they way ours have!!!!!!!

  • Tiera

    We have made difficult decisions over the years that involve our finances. I left a job making more money for a job that had more family friendly values. I was still working full time, but as the church secretary I was able to have my daughter come into my office, often with friends during her school recesses. She went to the Christian school at our church. Later we decided to homeschool during Jr. & Sr. High due to a move across country and knowing that the schools in the area we moved to are not that great. Instead of a nicer car or bigger home, or newest electronic gadgets, we invested in our daughters Christian education and our family values. It is often difficult doing the right thing, but the right thing is just that and worth it in the end!

  • Amanda

    I am so glad a stumbled across this blog/series! I am 22 and will be graduating from college in a few weeks. I am hoping (and praying) that I will be able to get job and support myself within the next few months and and the idea of organizing my finances has been hanging over my head. Thanks for these great tips!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Amanda!

  • Dld779-browse1

    So proud of you for making choices that are best for your family and not what others think is best for you!! You go girl and best of luck to you always!!

  • julie fulmer

    I also came across your blog through pinterest. I have recently cut my hours at work from 40 hours a week to 8 hours a week. My husband went back on dialysis 9 months ago. I felt like I was needed at home more. Dialysis patients can get very sick very quickly. The money will be very tight but right now the relationship and time that DeWayne & I have is more important than anything else. I am looking forward to reading more.

  • Mira

    I like to hear that you value relationships over money. It is nice to hear also that you like to live simply. That has been a goal of ours for a while.

  • Monique

    I think you have made the right decision for you and your family. Good luck to you and I look forward to reading more about your saving. Please feel free to drop by my site as well.

  • Camilla

    You rock! I look forward to reading your hints and ideas on how to live with less.
    Thank you for sharing!

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for your openness on this topic! My husband and I decided to make the sacrifices it would take for me to stay home and raise our baby son. It is definitely not the cultural norm and it is difficult at times, but it is SO worth it. I look forward to reading the rest of your posts. I feel encouraged already just knowing of one more mom out there with the same values for her family. :)

  • Melody

    Thank you for posting this, I too am a stay at home mom who feels judged for our decision for me to stay home with our 4 boys. I am so looking forward to reading your posts.

  • Tia

    Thank you for sharing your story. I hope more people speak out on the importance of family before things, and money. Here is my story.
    Before my husband and I had our son (9months old now), we brought home a six figure salary. With both of us working, we rarely saw one another. My job required 50 hours a week and 24 hours of being on call. I worked weekends, nights, and many early mornings. My husband would typically travel two weeks out of the month on business. We realized in order to enjoy life with our future kids we would have to make some major changes. We both quit our jobs! He “started over” giving up his supervisor position. I chose to stay at home to care for our son. Suddenly we were making less than half of our previous income. The financial freedom we once enjoyed is now a thing of the past.
    I will forever be grateful we made the choice to live frugally when we had the choice to make. We bought a home that was half of what the bank approved. We chose to save not spend. We paid off student loans and any other looming dept. By the time our son was born our only dept was our house payment, and we had a modest nest egg saved.
    It is tough to watch as our friends remodel their homes, and buy new toys. However, we are still determined to live bellow our current means. We drive used cars, I still own a flip phone, and an old school television. We have cut out cable, and eating out for date night. I have chosen to make all meals from scratch including baby food. I use cloth diapers, and I shop at consignment stores and garage sales. I am eager to follow your blog to learn more great money saving ideas.
    The decision was not an easy one to make, but nothing great ever comes from ease. Thanks again.

    • Kimberlee

      I think you are so wise to spend less than you make Tia. Way to go!

  • Ellie

    Thank you so much for your blog posts. They are such an inspiration. It was the ultimate reality check.

    My husband and I were both blessed with good jobs. Nevertheless, our spending had been out of control. We spent at least $1000 a week on food, shopping and entertainment . . . to the point where date nights/anniversaries were no longer special because spending $200 on dinner for two happened at least twice a week. I couldn’t remember the last time I went inside the kitchen or a week when I didn’t buy a new pair of designer shoes.

    Reading your blog has really made me assess our need to go back to basics and realize how many luxuries we don’t really need and be grateful for all we have, and most importantly, to not lose sight that the real blessings in marriage are not material.

    Most importantly, until I read your blog, my husband and I were afraid we would not be able to afford kids, even on a six figure income, but you have really shown us otherwise. While we may not have kids for a while, the principles you teach here, give us hope that one day we will.

    Thank you so much for posting.

    • Kimberlee

      Wow Ellie–thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I think the important issue is not how much money we make or spend, but that we are spending it according to our priorities. Sounds like you’ll be doing that now. I am truly happy for you. :)

  • MaryLynn

    very intriguing , loved reading your story and I cant wait to read more.

  • Brittany

    I too found your site through a pin on Pinterest. When my husband was laid off 2 1/2 years ago, our income was cut by two thirds. We are a family of four and at the time were living paycheck to paycheck. I never thought we would make it on a third of our income. Now my husband has recently started a new job and although it’s no where close to his previous salary, by taking in all the experiences from the last 2 1/2 years, we should have no problems living very comfortably on half of his new salary and putting the other half in the bank. I will never go back to living paycheck to paycheck again if I can help it.

  • jennifer

    Hi, As alot of other people, found this though Pinterest. Gotta love that place. lol

    I’m interested in how you do it! :) We’re trying to live on a budget, and find it difficult. We could use some serious tips. :) Oh and my Oldest child also has Asperger’s Syndrome. (and a severe anxiety disorder, while my middle child just has the anxiety) We are apparently a very anxious household. lol

    Can’t wait to read! thanks for sharing! I think this will help alot of people. :)

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Jennifer! It is difficult to do sometimes, but so worth it. :)

  • Carly

    Thank you so much for these posts!!! I found this site on Pinterest and I’m so glad I did. We are a family of five right now, and hope to adopt in the next several years. I am a stay-at-home mom who also homeschools. We have only one car and we try our best to live responsibly on what we have. I am SO excited to read all the posts and learn some great stuff! :)

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Carly–I’m glad you’re here. :)

  • Josie

    I just want to say thank you for sharing this! I have (so far) only read this one post, but I was ery encouraged by it… My husband & I have an almost identical story & it is so encouraging to know we’re not the only ones making these choices! It is so easy to become discouraged when everyone around you is making different choices & some are even trying to convince you that you need to make more money-making choices. Anyways, its nice to know were not alone & i really look forward to seeing what else you have to say!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Josie! :)

  • Heather

    I have only read this first post and I have to tell you thank you. Admittedly, I was surprised to find that so many others have made the choices my husband and I have made. At times I felt as though I was reading my own story. It is so encouraging to find support among strangers. It is sometimes difficult when your friends or family don’t agree with your choices. We strive, in everythng we do, to serve God faithfully and provide a home filled with love and support. I look forward to learning how to stretch the few dollars we have. We are blessed beyond measure!

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Heather! I’m glad you are here. :)

  • Audra G

    I just wanted to say, all I have read are the reasons that you are sharing and why you have decided to be a SAHM…I applaude you for making such a hard decision. Not many can do this and you should be congratulated on making such a hard decision. I have not read any of the other comments but wanted to add my two cents. I am excited at the prospects of savign money with your hints and tips. I appreciate your time, effort, and taking the time out of your life to write this.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Audra!

  • Jeannie

    Wow – what a blessing to find this website and read all the comments. My husband and I are empty-nesters (kids are 26 and 23), enjoying two grandbabies and a different phase of life than most of you. I just wanted to encourage all you moms of young children who are sacrificing to stay home, cut work hours, and/or find ways to spend more time with your children. You will NEVER EVER regret this fleeting, precious time with your kids. My husband and I talk about how thankful we are that I could quit my job (cut our income in 1/2) and stay home. Years later, do we feel deprived one bit? NO WAY! I’m now back at work, loving it, but full of wonderful, PRICELESS memories of our children growing up (picnics, going to the library, gardening, camping….gosh there is SO much you can do with your children that doesn’t cost much). Bless you all!!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Jeannie! It’s good to get perspective from the “other” side of things. :)

  • excelizity

    WOW!!! More of us need to live like you!!! Thanks you for being about life and happiness not CASH! We choose to live in a 980 sq foot home because it is better finacially and environmentally but still people I meet look on me with distain because I don’t live in a big flashy house and we choose to live debt free… yep that means if we don’t have cash for it we don’t buy it!!! crazy concept right :)
    Keep spreading the word sister! our earth and our families need to hear it!!!
    p.s.- sorry my spelling sucks :)

    • Kimberlee

      Good for you for living in a smaller home! It’s sad to me that people feel so obligated to judge though. I truly wish that we could allow people to make their own choices based on their value systems. It is important to share the truth with others and to have open discussion about our values, but I don’t think we should ever make people feel badly about their decisions.

  • Sherry

    I applaud you for your choice. We did without for many years when our three older children were young. At one point I was able to take a good-paying job I could do from home and that allowed me to still be with the family, but it was always our first priority for me to be home. We had to make choices along the way and had to do without a few things but the relationships and the time spent together can never be replaced. If I had been able to read your blog back then we might have done it better. Thank you for empowering others to see how they might make those choices for their lives.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for your encouragement Sherry. :)

  • Maria

    Thank you for this! As I’m sure the hundreds of comments before me show, your honesty is not only appreciated, it is needed! It gives me hope too… We’ve managed to keep me home with our two boys on roughly $1,300- $1,400 (net) a month for the last four years. It has NOT been easy, and there have been many tears. My husband is soon getting a slightly better paying position, and we’ve started talking about another baby. I’ll admit to being scared by the idea. I dearly want a big family (as in, 6 or 7!) but our tight finances make it difficult for me to commit to the welfare of another child just yet. We also want to buy a small farm someday, but that feels even further out of reach. Can’t wait to see if my husband’s new income comes near yours, because that will go a long way to reassuring me that we could have another little one AND start saving for the future! I like to say that being broke isn’t a curse, it teaches you to appreciate what you have and pushes you to be resourceful for the things you don’t. I certainly appreciate this, but I’d sure love a little MENTAL security!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Maria. I am so glad to hear that you have been encouraged by these posts. I think the important issue is to stay close to God and listen to what He is telling your family. If He has another child for you, He will most certainly provide for him/her, but there is wisdom in becoming stable before you add a baby to your family. I pray that your income will increase and you will be filled with God’s peace.

      • Kimberlee

        For others reading this comment, I realize that the issues of family size versus income can be a controversial topic in our society and especially between Christians and non-Christians. You are welcome to voice your opinion here, but make sure that you do so respectfully and realize that others are entitled to their views. I believe strongly that each family has to make the best decision they can for themselves and while we can share information, it is not our place to tell someone how to make those choices.

        • Maria

          Thank you for your response! I agree with you wholeheartedly, and it probably is a lack of full trust in God that leaves me hesitant. My parents had 7 kids and barely had two dimes to rub together, so I do know a large family can be raised very well on very little! The Grace of God always swooped in right when help was needed most. Thank you for reminding me of that. I think it’s the stress of the last few years that makes me antsy. Every time I think we’re secure, something pops up to throw us backward. I need to remember to trust. I’ll take your words to heart and have a few chats with The Big Guy over this. Our youngest is only 15 months, so we’re not in any rush at the moment!

  • Kate


    All i can say is – THANK YOU! I also came across your blog through Pinterest, and just love what you had to say about life, respecting others, and why you have this website. I’m of like mind, and look forward to further postings!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Kate!

  • alyssa

    Thanks for sharing all this. My finance and I are just starting out. I am still working on my undergraduate degree, but with a part time job that pays for it. My finance just became a lawyer and is starting on his own, however he makes the same amount of money as me most weeks. We run a photo booth rental company together on the side, but the income is random, we are in our first year and just don’t know what the income will be like month to month yet.

    We both live with our parents to save money but are eager to marry and move out. He shares space in the basement with his mother’s wedding decorating supplies (her side bushiness) and my folks are preparing to sale their house and rent a place while they build a new home. Sharing a smaller space with my folks and two younger teenage sisters would get really ugly really fast.

    What we have going for us is no major debt. No student loans or credit card debts. Just a small loan for a car we are paying to my finance’s father. The photo booth has paid for itself and everything is profits now. We are eager to buy a home for our selves and start our life together. But with most of our income being random every penny needs to count.

    So I am looking forward to your tips and ideas, that your experience will help us miss a few pitfalls.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Alyssa!

  • Michelle

    Enjoy your blog.

    Her’s a money/sanity saving tip for you.

    I think you have three metal toxic kids. I recovered my ASD kid (who also had severe gluten/soy/casein intolerance and profound sensory issues) And our daughter with apraxia/eczema. It’s all g.o.n.e.

    We used Andrew Cutler’s ( chelation protocol (with ALA you can buy at the local drug/grocery store. There is a great Yahoo group “low dose frequent chelation” that could help.

    Oh, and just say no to flu shots!

  • Denee

    Wow this will be really eye opening for me. We live on close to 70K a year and find it hard sometimes. We are only a family 4! This should really help me not feel the struggle.

  • Kelly Loving

    Just wanted to thank you for these posts.

    We also make less than what others find to be manageable but with some planning manage a family vacation and even some fun time :)

    I also have a husband who is better at encouraging and entertaining (love how you described that) vs. homemaking, even though I could probably earn more and work less than him. But this works for us.

    And I am right behind you – no judgements.

  • Katie

    I totally applaud you…you only have your children for a season….you are a wise Dad and Mom to cherish it…

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Katie!

  • Donna

    I’m excited to start reading this series! With my maternity leave coming to an end, I’ve been toying with the idea of not going back to work. Like you, relationships are a priority and I’d love to be at home with my son. I’m sure I’ll find lots of inspiration and tips here.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Donna!

    • Lisa

      Donna – maybe you could try becoming a home daycare provider. Be sure to check for qualifications for licensing in your area. This worked for my daughter who has been blessed to be able to stay home with her children (now 10 and 4).

  • Bethany

    I look forward to reading your posts! My family of four live on a meager budget with me staying at home with my kiddos and I’m always looking for new ways that others stretch their budgets. I grew up with the same three unwritten rules, but I appreciate that you gave that information…. gives others (like myself) a certain kind of hope.

  • Kellie

    I am so excited that I found this post. I am also a stay-at-home mom and I do not regret it. I had a job and had worked all my life until my second son was born. I had a three year old and a newborn and would have basically been working for someone else to raise my kids. My boys are now 10 and 6. The youngest just started school this year and I have been cleaning a few houses to help out but I am always there for field trips, to help in the classroom, when they are out for the summer, etc. I feel like MANY of my friends do not understand why I don’t work but I don’t care about their opinions. I left a job I REALLY LOVED to be with my kids. They will grow up one day and I can go to work but for right now I am willing to make a sacrifice. I cannot wait to read more of your posts! I need all the tips I can get!!!! Thanks you SOOOOOO much!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Kellie! I am so happy for you that you can spend time with your children. It’s a difficult choice, but I know you will be happy about it now and later.

    • Lisa

      Kellie, you do work. You do the most fullfilling work anyone could do – you raise children. Those mothers who do not understand your decision need to remember, it is mothers like you who are there for the field trips and to help in the classrooms of their children also. They should be appreciative of the sacrifices you have made for their children as well as your own.

  • Kathy

    I love your website and your committment to your family. We do only have our children for a short time and we need to cherish them. You have some great ideas and tips. Thanks

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Kathy. :)

  • Donna Estes

    I have been a stay-at-home mom for thirty years. My last child is graduating this month. Staying at home,living on one income was a God directed decision,and thus I have had thirty years of blessings that continue to today. All of our needs have always been met and our children have memories that will last long after we have gone. I applaud your stand and look forward to future posts. One of the perks of living on less is adjusting to less is easier the longer you do it. And while others have run into financial hardships they reel in panic. We tighten the belt one more space and go on.

    • Kimberlee

      Thank you so much for that testimony of God’s faithfulness Donna.

  • Jennifer

    Love your website. We are a family of only 3, and live on about the same amount as you. It’s tough at times. But my husband says, “what ever we need,you always seem to make it happen.” LOL! But we decided long before we had our son that we would homeschool no matter what.

  • Lisa H

    found you on Pinterest – I have only read this ‘why’ post and haven’t yet poked around the rest of your blog but I just HAD to comment and say ‘thank you’. our family income has been reduced by 40% in the last few years and what we sacrifice financially we have gained relationally. while it’s easy to look at the numbers and think if i ‘just worked full time again’ it would make more sense. in reality it makes less sense. the sacrifices are worth it. i look forward to digging around your site and learning new strategies from you.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Lisa–glad you’re here! Yes, the money we’re “missing” can’t buy what we’ve gained by not pursuing it.

  • Jennifer Bowyer

    I too, found this from pinterest and have yet to read other posts, but I have to say… I’m on the verge of tears! I have a 9 year old and a 7 month old, my husband works 40 hours a week and I work 32-36. My baby is with a “baby sitter” 3 days a week, who lucky for me is also my best friend, but that’s still time that I’m missing. I also am required to work every other weekend as part of my job, which is time missed with all of my family. Recently, I have become very stressed and emotional due to all of this (I just want to be home!). I can’t help but think and feel that I should be at home, with my baby and my little girl but just can’t find a way to make the finances work. I am the one who provides health insurance through my work, so that’s another obstacle to get over. I am SO anxious now to read the rest of your posts and see how you all make it work!! Thank you, more than I can express, for opening up about this :)

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Jennifer. Even if you can’t come home completely right away, maybe you can reduce your hours. Let me know if you have any questions.

      • Jennifer Bowyer

        Kimberlee, Thank you! We have toyed with the thought of me going part time and moving insurance to my husband’s work. And if I do that, I only have to work one weekend per month instead of two :) If we make that work, I’ll let you know!

  • Michelle VZ

    I say kudos to you! I look forward to following your blog. I love it when bloggers put it out there no matter what may come, just for the idea of helping one person. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Rebecca

    As a fellow teacher, I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your perspective on family first, money second. I see so many students every day who are starved for the attention of involved parents who care enough to make time for them! Kids can thrive without expensive clothes, the latest iPhone, or regular trips to McDonalds. They CANNOT thrive without loving families. Kudos to you and your husband for being brave enough to make the tough decisions and then share them with all of us!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Rebecca. I also taught in the public school system and I saw the same thing. You can’t fill the hole in a kid’s heart with stuff. It just doesn’t work.

  • Lisa Clark

    Enjoyed reading about you and your family. About 2 years ago, my husband lost his job which reduced our income by more than half. We have made the decision that our kids are more important than having “things”. We drive cars with over 150,000 miles on them because they are paid for and we shop for clothes for our kids at yard sales, consignment and Goodwill. We live on about the same amount of moeny to support our family of four. Because I had a good job, I am the one who works while my husband stays at home with the kids. Others have their opinions about us but what I have realized is that the family time we have been blessed with is worth more than any money my husband could make. I found you on Pinterest and I am glad I did. It’s good to see others that choose family over money:)

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Lisa! Family time is definitely worth more than money can buy.

  • Lisa

    You are a true inspiration. Thank you for your openness and honesty. My husband and I have been very fortunate to be able to work and feel as though our two boys have had full lives with us, but now as they are entering college and we are in a beautiful home that we can not sell for what we owe, we wonder if we have made the most financially responsible decisions all see years. It’s time for us to make changes and I look forward to our journey and learning tips from your blog.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Lisa!

  • Lacey

    We are a family of soon to be four and live on this income. It isn’t easy, but it isn’t hard either. I am a stay at home mom and my husband is a retail manager. Living simpler is something I think many are afraid of. We have lived on more before and I have to say I am much happier now. I think what you are doing is great by showing that it can be done.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Lacey. :)

  • Pam

    Good for you for living your life in a way that makes you happy. That is awesome, and thank you for sharing!

  • Dana

    Thanks for sharing your story and wisdom. We used to be very low income and I dreamed of the day when we’d made what we make now. Sadly, the more you make, the more you spend, and I’m still pinching pennies and in debt. I’m looking forward to making changes for the better.
    Oh, and kudos for sacrificing so you could be there for your kids!

    • Kimberlee

      It’s difficult not to spend more when you have more money, but good for you for taking control of your finances Dana!

  • Lindsay

    I love the emphasis on relationships over money. Amen, sister.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Lindsay. :)

  • S

    I am side-by-side you and so many others in this! Thanks for putting it all down!

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome!

  • Anuhea

    I am SO glad I came across this… I’m just starting to plan our family of four’s budget because I really dont want to have to work full time anymore. Here’s to hoping it all works out. :)

  • Annette

    Thanks so much ……I so needed this right now to help me see what’s important. After yrs of working and then having my boys we’ve struggled since my youngest son was born and I’ve stayed home. You are dead on it, the more you make the more u spend….I’m going to look forward to finding out how to do it your way.

  • Rhonda Suckow

    Hey there! So, excited!!! I feel as though I have found my long-lost best friend!!! We too live VERY frugally, some years are more frugal than others, as my husband is self employeed. By government standards we too are impoverished. Hmmm….poverty feels pretty good! :) Like you, we made the decision to live off of one income so that I could be a full-time, and not overwhelmed and stressed-out Mom and wife to our family with 5 children (2 are now in college, with NO debt and are successfully on their own, 2 go to the local public school, and I homeschool our youngest.) Like you, I also do not judge the unique situations of other families, and the best decisions they have made for their own families, but, am thrilled to have found someone who must live simularly to the way that we do! Looking forward to enjoying your blog!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Rhonda! I’m sure you have lots to share with me too. Congratulations on sending your kids to college debt. I love it when people challenge the status quo. :)

  • Stephanie

    I work for Premier Designs Jewelry and I think it is something you should definitely check out. It is worth the investment and you can make 50% of what you sell. I have heard so many success stories at our monthly fun girls night out meetings. They are all over the country but not saturating like some other direct sales companies out there :)
    I thought I would share what has helped me through low income times of mine.
    I also wanted to say that what you are doing with your blog is a great thing :)
    Keep Going!
    Warm Regards,

  • Courtney

    Thanks so much for writing this. I’ve just discovered these posts and have only read the first one. I can’t wait to read the rest. Our family has recently made a similar decision. I have decided to put aside my teaching career for awhile so I can focus on family relationships and raising our children. I can’t wait to keep reading!!!!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Courtney! I’m glad you’re here. :)

  • Lindsey T

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Kimberlee. It is quite humbling to know that someone in your situation would be so brave to post a blog in this matter. I commend you for that, as so many of us are living by the same means. My boyfriend and I are living off around the same income as yourself, (I’m the only income) and it is great to know that there is a website such as yours where I can go for tips and advice. Also to know that I am not the only one! We want to have kids pretty soon, and I just hope that we can continue living this way if we do decide to. But I’m also hoping that he can help start to help out more too. Thank you again for your blog and the kind words I have read. Oh, by the way, I found this on pinterest, tons of people have pinned it! You are helping so many!! :)

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Lindsey. It’s good to know that what I am doing is making a difference. :)

  • kat

    I am a grandmother of 3 kids and have 2 daughters living with me. Right now the total income is less than $2100 a month. That includes a care payment, full coverage insurance and rent.

