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. [Read other posts in this series here.]
Join me on Twitter or Facebook for instant updates or subscribe to my FREE e-newsletter to get posts right in your inbox!
Today I want to start with a disclaimer and a story. Disclaimer: I am not an expert, just a mom who is sharing what has worked for us.
Now for the story.
Last week I put on one of my two “good” pairs of jeans and felt a little breeze. I looked and realized that the small hole in the back of the leg had become a LARGE hole. There are a lot of frugal things I am willing to do, but letting my underwear show through my jeans is not one of them.
I also found that my black slacks were too short. (Is it possible to grow taller after age 30?)
Considering the fact that I was leaving for a conference at the end of the week and I wanted to look somewhat professional, I knew that it was time to go shopping.
I am normally super cheap when it comes to buying clothes. I try to shop only when I need something and I usually go to a discount store in my area where I can find shirts for just a few dollars and jeans for around $15. I occasionally purchase clothes from Walmart, but the quality isn’t always great. I also shop at the thrift store, but that doesn’t often work when I am looking for something specific.
When I prayed about where to shop (yes, I prayed about it), I felt that I should go to an outlet store about 20 minutes from my house, even though I have never found anything in my size that I liked at that store.
Armed with about $50 from the clothing budget of our Freedom Account (read more here), I walked into the outlet store. Within a few minutes I found 2 pairs of jeans and one pair of black slacks all in my size and an appropriate length (slacks should not be confused with cropped pants!).
I also found a name brand t-shirt. My total? $35.00, or the average cost of one pair of jeans (unless you shop at a high end store and pay $200 for a pair.)
Now you may attribute this to my awesome shopping skills, but that is not the case. I know that God sent me to that store and provided those clothes for me.
I love the way The Message says it:
27-29“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference?
Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
30-33“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.
People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Why did I tell you this story? To let you in on a simple truth:
We do our part (and I’ll share more about the practical things we do in upcoming posts), but we believe that God helps us to live on less.
Click here to read other posts in this series.
I have recently discovered Goodwill and Salvation Army as outstanding places for clothes shopping. There was a point in my life in which I would have turned my nose up at the notion. However, being extremely tight with the almighty dollar and not being fond of shopping in the first place, I would easily compare these excursions to a treasure hunt. I recently bought two pairs of practically new Banana Republic Jeans at about $4 a piece and a Lily Pulitzer dress for $3 for my 9year old daughter! I can actually afford a stylish wardrobe without breaking the bank.
The Peaceful Mom says
Those are awesome finds Tiffany! And no one ever has to know they came from the thrift store. 🙂
I’ve found that God is able to provide everything you ask, not only what you need, but even what you want exactly to a t of what you are thinking! I decided to challenge Him once (I know, how silly), and asked for a free cloth diaper. Well, the first giveaway I entered, I won! Since then I’ve been gifted enough to cloth diaper my baby (I’ve also spent some $$$ purchasing, but if I didn’t have any, I could’ve gotten by just fine with just the cloth diapers that I believe God gave me). My latest gift? A J.Crew skirt. The exact skirt I tried on at the store but didn’t shell out $130.00 for, in my size, at Value Village for $6.99! And immediately after that a pair of brand new flats in the brand I love for $7.99 at the same Value Village. God is good!
Kimberlee Stokes says
Love it! Thanks for sharing that!
ashley g says
I have been jumping around all of your blogs and needed to see every single one,especially this one.ive always been a christianfn but never really gotten on my knees to pray,just talked to God anytime.but tonight,after feeling very down because i work two jobs and barely make it,i got down on my knees and prayed for God to give me strength and guidance. And God lead me to your blog and i am so enthusiastic about things changing for me now.i do need your advice though,
I recently graduated from cosmetology school and started my career.obviously it takes time to build a clientele to support myself so im also a waitress.neither job do i get a paycheck,its just a little money everyday in cash and a few tips.it makes it so hard to figure out where the money should go and when.id love to hear your ideas! Thanks so much already though!
Welcome Ashley! In situations with irregular income Dave Ramsey recommends writing down a prioritized list of what you need to pay for the week/month. For example, basic food is first with a specific amount, then basic non-food items like toothpaste and toilet paper, then gas for your car to get to work, then utilities, then rent, etc.
Once you have your list, you apply whatever cash you have to the items in order until you run out of money. For example, if you make $300 this week, you could put $30 in an envelope for groceries, $10 in a separate envelope for non-food items, $40 for gas, then put $100 aside to pay your power and water bill, and then save the remaining $120 to pay your rent when it is due.
Hopefully that makes sense. After you have made a list of basic necessities, you should expand your list to include items like car maintenance, clothing and a little for fun money. Once all the needs are paid for the month, you can put money away toward next month’s expenses or put a little aside to save for a longer term goal like replacing your car.
I hope that helps. Let me know if you have other questions. 🙂
I learned a lot, when I decided to pray about every decision that I make – even the seemingly little ones. I learned that many times, the Lord would lead me down paths that I never knew existed – and that included shopping at places that I would have never thought of, or had forgotten about. He blesses us when we seek Him, in ALL that we think, say, and do: ) Bless you for sharing your helpful info!
Shannon King says
I am a single mom struggling to make ends meet on a Louisiana teacher’s salary. I am so thankful for your post about trusting God with the “less” so that He can be more! I needed to read that today when I’m fighting with feeling sorry for myself and hopelessness. I know I really do have hope-thanks for the reminder and your website! It has been a blessing.
I am so sorry that you are struggling Shannon. Being a single mom is really difficult. I am glad that you found some encouragement here though. 🙂
This has been a good series so far. (I found you through Pinterest) But I have to say that you bothering God about a pair of pants seems… I mean, with all the horrible things in the world, to pray for a good deal on a pair of pants and to feel that He took a moment to direct you to a good outlet store just seems vain to me.
I think what you’re doing is awesome, and helping others as you are doing is a beautiful thing. Very Christian of you. But I have to agree with the other commenter that you should really have more faith in yourself. God’s taking care of a lot on a global scale, and so are you on a smaller scale. I would think He would have more pride in you for doing this on your own with the bravery and spirit and smarts He gave you