  • kat

    oops car payment

  • Lisa

    Thank you for reminding others that it isn’t all about the money in life. I think too many have forgotten that. The time you spend getting to know your children and instilling good life values in them is worth more than any amount of money you could earn. My children and now grown with children of their own, and seeing how they are raising their children (as they were raised) makes any financial struggles we may have had worth it. I work with young people daily and see what happens when Mom and Dad are too busy with work to raise their children. Bless you and your family, for you have it right.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Lisa! It’s easy to forget.

  • Stacy

    Can’t wait to read what you have to share. We just had our first child (to raise, our first baby is with Jesus)…and we will be changing our family income quite a bit..(I will be staying home). So excited for some great tips…hoping to help put my mind at ease!

    • Kimberlee

      I am so sorry that you lost your baby Stacy. I pray that God will continue to comfort you. Blessings on raising your new baby!

  • http://Pinterest Christina

    Thank you so much for letting people share this time with you. My husband has recently had to quit working to finish his engineering degree. We also have 4 children. He has cashed out his 401K, which we will be living on for the next 2 years. We won’t qualify for any assistance so I am very interested in your strategy for these difficult times. I have been a stay at home mom for years and it works well for us but going into this time when he won’t be working too is really stressful. I am excited to see your posts.

    • Kimberlee

      That sounds difficult Christina. Is your husband able to work part time at all? Hopefully you can find some ideas on the blog that you can use. I hope it goes well for you and your family.

  • Becky

    thank you so much for putting it so beautifully. Our family sure could use the extra $60k a year I could be bringing in, but we value our family relationships and time more than what that money can buy. Who could argue with your intro here? Mainly because you say it’s a personal choice, and you’re not preaching that everyone should do what you (we) do. It’s what works for your family, and that works for me! God Bless you!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Becky!

  • Julee

    You are an inspiration in this age of excess. Looking forward to reading more of your blog. You are teaching your children an INVALUABLE lesson! God bless!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks for your encouragement Julee!

  • Celeste

    I love your way of thinking and agree wholeheartedly! I think that families are all-too-often neglected in this day and age for the ongoing quest for more money (and fancier “stuff”). We’ve made a lot of sacrifices as well and our family has really been blessed.

    Great idea to share your tips – who couldn’t benefit from a suggesstion of two?! Kudos to you for being content with what you have (some people never are) and making the best of your situation!!!

  • charlena

    I can’t wait to read all of these as we are a family of 6 with lead of that income!

  • Marissa

    Thank you for doing this! I am just now learning about this blog so I have a lot of reading to do, but I am a single parent living on a little less income than your family and I am finding it very difficult and very stressful. My views on living have definitely changed since becoming a mother and I agree that simple is better. I am so encouraged by reading this and can’t wait to read more!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Marissa! Being a single mom is very difficult period and having money problems makes it even more stressful. I pray that you will be encouraged.

  • Sandra

    Wow, what a refreshing point of view you have. I have been a stay at home mom to our two girls for 14 years. As they are becoming more independent, I have often thought to myself, “should I go back to work?” My answer was always about the money – but after reading your reasoning for sacrificing a double income, I realize it is also what I value but didn’t know how to articulate! So thank you for sharing and helping me see the “value” in why I choose not to have an income.

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Sandra!

  • Kylee

    Kudos to you for your willingness to share, be honest and put your family first. I admire your ability to keep such an eternal perspective… I forget that often. I’m excited to see how you manage, honestly. I can always use more tips on making life more frugal!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Kylee. I hope you find some useful ideas.

  • Sarah

    I find your courage very inspiring. I just found your blog today and am looking forward to reading it.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Sarah–I hope you enjoy it!

  • Cindy Alewine

    One of my friends post this site on Pinterest. When I read the title, tears came to my eyes. If 6 can live on that amount successfully, then I know 4 of us can live on slightly less. I’m excited to hear your thoughts and ideas for saving money.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Cindy! It’s not always easy, but it can be done. I hope you find some encouragement here.

  • Ursula

    This is so great! I’ve been on a mission all year to minimize my “stuff” and to live a simpler life. The money part is by far the hardest! I will definitely be using your blog as a reference and motivation. I always say, “I’d rather be a poor good mom, than a rich absent one.” I look forward to reading more.

  • Michele

    Yea for you and your family! As a teacher of PreK I see so many families who have chosen to make lots of money and give their children everything that they would ever want materially, but they aren’t giving them the one thing that they desperately need – themselves. We have also chosen to make less money so that we can spend more time with our kids.:)

  • Hilaria

    I have to say that I wanted to cry when I started reading this post and all the comments. I had a baby in March and because of the cost of childcare, it didn’t make sense for me to go back to work just to turn around and give my paycheck to someone to keep my son. We now live on about $27,000 a year, less than half of our previous income. Add onto that having to buy diapers and formula, and there isn’t a whole lot left over. We have been struggling a lot financially lately and the stress of it is starting to get to both of us. Often times I feel like I can’t enjoy having a new baby because of the stress of being broke. I try to keep a positive attitude about our situation as much as possible, because after all, I have the greatest gift in getting to be with him all day, but sometimes it’s hard to not stress about money. It is SO good to know that there are others out there who are in the same position. It makes me hopeful that we CAN make this work and do what’s best for our son, and not have the stress of unpaid bills hanging over our heads while we do it. I can not wait to dive into this series and hopefully make some changes that will benefit the entire family. Thanks so much for being so open and putting a number on it. I imagine that it was something you would have rather not done, but please know that by doing so you inspire others and help them to be more hopeful about their own circumstances…myself included.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for your encouragement Hilaria! It takes sacrifice, but it is so worth it. My children are teens now and I could never buy back the years we would have lost if I had worked outside our home. I hope you find some ideas that you can use.

  • Marsha

    I am really looking forward to reading this blog series.

    My hubby and I are recent college graduates (with LOTS of student loan debt to pay off in the next coming years), newly weds looking to start a family in a few years (at which time I will become a SAHM) and to also buy our first house around then too. Though he is currently making a nice income, we still want to live in a way that will allow us to save as much as possible so that when we go to buy our first home it will not cause us to have a HUGE mortgage payment to add to our already HUGE student loans payment.

  • Matthew

    You are an inspiration and I look forward to reading this series of blogs! I agree Family is more important than money, as long as you are happy, the money is secondary

  • Paula

    I am excited to find your blog and can’t wait to start reading! We have lived on less than $28K for many years, with four children as well. It’s not always easy, and I get very tired of people who do not know about our situation saying, “I sure wish MY husband made enough money for me to stay home! You’re lucky!” Luck has nothing to do with it, we’ve made a lot of tough choices, choices those women can never make because their priorities are all wrong.

    I’m looking forward to reading about your journey. Thanks for sharing with us!


    • Kimberlee

      You are so right Paula. It takes sacrifice, but it is so worth it.

  • keaton davis

    i am so excited to read your post. we are a family of 7 living on an income of about 27k a year and people wonder all the time how we make it. first an foremost the good Lord provides every day. secondly we budget. i am so happy you decided to share. thank you.

  • Elizabeth

    Just wanted to say thanks for sharing this! It is nice that someone else thinks the way we do! Thanks again!!

  • Heather

    Thank you for your honesty and help. We are very fortunate to have a comfortable household income but I want to have my child’s college paid for and I want to retire and see the world with my husband. Your tips are wonderful and you are an inspiration.
    Thank you.

  • Betty

    kimberlee, i am so glad i have found your site, i am on social security disability and so far it meets most of the household bills, excluding food, auto expenses, or any of the upkeep for the house… i have physical problems that keep me home most of the time… as you see i am fairly bad shape financially but my daughters help with the groceries when they can.. i will be anxiously waiting to see if any of your tips and treasures fit my problems… thanks so much

  • Christina

    We are a family of five, hubby works fulltime, I’m a self employed massage therapist but work only a few hours a week because I cant justify working more just to pay a sitter. My income could change our finances big time but at the risk of losing family time. We homeschool also! Im so excited to here how you pull it off too! We get constant greive for not “using” the system. I feel we are “making” it and there are those out there that really do need government assistance. We have a mortgage, all vehicles are paid off, we have chickens for eggs, shop our local discount and thrift, buy from our local farmers, and are currently cutting our overpriced tv service for Huluplus for $7.99 a month cause we do love our tv nights.
    It’s a struggle at times no doubt and yes we’d love to make more money but right now this is where God wants us. To learn to be grateful for just what we have. God’s economy is NOT man’s economy and HE provides!

    • Kimberlee

      So true Christina!

  • Twyla

    I so, so, so agree with your reasons for living on one income and putting relationships and children as your first priority. Thank you for your article and I look forward to future ones.

  • Britni @ Our Eventual Homestead

    I am really looking forward to this series. We both work full time, hubby at home and me in an office setting. Our next goal is for me to join him in our home-based business which will allow us more time with our kiddos. We’re thinking this may happen later this summer! I’m always on the lookout for ways to save and also ways to change how we view “wants” and “needs”!

  • Angela kotschi

    Wow, I actually really am loving your replies to comments. You have a Christ like spirit

    • Kimberlee

      Thank you Angela. I try. :)

  • Teresa

    Thank you for this. We have 4 children the oldest I home school with Asperger’s. My youngest is only 21 months and is already showing signs. My husband works as a correction officer and all i hear is how I should work. We do not have cable TV and I look at that as a wonderful thing. To read someone else who is living a life like mine is nice to hear. Thank you for opening up and sharing.

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Teresa. It is a difficult choice, but my son with Aspergers has made so many improvements and I truly believe that it is from being able to stay home in a calm, quiet environment where he can actually learn.

  • Lorna

    Kimberlee, what shows the type of caring person you are is that you replied to every post. You are certainly an inspiration. I am of the older gereration. The last year has been a struggle. My husband was hurt at work and can’t work anymore, he was in the oilfield for 30 years. I am a nurse and have been sick since sept. Haven’t had a full paycheck since then. But that doesn’t stop the medical bills. So I am excited to learn how I can save money and get those bills paid quicker. Thank-you so much. Can’t wait.

    • Kimberlee

      I’m so sorry for your situation, but I hope that you both feel better soon and that you can get your bills paid off quickly.

  • JMR

    Found you through Pinterest. I love this series idea. We are a family who’s current mortgage is more than your monthly income- but that has not always been the case. My husband is an entrepreneur and I am a stay at home mom to four. When we were first married I worked while my husband finished school. Before the birth of our first son there was about 6 months where we both had an income. My anual income was around $30k a year and my husband had a base plus commissions type job. Rather than begin the idea of living on two incomes though, we put everything he earned in that time span in savings. We were blessed that once our son was born his salary was able to replace my income and I could stay at home. From day one we have been strict budgeters. The first few years were really tough, but like you we felt that the sacrifices we made were worth it. My husband’s income has increased substantially since then, but because we’ve always been frugal we were able to pay cash for him to go back and get his MBA. We now have much more flexibility in our finances, but I think we get judged now when we make frugal (I would just call them wise) choices because we “should be able to afford more”. Again though, as an entrepreneur, thing could change, and so we try to think long term. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I believe budgets, frugality and healthy attitudes toward money are important at any income level.
    So thank you for your reminder. We can all do a little better!

    • Kimberlee

      Thank you so much for this comment! I love that you continued to live frugally as your income increased. That is what we hope to do as well. I totally agree with you that you made wise choices and it’s sad that others don’t see the value in that. Good for you for doing the right thing.

  • Katie

    I ran across this on pinterest and it’s like I could have wrote this myself! We are also a family of 5 that live on less than 28,000 a year. We are a single income family, my oldest son has Autism, we homeschool and we choose to live on less. I want to praise you for sharing your story and say thanks for more tips! We are always looking for more ways to pinch an extra cent anywhere we can. We save anywhere we can and it add a sense of freedom when we are to do it on our own. I’m always looking for ways to stretch things around our home. We make our own detergents, cleaning supplies, I stretch clothes from winter to summer by cutting winterclothes and sewing them into summer clothes. Thank you sooooo much for these posts!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Katie! I love the idea of changing winter clothes to summer clothes idea–brilliant. Glad you’re here!

  • Sally M

    Kimberlee, I as well for i the teaching field. One of the things I have learned to do at home is to UNPLUG ANYTHING that I normally use on a daily basis. The microwave, lamps, smell good plug-ins, etc…. Even though they are turned off, by being plugged in they are still using electricity. I have saved hundred bydoing this!! If I could unplug the fridge too i would! LOL! Thank youfor your tips!!

    • Kimberlee

      Great point Sally, thanks!

  • Laura

    Just came across your blog on pinterest. I grew up in a family of 6 on a small income… my parents had the same mindset that you do, in that it was more important to them to spend time with my sisters and me than to work longer hours. My parents were incredibly involved in our lives (both of my parents chaperoned field trips, my dad coached my soccer team, etc.) and work never came first. Growing up, I think I was a little embarrassed that we didn’t have as much money, but as I got older, I discovered that my friends were more jealous of me and my relationship with my family than I was of them and their bigger houses.

    So now I’m out on my own, and while I’m not doing too badly for myself, I’m definitely looking for ways to save money so I can travel back home to visit my family more often!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Laura–It’s good to hear from someone down the road how living more frugally affected them as children. I hope that my kids will appreciate our sacrifices too, but at least I know that I have done what I think is most important as a parent.

  • DeAnna P

    We are a family of 7. We have two children on the autism spectrum, 4 of our children have serious food allergies, our 5 year old has severe anxiety and will not leave Mama. So we are a one income family for many of the reasons you are. I so look forward to reading this series and gaining new ways to be frugal and content with what God has blessed us with. Thank you for being so transparent.

  • Jennifer

    Hi I just came across this on pinterest and am very interested. I also have a little one on the spectrum (mild but it still can reak havoc on our daily life) and then another little guy who has some behavioral things going on. At their ages of 4 and 2, intense stress is part of our daily lives. And then being a military family and only 1 income this is extremely nice to find!
    Jenn P

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Jennifer! I hope you find some encouragement here.

  • Molly

    I would also like to applaud your transparency and thank you for sharing your tips! This took guts. Kudos to you and your family.

  • Diane Cosby

    How utterly refreshing!! My husband and I try to remain neutral and live and let live and do not judge but it is still so very refreshing to hear another reflect the values you hold so dear. Best to you on your decision to share your wonderful ideas and I will enjoy reading and perhaps utilizing your methods.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Diane!

  • Barb

    Thank you for sharing this! We are a family of five living on about $30,000 yr although a lot of it seem to come out in tax, etc. before we see any. My husband also works for a non-profit organization. It is our desire for me to be home when the kids (9, 6, & 18 months) are. I am trying to do some things to suppliment at home, but struggling to cut any cost we can. My husband also has food allergies, so we are trying to stick to a low carb (mostly vege & meat) diet. This is very expensive & would love some ideas!
    Thanks again!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Barb! We try to eat a lot of meat and veggies too. My two primary tips are (1)to buy meat only when it’s on sale and stock up (read more here; and (2) Find a local source for produce such as a produce stand or market. You can also just buy what’s in season as those items are much cheaper. Good luck!

  • jenny

    Thanks for sharing! It is so important to create environments where we can put aside social stereotypes and have an honest, real discussion about finances. My boyfriend and I are at the point in our lives where we are planning for our future and deciding what matters to us. We want to travel the world! With school debt, our options aren’t luxurious and if our dreams are going to come true it will depend on or ability to live on less. THANK YOU for sharing your blog and I am really looking forward to hearing your advice and tips!

    • Kimberlee

      Good for you for starting out with goals and plans and a desire to get out of debt Jenny! You will be much further along when you reach my stage of life. :)

  • Lisa B

    Hi… Thank you for sharing your story. It has encouraged me not to feel so bad about my situation. I don’t feel so alone anymore. I am a recently divorced mother of 2 boys (14 & 9). I work part time and go to school part time (on line). I need all help and advise I can get on how to live frugally.

    • Kimberlee

      Wow Lisa–single mothering is so difficult. I’m so glad that you feel encouraged.

  • Kerrie Sheaves

    Before I read your Why We’re doing this? blog I was a bit skeptical, not because I don’t believe you can live on the amount you noted, but as a mother of a child with a severe Wheat Allergy, shopping in the expensive health food aisle is just a requirement for us, so reducing the food bills is a real challenge, but I catch your note on the fact that you also have a child who can’t do wheat. So I’m embracing reading your tips with a completely open mind. Thanks

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Kerrie! Feeding a child with allergies can definitely be a challenge. My strategy is to buy naturally gluten free foods for the most part (see a list here), and to rarely buy processed foods labeled “gluten free”. The few foods we do buy are Udi’s GF bread because I just don’t have time to make our own (and I have a mental block about it! :)), Bob’s Red Mill Baking Mix for waffles and pancakes and Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats. I try to use coupons for the Udi’s and I refer people to Vitacost to get credit to buy the baking mix and oats. We also use Chex cereal which I stock up on when it’s on sale and I use a coupon if I have one. We have found a local produce market with really great prices so that helps with the fruit and veggies.

      Thanks for giving me a chance–I hope you find some ideas that you can use here. :)

  • Brittany

    I have to say I’m looking forward to this. I’m getting married soon and our financial situation is not one to be envied. We are both looking forward to getting married, buying a house and starting a family and like many people we will be faced with some tough decisions. We are in agreement it will be best for me to stay at home with kids for as long as possible but in doing so we will be on one income that is very similar to your number. We try and cut corners now and for the most part it works but any tips and advice from someone who has been through a similar situation that we will go through would be fantastic. And most of all I applaud your outlook that religion and politics, and fiances, are personal. Too many people throw those out first and it’s hard to interact with people who look at those issues and not the bigger picture of trying to raise a happy, healthy and productive family.

  • Amber

    We are a family of five that live off of 1900 a month. Some ask “How can you survive? Aren’t you miserable?” Ya we’ve been asked if we are miserable. But we aren’t. We work our butts off every month for our family. I wish more people would understand it’s not the amount in the checking account that matters. We work work and our children are happy, healthy children.

    • Kimberlee

      So true: “It’s not the amount in the checking account that matters.” Thanks Amber.

  • Rayanne

    Bless you for sharing this :) I have learned so much in this past year…I am a single mom and do not receive support from my son’s father. Little over a year ago, I left a very good paying job. The stresses of the job were too much for me to bear and after much agonizing, I made the humbling decision to leave and to take some time off and enjoy being a stay at home mom…I agree with my whole heart that nothing is more important that our relationships with our children. I love taking him to school and picking him and having all this time with him. I know there are those who judge me for doing what I did, but that’s one can really walk in your shoes. I know now that I must start at the beginning again and go back to work making much less money and much less time with my son. It is what I have to do, there is no other choice. I haven’t read your other posts yet, I don’t know if you will read this one..but thanks for being vulnerable…people like me appreciate it :)

    • Kimberlee

      I am so happy for you Rayanne that you could stay home with your son. We really cannot get that time back. Thanks for your encouragement. :)

  • Kara

    I got the link to your website from a friend and I am looking forward to reading! My husband and I have been working hard over the past few years to get out of debt and we are now (yay!) and soon we will be moving to another state so my husband can attend seminary to get his masters degree. He is going to attend full-time (finish in 3-4 years) and I will be the primary bread winner during that time. We’ll be going down from a 2-income to a small-1-income home. My career doesn’t make very much money, so things will be really tight once we move and I’m looking forward to seeing what ideas you have in your blog to help keep costs down.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Kara!

  • Becky

    First of all I think it’s so sad that you feel like you have to justify or explain your reasons for either being private, or what your position in life is. None of us should stand in judgment of each other. I have a cousin who has a child with Asberger’s and is a stay home, home school mom. She is a school teacher as well. (Just thought I’d share that I have a kindred spirit toward your situation.) Also, I’m so glad I stumbled on your blog from Pinterest, because I look forward to reading all of your posts. I worry about our finances constantly. And while I believe God does provide for us, my earthly side still worries. Bless you, and I look forward to reading more. Becky (from Florida)

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Becky. I know what you mean about worrying. It’s hard sometimes to trust, but God is always faithful!

  • Rebecca Mueller

    I have only read one post so far, and am very intrigued. I’m a military wife with 4 kids (elementary, middle, high school and college), I typically stay at home unless the job conforms to school hours, so I know the meaning of tight when it comes to money. I had an idea years ago and never had the opportunity to bring it to fruition. Perhaps some of your readers or even yourself could make it work for you…. since we, as mothers of young children, crave adult conversation, the pride of making a monetary contribution to our families and just the much needed temporary separation between ourselves and our children, a part-time job seems very attractive. So, get a hand-full of friends (you plus 4), each of you acquires a part-time job working 4 days per week; the one week day you don’t work at that job you watch, feed, educate and entertain the children of the other 4 moms. They each do the same. Problem solved: Everyone gets to make money, everyone has (essentially) free child care, and everyone can sleep peacefully knowing those cravings are satisfied. If anyone decides to do this, please let me know how it works out at Best wishes Kimberlee, and all of you reading this blog. It’s hard living on one income, but remember, it won’t always be difficult. Give it to God, follow his instructions and know there are one set of foot prints for a reason.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Rebecca. I think that is a great idea and I would also be interested to hear if anyone tries it.

  • Melissa Deimler

    Wow… so we are considered a DINK… Double Income No Kids and have chosen to live freely and not worry. Well lets just say that is NOT the way to live regardless of no kids. Thank you for all these amazing ideas, tips and tools. I am so ready now to start living a real fulfilled life of love and relationships and not full of things. You are amazing and an inspiration!!!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Melissa for letting me know. It’s easy to get distracted by everything the world has to offer, but I think you will be much more fulfilled by choosing eternal things. :)

  • Michelle

    Thank you for your courage!!! I am thrilled I found you!

  • Erin

    Hi! I am excited to start reading your blog. I am a SAHM during the day, but work nights and weekends to bring in extra money. We live in a very small home and drive older vehicles. I just wonder, how do you respond to the people who say “Wow, you are so lucky you GET to be a SAHM”? I find my self having to bite my tongue at these people who live in 2ooo sq. ft. houses and drive cars that are less than five years old. I’m not sure they understand that many of us make sacrifices to be SAHMs. It’s not all pedicures and lunches out.

    • Kimberlee

      I honestly haven’t had many people say that to me. What I hear is,”You have FOUR kids! You must have your hands full!”. I usually respond with a smile and a sweet tone of voice,”Yes, and it’s so much better than empty.”

      I guess if I really felt it important to respond I would say something like,”Well, it really doesn’t have anything to do with luck, but with the choices we make.” If they want more information, they may ask questions, but I have found that many people don’t want to change the way they live, or if they do, they aren’t willing to make the sacrifices necessary to do so.

  • Nory Martinez

    Thank you for this post!! I am looking forward to more information like this!

  • http://pinterest Michelle

    Im so glad I found this! Im a single mom of 6, 5 that live with me and I live on less than 2,000 a mo. It’s hard sometimes but Im glad to get some tips here. Thanks.

    • Kimberlee

      Wow Michelle! I can’t imagine how hard things must be, but hopefully you can find some encouragement here.

  • Anastasia @ eco-babyz

    That’s wonderful! I’m sad that there are few people that think the way you do and so many more that have relationships suffer just so that they can have a ‘comfortable’ life style. While our income is a tad higher than yours, we also chose to live on just one income, I work from home, and we will be homeschooling. We love the simplicity of our lifestyle, though we want even more time with dad. We recently made a few large purchases that we have to pay off asap, then hopefully he will not need to work so much overtime! Sometimes I wish money would grow on trees and we could just spend all our time together! ;)

    • Kimberlee

      I’m with you on the money growing on trees idea! :)

  • olivia

    This is encouraging. We live on about 3000 per month, and I am very frugal in order to make ends meet in our expensive corner of the country (MA). But, like you, family time is important to us, and we constantly remind ourselves, that even though it may not seem like a lot, we are luckier than most people in the world. We can provide food, shelter and clothing for our children without worry, and that is something. I applaud you being so courageous to put the numbers out there. Many of us live similarly, and we need to support each other, not compare/judge or try to keep up. Look forward to reading more from you.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks for your encouragement Olivia!

  • Heather

    Thank you for choosing to share such private information with the world. I understand how scary it is to put yourself out there to be on such ‘not discussed’ topics. My husband and I have had to compromise on what can (and to what level) is okay to talk about with our families and friends. With family he is completly fine with full disclosure… I am not. I was raised with the same frame of mind that there are things simply not discussed. 1)finances and 2) sex. Politics were fine (because everybody was expected to think the same way) as was religion (again everybody was the same…) Life happened and no longer do any of us “kids” believe or think the same as our elders. So we just don’t talk about it, too much. There are other, more important things to discuss, namely: life! Thank you though, for sharing how you manage to keep relationships more important than money.

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Heather!

  • Denise

    I am eager to read more of your posts. We live on less than 20,000 a year which is extremely difficult, but we are definitely trying to find better work for my husband. I am a stay at home mom with three sweet babies. My oldest is 2.5, and middle child is one, and the baby is three months. Thanks for making this website!

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Denise. I pray that your husband will find a good job or other source of income. :)

  • Darrah Rollans

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing! I know I am a little late in joining this discussion but I just found your blog. Last year I was also a full-time working mom who brought in much more than dad. At the time we just had one little girl who was 8. When we found out that we would be expecting a second, started checking into daycare and figuring baby costs (prices went WAY up in 8 years) we were shocked! Add in the fact that I was already working 50 hours a week….family time was going to go out the window. We sat down with a calculator and figured out that I would only be making $15 a week and be out of the home almost 12 hours a day if I continued working. We bit the bullet and I quit my job. There is no one that can raise my babies like I do and I have been able to be there for every first step, first boo-boo, my oldest daughter loves being a carpool kid and being home before dark! We have cut a lot of “fluff” out of our budget and are still looking for ways to trim. I truly appreciate your honesty and willingness to expose yourself and your family. Best wishes to you and your family!!


    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Darrah. I am so glad for you that you are able to stay home. :)

  • Chrissie

    Wow just read the first page and what an absolute breath of fresh air. Although I have yet to read the rest of the blog I just wanted to say that it’s so refreshing for someone to openly state that their choices are not for everyone rather than trying to make those with different choices and priorities feel guilty. Looking forward to reading the rest. Thanks

  • Cheree

    Just came across you on Pinterest. We are a family that has the bigger mortgage payment, but no other debt and I am an avid coupon user. I buy clothes on sale at Target even though I could shop at Nordstroms. I had a coworker harass me for clipping coupons because he said I didn’t need to. My theory is, why wouldn’t i? I can’t justify paying more for all of the things you need (food, toiletries, etc). Who cares what people think! You are doing what’s best for your family at this point in time! If more people would be more concerned about their families and less concerned about keeping up w/the Joneses, we would have fewer problems in this great country that seems to be going to crap.

    • Kimberlee

      I have a very wealthy friend who also clips coupons Cheree. They are wealthy because they don’t spend money on unnecessary items. She recently held a baby shower at her house and her friends were giving her grief because she saved the tissue paper. Her thought is that every sheet she re-uses is money in her bank account. :)

  • Jen

    Firstly, a big congratulations to you for being brave enough to be so open and share such personal details about your life. And secondly, a huge thank you. I am currently looking at moving into a house with my boyfriend, and have been very weary as neither of us earn very much money. However, you have inspired me to take the bull by the horns. I thoroughly agree with you that relationships should take precedence over money, and as this is the man I hope to one day marry, this is the most important relationship in my life right now to focus on. I can’t wait to read more of this series and gain tips on how to make the most of our situation, and therefore each other. Thank you again.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Jen! I am so glad that you felt inspired.

      As a married woman on the other side of things, I would strongly caution you against purchasing a house with someone you are not legally married to. You can run into all kinds of complications–legally and otherwise. Yes, the relationship is important, but you want to use wisdom in how you proceed. If you have questions, I would be happy for you to email me: Kimberlee (at) ThePeacefulMom (dot) com.

  • Tori

    Thank you so much for your willingness to be real with people. I am fresh out of college and working as a Special Education Teacher and my husband is two years away from finishing his BA degree. I look forward to reading your blog! Thanks again for having the courage to be so open! I know it will make a difference for me and my husband.

  • Rachel

    Im so glad that you have decided to step out and write about this. My husband works first shift in a warehouse and I work two jobs but we still making less than $2,500 a month. I consistently get pressured to work Sundays for my first job, but that is the only day I get to spend with my husband and family and I will never sacrifice that for $! But that’s why I love my second job cause their motto is: Faith First, Family Second, Career Third. I look forward to reading the rest of your posts.

  • Syd Murray

    I totally agree with your decision to stay home with the kids. I made the same decision and never regretted it. I gave my life to my four kids and am happy in the knowledge that I may have messed up many things in my life, but I did that one to the best of my ability. We survived on between 800 dollars a month and 1200 the whole time they were little. I was always a bit ashamed to tell anyone how much we made. I give you credit for bravery. You can help a lot of people with your blog. I will be eagerly watching. I am always open to new tips.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for your encouragement Syd. :)

  • Amy

    I am so happy I stumbled across your website, I am a mother of 3 boys ages 15 months, 5, and 8 and after having my last son decided being a stay at home mom was best for our family. I am a Registered daycare provider and my husband works in a factory, with my job I can be making tons of money or going broke. I am really feeling the pressure right now as my income is down but as you know the bills stay the same. I am looking forward to reading and learning any new tips you may have to help my family live on a smaller then normal income, Thank you for sharing!

  • Sheri

    thank you for being open and honest. as a family of six also, and well, now unemployed :( but previously making the same amount I find your openness very very encouraging!

    • Kimberlee

      So glad that you feel encouraged Sheri. :)

  • Chelsea

    Thank you for this! i’m very excited to keep reading! I’m currently on maternity leave with my 7 month old and my husband and I have decided that I will not be returning to work once my year is up. (In Canada you get a year off). Why? Exactly the same reason as you said: relationships are so much more important than money!! I was a stress mess at my job (and a grouch most days) and its just not fair to my family! Also considering the majority of my wage would go to daycare..

    Thanks again! I’m excited to keep reading!

  • Aleassa @ Amateur Housewife

    Thank you for this series! This has been so encouraging and inspiring, and I am finding so many good ideas! I have especially been encouraged by your posts about grocery budgeting, so often I feel guilty because A) I am not couponing like everyone else seems to be doing (couponing drives me crazy!) and B) we don’t eat all the raw, whole foods that everyone is always talking about. But you have reminded me that balance is they key, and we can only do what we can do. So thanks!

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Aleassa–glad your’re here. :)

  • Karmen

    I LOVE YOU!!!!! Thank you so much for your real and honest view! This is the first time I have read this blog and I am so excited to read more!!!

    • Kimberlee

      You made me laugh Karmen, but I am glad that you are enjoying the blog. Thanks!

  • Jen

    This is a fantastic post. As a single 22 year old, Theres a lot in your article that I can’t relate to! But reading through this has opened my eyes to how I am living my life. I’m just entering the job market and I dont stop working! I don’t have a partner but I have friends and family and many “outside of work” relationships that are left behind while I do my 48+ hour weeks. It’s uplifting to hear that you’ll choose family over money when all I choose is the cash. I will bare In mind this article before picking up extra hours when I could spend that time with someone to whom I care about! I mean you’re right, relationships last forever :) thank you so much for posting! You a truly an inspirational person and the world needs more Kimberlee’s to care about others :)

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for letting me know Jen. Blessings! :)

  • Sheryl

    Bless you for freely sharing your ideas and experiences. Too many people today only share with others who are willing to pay for the knowledge. It’s great to see someone who, from the goodness of her heart, wants to help others make wiser, frugal decisions.

    • Kimberlee

      I do want to help people Sheryl whether I make money or not, but I do make some money from the blog. Just want to be clear about that. :)

  • Stephanie

    I am just reading this (I found it on Pinterest!) and I don’t think anyone is looking down on you! You are doing exactly what I WANT to do. My husband works two jobs one full time, one part time, and I work full time as well. We have two-year-old twins. I am a public school teacher, and I don’t think I could ever give that up. I love it. BUT, we have NEGATIVE amounts of money once our bills are paid every month. We both make average incomes, but I have thousands of dollars in student loans, he has some credit card debt from way-back, and then there’s the mortgage and the car payments (the cars we bought back when we had a plan for waiting a while to have children.) Anyway, it’s tough. But I’m inspired that your family can live on such a modest income, and if anyone DOES look down on you, they have no reason to! Raising well-adjusted and productive children should be the main goal of any family. It’s just ridiculous how many people pawn their kids off and expect they’ll just turn-out alright without any parental involvement. I always tell my husband that I’d live in a tent with him and our kids if I knew we were happy and raising our kids right. I think if we lived in a tent we’d be able to afford better food, too ;) Haha. Thanks, though! I love the honesty here!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Stephanie! :)

  • Leslie

    Good for you! My family situation is similar. We also homeschool our children and their father is the one who stays home while I work. Our reasons for our decisions mirror yours very closely, although I have been very lucky that my children have no serious health issues. I talk very openly about my family and life, and I find people judge me for the choices I have made. These same people complain about their marital problems or their children’s issues. They roll their eyes and don’t believe me when I talk about how peaceful and happy my home life is. They really get annoyed if I mention how wonderful my teenage boys are, how loving, respectful and well behaved they are. People seem to think I’m making up this fantasy life, when really my life is a reflection of the priorities I set when my children were young and the decisions I’ve made to put family first. I don’t regret any of it and just feel sorry for the judgmental/ jealous people who seem to think life is like t.v. and if they just keep at it eventually they’ll have all that stuff in the commercials and be just as happy as the actors look.

  • Setjay

    28.000$, SMALL INCOME ???
    Please, i’m a teacher turned stay-at-home mum and we are living (hum, not even surviving…) with 9360€ a year… with three babies.
    Thanks crisis !
    Wish we had this “small income” so we’ll be rich !

  • linda

    I was excited to see what the tips were and disappointed that no tips were written yet. Good luck but wish you put at least one tip on here instead of directing everyone to a place with nothing yet.

    • Kimberlee

      Not sure what you are referring to, but here is a link to all of the posts Linda: Hope that helps. :)

      • linda

        thank you! Linda

    • Lindsay

      Linda, if you read the last paragraph, she says (and I quote) “Now that you know WHY we live on less, in the next few weeks I will be sharing HOW we live on such a small income”.

      This post, I think, was to set up future posts on the topic. She was just explaining the WHY here, not the HOW. :)

      • Lindsay

        BTW, I’m looking forward to reading the posts related to this topic! I love hearing what other people have to say about it and what tips/advice they can give and how it has worked for them!

  • Erica

    Thank you for taking this risk! I think you guys are great :)

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Erica. :)

  • jen

    i’ve only read this post so far but your message and your conviction and commitment to the decision you have made is inspiring. relationships are truly the most important things in life and even though they’ll always be your children – this is when they truly need you whether they know it or not. cheers to you for doing whatever it takes to be there for them! :)

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Jen! :)

  • Dori

    I just came across your site and I appreciate your sharing this info. My family is a 1 income family as well. We have had to make many decisions that others just don’t get and I am usually overwhelmed with caring about what others think. My oldest daughter was born with down syndrome, a diagnosis that was NOT expected. Then a year later, we learned that we were expecting my son. Between her therapies, doctor appointments and constant meetings, there was no way I could go back to work. Thank you so much and good luck!

    • Kimberlee

      Blessings to you Dori! It’s difficult to take care of a special needs child, but I am so glad that you can stay home.

  • Heather Carter

    My sister directed me to your site this morning when she found this article on Pinterest. We are a family of 10, living simply, and on a tight budget. I loved how you made the point that you aren’t putting your reputation on the line, rather you are opening yourself up to scrutiny. I live my life like an open book and that scrutiny is something that I loathe (and fear!). I look forward to reading more on your blog.

  • catherine

    Thank you thank you thank you for this blog! Life is changing for the worse for us and I too have elected to earn less in order to spend more time with my three boys (two teens) Next year my son will be going to college and although money would come in handy, I won’t be going back to my corporate job. I love what I do now as an artist and part-time educational assistant for special education! thank you thank you…I will be watching your posts!

  • Robin

    Hello! I too have made some major adjustments in my life. I am the single mom of a 9 year old boy. I had a heart attack at age 42 and have since acquired medical issues that prevent me from working. Trying to survive on SSI is quite an adjustment. I am still widdling down my expenses to make life easier and hopefully keep my house! Thanks for any and all suggestions!

  • Tiffany

    You are amazing.
    My husband and I live the same way. He was working a job making $17.00 an hour, and that was our only income. People looked at us funny because we managed just fine! We didn’t have fancy things, or ever take a significant vacation, but we have time with our kids and that was most important. We always said that we didn’t have kids for someone else to raise them. Although I respect mothers in the workforce (my mother was one of them!), I feel so blessed to be home.
    We are a very happy family, and I don’t care if other people think we are weird for how we live. My husband is now making more money after switching jobs so we can save money to move closer to my ailing parents, but we still live the same way. People seem to think it can’t be done, but you are proof, and I commend you for putting it out there.

  • Christen

    Last year my husband and I made the decision to let him go into full time volunteer work with a local ministry here. I work from home and we have 3 girls- 2 of which do school from home :) I think a lot of people think we’re crazy- but we love the idea of living on less so that others can just live. I applaud you for your decision and I give you a standing ovation for telling people about it!! The blog world can be a scary place….

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Christen. :)

  • Ashley

    You are phenomenal. I feel so blessed to have found this! =] May God continue to bless and keep you and yours. You can be certain I will be reading on.

  • Diana Miller

    I started working part time after I had my daughter. After 7 years of staying home, I decided to go back to work full time. After 10 years and she is ready to go to college, I am ready to stop working so hard and spend more time with my husband and daughter. The major issue is that I carry the health insurance for the family.

  • Amanda

    Just found your blog through pinterest..looking forward to reading it! We are a family of 6 also living off around 25,000 a year..I’m a stay at home mom also :)

  • Eirin

    After having my first child a year ago, I have looked high and low for real budget advice with real numbers. Thank you for your honesty and sharing your personal journey. I am inspired and feel hopeful that my family can enjoy living with less.

  • Jessica @ The Abundant Wife

    Thanks for sharing this series! I try to be very transparent as a blogger, but like you I have hesitated to share my husband’s salary for the same reasons. My husband also works for a non-profit (and we are both former teachers) and makes around $30,000 a year, which amounts to about $2100 a month after taxes and retirement are withdrawn. We are currently a family of four, but we hope to continue growing in size. I am looking forward to reading your series!

  • Taya

    I usually do not comment on blogs, I just never “felt” the need to. That was until I found your blog via pintrest (love it!) and.. well I feel I was ment to read this today. I have been unemployed for six months and it is finally wearing on me. I currently live with my fiance and our two children (I have a daughter from a previous relationship and he has a son). Right now we are living on his pay alone which is around 25000. It’s just so tight as far as money is concerned. I go to school and will graduate at the end of the year. Most of my family DOES NOT support what they call our “alternative” life style. They claim we must not be too uncomfortable because I only go to school and my fiance only works one job. It gets me down sometimes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I get to spend way more time with my kids than my parents ever did with me. Both worked for the military, so I was always pawned to a babysitter or a neighbor, and I do not want to do that with my own kids. Thank you so much, I feel I finally have the support I’ve been craving! :) Can’t wait to follow your blog.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Taya! I’m glad you feel encouraged. :)

  • Melody

    Uhm. You’re amazing. That is all.

    • Kimberlee

      Hahaha Melody–thanks! :)

  • Beck

    Just want to say that I totally respect your choices. You have put into words what I have been craving, which is a simpler and less materialistic life. I love that you have decided to focus on your family. This is what your children will remember when they grow up, not that you didn’t earn a lot of money. Well done, you should be proud. And the people that would judge you are not worth your time.

  • Andrea

    I miss the suggestions.

  • Dottie M

    Thanks so much. I needed these reminders today. We are much in the same boat. xo & blessings.

  • Judith

    I am so excited to read your blog. We chose when I was pregnant with my first daughter to live on one income. We said at the time we would do whatever it took to protect my ability to be with the kids. However, we never got serious about budgeting. My husband makes a good income but we have a lot of debt. We are trying to pay it down. I would love to be able to live on less and give him the option to take whatever job he wants without worrying about whether we can “make” it or not. Thanks for not worrying about what the world thinks and allowing us into your world so the rest of us can learn to live simpler.

  • Erin

    Just stopping in to say thank you for putting this out there! I can’t see why people would judge you… you have a mission, and you’re accomplishing it! You’re awesome! What a great role model for your children! And an inspiration to me! =)

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Erin. :)

  • Diana

    You are a very brave woman for sharing your story! I am also a mother of four, 3 teenagers ( 2 with ADHD) and a four year old with Autism! We have gone from two incomes down to one because I also made the decision to be home FT. So excited to read your blog! Thx!

  • Jen

    Thank you for taking a risk and writting this! I’m just starting to get into the series but am looking forward to all of your tips! As a single mom every penny counts!!

  • Melody

    Thank you for sharing this. As another family who has also chosen to live on one income (and is in the process of still trying to figure it out), so that I can stay home and raise our children, I appreciate your willingness to give us, not only a look inside how you do it financially, but why you have made these choices.

  • Amanda

    Thank you for sharing. I’m so excited to learn from you. I am a SAHM too. I had problems getting pregnant & I was in a high stress job, which was making my marriage & my sanity take a hit. We decided for me to come home, take care of the house, get pregnant, & be a SAHM. Best decision I ever made. We now have a beautifully, HAPPY, smart 16 month old daughter. A happier marriage & just overall better quality of life. I often feel judged for my decisions & it was hard to go to just one income. My husband makes around 45, but with a mortgage, 2 car payments, student loans…gah. I struggle with going back to work or staying home. I want to stay home, but I want to help my husband. He wants to make a career change (which I fully support, & think is a great idea), but we need money we don’t have for him to get “certified”. Hopefully, some of your tips can help us save for this goal. Thank you again!!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Amanda! I am so happy for you. :) Have you thought about selling one or both of your cars to get a paid for car? Car payments are real killers to the budget. I don’t know if that will work for you, but if you want to stay home, maybe there are some things you can cut back on and then find a job you can do part-time from home. I hope everything works out well for you. :)

  • Mary Edwards

    Thank You. We have a child with high functioning Autism. He is able to do school the school work (with lots of direction) but we have a lot behavior and social issues. When he started school we had problems, and since Dad was out of work at the time he stepped in and took care of things while I worked. We made a decision for Dad to stay home and care for the kids and me work. I am a nurse so I do ok. Is the house as clean as I want it? No, but it isn’t when I do it either. Our problem is friends give him a hard time about not working. It does not bother me because my children are more important than having a fancy car or other things. Thank you for sharing.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Mary! It is unfortunate that people are not more open to dads staying home with the kids. I think it’s great when they can have either parent directly involved in their lives more. Blessings to you and your family.

  • Acadiachic76

    I give you two thumbs up for what you are doing. It seems like the more money you have the more stress you have to go with it. Since I have recently lost my job I have also learned that I must choose between a “want” and a “need”. I thought it would be hard, but I am actually liking it because I don’t have to choose between my want like a pair of shoes, and my need like paying the rent. I just want to wish you and your family lots of luck!

  • Mindy S

    Thank you so much for posting this. I look forward to reading through more of your posts. After I had our second little girl we decided I would stay home with out 3 year old and infant. So we too are down to one income. We struggle every day with our budget and have had to make many sacrifices. But I am also thankful to be able to be home with my girls. I believe the first few years are so important for so many aspects of a child’s life. I love Pinterest and finding more ways to help save money. Thank you for showing me that I am not alone . And kudos to you for also putting your family first over money.

  • Renee B

    Thank you! I feel like you are describing our exact scenario. We do the same, have 4 children and my oldest 2 are on the spectrum plus my 5th grader has ADHD. I feel guilty at times that I can not give them more like trips and things but can not imagine what life would be like if I was not here to help them through every day struggles!

  • Suzie

    Thanks for sharing…. My husband and I both currently work. I have been a SAHM in the past but my husband had a much better job at that time. We have no debt except for our mortgage, but I still can’t seem to make it work out on paper for me to stay home again. It seems that we end up with lots of medical or miscellaneous expenses each month as well. Our youngest will be headed to college next year and so it seems that it would be the absolute craziest time for me to consider that option but I am. Thanks for sharing all your tips about how you save and cut back to be at home with your family. It means a lot to those out there that are considering it and that it can be done on a small income. I hope you don’t mind me asking when you speak of your income, are you speaking in terms of gross or net income? Thanks again for sharing with us!

    • Kimberlee

      I don’t mind at all Suzie. :) We bring home an average of $2200 a month net.

  • Lucy

    Hello there!

    Just found your site via Pinterest. What a wonderful age we live in!!! I have truly found my tribe ;) . But seriously, just wanted to say thank you for being so open and sharing. It is an inspiration, and kind of a life line for me at least.

    Hope you’re having a great summer so far!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Lucy! Welcome to the tribe. :)

  • Kim

    I just found this site and already I have joined emeals and I am looking forward to reading the rest of your posts. I am a full time nursing student with 2 children and my husband is the only source of income we have. We have had to make many tough decisions but believe we have made the right ones. I have taken off for the summer and I want to get meals planned and budget organized by the time I go back to school so that I don’t have to waste time “getting organized” it will all work smoothly! Just so you don’t feel like you are the only one putting it all out there…our family of 4 lives on $20,000 a year and it is very difficult…God bless you for helping all the rest of us.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Kim! I hope you have a productive summer. Way to go for choosing to live according to your true priorities!

  • Heidi A.

    When we found out almost two years ago that I was pregnant with twins, we knew going back to work would not be an option for me, not that I wanted to! We also have 2 teenagers that very much need direct attention and interaction. Our income is slightly higher than yours (SO hard to say the number) at $2500 a month, but we live in a highly desirable and EXPENSIVE part of the country- Moving away just isn’t an option for us, it is so much more important to us that our children grow up where we did and have a daily personal interaction with their grandparents and extended family. And yet our family is the one shaking their heads at us. They just don’t understand- and when we do decide to spend the money on something “extra” to keep our sanity intact, then we get judged all the more. They do not understand that in addition to raising 4 kids, two of them VERY busy toddlers, that keeping a household ESPECIALLY on a small budget, really is a job!I recycle, upcycle, craft, skimp, and plan out every penny. I have only read the first post so far, but am very much looking forward to the rest! You see all these “how to save money” posts and lists that are things like “Go to a matinee instead of the late show” and “try shopping store brands” – On an income like ours store brands are a forgone conclusion and the only way we go to the movies is if we win tickets or get a gift card! Thank you for putting yourself out there! And thank you to all the above posters for sharing- I feel like a little less of an odd ball right now :P

    • Kimberlee

      Heidi–You are definitely not an oddball! :) I know exactly what you mean about going to the movies. Thankfully we have a good $1.00 theater close by or we would never see anything on the big screen–LOL!

  • Sadie

    I can’t really remember when I have had over $20,000 a year to live on. I love that you post about living simple. I wish more people realized that it can be done.

  • Shannon

    Thank you for being brave enough to put yourself out there. I haven’t even finished reading your posts yet, but feel as if I got some tips on how we can survive. Husband has been out of work for years and returned to school, I’ve taken up to three jobs and am in school too. I need to drop the two lesser jobs to regain a life. Thank you for validating relationships and non-material things in life. Your blog is what I needed today, or I may have lost yet another piece of my sanity. I appreciate you!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for letting me know Shannon. I’m glad I could help. :)

  • Debbie

    I found this post through Pinterest but I’ve come over to your blog either through MSM or Lifeasmom (not sure which), either to find a recipe or something, or just some peace. (Love the name of your blog too.) Anyway, I havn’t read the whole series yet but I am very eager to.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Debbie!

  • Danielle

    A friend told me about you and I am so thankful :) After reading on I feel better about my familys “simple” life….we live on about the same income after I decided to quit my job to stay at home with our children….our 3 year old recently diagnosed with Autism,an active 5 yr old and 4 teenagers……we find enjoyment in the little (and free ;) things and look at life in a whole other light. While things may be tight, I’ve realized what we want in life isn’t always what we need. Thanks for sharing your life!

  • Toni

    I am very grateful for your honesty and courage. I recently became a stay at home mom because I saw the effects of having two working parents was having on my children along with the stress that working, having a family, and going to school full time brings. Just reading your article at the top has given me even more confirmation that this is something that can and will be done. Thanks so much for sharing I know you are concerned about what some negative people have to say but I believe in my heart that you are changing more lives then you know so again THANK YOU! You rock!!!!!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Toni!

  • Michelle

    I just came across your blog today. We are a family of 5 living off of a similar, modest income. We survive and have a good time too. My oldest is developmentally delayed and I have 2 other daughters. I applaud you for being so open and honest. It’s encouraging.

    • Kimberlee

      I’m so glad that you feel encouraged Michelle. :)

  • Kyle

    Thank you so much for taking the time to explain how you make it work! We have a much smaller family, just me and my daughter, and we live on a similar size income, which I think is pretty good. And still, it seems at times that keeping a household on this income will cause me to go bald (from pulling out all my hair), which is no fun for my daughter either. So, thank you, truly! You’re willingness to provide this insight is truly appreciated!

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Kyle. :)

  • KL

    I really really love your blog. My little family of three is just starting out, but we desire another baby in the near future. Your tips on saving and being financially responsible will be of great use as we prepare to make a family of 4 :)

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much!

  • Crystal Stewart

    Thank you so much for your honesty!! I discovered you on Pinterest and it couldn’t have happened at a better time. My husband is out of work….I choose to stay home and our emergency unemployment just ran out. We live within our means and as shocking as it sounds…we have no house payment, no car payment, no credit card bills, so things may be tight…but not devastating!! Thanks for your tips, can’t wait to read the entire series!!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Crystal!

  • Gigi

    When I clicked onto this story, it was from a single girlfriends pinterest site. I assumed that you were going to be discussing how to live it up a la “young, broke and fabulous” on a modest income. What I found, when I read this first post in the series made my jaw drop. 6 people, 28k?!? Whaaaaat?
    I just thank God for people out there like you, willing to share, willing to open up and talk about those uncomfortable subjects. Right now, I am having the internal struggle of wanting to become a stay at home wife and Mother. I too, would be the “safer” bet as the higher income earner… however, I think our family would be happier if I was the homemaker, and so there are other factors for us to consider other than money as well. I am just SO scared of doing it. What if I fail? What if we try, and fail, and I ruin my resume and am unable to get back into a great position? “what if…” x100 I keep thinking, how can 3 people even possibly survive on 34k a year? I feel insane for even considering it… Then I stumbled onto your site. I feel so encouraged. I feel like its “possible” and there is a glimmer of hope that I am not crazy for wanting to try it. I feel even like I deserve it, and not stupid for wanting it. Thank you, really thank you for putting yourself out there. I just wanted to tell you that you helped me feel better, and thank you for that. :)

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Gigi! I think you are wise for considering all of the possibilities, but never make your decision based on fear. Things won’t be easy sometimes and you may have some failures, but I can guarantee that if you decide to stay home with your child, you will never regret the bond that you form and the precious memories you will have.

      Before you quit your job, have a solid plan in place (a written budget) and make a commitment to sacrifice what you need to sacrifice to make things work (rarely eating out, buying only sale items, etc.). You might even try living on your husband’s income as much as possible and saving as much of your income as you can. An emergency fund can be very helpful while you are working everything out.

      Thanks so much for letting me know that my site helped you. Have a great weekend! :)

  • Sarah

    I just found your blog and I have only read the beginning post and not the tips yet. We are a family of five living off just my husband’s income. I was a teacher but we decided when our first was born that I would stay home. We felt if we were going to have kids than we needed to make the sacrifice and raise them not someone else. When I was 6 months pregnant with our third my husband lost his job and was laid off for over a year. We were able to survive and not dip into our emergency fund that whole time! I know some people think we are crazy because we never go out to eat (unless we have a gift card or coupons :) and we rarely go on vacation but we are happy. Thanks for putting yourself out there. I know a lot of people don’t understand why we live so simply but I am thankful that we do. Now if I could just convince my husband to let me homeschool!

    • Kimberlee

      That’s awesome that you were able to make it an entire year without touching your savings! Glad you found the blog Sarah. :)

  • Kristen

    Thank you for opening your experiences and solutions up to us. I just moved from the Phoenix Metropolous and $60,000 a year to small town Kansas for a “simpler, ” little did I realize that the much awaited job offer yesterday would bring in a whopping income of $27,000 a year. I am definitely looking for advice and hope from others doing it. Blessings and love, Kristen

    • Kimberlee

      That is a huge pay cut! Definitely an adjustment, but hopefully your expenses will be less. I am always jealous of all the grocery deals I hear about in the midwest.

  • Kisha

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing. I agree completely that it is hard to share financial information, it is very personal, so thank you so much for going out on a limb and sharing yours. 8 months ago my husband and I decided that it was in our families best interest if I stop working too. It has been hard for us and he makes much more than your family lives off of. It was all right at first but now that our finaces have caught up to us and we have really realized that we cant live like we used to, we have hit a hard spot. These posts have been so helpful and inspiring, not only to help me get our finances in order but that there are other women and families out there that value relationships and thier families well being more than money. I was scrutinzed by friends for my decision because now we cant go on family trips to Disneyland and have our monthy parties and shopping sprees. As fun as those things are, they are not more important than the mental, emotional and spritual support I can give my family while at home. Thank you for, in a round about way, supporting me, you dont know me but reading your story has given me stregnth to go on when I have been seriously thinking about giving up and going back to work. Thank you, you are a God sent!!! God bless your amazing family!!!

    • Kimberlee

      I am so glad Kisha. I actually had to go back to work a couple of times early on until we figured out that things REALLY had to change for me to stay home. It is difficult, but definitely worth the sacrifice as you mention. I pray that you will be able to get through this rough spot and things will turn around quickly for you. :)

  • Niki

    Thank you for sharing!! My husband and I have also chosen for me to be a stay at home mom, and recently he took a pay cut. I have been a little stressed figuring out our new budget, but seeing you do it with more people is very encouraging.

  • Shyloh

    Thank you so much for sharing this and putting youself out there! My husband and I have two kids and live on less than $10k a year. I was a SAHM for two years, when my husband lost his job and we made a move to a very rural area. He cannot find a job so now he is a SAHD. I’m excited to get some tips because there are times I feel like giving up because I can’t always meet our obligations.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Shyloh! I hope you find some encouragement here. :)

  • Cyndy

    When I was reading your reasoning for writing the blog, I immediately thought of something that’s been haunting me: There’s a lot of talk today about how we all need to learn to live below our means, rather than living within our means. Because, if we live within our means, it makes saving nearly impossible; leading to that ‘paycheck to paycheck’ lifestyle. I was intrigued to find your blog, to give myself some ideas for cutting costs, so that I can save more of my income for a major goal— someday a paid-for home. I appreciate your help—thank you.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Cyndy! I hope you find some helpful ideas. :)

  • Sarah

    I came across your site accidentally. I am in the group that has a larger income but has a heavy debt load. Husband has the job, I stay at home with four under the age of 7 and are stretched beyond our means. mostly because of the need to still keep up with the jones’. This site may help me to determine how best to pull the excessive spending habits and get back to some important things before my children think monetary wealth is king.
    bless you and your family for sharing.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Sarah! Some “accidents” turn out to be a good thing, right? :)

  • Brittany

    Thank you so much for posting this. It is good to know that I am not the only one playing this balancing act. And that is struggling with money the way that I am.

    My husband makes around 18k a year, and supports our family of 5 on one income be we also live in the cheaper part of the Midwest so that smaller income is compensated some by having cheaper housing (next time you think man I want to move there it is soo cheap to live there remember it comes with a cost. It is VERY difficult to find a job that pays more then national minimum wage).

    I can’t even express to him how thankful we are to have him even though it may not seem like it some days. I hope by getting some time to read through this blog I’ll get some more ideas on how to manage our money better (I’m in charge of all the finances which makes me really nervous cause I therapy shop when I am upset not always for useless things but not wisely either).

    Also I’d like to thank you for posting it so beautifully. I try to express to my mother/ sister and others why I chose to stay at home and no one can see a point. I’d make more money and struggle less if I used my degree and pursued a career, my husband could benefit also by being able to complete his degree without all the burden on his shoulders. But with 3 young children, one of which who is still quite young and VERY dependent on her mama, and two in the very beginnings of their school life. I want to be here for them where my own mother couldn’t. To teach them values that got over looked when i was young! Thank you again. It gives me more courage to stand up for what I believe now. Especially with the consideration of home schooling in my very near future.

    • Kimberlee

      I too am a shopper. I’ve just funneled my shopping “needs” to the thrift store–haha! I’m so glad that you feel encouraged Brittany. :)

  • Faye

    I came across your site as I was browsing you tube for frugal living videos. I come from a completely different point of view in that I am not married and I do not have any children. I am the daughter of a couple who made the same choices you and your husband are doing. My parents made the frugal choices so that my mother could stay home and we lived on a very small income which my dad brought home. IT MADE A BIG DIFFERENCE WITH ME AND MY FOUR SIBLINGS!! I loved having my mother home and although we did not have all the expensive things (vacations, latest toys/games, expensive furnishings etc) we did have our parents attention. I loved having QUANTITY time with my parents. My friends only had a small amount of quality time with their parents and even then their parents were exhausted as both worked full time jobs. My parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and I thanked them for being HOME and AVAILABLE to me as I was growing up…So to all you mom’s who wonder if your kids will feel deprived due to the choices you are making in staying home and available I would just like to say NO NO NO once your kids are grown they will thank you!!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for your perspective Faye. I appreciate it and I’m sure other moms will too. :)

  • Michelle

    I am so looking forward to reading your blog on this topic! I work two jobs (one full-time and one part-time), my husband works graveyards, we have a teenage Aspie boy (I don’t have to tell you how stressful that can be some days) that is 14 and our other son is turning 18 but has not been able to get a job due to the economy – we are helping him with gas and car insurance in the meantime. Stress is my middle name these days and I would love to reduce that if I can find a way to do it. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Kimberlee

      I’m sorry that you have so much going on. I hope that you can find some ideas and encouragement here.

  • Tracy Culley, Columbia, MO

    I also found your blog on Pinterest and am excited to read the rest in this series. We have one son after 5 pregnancies, so we also made the decision to be a one-income family. We barely got by at first, it was really hard. Really, I think the only reason we made it early on was lots of prayer and my husband’s pension from his service in the Navy. We now make quite a bit more than that, but after having done Financial Peace again recently I am re-inspired to work hard to pay off our debt. Thank you for being transparent and real.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Tracy! I’m so glad you’re here. :)

  • Sarah M

    Hi, I haven’t read more than the introduction to your series of posts, but I wanted to say thank you already. I’m sure I’ll find lots of helpful information here. My hubby is currently military, but he is getting out soon, so we are trying to learn to live on a smaller income. I just got a part time job, working evenings, and I’m excited for the additional income. We aren’t looking forward to the time apart from each other, as he works all day, then I’ll be gone at night. But for us, having one of us home with the kids is more important. Our youngest is only 2, so for me to work days, he’d have to be in daycare. I am not comfortable with daycare when they are this young. They can’t tell me if they’ve eaten all day, if they were in dirty diapers, if someone hurt them. If he were older, I may would consider it, but not now. We figure he’ll be in school soon enough, so we’d rather have a parent home with him all the time. We know we will make our relationship work just fine, even with us working opposite shifts.

    • Kimberlee

      We did the same thing for two years when our children were very young and I had to work. I taught during the day and my husband worked a shift from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.. It was difficult, but so important for us to have one parent at home with the children.

  • Krista

    Very much looking forward to reading this series. Your family’s situation sounds similar to ours in many ways.

  • Elisabeth

    I am 4 months pregnant (it is a little boy),and my boyfriend and I have been stressed over the fact that we will be losing my half of the income every month, we decided me staying home is much more important then the money. I am so thankful that you are sharing such great knowledge, and I plan on bringing it into my home to help my growing family.

    • Kimberlee

      Congratulations on your little one Elisabeth! I hope you find lots of help and encouragement here.

  • Naomi H, Surrey, BC, Canada

    Have only read this one post so far but excited to see more! Thanks so much for your courage in sharing. We live on a similar income… or will after a raise coming up in the fall. Hubbie has a potential to earn more in the future and has a few on the side entrepeneur opportunities, but the Vancouver area is one of the most expensive in Canada for living so it’s tough for now. We only have 2 kids so far, but I also plan to homeschool and choose not to work because we feel it’s the best choice for our future. Looking forward to getting to know you more and being inspired :)
    bless you

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Naomi!

  • diane faulk

    awesome–i get ridiculed sometimes for my money saving ideas-hippie, cheapskate etc. but i love my family, the Lord, and the Earth and i believe consumption will be the demise of our society as we know it–i look forward to the updates–i too have a full time job, kids with learning disabilities and it DOES make me horrible to be around sometimes–thanks for your honesty.

    • Kimberlee

      It’s just hard to juggle all that Diane. It’s understandable to be a little grumpy sometimes. :)

  • noreen

    kimberlee, i say KUDOS to you for being so daring…but so sharing!! {i actually had not meant to rhyme that…} so very many of us ~ too many of us! ~ have financial difficulties of some type or other, so any helpful, useful information we get is only GOOD!! & no matter WHAT a person posts, there are sure to ALWAYS be “naysayers”. there will ALWAYS be those who feel they have the room & the right to “judge”… so then… let them!! that merely shows that THEY have issues…not necessarily the person they are judging!
    thank you for your openness & honesty ~ 2 quite refreshing & inspiring qualities for someone to have!! 8-)

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for your encouragement Noreen!

  • Kristen

    THANK YOU for sharing your personal experience and for “keeping it real”. I too have a son (15) with Aspergers and also a 12 yr old daughter and even though I no longer home school I still stay at home. We survive on my husbands salary alone. (he’s a mechanic so it’s safe to say we’re definitely NOT living high on the hog)

    We’ve learned to give up many of the things that our 2 income friends enjoy but to me the time w/ my children growing up is worth cutting corners financially, here and there.

    I get laughed at for hanging my laundry to dry. And am asked “how can you keep your thermostat at 65!!!?” but it doesn’t bother me. The time my husband and I have together as a family is something I’d never change, not for a million dollars.

    I’m looking forward to reading ALL your posts & ideas.

    :) Kristen

    • Kimberlee

      We laundry hangers have to stick together Kristen. :)

    • Sarah

      I know how you feel Kristen when people walk in my house and ask me dont you have a/c and I reply yes but it is not cheep to run so it is set at 82 which should still feel nice when its 110 outside and in the winter it is set at 62 like my father always said if you are cold put some clothes on. When it is that hot outside it takes less time to dry your cloths ont the line than it does in the dryer.

  • Dawn Roscoe

    I stumbled across your blog via Pinterest. My family is fortunate that my husband makes a very good salary, but he was recently laid off, and took a paycut of nearly $50K per year. We had to relocate from the fast paced East Coast to the midwest. The psychological toll that took on him is indescribable, and I believe that it is because we have become a society so focused on dollars and “things.” It’s not even the “things” we have as much as how much they cost… A slower life has taught us in a couple short months how much more valuable “things” like family time, are so much more important than all the “things” we had to keep up. I haven’t read all of your tips yet, but I am excited to learn more. Everyone could benefit from a change in perspective.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for sharing your story I am in just about the same boat as you with 2 teenagers and 2 toddlers. I am always looking for ways to simplify and have more pocket money. I am pretty much down to just buying garbage bags, toilet paper and diapers (hopefully not for to much longer the almost 2 year old has been quit a challenge to potty train) every other thing we need for our house I have started making. We had bought a house got moved in and 2 weeks later my husband got laid off and his unemployment was a joke. Between our house and land payment we are close to 1200 a month. We have weighed the option of me working and it is just not feesable with 2 toddlers and 1 car. I am sure there are many things we can still change and look forward to reading your blog and again I thank you for putting yourself out there for the rest of us.

    • Kimberlee

      I feel your pain Sarah. I had three in diapers at one point and the oldest refused to potty train. He finally decided to leave diapers at the ripe old age of 3–ack!

  • Danielle

    Hi, I’m not a mom but I came across your website because I am interested in saving and living on less.

    I know this may seem like a pertinent question, but where do you live? I mean I don’t want to know your neighborhood or street but could you give a general impression of the state? Because I live in Miami, FL and let me tell you that living on 28,000 w/ four kids, even as a single person sharing a salary with her bf is a real struggle, esp when you include the cost of healthcare and transportation that is essentially necessary and we have to pay out of pocket. I’m not saying it can’t be done, just yeah it would give me an impression of the kinds of monetary challenges you are coming across if I knew of your general area.

    Once again I’m really sorry if that seems presumptuous to ask, I apologize and mean no offense.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Danielle!

      My point in writing this series is not to suggest that everyone can live on less than $28,000 a year, but that you can probably live on less than you think. By making different choices and using your money differently, you can live your true priorities. It is more difficult when you are single and do not have someone to share expenses with, but if you stay out of debt (no credit cards, car payments, etc.), and plan your spending, you can make your money go much farther.

      We have made a lot of sacrifices to be able to live on less, but we made them because we value being able to spend time with our children and we enjoy a simpler lifestyle. If you choose to read the rest of the series, you will have more of an idea of how we live on less, but of course, you must make your own choices based on your values.

  • Jessica

    Thank you so much for sharing! I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog. I’m a college student and saving money is really difficult. Some of your saving tips I already do, but I love finding new ways/strategies to save. I eat out a LOT because well, I’m in college, but I’ve recently started cooking in and man, do I save a lot of money! Great tips on this blog and I look forward to reading more and figuring out ways I can apply it to my way of living! :)

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Jessica! I am so glad that you found something here that you can use.

  • Diane

    Thanks so much for this series! I just came across it tonight and it is perfect timing for me because I am buying my first home and am nervous about the monthly numbers and making things work. Your advice is so helpful and I will be using your tricks and tips to help me save money and live comfortably. Thanks again!

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Diane!

  • Janet

    Hi, I was wondering about ideas for baby shower gifts. I always feel so cheap. The max I spend is $25 but I somehow feel that it “isn’t enough”. I always try to get bargains, but I can’t store up stuff and then give it because they’ll know it’s not from this year and they can’t return it. Actually, $25 is difficult. We have had so many wedding showers and weddings and now this is the 2nd baby shower. Why do people expect so much?

    • Kimberlee

      I have an upcoming post about this, but here are a few ideas: (1) go in with others so your $25 goes toward a larger gift; (2) make something personalized–I received hand painted baby shoes from one friend that I treasured. You could monogram a baby blanket, make a framed piece of art with the baby’s name (Pinterest is great for ideas), etc.; (3)Buy diapers on sale with a coupon. Most moms I know really appreciate it and you can attach a nice card; (4) Don’t worry about it. If someone is so rude as to be ungrateful that you are giving them ANY gift, I don’t think they deserve a gift from you in the first place (there, I said it). Just give whatever you can afford and go on with life.

      Hope that helps! :)

  • Shonda

    Just found your blog after looking for ideas for frugal living. I was one of those that stayed at home with our child, while my husband worked. We made the decision that our daughter was more important to us than money or things. We made sacrifices, but with the help of the Lord we never missed a meal or a payment. We lived within a budget, looked for free things to do as a family, and bought second hand clothes. Living now as empty-nesters we have no regrets.

    • Kimberlee

      Thank you Shonda. It is so good to hear from someone who is a little further down the road than we are. Blessings to your family!

  • Kelly

    I look forward to reading it:) my family is a family of 5 currently at home and we only make $23,000.00 yearly, so we know what its like:).

  • Amber Campbell

    With everyone struggling (it seems like) these days, I know my friends and family are always trying to find ways to cut costs! I welcome your willingness to share what works for you! I know I have always been taught to live below my means and that being frugal is a good thing, a wise and less stressful choice!

  • Neeta

    Thank you soooo much for your courage! It means so much to all of us that are looking for ways to live with less..but more at the same time. I love you and don’t even know you. Praying for you and your family! Blessings to you!!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Neeta. That really means a lot to me!

  • Ashley

    Month after month we have struggled to get by with our family of 6. I plot and plan and budget; it’s never enough! I ran across your website this week when I felt like we finally hit rock bottom & spent my day in meltdown mode (a rare thing for me). I revisited the site today to find this article and felt some since of relief knowing there was someone that shared our income level/household size. We spend lots of time praying about where our life is and trying to simplify every aspect of it so the children can learn to appriciate things. I hope I was brought to you site for a reason. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Ashley! I am so sorry that you are having difficulty. I will tell you that many times we have to see God provide because there is just no money at the time we need something. He is always faithful though! Let me know if you have any specific questions.

  • Bernice

    My husband and I are now trying to live off of one income, he is making less than 25 000 /yr we are a family of 4, I am stay at home mom, I work at nigth crafting and doing stuff for birthday parties, that does not provide much but at least I can take care of my little ones. I am glad to hear from you, looking forward to read all about the tips. Thank You for sharing and encouraging me.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Bernice! I’m so glad that you feel encouraged. Let me know if you have any questions. :)

  • Judy Hoover

    Just found your very helpful sight. My husband and I are retired and live on a farm where something is always breaking or needing replacing. We each get small social security checks but try to supplement by selling produce in summer and firewood in fall and winter. Thanks for any help!!!

  • Kaylee

    Thank you for posting this. I’m 19 years old and I live with my parents. My dad had his own business and it plummeted because the demand for the business he ran, went down. Since I live in Michigan, and most of the General Motor plants have closed down, many families, as well as my own, are so strapped for money, and are just trying to find ways to make it through the month. I’ve just started to read your posts, and I am going to start bringing these ideas up to my parents. I’m so glad though, that you have chosen to spend time with your children. I feel like more often than not, relationships are kind of left in the dust, because of all the stresses to deal with, when it comes to work. You are absolutely wonderful for posting all of these amazing ideas. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Kaylee! I am so, so sorry that your family is going through such a difficult time. I sincerely hope that you can find some helpful ideas here. I know everything we do won’t work for everyone, but maybe it can start you thinking about ways you can save more. Blessings!

  • Deacon

    This is so encouraging. I just wrote a post on How to Buy a Home Without a Mortgage and a main reason that is possible is by keeping expenses low. Thanks for sharing!

  • Rhea

    Love that you are able to do this for people! When my husband became sick with a brain tumor 10 years ago we learned to live on 1/3rd of our original income. It was not only hard but was also an eye opener as to how much waste we had in our lives. We quickly learned the difference between a want and a need. I feel like our whole family (my husband, myself and 4 children) grew and gained a new perspective on life during this time! Bless you for being brave enough to tackle this journey.

    To those of you trying to get out of debt so that you can live a simpler life I would suggest Dave Ramsey’s – Total Money Makeover. Take it from the Pitt’s Family “It really works”!

  • Mindy Gasparek

    I can’t believe I haven’t come across your site until now! I’m bookmarking it so I can peruse it more over the weekend. Although I don’t have kiddos, I think I can still learn a lot from your site! I’ve been reading a lot about Simple Living over the last year and it completely makes sense to me! It’s something I’ve become passionate about! I am working on getting out of debt and striving for the simpler yet inwardly richer life. AAhhhh. I’ll get there!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Mindy! I hope you find some ideas that you can use. :)

  • Paula Parrish

    Oh my Gosh! I’m so happy that I found your blog! Our stress level is so high and we need to find way to live on less money. Thanks for sharing your personal information with us, for our benefit. I am so grateful. ;o)

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Paula. :)

  • Rachel

    Oh my, no judgement here! We are like two peas in a pod, sounds like. I have only read your intro so far and I have so much respect for you. So true you cannot take the material stuff with you, but the memories are forever! Kudos, my friend!!

  • Kristy Williams

    I can’t wait! I have gone through a lot this year already and my husband and I are trying to stay positive and begin a new fresh start. I hope to get a lot of ideas from you. Thank you for sharing :)

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Kristy!

  • Wesley cooper

    In so glad to have happened upon this site! I’m a new(er) mom and my husband is in med school so we have very little income and ALOT of debt! I’m in the process of taking over the finances plus trying to save so we can eventually buy a house, and I’m trying to figure out how to stretch less than 22,000 in an area of very high renting rates! Thank you for sharing your wisdom for women like me who have decided to trade money for mommy time!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome! I hope you find some good ideas here. Let me know if you have any questions. :)

  • Lauren

    I just want to say that I totally respect your view point on this. It’s so rare for people to choose quality of family over chasing dollars. Thanks for being open!

  • Leila

    Hi. I found your site on Pinterest. I am very excited about it as I am a new teacher starting out my first full-time job this September. Up until now, I have done supply work (for two years), and that income is not steady. I have the burden of student loans that need to be paid back, and I’d like to do that as quickly and by paying as little interest as possible. I am hoping that your site will help me save money and live economically but happily with my boyfriend of three years.

  • Whitney

    I know this comment will probably get lost amongst all the others, but I just have to say thank you for being so honest. It’s SO nice to hear about someone else who puts family above money! My husband chose to be a school teacher, and we both believe in a stay-at-home-mother. Many people think my husband is crazy for choosing a low paying job that still requires a degree, and me for staying home instead of making more money (and even think it irresponsible for choosing to have a family before finishing school, having a good job, & owning a home). THANK YOU for showing me how someone else does it on even LESS than we make now! I guess it’s just nice to know that other people (YOU!) put their kids first and, honestly, are probably happier than with whatever money could buy. I am so excited to read the rest of your blog!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Whitney! I am so glad that you are encouraged. Welcome! :)

  • Whitney

    I know I just posted, but after watching some videos… is that a dream board behind you in your dining room? If it is, SO COOL!

    • Kimberlee

      Yes, it is one of the inspiration boards I made. Do you have one?

  • Priscilla

    Our family of 5 lives on $28,000 a year and I also stay home. Thanks for this website. There’s a little bit of “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” mentality with me about staying home. I stay home but am so jaded frustrated and stressed about living paycheck to paycheck. I am always praying nothing breaks or no one gets sick because we can’t afford health insurance or an emergency. Our 3 kids are 4 years and under. I can’t go back to work with the daycare costs, it just wouldn’t be worth it (also a teacher). I find that I am not the “peaceful” mother I want to be solely on the fact that we don’t make enough money. My husband is always working and I’m here with the kids. We cut out more than anyone can believe and even live in my mother-in-laws house, for free! I’m of course going to check out all your tips and know I’ll learn more than a few things. I’m glad you are so peaceful! I’m hoping to get a little of that :)

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Priscilla- First of all it is very difficult to be a peaceful mom with 3 kids ages four and under. You are in a difficult stage in life and definitely need to find an outlet like a mother’s morning out or trading kids with a friend (or Saturday coffee date with a friend while hubby keeps the kids). When our kids were that age I had to go back to work and we worked opposite shifts so we didn’t have to put them in daycare. That arrangement enabled us to parent our children rather than send them to someone else, but it was very difficult on our marriage.

      I wonder if you could start tutoring privately to bring in a little extra money, or teach an online class one or two evenings a week. It is difficult to live on less than $28,000 and if you are being very careful and it is still not working for you, maybe you need to find a way to increase your income. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.

  • Chris

    I applaud your choices and that you want to help others by sharing your story! Time is our most valuable commodity. “Stuff” is used up, fades away, or gets cast aside, but memories last forever! My parents raised us in a similar way. I may not have had everything I ever wanted as a kid but we were rich in other ways! The memories of times spent together will last a lifetime and they mean even more to me now that my dad has passed on.

    On an unrelated note, your story reminded me of something I read recently on a different blog site regarding nutrition, children and food allergies. You may find the info interesting so I’d like to share:

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Chris!

  • erica

    thank you for sharing this post. while we’re fortunate enough to live on a larger salary, our expenses have gotten so far away from us that it’s not uncommon for our bank account to be overdrawn the day after payday. i’m a sahm with 2 littles and as the ceo of our home, i’m committed to making it work with what we have. thank you for chronicling your journey.

  • em

    Yay! So excited to find your blog! I can’t tell you what a relief it is! We’re a young family of 6, oldest child with aspergers and gluten allergy, a conviction to stay home and homeschool even though it means living on a tiny income. It feels like an impossible puzzle but I’m so encouraged to find out there is someone with such a similar situation making it work… a huge thank you for sharing, I can’t wait to read all your posts!

  • Ali Bassler

    Looking for ways to save and keep the family happy.

  • lynn

    Thanks so much for being courageous! Your lifestyle alone makes you very brave – but to actually make yourself very public is admirable. We are now in our early 50″s, and almost empty nesters, but we were a mid to low income family with 5 children and always felt the judgmental eye, (even from my own family). I will pray for your family and very much enjoy learning even more ways to be thrifty! Thanks again for this site!

  • lynn

    P.S. We homeschooled too!

  • yvette

    Thank for this. I’m a single mother of 4, I make 19200 a year and no child support.!!!! This helps a great deal.

    • Kimberlee

      Wow Yvette–you are in a tough position. I hope you find some help and encouragement here.

  • Michelle

    I can’t wait to hear the rest of your story! I work and so does my husband. we have a lot of bills as well as supporting our daughter, her husband, and their newborn while they finish school. I need to save money!

  • Jessica

    I found your blog from pinterest, as I’m sure many others have. I am looking forward to reading your articles. I love the way your write and how straight forward you are! I hope you’re getting a lot of positive feedback and those that might not agree with you just leave your website alone instead of feeling the need to “teach you a lesson”. I can’t wait to be educated!!! Thanks for posting this! I know it’s personal and am VERY thankful for something out there I can try to help make a difference in my family’s situation. Thank you again!

  • Shantavia

    Thank you for this. I found your blog on Pinterest. My situation is a bit different – we are fortunate in that I no longer have to work (and we are moving abroad for hubby’s job). I am learning how to live with just one income. While, we are very lucky and blessed to live comfortably on his income, I am still happy to find thoughts, tips, suggestions for living frugally. I can’t wait to read more from you!!!

  • Annie

    Wow! I don’t even know how I came across your blog, but boy, am I glad I did! We have so much in common! My oldest son has ASPERGER’S and is gluten free. My youngest son is ADHD and is being checked for seizures. We now homeschool because, like you, it would be next to impossible for me to work outside the home now!

    So, so glad that I found your blog!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Annie! :)

  • Jacki

    I may not have any children, but I do live on just one very small income and I am always on the lookout for tips on how to save. I have had to learn some hard lessons lately and this blog has given me some very good ideas on how to save so I can live the life I want. Bravo for putting yourself out there like this!

    • Kimberlee

      I’m so glad. Thanks for letting me know Jacki!

  • Bobbi

    Thank you for sharing your story. Families need to hear that it can be done with determination and choosing what is necessary or not. My husband of 25 yrs and I have been living like this since we were first married. We have 4 children that are homeschooled since birth. The two oldest are in college now. We don’t miss all the extras, in fact, our family is very close. The kids know the value of a dollar and work for the things they want. Never do I see them take for granted the things they had to work for. Kids grow up fast and time spent together is more important than the newest vehicle or a larger home. Keep up the good work in encouraging and helping others!!!!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Bobbi!

  • Teshari

    Thank you for sharing your story. It was very much needed and encouraging.

  • Meyli

    I just stumbled across your blog on pintrest and I am so glad. My husband just lost his job and he is starting school next month full time, so my income is going to have to be it for a while. Going from two full time incomes to one plus school expenses is going to be tricky and I’ve been racking my brain and the internet for ideas and help. So thank you for being so honest with your situation and helping other in the same boat. I 100% agree with your relationship over money philosophy and admire you for it.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Meyli! I hope you find some helpful ideas and encouragement here. :)

  • Kathy

    I admire you for living simple and being on such a lower budget. No one should be judging you. We also live on a strict budget so we can save money for our retirement dream. It is not easy and it does take focus and work but it is worth it.

  • Theresa

    Hello! I am very interested in this post, but am wondering where you all live. I live in DC and the cost of living seems so high here I am very worried about budgeting and living on a lower income. Thanks!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Theresa! We live in the south. I am not saying that everyone can live on the same income level that we live on. I am just giving ideas for living on less if you would like to or need to. :)

  • Nikki

    Thank you. Thank you for inspiring me to get my butt into gear. I just made a blog to start myself on this road to a better financial me…and I’ll link your blog to it.

  • Alisa

    Although my opinion doesn’t matter, I think its great that you have decided to stay home and devote time to your children. I think life has become too complicated, too rushed, too scheduled, and its family time that suffers. Parents are so tired after waking up at 5am to get kids up and ready, then a 30-40 min drive to work, put in 8 hours, then traffic on way home, helping kids with homework, dinner, bath, the list just goes on and on that by 5pm half the list just mentioned doesn’t happen..and who can blame them! The TV becomes the babysitter while mom and dad rest to keep sanity, and fast food or food from a box becomes the main source of nutrition (and we wonder why obesity in children is running wild right now…everything is over processed and made to be quick, because that’s what we need!) There is a problem with the way society functions when you don’t have time/energy to make dinner. I am a stay at home mom, I have one daughter and another on the way. We obviously live on one income, and its not the easiest thing in the world- in fact its quite difficult and my husband and I give up a lot (home improvement plans, vacations, eating out, date nights, etc) because the $ just isnt there; but we both believe what we are doing is the right thing and we feel that we are better (not comparing to others..but rather us being the best we can be) parents. Its really showed both of us how strong our relationship and bond is. I am looking forward to reading your tips on how to save money and make it on a single income. (I already coupon like crazy..need more ideas!) One thing I have learned is that just about everything is negotiable- so if you have cable or internet call and fight for a lower price. (companies that dont lock you into a contract are more likely to work with you) I was able to switch our cable provider to a company that was providing our internet total savings equaled what we were paying for internet for a pay for same cable and get internet free..thats a deal! Looking forward to your tips!

    • Alisa

      Alisa- it’s not for everyone but I wanted to share with you-my family gave up cable about a year ago. We use Netflix and have an antennae for local stations. We have plenty of tv and miss nothing. Just…food for thought.

  • Claudia

    I am looking forward to reading your tips on saving money! I agree 100%! I applaud you for you and your family for the courage to focus on what is most lasting and giving up on some of the “luxury” things in life!

  • Amanda

    Hi, Im dont want to sound like I am judging you but if you make 2200 a month that is not a small income. If I had that much money I could live comfortably and have a bit of money left over. That may not seem like a lot of money for a family of six but for a family of three that is a lot of money to be making. I suggest that if your going to talk about your income I would not say that you have a small income.

    • Naomi

      I disagree, it depends on where you live and your circumstances.. We lived in the WAY south with 1100 per month for a family of 3, food stamps and Medicaid (no housing, so we paid 500 rent on a comfortable, newly built apartment) and no car payments. We also lived in the north east on 5000 per month for a family of 4, with 500 per month for mediocre private health insurance, (6,500 paid for pregnancy/childbirth), a whopping 1600 per month for an apartment that was smaller, older, and cheaper than anything else in the area, a toddler in daycare, a formula fed infant, and two jobs (which required two cars payments). Unbelievably, we were tighter with the bigger income, so as I said, it all depends on where you live and your unique set of circumstances.

      • Barbara

        Well put Naomi. Instead of trying to compare ourselves with Kimberlee we should just enjoy the tips she has and use them to make our situations better and more peaceful. i used to think,”If only we had…., then we would be better off” But really it wasn’t that at all! It is this: With this income, and these expenses, how can we make our lives financially fit and meaningful?” I never thought we could be out of debt or payoff this or that, now we have paid off almost all our debt and will be debt free in January. All on the SAME income we have had for over 8 yrs. Nothing has changed except our willingness to grow up and use our money wisely. I think $2200 for a family of TWO is way too low! So I am very willing to hear from Kimberlee how she manages her $$ and stay out of debt whilst facing the similar struggles that many of us have today. :o)

        • Carrie

          I agree. Where I live you couldn’t even get comfortable housing on that amount I money per month and there is no way you could pay your utilities. My last electric bill was over $600. That’s a huge chunk of a budget on just one bill!

  • Acumagnet

    Your twitter links goes to twitter main page

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks, I fixed it.

  • Trisha

    Hi Kimberlee,

    I am really looking forward to reading your tips! You should write a book on this. Surviving on less is something that so many people are trying to accomplish right now. It is also knowledge that every single person should have. You never know when your income can be cut drastically. Having the ability to tighten your belt and survive without digging the black hole of debt is a survival tool. I think the economic disaster we have experienced woke many people up to that fact. You are sitting on a gold mine. I’m sure many others have told you this already;) Best of luck to you and great job!!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Trisha–I have it on a very long list of things to do, but hopefully I will get started soon. :)

  • Barbara

    I just read your intro, and I LOVE it! I have booked marked your page and will be reading along and I hope learning and implementing new ideas. Kimberlee, you’ve been given a challenge and it looks like you’ve made such loving, wise choices for your family. “Income” is a tough question. I think $2200 for a family of six is IMPOSSIBLE! Yet you, Dad and the kids make it work! Amazing to me! a terrific story that will help many. It’s not always and income problem is it? We’ve been living on 1/2 our wages in order to rid ourselves of thousands in Medical debt and some consumer debt, I want to continue to do this so we can save and help others. Thanks Kimberlee for sticking your neck out to help!

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Barbara. It is very difficult to live on less when you have a lot of debt, but hopefully you can find some ideas here to help.

  • Jessica

    Just found this on Pinterest. My husband and I have a 3-month-old, our first child. I thought I’d get stir crazy during maternity leave, but instead I found myself not wanting to go back to work when the time came. We are both fairly low income earners and live realtively frugally, but reading your story gives me hope that maybe we could live on one income. Thank you and can’t wait to check out the tips.

  • Emily


    I must say that I’m really not much of a blog follower, nor have I ever really commented on one before. However, I was so moved by what you had to say, and that you have taken the time to personally address every comment that was left for you, that I just had to say Thank You. I’m newly pregnant with our 2nd child, due in April. My work doesn’t know it yet, but I don’t plan to come back after (I’m a teacher). You have summed up my main reasons for why my husband and I want me to stay at home, but we are both terrified because I’m the primary breadwinner now (not to mention benefits holder)

    I believe strongly that God will take care of us as he always has in the past, and you just might be one way He does that. Thank you again.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Emily! It is a huge leap of faith, but if you are very careful and your husband can find more work (or you can eventually work from home), it will be much easier. Do everything in your power to get completely out of debt and have some savings before you come home. I had to go back to work a couple of times in the early years of our family because we didn’t plan well and we weren’t careful with our money. Hopefully the rest of the series will help. :)

      God is always faithful!

  • Stephanie

    I think you are everything a mother should be. It’s so sad to me that our society seems to value stuff over relationships. Thank you- I am looking forward to reading your tips!!

  • Kristen

    THANK YOU so much for including the “We Love Dad” part in explaining why. So many people assume that when kids become teenagers, they don’t need us as much. In fact, I think that’s when they need their parents the most. Thank you for being so honest and open, and I’m looking forward to reading your series.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Kristen! I hope you find some encouragement here. :)

  • Stephanie D

    I cannot wait for your tips. We are a family of 4 on one income my husband makes about 400 a week. He is a waiter so it all depends on how good the tips are. The tips are really his income cause his weekly check is like 30$. Anyway. We have no budget right now. We scrape to make the bills and I know if we managed our money better we wouldn’t have to be late on bills sometimes. I just don’t know we’re to start. We choose like you for me to stay home with the kids. 5 and 2. I just couldnt see daycare raising my kids if I was able to stay home. No knocking people who put there kids in daycare sometimes you have to to take care of them. But we found daycare would take up my whole paycheck anyway so I was working to keep my kids in daycare. I would have about 30 dollars left from my check after paying daycare. That’s gas to and from work. Anyway. I can’t wait to see your tips. And hopefully they will work for my family also

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Stephanie! I hope you can find some helpful ideas. Another thing to consider is having your husband get a second job until he can find something more permanent that pays well. Let me know if you have any questions. :)

  • Pam

    We also live on a very small salary. We made this choice many years ago for our family also. It is refreshing to see other people make this choice and not be sorry for it. There are tight times but somehow God always provides. I have learned how to make the money go much farther than I would have ever dreamed. Thank you for sharing your story and your tips.

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Pam!

  • Britain

    I’m looking forward to reading your tips because even with my child support and my fiance’s income we still flirt with the poverty line. We are a family of six, and all four kids are under six, so me going out to get a job is pointless with what I would pay out for child care. Not only does oldest boy also has an autism spectrum disorder but we too live in the south. I’m really looking forward to reading from someone I can relate to so much. Thank you for sharing!

  • Diane

    I bet you didn’t expect this response? I clicked on the link because this is what we are facing. Tough decisions. It makes me buckle at the knees thinking about how we’ll get through. Seeing someone else share makes it feel possible and that’s it is not such a lonely place to be after all <3

    • Kimberlee

      You are right Diane. I am so glad that I can encourage you. :)

  • Jenny

    Your willingness to be open and honest inspires and actually ALLOWS others to do the same. We allneed more people like you in our lives. Hope you don’t regret your decision.

    Thank you

    • Kimberlee

      I don’t regret it at all Jenny. I am so glad you were encouraged. :)

  • Vicki

    I applaude your decisions. I think that when sacrifices are made for the good of the family it is a win win situation. For me, I am old enough to remember back in the day when moms stayed home. I’m not saying women should not work outside the home, I do too, but there was a day when homemaking was a valuable position. We survived on less and had an appreciation for lots of things, even the little things. Happiness is what you make your life under the circumstances you have with your family. I am sure your children and you and your husband will be greatly blessed and so much more less stressed. Good for you

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Vicki!

  • Jennifer

    Amazing story. Thanks for sharing. It is good to know there is other people out there that value family, and teaching their children about the value of a dollar. Happy for you. Keep it up and find a way to keep the stress down for yourself and keep the little ones healthy. I feel for you

  • Nia

    Hey! I live in NYC and my rent is not much less than your entire month’s income. My husband put me through school and was working full time and going to school full time. When he broke his ankle and was out on short term disability we realized how much we missed him and we too decided having him home was worth more than his income. We have cut back on some things but gained so much more. We have become so much tighter as a family unit and it was the best decision we ever made.

    • Kimberlee

      Good for you Nia! :)

  • Amber

    Kiberlee, thank you! We are “simplifying” at our house right now. I just don’t have time to care for stuff. I’m choosing the blessing of relationships over the burden of stuff too. There are alot of changes being made and your blog is so helpful. It’s like having a Christian friend talk me through things. I hope for your best. God bless you!

    • Kimberlee

      Good for you Amber! I am so glad to be a friend who can help. :)

  • Kathy

    As someone who made the same decision 28 years ago I can tell you it is worth it! I have an amazing relationship with my now grown children and a million wonderful memories of those “tough” times. You will never be sorry.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for the encouragement Kathy!

  • Samantha

    For me Kimberlee, you make more than my boyfriend and I do combined. and i have no issue saying we only make $10,000 a YEAR. The only thing we get help from the goverment is the food stamps and health insurance. I am from michigan to. He has 3 daughters and i have 2 sons. my 4 month old is his kid too. how do we make it? very carefully but we do. im lucky enough to have resources around me like food pantries and a baby pantry that is ran once a month. I am also looking to go back to school to get a degree in medical billing and coding. hoping that i can get a big enough refund from student loans to pay to get my CNA! and I dont have a car or a liscence. so i am paying for public transpertation or giving gas money to my boyfriends dad. its not easy living on such a small small tiny income but i will help anyone who needs help on how to save money because in this economy it can make or break a person.

  • Renae

    Thanks for sharing your story. I’m a single mom, raising my wonderful two children. My daughter just turned 13 and my son is almost 9. I, too, have chose relationships with my children over lots of money. I’ve been divorced since my son was still an infant and times have definitely been tough in every way, especially financially. I work as a cook at a private boarding school. I have very low wage, but good perks. My kids get a great (free) private education, I work family friendly hours, we get 3 free meals a day AND I get to see my children throughout the day. I wouldn’t trade being close to my children for any amount of money. It was my decision to be a mom to them and I don’t want my children to grow up away from me. Being a close family is my top priority, after my faith.
    My income is WAY below the poverty line, but I’m saving money in my 401k. I’m putting 15% of my gross pay into a 401k at work and 10% of that is matched by my employer. That may seem great, but I am looking for ways to stop living paycheck to paycheck and start an actual savings account at my bank w/out having to lower my 401k contribution. I’m going to start small $5 here and there and save next years tax return. I am getting older, I’m 35, and really like being able to be independent and not having to ask my parents for help how and then. I did in the past and that is a really bad feeling. I do get child support, without that extra $700 a month things would be very tough. It allows my children & I to have our own very modest home and car.
    Anyhow, thanks for being honest and sharing ways to be frugal. I am always looking for new comfortable ways to save money, usually its just by controlling my impulse spending for either my children or me at the grocery store :)

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Renee! Good for you for making a choice to do what works best for your family! I am sorry about your divorce, but it sounds like you have made the very best of a bad situation.

      I have a thought for you about the 401k. Since you are so young and your employer only matches 10%, why not lower your contributions to 10% for 6 months to a year and save that money in an emergency fund and/or second account for irregular and unexpected expenses? Once you have reached your savings goal, you can increase the contributions again–just a thought.

  • Abigail

    Thank you!! It means so much to me to read this and learn from it! I recently had twins, and also have a 7 year-old. After the birth of my twins, my husband and I had to make a choice whether I should work or not. We decided,it was in all of our best interests, for me to stay at home with the children much for the same reasons you chose not to work. I struggle with it sometimes because of not being in the societal “norm”. However, when I read about families like yours, I feel stronger in my quest to raise a healthy family!

    Thank you again!

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Abigail. Good for you for making the decision that works best for your family!

  • Christine

    You are inspiring! A friend sent this to me in the nick of time. I’m pregnant with our 9th and 10th children (yes, twins!!!!). We have 6 living children (we lost our son at 20 weeks in May (due, we believe, to a gene mutation and blood clotting disorder)). Anyhow, we have been living on one income for 13.5 years, but I’m just now grown up enough to see that it can be done better. I’m so ready for your ideas!!

  • Michele

    I am a mom of one 19 teen year old son , I totally understand you with your kids & staying at home . I had alot of struggles with my son so in order for me to always be there to help him and never giving up on him I worked 3 part time jobs when he was little . Now today my son is in his 2 nd year of college just taken the basic’s ,well he has decided he wants to be a P.A but I can’t afford the tuition of $35,000 a year . I’m looking to try and get a second job so I can afford it . I’m hoping that you have some inspiration that there is light at the end of the tunnel , so hard on my own . Thanks :0)

  • Cat

    Found this link when I was figuring out whether my future husband and I could afford to live on his salary alone. I’m currently a nursing student while he is working full-time. He feels that we wouldn’t be able to live on his salary and I’m determined to prove we could :) Any advice on this type of situation of one working full-time and one in full-time classes?

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Cat! The best advice that I can give you is to stay completely out of debt–no credit cards or car payments, and save to pay a healthy down payment on a house before you try to buy. Many people put themselves in a situation where they need two incomes because they buy a home that they cannot afford. If you purchase a smaller home and avoid other kinds of debt, you will be more likely to make it living on one income.

      Your spending doesn’t have to go up that much when you start having children either. You can buy many things second hand or borrow them from friends and family, and you can save a TON of money by breastfeeding (which is healthier for your baby anyway). Hopefully your husband’s income will also increase over time.

      The bottom line is that the two of you have to agree on what is important to you–lifestyle or you being home with the children. If you decide that you do want to work, there are a lot of options for working at home or you could work part-time, which would still allow you to be home with your children more. Hope that helps!

  • Iva @ This Side of Perfect

    Yay for Pinterest for bringing this hits eight months later!

    My family is soon to do a complete role reversal. When my children were very young, I stayed home and we lived off one income. Now my husband has had some health issues come up and I’ve recently quit my job in order to finish student teaching. One day, I will no doubt be the primary breadwinner and he the homemaker. It will definitely be “against” the norm, but hey, it will work well for us – he’s the better homemaker ;)

  • Carla

    This is my first time here and I will be back regularly!
    Thank you for sharing with everyone!! I sure hope that everyone shows you the respect you deserve!
    I am living on less than you and your family are living on; but it is just me and my son that is almost 13. His father died when he was 5; so it’s been him and I for many years now.
    I can hardly wait to read more about you and family!!!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Carla-

      I am so sorry about the death of your husband. I cannot imagine how difficult that must have been for you. I’m glad you’re here though and I hope you find some encouragement. :)

  • Tracy

    I totally get where you are coming from. My husband and I struggled with this ourselves, together making about 28000 annually some years and now less than 20000. We have made many sacrifices. My husband is ill, he has a diagnosis list as long as my arm starting with asthma and COPD and ending with Diabetes and Hypertension as well as mental illness. He has applied for and has been denied disability income but we are appealing. I was downsized in 2010 after I had been ill with cancer. My husband was working at the time, it was all he could do to work. It took me a year to get seasonal employment (tax season) and then I got a job working weekends with the mentally ill. He was finally unable to work anymore in August. Working 28 hours every other week and filling in was not enough to sustain a home on our own. His mother is aging, 76 years old and has her own diagnosis list and is needing some help. Our financial needs were filled with a roof over our heads and she has help at home. This is not where I thought I would be at 46 years old. My husband is 50. I figured by now we would own our own home and be in stable jobs. I am a graduate student of Clincal and Counseling Psychology Online and I have no idea how I will pay student loans once I graduate however I can’t do it on what I make now either. I know God is in control. I am looking forward to any tips and tricks you have that can help us on our financial journey. Begrudgingly we have applied for all of the assistance we are eligible for, we will see in the coming weeks how much if any we will get. I am thankful that we have not missed a car payment or utility payment. Again God is providing and I am very thankful!

    • Kimberlee

      I am so sorry that you are having so much difficulty. I hope that you can find some encouragement here. :)

  • Vickie

    I admire what you are doing. I look forward to hearing from you! My husband and I lived on one income while raising our children also and it’s not easy!

  • Jasmine

    This is soooo wonderful! I love your families outlook on relationships before money! Im a mom with young children and my husband works on the pipeline… he hates it because hes always far away and the time he is home flies by and hes back on the road again! Im really hoping I can understand and find guidance in you with our finances so my husband can come home and share a life with us! thank you so much!

  • Amy

    Wow! As I play on Pinterest as I often do, I come along to a topic that reads LEARN TO live on 28,000 a year! I’m never one to judge, I only look for help from great people like your self! I think your post is very much a helping tool! You are a god send! My husband make great money,we have a lot to change.. Family os # 1in our house also, & i better start thinking that way!;) I’m a stay at home home & I need to remember that there is only one income!

    I have not looked passed this post of yours ( I plan too). Thank you are sharing. I will keep u posted in my Journey!

    Thank u so very much!


  • Yohnnilee

    We are a family of three that lives on 20,000 dollars a year in the greater Kansas City area. It hasn’t been an easy ride. I’m interested to see what more you have to share. :)

  • Naomi

    I am really looking forward to reading this. My husband and I make about $2200 a month right now. We don’t have kids or a mortgage, but we have school loans and medical bills that we are paying back very slowly.

  • Mary C.

    I applaud any family that makes the committment to put relationships before finances. It is not easy, but it is the best investment a family can make in itself. My oldest daughter is getting ready to make the change and is so very excited to spend the time with a seven and two year old who will now not have to deal with the stresses of child care.

  • Cheryl davis

    Just wanted to say thank you for opening yourself up. And I would love to learn how to do it.

  • Fuaii

    I just want to say thank you, for sharing all these :-)

  • http://pinterest maria


  • Laura

    So glad I stumbled on your blog. We are a family of 4 with my husband and I both working about 25 hours a week each with little hope of either us finding full time. And so, we are stuck with daycare and transportation costs. While we’ve been doing ok with our budgets and planning, I am looking forward to tightening down further to try to send our daughter to a parochial school next fall and later, our son. Thanks for your tips! Hoping we can find ways to make them work for our family. Blessings!

  • Melissa

    Wow you should like us! Same income except that my hubby works out of town monday thru friday and I stay home with our 4 (10girl, 6boy, 5boy and 1 1/2 girl) the oldest has ADD and the boys have ADHD and I’m bi polar so its interesting to say the least! We struggle constantly financially but I want to be the one raising my kids. I don’t homeschool because its too much chaos with the way my older 3 are but I wish I could. In the mean time I am thrilled to find your blog thru Pinterest while I take a break from trying to revamp our budget lol! Perfect timing!!!!

  • Jill

    I believe that parents need to be more open and honest with their kids about finances. How else are they going to learn?
    I have 2 daughters who wanted to attend a prestigous band camp for 2 weeks, not at the same time thankfully. Tuition for one of them was more than I bring in for 2 weeks of work. I had to sit down with them, be honest about the cost vs income, show them where the money goes and tell them that they will have to contact family and friends to see about doing odd jobs to earn money towards their attending band camp. we would match what they made, but full tuition couldn’t just be given to them. They both did a great job and I believe, had a more rewarding experience since they were able to say they worked for it instead of it just being given to them.
    I keep my kids in the financial loop and teach them the importance of budgeting, and want vs need.

  • Martins


    $2200 in Month… so little ???? People in My country (Latvia) are living with 400$ – 600$ month family with four people… and monthly bills are between 250 – 300$….

    Good luck

  • Wendy

    Really wish I could do something like this; unfortunately, the cost of my utilities and mortgage would only leave me with $300 for the year. :( How do you do it??

  • Stephanie

    Thank you so much for sharing this, my family also lives on around 23,000 a year (family of 3) and we choose to so I can be a stay at home mom!

  • Diana B

    This is almost the same boat my family is in. I just had our third child, though we do not struggle with food allergies, or autism. My husband, like yours, does not have a college degree. I am a high school teacher and I am almost through with my masters and principal cert. However, I have been so torn by being away from our two sons and daughter that I am seriously considering resigning when my contract is up in May. Thank you for this blog. I know it is another sign affirming God’s will in my life.

    • Kimberlee

      You are welcome Diana. I hope that you are able to work things out for your family.

  • Tammy

    Our situations are very similar. I have two daughters with severe allergies and an Aspie son :) I’ve been very blessed to be able to work from home, but it’s still too much on me once I factor in homeschooling. We are paying off debt now from when we were in a stage of life where “stuff” was important. I can’t wait for the day in a couple of years when we are debt free and I can give my kids all of the attention they deserve. Thanks so much for being “real” in your sharing of personal info.

  • Stephanie

    I haven’t read everything yet but I am going to and thanks for.sharing it makes things better just knowing your so happy I can be to

  • Deb

    My youngest son has all the symptoms of Aspbergers. How did you get youre son diagnosed. I dont even know where to start.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Deb–We went to a psychologist who does educational testing and then had the diagnosis confirmed with our pediatrician. You could check with your son’s doctor for local resources.

    • Debbie

      Hi Deb,
      I am a pediatric occupational therapist who has been working in the public schools for over 20 years. The school system has an obligation to provide an evaluation and services if they are needed starting at age three. The school system can not provide a medical diagnosis, but your pediatrician should be able to provide you with resources. Also, if your child is under age three , he may be eligible for early intervention services. Call your local school system, special education department, and they should be able to provide you with resources in your community. I hope this helps. Good luck

  • Charissa

    I appreciate when you said about choosing relationships over money, every time. In making our life decisions we often reflect on the eternal things- relationship, worship, love etc… and choose in that direction. Thanks for being brave and sharing your personal story. No judgement here, only respect and support! :)

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for your encouragement Charissa! :)

  • Amanda

    Bless you for having your priorities straight! I truly believe if more families lived this way our world would be a better place. It’s not about money!

  • Nancy

    I must give you a lot of credit for being willing to discuss your finances in detail. Although many people treat money and personal finance as a taboo subject, I think it is something we all need to talk about more. There are many people who have had to learn financial lessons the hard way, and with a little education and frank discussion this could perhaps be avoided. Money should not be the most important thing in anyone’s life, but the inability to manage money can make money the only thing you think and worry about. I am looking forward to reading more.

  • Maegan

    I have been praying for a way to get my family on a better track and pace of life….I believe I have just found it. Thank you for being courageous enough to expose yourselves for people like me to find. God bless you and your family and I hope you always choose to invest in relationships first!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Maegan–welcome! I hope you find some ideas and encouragement here. :)

  • Christa

    Hi Kimberlee – I just stumbled on your website this evening and I’m glad it did because………..I LOVE IT!! Happy New Year!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Christa! Happy New Year to you too!

  • Julie

    Be encouraged that what you are doing will be beneficial to many. I know many families who live in large homes w/nice cars & clothes, who take lavish vacations and who are quite miserable. The happiest families I know are the ones who have a strong faith and, many times, live much more modestly and frugally. God will use you mightily in your sharing. Don’t be discouraged by any naysayers – they are blind, but we see!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for your kind words Julie!

  • Becky

    It s nice to read about someone else who is as you put it is “weird”.
    We have also made the decision to live on one income due to the needs of our children and us as a family unit.
    It is inspiring to see read your mind set of being blessed with what you have and how it is what you need and not what you want to keep up with the “Jone’s”.
    Our oldest is at an age where he is noticing and asking questions, I will have to have your frugal answers handy. I find myself answering, and him telling his sisters, “No, we do not have the money.”
    I do talk to the kids about choices. Yesterday after going to the Dr’s, then eye Dr’s and getting a RX filled we were going to use a half off coupon for lunch out- figuring it would be about $10 for all of us to eat. Waiting for the Rx to be filled we found Barbies 70% off, the girls picked instead of eating out the Barbies $3, they would last longer. My son asked if we could walk next door to the pet store to see the puppies if we did not go eat out. So went home and made lunch, and Barbies were put into their prize boxes.

    I am also having to focus on less stuff more time doing. The thrift shop had kid’s board games for $.25! The kids gifted each other games last year for Christmas, this Christmas I though about how many times have we played them? The thrift shop is a dangerous place when things are so cheap (the one we love is $.25 for all toys and books) and we are doing a reward box for behavior…(which also includes an extra story, or helping cook a special dish, extra craft project etc..) but toys are such a big hit in the box, and so much less time consuming for me.

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself to all of us strangers looking at the screen!!

    • Kimberlee

      I love that you let your kid’s choose how they wanted to spend the money. It sounds like they have a good grasp of the value of things. Good job!

  • Joy

    Wonderful post! Thanks for writing it. :) The world needs proof that we are bigger than our problems.

    Thanks again.


  • Nicole Berry

    I am grateful for any information that can help save money. I would choose my family also. I think you telling others about your situation is inspiring. I can’t wait to read more. Wishing you and your family health and extreme happiness in this new year

    • Kimberlee

      Thank you Nicole!

  • Mackenzie

    Thank you for your vulnerability, faith and heart to help others. I am ridiculously encouraged and grateful for this series of posts!

    • Kimberlee

      Woohoo! I like to ridiculously encourage others. :)

  • Jerri-Ann

    I found you through pinterest & wanted to thank you for being open & honest about finances. So often spending money for things is a coping thing which leads to a lot of usless clutter & often burdomsome debt. a therapist would be a better value! I know…I haven’t explored too much but when I saw the organization binder pages printables, I had to comment! This is just what I was looking for, that they are offered free is so generous of you! I have a binder & on this bitter cold day , it will be filled ! Yay! First I might just go explore the rest of the site!
    By the way, my husband & I are in our late 60s, about to live on SS only. Circumstances prevented us from putting away much savings, as I have worked very little in the workplace, but we paid our house off years ago, our vehicles are paid off & we are frugal in many areas. We each have our splurges tho- his is techy stuff & mine is art supplies, both pricey. But we have a tiny farm with goats & chickens, & huge garden. We want to replace our orchard that has been devastated by drought & ice storms. We want to save more $ this year, before my husband retires.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Jerri-Ann! I am so glad that you found some helpful things on the site. :)

  • Sara

    Hello Kimberlee,
    Absolutely adore your blog and am inspired by what you have to offer. I just have one question though, in a totally non-judgmental way.
    Do you think it would be better to say, “acceptance” rather than “approval” when you state, “Girls need their father’s approval and attention to form their identities at this stage of life.” I only ask, being the mother of two little girls and it just sort of jumped out at me when I read it. I ask this because I too agree, a father is a pivotal person in a young girl’s life who helps set up who she will become as a young woman. I just wonder if maybe it would be more beneficial to have your father’s acceptance rather than his approval, only because I fear that young ladies would look for that later on in a potential mate. I want my girls to end up with partners who accept them, and embrace who they are. What do you think?

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Sara-
      I think in my mind approval and acceptance are the same thing, but I can see your point. My husband and I try to love our kids and encourage them to be who they are, rather than trying to fit soomeone else’s idea of what they should be. Acceptance is probably a better word for that. Thanks for making me think. :)

      • Sara

        Kimberlee, you are awesome!
        Thanks for making me think too. : )

  • Betty

    Wow! This is great! Currently I make 4 times the amount posted, BUT, and it is a BIG BUT, I want to retire in the next 12 months and due to several unforeseen circumstances, am not prepared for the drastic drop in income that will occur when I leave the job. These blogs will certainly help me get into a better spending/saving mode and I am sooo glad I found you! God’s blessings for your openess and transparency. You are ablessing!!!

  • Alice

    What do you do about health insurance? Did you already address that and I missed it? It is such a huge expense for us.

    • Kimberlee

      We have done various things through the years, but probably the best option we used was a high deductible plan ($5000) with a low premium and we paid for regular medical expenses out of pocket. We focus more on staying healthy through eating fewer processed foods and taking supplements and only go to the doctor if I suspect someone has strep throat which has to be treated with an antibiotic. I am not giving medical or financial advice, just telling you what we do. :)

  • C.J.

    I appreciate your transparency and look forward to reading your future posts. I am soon to be married and would like to learn how to survive on less, because although I have a somewhat higher salary and do not have any dependents, I still find myself living check to check at times.

  • Michell Evans

    Hello very inspirational story I enjoyed reading it. I am a single mother of three children and make very little money as well and dont recive child support I have tries some of the on-line sites to make a little extra and it hasnt worked any advice.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Michelle! I am so sorry that you are in that position. There are some ideas in this post (including great suggestions in the comments!): I would also check with local churches to see if they have food pantries or other programs for single moms. You have a tough job, but hang in there!

  • Paula

    We have a large mortgage, both work and have two teenage daughters. We also have an above average income. But….we also never seem to have any money. Totally ridiculous. I look forward to reading your blog, maybe you can help us see the light!

  • Carol

    I just stumbled upon your blog and am excited to dig in. we both retired from the military. At that time we decided that neither of us wanted the stress of a full time job. We both work part time, but we have time and energy for ourselves amd oir 4 children (only an 8 yr old still at home). I wouldn’t have it amy other way. Friends have qiestioned us in the past but now see how happy we are. Yes’ we live on a bit more than you do but strive to love as simply as we can. I look forward to what you can teach me. There are big things that we would rather spend on than frivolities that show littleI to nothing long term. Our 3 oldest are n ow seeing the rarity of the importance we place on family (actioms vs. words

  • Carol

    Sorry for all the typo’s. Did that on the mobile and I’m bad there.

    Thank you for for all you are offering your public.

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Carol! I guess with the crockpot being hot, bugs don’t want to mess with it. :)

  • Tammy

    I agree with you that relationships are eternal and therefore more important than money, which is not eternal or really all that important (as far as im concerned) it is a means to an end, and we do need some money for things like houses and cars but we feel we don’t need more more more….more money, more things, more “toys” more distractions. We want our children to grow up with the sense that material things are not the be all and end all. That even if they have careers that are high paying someday that they dont require tons of money to get their basic needs met or to be happy. We hope to teach them about storing up treasures in heaven rather than obtaining the newest gadget on the market wether or not they can really afford it. I look forward to your upcoming tips, as we are trying to save a little bit of money on the grocery and hydro bills.

  • CM

    Thanks for this. Back before the economic crash I made more money than I knew what to do with, and spent even more freely getting into debt despite my income! After I lost my wonderful job and spent 6 months looking for work, living off savings, and finally settling for a job making 40% of what I used to, I was terrified. If I got in debt on that higher income, what would I do with this one?!?

    I dug myself very slowly out of debt entirely – cars, credit cards, medical, etc. And now I am actually LIVING on my income. But, I’ve still never learned to budget. I mostly got out of debt because I was working on it before I lost my job and therefore had a start and I dumped my remaining savings into it to get out faster so I only had $4,000 left to pay when I got my new job. Then I added roommates to my lifestyle to pay the rent.

    All this to say, living on a budget is a new concept for me. I am very glad I found this website because I am trying to get serious about living without any credit cards. I don’t have any, which makes it easier, but in order to keep from getting one I need to keep a budget and build up my savings again. Also, I want to work toward not having roommates again, which is doable, but only if I am careful with money. I have already started adapting your recommendations and can’t wait to get my finances under my control rather than feeling controlled by them!


    • Kimberlee

      Good for you for getting out of debt! I find that it is a constant process to stick to the budget, so hang in there. :)

  • Lyle

    Funny, not one male comment or bad comment. Out of all of them, I count four women that actually work (three cause there isn’t a man, one is a single mother of…three..?) I see a damn pattern here, you are capable of working and don’t and use your amount of kids as a damn excuse. Your husbands must be ready to put a gun in their mouths cause no matter how hard they try to move forward you keep dragging them backwards and use the kids as an excuse and “cutting back” as a solution, I for one know what that means… The man gets crap to eat, gets to see none of his pay check, has nothing of his own, gets stupid shit like regifted ties or “crafty” things for gifts on any holiday while the wives have nice outfits and a closet full of shoes (they have no real place to wear much less wear) and the kids have an Xbox and the newest Nike shoes… It’s great being a man in this world (and we are the ones that are called names)

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Lyle! I am so sorry that you had such a bad experience. It is definitely wrong for a woman to use a man to work to pay for expensive items she and her children want while never paying attention to her husband, or making sure that his needs are met.

      As for our house, the decisions about what we do with our money are made mutually. There are times when my husband makes a sacrifice, but he does it because he wants to for the sake of the children or for me. We each have a little “free” money that we can spend however we want. It may not be much but it’s ours to do with as we wish. We also make sure that his needs and some of his wants are met.

      I don’t know you, but it sounds like your household was out of order with your wife making a lot of decisions without considering what you wanted or needed. I am sincerely compassionate toward you and your situation and wish that things had gone differently for you. For anyone else reading this comment, I hope that you know that all of your financial decisions should be made together as a couple and you should always make sure to consider what each partner needs.

    • Beth Shaffer

      I must say, we are not all like that. I have always worked a part time job that fits in with my husbands work schedule and if I couldn’t find one or one ended, I would take in sewing or make quilts/soap/bows to sell. I too went without so that I could be home with our children most of the time. Even now, I work while they are in school, I go in at 9 and get out at 3 every day except Thursday where I work from 1pm to 8pm and Sunday is my only day that I am off, which is taken up by the work I do for the small business I am trying to get going and cleaning and taking care of kids. Not to mention my Family Readiness Group work with the National Guard. I don’t have to work, there is plenty of work to be done around the house including, house work, small business, farm duties, pets, etc. I do it because as the kids get older they seem to need more stuff and I don’t want them to do without. I have a whole wardrobe, including the evening gown for NG formal functions, from the Thrift Store where I work or my mom or sisters closets. I make budget friendly meals for myself and the kids (husband eats at work), my kids do have video game systems and games but all were given to us by one friend or another, we both have a truck (my husbands) and a van (the family). I would prefer not to drive a van but I know I am not going to get a corvette any time soon. So to any woman who takes advantage of a man shame on you. We are all capable of finding a job while our husbands are home, I have 2. Yes I still have time alone with him!

  • Natalia

    Dear Kimberlee,
    I just found your post today. Thank you very much. It is very encouraging to know that ‘I’m not alone’ in this life that sometimes I found quite difficult.
    Really appreciate your sharing. Keep posting, I believe you have been a great blessings for many many families.

  • Dani

    Hi Kimberlee,
    In response to the disgruntled email you received, I think you handled it very well and it is apparant that he has been bamboozeld by his wife or some other female. I think it is so important to be intentional about how we run our households, not because it is my opinion but because it is what the Lord commands us to do. Prov 22:7 The borrower is slave to the lender; Prov 21:20 There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up. Romans 13:8 Owe no man anything. I commend you for sharing your stories, recipes, shopping list etc. it has truly been a blessing to me and my family. Keep up the good work.

  • Angela Davis

    In response to the comment that you posted today 2/22 – First, the internet is a funny place and allows people to make comments that are often built in anger and frustration, but completely out of place.

    I subscribed to this blog, because it brings value to my world. Those blogs or websites that do not bring value to my life, I stay away from. I cannot understand why someone would choose to read a post that gives solutions to very real problems that many people have, and then bash it based upon personal frustration. Your blog has been nothing but useful and it is a choice that you made and were willing to share with others, which I so appreciate. Maybe this is not a solution for some families – that is alright too. As a Christian I search for ways to make a difference and to be a positive force in our world. I am still searching, but you have found at least one way to do that and I for one am very inspired by your continued commitment to sharing your story in order to help others. Thank you.

  • Rayos

    My family of 5 lives on about 18000 a year. About 1200 a month average with 800 of it going to rent. I am a stay at home mom which I am thankful for, we spend lots of family time and are very happy with where we are at at the moment. My hubby just got a better paying full time job. 10$hr which is nothing to some people but I feel that we are slowly but surely climbing up the ladder. :)

  • Kathy

    I loved reading your message! I was just recently laid off from a well-paying job that had me working pretty much 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. I would have to take phone calls while at the movies with my 7-year-old daughter and when she was injured in gymmastics class, I had to make a phone call in the parking lot of the hospital before bringing her in to the emergency room! Needless to say, I feel that the “loss” of my job has definitely been a blessing. My daughter loves that I have so much time to spend with her and I feel that my presence is helping to shape her into a confident, thoughtful, and moral person. I’ve been hesitant to look for a new job because I know that any job I find will take me away from her and I just can’t do that again.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks Kathy. Maybe you can do something from home so that you can spend more time with her. I am sorry that you have had a financial loss, but happy for the benefits you are seeing from it. :)

  • Sydnee

    I decided me and my husband are going to start doing this! One question for you, I know our Walmart does the “lowest price guarantee”… Have you taken advantage of this and just done all your shopping at one place. I just thought it could even save us that little bit more on gas but didn’t know if its not appropriate to do that or if walmart doesn’t completely honor it?

  • Sue

    any suggestions on living on less than $20,000.
    Retired Air Force wife.

    • Kimberlee

      I would suggest doing all of the things I mention in the series: recording your spending, opening a second account for bills, meal planning, exploring alternate methods of transportation, air drying your clothes, etc. You can also look for some other sources of income like pet sitting, childcare, selling things on Etsy, etc. Hope that helps. :)

  • Lea

    I found your articles this morning before starting our home school day. We to are a Home school family. I have 2 children, one 13 yo daughter and an eleven yo son. We live in the home my Mother grew up in and are SLOWLY remodeling. We often feel like there is no end in site to the struggling, so I guess there is comfort in numbers. I look forward to learning more. Thank You for sharing your life we us.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Lea! I hope you find some encouragement here.

  • Alice

    These are wonderful reasons to choose one income and I commend you for that decision! I hope things get better for your family soon, since it’s obvious you have your priorities figured out and understand what is truly important in life!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Alice. In the time since I posted this a year ago, things have definitely improved for us. :)

  • Andi

    First let me start by thanking you for sharing you stories and your tips! While I am getting my business off th ground, my partner is the bread winner of the family and the more I can shave off of our monthly budget, the more time and energy I can devote to my business and spend at home caring for my home and my family. I am sorry that you had to go through so much inner turmoil to decide to share your experiences. We are blessed to have your insight!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Andi!

  • Amy Cheney

    I really look up to you staying strong for your family even though its tough living on such low income. My aunt is mentally challenged, and i love her so much even though its tough having to leave her with another family. My husband and I are living on a pretty low income annually, and its hard just for the two of us, i have no idea how you could do it! but i have faith in you, and so happy you keep your family together.
    Blessings from CT

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Amy! We have actually been able to increase our income since I first wrote this post in February 2012.

  • Wendy

    I find it horrible that times have gotten so bad that a mother feels she should explain why she chose to stay home and raise her children. Times were so much better when children had a parent to come home to. I believe it is a wonderful that you were able to put your children first. It will be worth every sacrifice.

  • Marie

    Thank your for this blog! It helps to read about someone else that is going through the same situation we are. I am a public school teacher also. I recently resigned because the stress of having 12 year old twins with severe asthma and allergies and a toddler was unbearable. We are much happier living on my husband’s salary and even though it’s hard it’s so worth it every day. Can’t wait to hear more from you!

  • Jessie

    i so admire your values and your willingness to share ! thank you so much for these posts !! : )
    regardless of finances, you are rich ! richness in love and family is the best kind of fortune.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for your encouragement Jessie. :)

  • Terri

    It’s great you are sharing your experience for saving! While I am not the 2% I am very comfortable now. I grew up poor but we never knew it back then -it was the norm and we had sweet family. I am famaliar with the outhouse, water pump and walking to town. I am still so “tight” that budgeting is the norm for me. I color my own hair, can from my garden, recycle fabrics and shop goodwill. I lived for two years in the 70’s without a tv, phone or car. It’s amazing how we confuse luxuries with necessities. We need more mandatory home Econ classes for young people. Looking forward to your tips!

  • Susan

    I’m a single mom of six, in school full-time, about to marry a man with three children. I have things pretty much under control, but always appreciate knowing there are others living frugally out there, and seeing their own ideas and what works for their families. Thanks for sharing! :-)

  • Jeshel Worthington

    I am not one for reading blogs by any means but stumbled upon this on accident, which I am a strong believer things happen for a reason. May I just start by saying You GO GIRL!!! No, in all seriousness, this is truly commendable and remarkable. Transparency is what we lack now and days and I know for a fact that you and your family will be blessed by your obidence to being open! We have 4 kids at home under 5 and my husband has a county job and I do hair and we never know how much will come in but have been really feeling so strongly just to keep things simple and to focus on our family! If we only have $5 till pay day, but all the bills are paid then we are truly blessed by that! Our kids don’t care if they stay at home and watch a $1 movie with pop corn we have popped in the mircrowave because ultimately we are spending time with them and pouring our love and attention into their precious lives. We live in an accelerated life now, slowing down and understanding what is real and important, is priceless.

    Your family will be a great example to many. And you will be blessed by this! I am excited to see what’s to come for you guys and I don’t even know you. Great stuff. Be blessed and thank you!

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for your encouragement Jeshel. :)

  • Jeanette

    A year ago, I was a single mom living off about $7,000 a year. Yes you read that right. I was a full time student and I admit there where times I didn’t eat so my son could. Now, just a year latter I’m making ten times as much. Yet I still use home made laundry soap, I sew my sons clothes, bake my own bread, etc. I could never break the habit of being frugal. I love thrift stores, farmers markets, and lol. I’m so glad I got in those habits long ago, it’s a much more Ecofriendly way to live =)

  • Jennifer

    Any advice for someone that only gets paid once a month. I am horrible at a budget. We make enough to pay bills but just barely. I’m looking at some things i can cut back on. At this point I can use any help I can get.

  • Jessica

    I havent read through everything yet, but every thing I have read so far is great! Its truelly awesome that someone is willing to help other people. Im 18 and my Fiance and I are in the process of buying our first house. We dont make a fortune and this site is going to help me alot managing our money and saving as much as we can. Thank you!

  • Amy

    I just want to say that what you are doing-sharing this info-is fantastic. Thank you!

  • Shannon

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Janice

    I am in good company, there’s always gonna be judgement ( don’t care)OK maybe a little. I had 4 children w/husband #1 of 17yrs. Who gave us a great middle class life. Super long story short, he went to jail. Divorced him after he sold the house, borrowed,begged and stole every penny he could from family and friends to pay for lawyers and bail. I had to support my children, so I went to work. Children at home while parent at work left to their own devises, terrible. I refuse to lose my children to drugs or whatever the streets has to offer. Quit my job, got on welfare (so humiliating)but I’d rather me be a statistic than my children. Another long story short, meet a man, got pregnant (brainfart- blessing) did I mention he’s 10yrs younger. I loved him but knew he was in over his head. I warned him but he was in it for the long haul. We got married. By this time my first husband got out of jail, but died of cancer two years later. Got soc. security for 3 of the 4 as the oldest was 18. That’s how I pay the rent and whatever my husband brings home at $10hr is for everything else. Funny thing is I had one more baby than got the ol’tubes tied. I have to say, it’s the hardest thing to explain to children why mom has to stay home to make sure her children grow up to make good decisions and be productive people while not being able to do or buy extras(New clothes,movies). We have so much you would never think we live on $3000mo for 6 of us. I think my children are so much more in touch with what’s real not superficial… We love to coupon, bake, give homemade gifts, and teach how to save money on everything. We are always learning to better ourselves. From one mom to another:)

  • Monte

    As odd as this may seem, we make a good amount of money but still suffer financially due to Child Support eating up 48% of our income. Rent is 25%. After that, we live on $1,200 per month to pay the bills, food, clothing and whatnot which may seem like a lot, but our bank account is always around $700 and right when we get a check, it either goes to rent or child support or so it seems. I wish we could live on less but it seems like we can’t afford to save, have too much outgoing (we have no cable) and not enough put into savings. I don’t even know where to start saving but I think your blog will help me feel less alone in this. Thanks for posting, it was a good and honest read.

  • Jennifer

    Thank you so much for being so transparent. We are a homeschooling family of 5. We made the decision to homeschool 5 years ago and it has been pretty rough. We are pretty sure my husband is at the max of what he can make w/out having degree. It is so easy to get weary on this journey but we feel this is best for our family. I often think about how easy it would be to get a night job to help out but my hubby doesn’t want me to because we would never see eachother. I am hoping to get some new ideas from your blog. It looks like your blog has been a blessing to many. Thank you! :)

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Jennifer! That is exactly what our situation was, but God has opened up some opportunities for me to make a little extra money. Maybe that is something that you can explore while you are looking for ways to cut back. Let me know if you have any questions. :)

  • Kelly

    I am so glad I came upon this blog through Pinterest. I am a single mom (by choice) to a great 6 yr old who also has Asperger’s and I also foster 2-3 kiddos b/w newborn and 4 years old at any given time. I decided last year that my son needed to be homeschooled for Kindergarten and that the foster kids needed more attention then just throwing them into daycare all day (they have enough going on in their short lives so far) so I rearranged my work schedule and only work evenings now, which really cut back my income. But we are all happier and adjusting well now and I can’t wait to learn some tricks to save money so that I can breathe a little easier!

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Kelly! It sounds like you have a lot going on. Let me know if you have any questions. :)

  • Sandra

    Congratulation on putting being great parents FIRST. We would be living in a much better society if more people would put their family ahead of materialism. I was a stay at home mom until all my children started school, I have no regrets.

  • Patrick

    You homeschool? That’s so awesome!! I’m 15 now, and I have been homeschooled my whole life! I really love it. There is so much opposition to homeschool so I want to be the person that tells you that you made the RIGHT decision ;)

    I also agree one hundred percent with your father figure theory.

    I think you have your head on straight and you get the flow of things! Don’t let anyone judge you or tell you differently.

    I want to thank you for starting this blog. As a 15 year old making $6 hr, I coul really use some money saving advice!

    • Kimberlee

      Wow! Thanks Patrick! Good for you for getting your finances in order at such a young age!

  • Devon

    Thanks for sharing! I am looking forward to reading your series!

  • Mimi Parker

    Trusting God will help you do HIS WILL for your family is something we are also going through right now. It really hurts when people do not agree and make fun of homeschooling. We must obey God, not men! Thank you for your series.

  • Luz Rosario

    What a breath of fresh air it was to read your post. Same income and 2 kids and maybe 12 weeks into quitting my job for choosing relationships and I was just crying over having to give up my cell phone. Encouraged I am now though. Thank YOU, :-)

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Luz! Sometimes there are difficult choices to be made, but I like to look at it through the lense of choosing my family over possessions or convenience. Keeping that perspective helps me on hard days. I am so glad that you feel encouraged. Let me know if you have any questions. :)

      • ashley

        do you get government assistance? food stamps wellfare exc if so than your not doing it on 26000$ a month. If you are doing without help than god bless you. I do agree that money management definatley helps as my husband and sacrifice a lot so much that people often laugh at us and we both work. I also agree that pepeople need to learn how to live within their means.

        • Kimberlee

          No, we do not get government assistance, and you are correct if someone were getting government assistance that would count as part of their income. This series was written 2 years ago and I do make some money selling ebooks and advertising on the blog so we are making above $28,000 a year right now.

  • Jennifer

    So, I just need reassurance I guess about this amount of amount of others. I just got increased to a salaried position starting at 28,000 a year. Although I would think that for me this probably sufficient. I am single only have one child and typically don’t live outside my means. I admit I do like shopping and tend to by the extras for my son since he’s an only child. But I can say no we can’t afford that. Bills come first, but then again this increase is new to me as I have been living paycheck to paycheck at 760 per two weeks. I stumbled upon your site and kinda felt like maybe I got the wool pulled over. That now I’m in for a struggle? So confused as it may also sound immature but any input or opinion would be greatly appreciated.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Jennifer! I think that if you are careful to stay out of debt and to budget every paycheck you can make it. We are a family of six and we have lived on less than $28,000 for several years, but we do make sacrfices which you can read about in the rest of this series. Hope that helps. :)

  • Nicole Rockensock

    My husband is a public school teacher and I work at State Farm. We have two daughters under five. Medical and school debt, bills, and a car that needs replacing. I am eager to hear your story. I have found that being fruggel and doing deals at cvs and trying to figure out how to get healthy cheaper groceries is super stressful.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Nicole! It’s really tough when you have debt, but hopefully you can find some encouragement and ideas here. :)

  • Janie

    Hi. I just wanted to add my 2 cents worth here…. I found you article charming, authentic, articulate and enjoyable. I think that you and your husband made “the hard choice” for all the right reasons. I agree that most people wouldn’t make the same choice to sacrifice the money for the relationship —- mostly becauseoat people think they can have and do it all. I admire your decision and I definitely admire your courage to “go public” with the what’s, why’s and how’s.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for your encouragement Janie! :)

  • Karen

    When my children were growing up and my husband was in the army, we made some decisions. We would live in a smaller home, drive older vehicles, I would stay home and home school our two children. Basically live within our means and put our family relationships first. Fast forward twenty-five years, the kids are grown, well adjusted adults who contribute to society and serve in our church. We are still a very close family. I think too many people today don’t want to invest the time and energy into actually raising their children and take the easy way instead. You reap what you sow. I can tell you, the payoff defies any words I have to describe it. I have no regrets and you won’t either.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for that perspective Karen. It’s good to hear from someone who is “down the road”. :)

  • Christie

    Glad I stumbled on to your blog. I have daughters 19 and 14 my old has Down Syndrome so I stayed home for 15 years to provide her care. My husband drove truck to provide our income for that time however, we decided the money was not worth having our family living two different lives. He has found a position he loves with considerably less pay but so worth it. My role has now changed and have gone to work full time I can understand the stress that several have spoken of. When I am at work I worry and miss my girls feel like I have let them down by working even though I have been fortunate to find I job I enjoy going to it is still hard and I have to not let emotions allow me to purchase things for my girls out of guilt.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Christie! We have had those years when I had to go back to work and leave the kids, and it is really difficult. All you can do is to make the right decisions for your family and make the best of your situation. Enjoy the time that you do have with them and let the guilt go! :0

  • Kari

    Well I remember the one income, homeschooling days! I loved every minute (well almost) of it! Good for you, and I’m anxious to glean from your budgeting ability and learn how to make the money go further.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Kari! I am sure that we can all learn something from you as well, so feel free to comment often. :)

  • Gena

    I’m so excited I found this start page. We are a family of four living on about $90,000 and we are struggling between debt and bills and keeping up with our peers (my husband is military and advanced fast so obviously there’s a gap there). I stay at home which kills me because I should have figured this all out long ago. I came from a traumatic childhood so I have spending “issues” that I’m dealing with in therapy. I think it’s way more shameful to make more money and spend unwisely than to have less money and make it work because you have to. I love that you said simplicity and over-commitment because those are directly related to money. Thank you for posting this and your “number”. Clearly, the “number” has no meaning or value, only what you actually do with it.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Gena! I totally inderstand about emotional spending. I am a recovering spendaholic myself. It helps so much to take care of yourself so that you can live a “sober” lifestyle. I hope you can find some encouragement and practical help here. Let me know if you have any questions. :)

  • Kristen

    Thank you for this blog! I recently became a SAHM when we had our first baby in February. While we are fortunate to have my husband working in a great job, things are still tight. I am also interested in homeschooling but am trying to convince my husband that its worthwhile. I’m excited to read about your ideas for staying within a reasonable budget for groceries. This is one of the few places I choose to spend more since I am a firm believer in organic foods and clean eating….I’m definitely not willing to purchase packaged foods, processed foods, etc. but the downside is that there aren’t many coupons, if any, for this style of eating. Every coupon I receive is usually for something out of a box, or is highly processed. We have definitely seen our bodies and health improve since switching to clean eating but our wallets…not so much!

  • Shannon

    Thank you for your desire to help others with your experiences. My husband is a full time student on his third year in college, I work approximately 30 hours a week. Our monthly income is about 1000.00. We are buying a home and have a few pets but no children. Things are extremely tight for us. I am looking forward to reading your blog and learning some more tips to saving more and still have time to spend with each other.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Shannon! Let me know if you have any questions. :)

  • Tiffany

    Good morning!
    I found this blog in Pinterest and was very interested. You have some great tips in money saving and spending that we can all learn something from! I did have a question for you, as I was looking at you blog and money saving tips. $28,000 is you after taxes and “take home pay” correct? I am an RN and make $60,000 a year but my take home pay is $2800 a month. Now I do have $400 a month taken out for health insurance for my family of 3. However, if my paycheck did not have my health insurance taken out I would still only be making $1000 more per month than your family or $12,000 more a year. My husband also makes as much as I do. However, do to student loan debt we are trying to manage our money better to get some debt paid off. Thanks for clarifying! Maybe our state taxes are much higher here in MD, or i am getting too much in taxes taken out per month? I was just curious!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Tiffany! I first posted this in February 2012, and at that time we were bringing home about $2100 a month after taxes. We have since increased our income by a few hundred dollars a month. I would check with an accountant about your taxes. It is generally better to have less taken out of each paycheck so that you have the money each month rather than getting a big refund. Hope that helps. :)

  • Emily Franz

    Your blog is so incredibly inspiring. I’m newly married, and only have myself and my husband to look after; however, as recent college grads with well enough school debt to pay off, I could really use some straight forward advice about saving money and living on less income that I’m used to. Thank you SO much for your dedication to this site and for your help!

    • Kimberlee

      You are very welcome Emily!

  • Lisa

    Thank you for sharing!
    And I always love hearing when (especially being a mom) other women would rather live with less inorder to have more :-)

  • Courtney

    Relationships are SOOO important and I’m so glad you & your family see that. I have no doubt that your children will be the ones that make a difference in this world with such awesome parents to guide them and be role models to them. From a 23 year old THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart from this post. I can only dream to have a family just like yours. This following paragrapgh you wrote is something I want every family to read. It’s perfect in EVERY way.
    “Time with dad is important at every stage, but it is crucial with three teenagers. Girls need their father’s approval and attention to form their identities at this stage of life. Teenage boys need to see how their fathers interact with others, especially how they treat women. Seeing Dad interact on a regular basis with Mom and watching him treat her with respect makes a lasting impression on a young man. All teenagers need someone to bounce ideas off of. Having more relaxed time at home means we have more time to listen and discuss things.”

    God Bless you & your family :)

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much Courtney. We are definitely not perfect, but we are trying to live our values and pass them on to our children. Time will tell if we were successful.

      I am sure that you will have a wonderful family because you are already thinking about how you will parent. Blessings to you!

  • Julie

    Hi…I stumbled across this post while on Pinterest. Kimberlee, I think what you are doing here is going to help a lot of people, whether they have their own family or are single and live with their parents. I’m only 19 and well, looking at my family and my parent’s struggle to make ends meet, I sometimes wish I knew more about handling money and saving. So thanks so much for this post!!:)

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Julie! Thanks for your encouragement. I am sure that you will do a great job yourself because you are already thinking about it. :)

  • Michelle

    I’m excited you decided to share. My income is much like yours but I am just supporting myself. This excites me because I feel like I may be able to save more than I would of thought. When will you be posting the follow up? Very anxious to see!

  • Christina @ Youthful Homemaker

    Thank you for sharing your story and being transparent. I am a single mom who works from home and makes less than $20,000 a year… I know how it can be to have people look down on you because you have made choices that lead to you making less money and living more simply.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks for your encouragement Christina! Being a single mom is hard, but I am so glad that you can work from home and be with your children.

  • Carrie lim

    How is it that $28,000 a year comes out to $2200 a month???

    • Kimberlee

      The series is “Less Than $28,000″. At the time that I began the series we had been making about $2200 a month for several years, which is $26,400 a year.

  • Kristin

    Hi Kimberlee! I found a reference to your blog through the comments on Money Saving Mom and I’m so glad to be here. My husband is a police officer with a take-home pay of about $24k a year with which to support five people on. I homeschool our three kids. I think we might have some things in common in our budgeting and spending habits! :) And we agree – family comes first!

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Kristin! Welcome to The Peaceful Mom. :)

      You have a very tough job supporting your family on $2000 a month, so I am sure you have some ideas to share with me too.

  • Karen

    I look forward to reading your blogs about how you support your family of six. I too have 4 children. I recently got the opportunity to stay home. Staying home though comes with huge sacrifices. I had to give up all credit cards to my husband who keeps track of all the money. I really want this to work but am having a hard time believing it will especially with Christmas in a few short months. Any advice would be great especially for holiday shopping. My husband’s take home is about $2600/mo after insurance.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Karen! I am glad you are here. :) Yes, there are huge sacrifices involved in choosing to live off one income, and you have to be very careful to make it work. I would definitely sit down with your husband and take a look at the numbers in your budget so that you have a good idea of what is going on. I have found that one of the primary ways we can save money is by me being a good home-economist: saving as much as possible on groceries (making a detailed weekly meal plan and specific grocery list, making food from scratch, etc.); saving on electricity (hanging clothes to dry instead of using the dryer and turning the thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer); saving on transportation (making fewer trips, having one car). You get the picture. The really important issue is that you are on the same page about what needs to be spent and on sacrifices that need to made (like cable television, hair appointments, new clothing).

      On a side note, we have also increased our income by selling things, my blogging, selling ebooks, etc. You might try to find some ways to make money from home like tutoring, consulting, childcare, etc. I have a list of ways to make extra money here: The comments have some really helpful ideas. I hope that helps. Feel free to ask any other questions you have. :)

    • Kimberlee
  • Alison I

    Thank you for sharing your insight on family budgeting. My husband and I just got married and just bought a home, and we would like to start a family sometime in the next few years. I really look forward to reading this series of articles, and learning all I can, as I would also love to be able to homeschool our future children, and be very family central.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Alison! Let me know if you have any questions. :)

  • Cissy

    What a wonderful discovery…You have given me much inspiration as a single mom of 2. Thank you!

    • Kimberlee

      I am so glad Cissy! Thanks for taking the time to let me know.

  • Amy

    Thank you so much for sharing this as a 24 year old living on my own and having bills I have been torn between work and fun. Growing up I had a single parent raising my sister and I. I loved the fact that she was always there for us and she chose to take a pay cut in work and in hours to make sure she was a part of our lives growing up. We didn’t have the money to spend on brand new things but we knew our mom Loved us and this day I still have friends from sports teams in hs that call her the team mom cause she was able to be at every single one of our meets and games. Its amazing how important that is and I know most of the kids I grew up with were hurt everytime their parents weren’t in the stands to cheer them on like mine was. Thank you for realizing whats truly important. Im glad I know how to bargain shop thanks to my moms tight budget. Your kids are truly blessed to have parents in their lives like you. Keep up the amazing work

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks so much for your kind words Amy! It’s good to hear the perspective of someone who grew up in a household that made choices similar to what we are choosing, and I’m glad that your mom was able to do that for you even though she was single. That is definitely something to be grateful for!

  • Mary

    I am very grateful to have found your blog through Pinterest. We are a family of five, and have been struggling with our income for quite some time. I’m a stay at home mom, my husband is an elementary school teacher. We both just went back to school in order to better our education and increase our income. We’ve made foolish decisions and are over $150k in debt, plus our daily living expenses, and school. Last night we sat down for the first time, to try to figure out what we are doing to end in hundreds of negative dollars at the end of every paycheck. We are living way over our means! I don’t coupon, simply because I haven’t gotten the hang of it, and end up saving a couple of dollars when using them. So finding your website brought back the hope I needed. Thank you so much for sharing your successful story with us. I am very excited to learn everything I can from you, to free us from this gigantic debt that is putting so much stress on my family.

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Mary! I am sorry that you are in a difficult situation, but I am glad you are here. Let me know if you have any questions. :)

  • domesticallychallengedkate

    This blog is fantastic! I am a recently divorced woman. My income is half of what it used to be and my expenses seem to be twice as much. I look forward to tips and advice from your blog as I am always looking for ways to make my money stretch a little further! Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Kate!

  • Rosa

    So wish I would have read this awhile ago. I came across this too on pintrest and read the whole series today. It was a wonderful series and I hope to implement most of the ideas…. my husband was laid off last week…. one week after we purchased a new car…. So at the end of the month we will be done having insurance coverage. Also having kids…. so I really appreciate all the time and effort that you put into the series!

    • Kimberlee

      I am so sorry that your husband lost his job Rosa. I hope that he can find work soon, and I am so glad that I could give you a little bit of encouragement.

  • Jill R. Slusser

    These are some great tips. Just instituting one or two of them would likely save someone quite a bit of money. I have been working on not eating out quite as much but it is difficult.

  • Kay Cowdin

    Kimberlee, Thank you for being so candid. I have long thought that if we never discuss finances, how can we learn from each other how to manage our finances? Children (and adults) need to hear this discussion so that they can understand how to budget, how to save, and how to put finances in their proper place when making life decisions. It is very easy to become overwhelmed when you don’t understand how to control it.
    I am looking forward to reading your suggestions and putting them in action in my financial life.

    • Kimberlee

      Thanks for your encouragement Kay!

  • toni

    Hi I just found your web site, we are soul mates I have been homeschooling for 23 yrs now down to 4 of my 10 kids still home with me I have always stayed home and made it on one income and laugh at a society that says it isn’t possible. Cant wait to read the rest of your posts and learn some new ideas thanks for sharing.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Toni! Nice to meet a kindred spirit. :)

  • elyse

    people can learn a lot from you. Im very interested in learning some more from you as well as me and my husband are in debt because everything in our house is broken when we moved in. I always like to learn ways to save money thanks so much

  • elyse

    but their are people who dont make enough to support a family by themself no matter how much they manage their money and sacrifice. my husband and i make 360$ each a week and if 1 of us stayed home w baby the family plan for health insurance would be 130$ a week its cheaper for us to be on seperate plans seperate insurance is 26$ a week. add a spouse and its 95$ a week than add chold it would be 120$ now if its just you and child our company insurance policey is only 56$ a week so if i stayed home i would not be able to have health care so lets not judge everyone who doesnt stay home. my husband and i sacrifice and we both work

    • Kimberlee

      Hi Elyse – I am sorry that you felt judged. It is absolutely not my intent to criticize anyone’s personal choices. I have been a work-outside-the-home mom, a stay-at-home mom with no outside job and a work-from-home mom. I strongly believe that every family has to make the choices that best serve their overall goals. If moms want to stay at home, I want to encourage them that they can live on less with some organization and sacrifice in order to meet their higher objective. Thanks for taking the time to comment. :)

  • elyse

    i meant 130$ a week not 120$$ a week

  • elyse

    so if i stayed home my husband would only be bring home about 260$ a week thats not enough to pay for groceries mortgage which ours is only 575$ a month water phone only 40$ unlimited talk texxt and internet on it electric water and car insurance and 80 $ a month in gas not a week we luckily live very close to our jobs and we would not qualify for goverenment asstistance already went to yhe food stamp office and talked to a social worker about his income alone is to much to get help

  • Angela (Blessed Life with Child(ren)

    Honestly, it is sad that you feel you have to justify why you live on less, but I understand why you did. I think it is great you know how to be frugal, and am really looking forward to your future posts. We are not struggling financially, but we once were. Still, it is nice to know how to save even a little cash here and there. Good luck in your venture.

    • Kimberlee

      Welcome Angela! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I guess it is sad to feel that I had to justify our choices, but we have had several people make negative comments about our choices so I wanted to explain them :)

  • http://thepeacefulmom Margie

    I’m so glad I found your site and part one in the series of how to live on less than $28000 a year! My husband and I also have 4 kids living at home yet (2 are married w/babies of their own). This will come in handy and I’m so looking forward to reading up on things! We have been trying to cut back on things around here as well… example is: my husband and I were getting frustrated with our electricity bill every month during the extremely cold weather this past winter, so we decided to try something….we went through our entire house and unplugged everything that we just don’t use on a daily basis (sometimes not even for months….). We SAVED $100.00 on our next electric bill, even though it was still cold outside!!!! It’s amazing the things we had plugged in that we just don’t use daily….. We also got rid of our cable. (Even the cable guy, when he got here to disconnect things, told me that anything people want to see, they can watch on-line and stream it through to their computer to the tv set, so we are doing that now too!!! That saved us over $90. a month there!! Thanks for sharing your ideas!! Looking forward to them all!!!

    • Kimberlee Stokes

      Welcome Margie! That is dramatic savings just from unplugging things that use electricity. Good for you for taking control of your money.

  • http://livingonless stephanie stewart

    My husbands disability is what we live on. Annual about $16.000 a year. Have moved my elderly mother in who cannot be by herself anymore.
    She also is drawing disability. Any advice on living on less will be greatly appreciated and taken to heart. Thanks so much for giving us hope!!

  • Christine Hannam

    I’m so excited to have come across this blog–I recently left my job due to extreme stress and after realizing I was sick of being that “not so pleasant” person you described. We are struggling financially and while I do things to be as frugal as possible so I don’t have to go back to a traditional job, I don’t want to feel so stressed in trying to achieve that. I really look forward to learning from you, thank you for being willing to share!

    • Kimberlee Stokes

      Hi Christine – welcome! Let me know if you have any specific questions.

  • Anastasiya

    Thank you so much for taking a risk to write transparently! We are about to transition to one income with the net being about that much! It’s frustrating when you read blogs that write about living frugally and then you find out the one-income is like $60,000.00 and you’re like… ok that definitely won’t work! Our family is smaller than yours, but we live by similar values and would like for me to stay home with our child. We just paid off our debt and now should be able to make it, even though it will be tight. I was encouraged by your post.

    • Kimberlee Stokes

      I am so glad that you were encouraged Anastasiya!

  • Kimm

    I believe, even before I get very far into what you are sharing, the mere fact that you are willing to share without judgement, there will be those who will be positively encouraged by what you share. Every idea may not work, but if even one makes a difference than it has been worth your time and kind heart to share!

    • Kimberlee Stokes

      Thank you so much for your encouragement Kimm!

  • Julie

    This is amazing! Im so interested in conserving bc I dont see the NEED to spend so much when there are ways to save everywhere you look. Im so looking forward to your posts!

  • Maria Amador

    I have been seriously thinking of going back to work. We live in a society that judge you for everything, and being a stay at home mom is not a job or a responsibility that is even being considered anymore. Now, a days is more of what you and what you own that what you have sacrificed. I much rather sacrifice and raise my children then watch my whole live pass me by and think to myself later on I’d wish I had spend more time with my kid’s. I for one much rather keep a budget and live a simpler live. I admire you, for what you have given up to be with your family and to keep your peace of mind.

    • Kimberlee Stokes

      It is super difficult in our society to make counter-cultural choices, but like you I would rather make the sacrifice now and live without regrets later. Of course, if you need to go back to work for your family’s sake, then you must. The important thing is to make the best choices for your situation and values. I’m glad you’re here Maria!

    • Kristi

      I am a working mom – not necessarily by choice but because my husband lost his job and has yet to find steady employment three years later. I also have a college degree which has truly helped me in the job market and he did not finish his which has become more challenging after the recession in finding legitimate employment. My child is now four and it still breaks my heart some days to leave him but he enjoys his school very much and thankfully I am allowed to work from home part time. I hear often that stay-at-home moms feel judged which I completely understand, though as a working mom I have felt very judged at times as well – as if I am not as much of a mother because I work outside of the home. One of the most frequent comments that I have heard is something along the lines of “oh I could NEVER leave my child at daycare” and sometimes I have really struggled to keep my composure and not burst into tears. I would take the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom in a second and all the judgement that comes with it :) There will be judgement either way .

      • The Peaceful Mom

        I have worked outside the home and been a stay-at-home mom and unfortunately you are right Kristi – moms are judged no matter what choices they make. That should stop. I believe that moms need to make the best choices they can for their situation and trust God with the results. I am glad for you that you can work since your husband was laid off.

  • K

    Wow, found this while randomly surfing through related topic and just wow. I’m working on way less per month ($480-$530) and always seek to find new ideas to help me work with my low income. I find pre-k more helpful than homeschooling though I’m not knocking that idea [people do what suits them best]. Ah, so happy thanks for these articles, wish I found them sooner.

    • Kimberlee Stokes

      Welcome! Let me know if you have any questions or other ideas to add. :)

  • Tonya

    Kimberlee, as I was reading through your blog, I realized that you respond to every single comment left for you! That is a beautiful and amazing thing! You are a lovely soul. Thank you for all of the gentle words of encouragement and your sound and logical advice.

    • Kimberlee Stokes

      Hi Tonya! Yes, responding to the comments is one of my very favorite parts of blogging. I love to connect with people. Thanks for stopping by and giving me some very encouraging words. :)

  • Flora

    First off I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick question which I’d like
    to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your head prior
    to writing. I have had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out.
    I do take pleasure in writing but it just
    seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost just trying to
    figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints?
    Many thanks!

    • Kimberlee Stokes

      Hi Flora! For me writing is what clears my head. I make lists, write random words or phrases and jot down ideas as they come to me. I am not trying to write something beautiful or grammatically correct, just get all the stuff out of my brain. Hope that helps. :)

  • Kami

    Thanks so much for sharing this!!! It is super beneficial and your reasons are wonderful!

    • Kimberlee Stokes

      You are very welcome Kami!

  • Britni

    LOVE your site! I come back here often to see your good advice. Thank you for taking the time to share all about your life. I know sometimes it’s hard to be vulnerable, but it helps us connect and feel like we aren’t alone. I just wrote a post on what it’s like to be a full time mom and learning how to manage household expenses. Thought of you, and maybe you’d like to check it out? I’d love to hear what you have to say! Thanks for all your advice!

    • Kimberlee Stokes

      Thanks Britni! I read your post and I love that you include the idea of increasing income. Sometimes as stay-at-home moms we become focused on how to cut the budget more and we forget about the option of bringing in a little more income.

  • Nicole

    Thank you so much for sharing!! I thought my husband and I were the only ones! : )

    • Kimberlee Stokes

      You are not alone Nicole! :)

  • Mandy Tirado

    We live on about the same amount a month, but only have 4 humans and 2 furry family members. We struggle most months, too but we’re also getting out of debt, so most of our struggle is trying to pay too much off at a time. (We never have been that great at pacing ourselves, hence the debt!) I really appreciate your candidness and your willingness to share. It’s a blessing for those of us who need to remember to be humble as well as work on our finances consistently. Sometimes, for me, the struggle is so hard, I try to “save face” and become conceited in other areas. Your blog is such a wonderful reminder to be kind, since we’re all battling something.

    • Kimberlee Stokes

      Thank you so much for your encouragement Mandy – I really appreciate it. :)

  • Angela

    I just read the intro and can’t wait to dive into the rest. Anything that we can do to make a dollar stretch a little bit farther is great! Thanks for sharing your story

    • Kimberlee Stokes

      My pleasure Angela – welcome!

  • Tom Terryu

    I stumbled on your blog and thought
    It made sense. Fortunately / unfortunate
    Both my wife and I are unable to return
    Work due to illness and collect SSDI, than God
    For these safety nets. Our challenge will be to
    Live within these constraints and I believe
    Your blog will help.

    • Kimberlee Stokes

      Hi Tom – I am sorry to hear about your illness but hopefully you can find some ideas here to help. Blessings!

  • jillea

    This is awesome. Lately I have been dreaming of simplifying my life with more time at home with my son . I also have fibromyalgia. Basically I have been dreaming of ditching consumerism even more so than I do now and working part time. One problem i am a single mom and my dreams sound crazy . So as I am haunted by health insurance and expenses I am some how wishing I could be free. Do you tHink this is possible….im either nuts fur thinking I could give up a full time job and decentsalary or im on to ssomething

    • Kimberlee Stokes

      Hi Jillea – I think it is definitely possible but if I were you I would pare down your life to the bare essentials and put several thousand dollars into savings over the next year. If you can live on less while you have the full time job and save as much as possible it will give you a good idea of what life will be like without extras and give you a cushion in case something goes wrong with the plan. Take into account that your child care expenses will be less when you work less so that will help but you need to have a realistic view of what you need to live on.

      Another thought is to start a side business that you can run from home so that you have income coming in without having to go into the workplace. Good for you for taking action on a dream that you have!

  • Alicia Haffenden

    Ma’am, first of all I believe that only God can judge anyone or anything. I appreciate the fact you did decide to share your story and ideas in this article. I came across it, looking for help and advice. I watch suzie Orman and she keeps saying the same thing save up to 6 mos of emergency funds, put a large stock of your income in to the 401k for the future and other things that do not apply to someone just trying to survive. I have heard the judgement of people saying just get a better job that pays more and things will be fine, not that easy or realistic. This was longwinded but again I thank you for writting this. God bless!

    • Kimberlee Stokes

      I am so glad that the Living on Less Than $28,000 a Year Series was helpful to you Alicia! Thanks for letting me know. :) I have another resource if you would like to get your money on track called 5 Days to Budget Breakthrough. You can read more about it here:

  • Allie Jones

    Kimberlee, I have spent hours and hours pouring over all of your posts, and have never thanked you, and now I just feel plain ungrateful! You have inspired me and have given me SO many ideas that have literally changed my life and the way I look at things. I am truly grateful I found your page and for all the comments too. The world is a better place because you’re in it!! Keep on keepin’ on!! – Allie :)

    • The Peaceful Mom

      Allie- You literally just made me cry. I really appreciate
      your kind words and especially today when I was feeling a little burned out. Thanks for giving me the motivation to get back to work tomorrow. :)

  • Gaye Morgan

    Hello, I’d like to say you are a remarkable woman with a remarkable family. You have a lot to deal with ( 3 children with a problem can be major but you have not only coped, but shared). You obviously worship your children, family and family time. Thank you so much for posting all the ideas related to saving time, money and menu planning. I take my hat off to you – you have a job, a blog and a very full-on family.
    I only found this blog today so I have a lot of interesting reading ahead of me. I will also be telling my close friends about your site. If you ever get negative feedback, please don’t acknowledge it (usually the negative come from narrow minded, healthy people on a decent income, or people who won’t alter their ways to save). I look forward to reading the past posts and future of this blog as well as recieving the newsletters. From a disabled Mum finding life hard. Cheers, XX

    • The Peaceful Mom

      Wow – thanks so much for your encouragement Gaye! It really means alot. I hope you enjoy reading and please let me know if I can answer any questions.

      • Gaye Morgan

        I am so sorry I have not replied for weeks, I have been snowed under with emails and avoiding clearing them (see I desperately need your help and advice). I use my pain and disability as an excuse, but really it isn’t. If I cleared it daily I’d keep up to date. Anyway thank you so much for replying and yes I will get back to reading what I can in short bursts here. Cheers to a great Mum, blogger, Tweeter, etc. Again, I take my hat off to you. :)

  • Jennifer Morrill

    We have lived on so little income for most of our marriage too ( one yr we only made $18k). We both went through college, I worked at one point to get my husband through college (3yrs) and the last year was of him searching for a job. He has a BA in business but with no experience he is still at the bottom, but I was done with working. We saved our tax return and got a snap loan and just bought our first fixer upper home! An $85k loan… (We had survived 10yrs in a single wide trailer, out in the woods 2/1 bath 14in by 60! On his grandparents land). While I am so grateful to be where we are, having to deal with a mortgage and buying food all on our tight budget is so hard… and what we never foresaw was my husband getting sick with gastropriasis. He can’t eat very well so we spend money on lots of comfort food for him. He’s hopefully getting better. I mainly make him chicken and rice with curry and turmeric spices. I just worry about Christmas because my oldest son is turning 9 next week. We got him Minecraft, and I just learned how to crochet, so I made him a creeper. Sorry I just completely understand where you are coming from. We just started homeschooling this year… our home is in an ok neighborhood we had to get a conventional loan because all the issues with it. I just don’t like the feel of the school when I checked it out, and I’ve always wanted to homeschool… so far I have been doing everything free… so looking forward to your posts!

  • The Peaceful Mom

    Hi Jennifer! I hope I can give you some encouragement.

  • The Peaceful Mom

    Thanks Gaye! I have trouble keeping my inbox uncluttered too. :)

  • Cara Li

    Many American have a steak taste on a hamburger budget . The problem is that most Americans borrow to the max and then whine about not having enough money . So you have a nice house, car, and boat. Can you afford them or does it really matter at this period of time?

    I’m just gonna make smart decisions with my money so I don’t end up with an empty bank account:

    1) Paying off my debts as they come to me. Never holding a credit card balance longer than a month. If this means living in a small studio apartment and eating ramen, rice, and beans, so be it.

    2) I will always buy small, fuel efficient and durable cars. I drive a 2006 Honda Civic now. It costs me nothing to fill up and next to nothing to insure ($24/month from Insurance Panda). I will not drive when I don’t need to, and use public transportation whenever possible.

    3) Developing multiple revenue streams. Doing side jobs. Building up small businesses. Doing contract work. Basically doing whatever I can to generate income from multiple sources.

    4) Grow my revenue and assets no matter what. Make sure I am always expanding and develop them to the point that they consistently generate reliable cash flow.

    5) The most important one – make as much as I can. Save as much as I can.

    iPhones… ecigarettes… Starbucks… Chipotle Burritos…new clothes.. organic lipgloss… expensive yoga classes. Why not try living in your means for once? No wonder we have a debt crisis

  • The Peaceful Mom

    I am so happy that you could make that change Kristin. I pray that God will give you specific ways to earn income and that He will provide in miraculous ways that you can’t even imagine. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment here and please let me know if you have any questions.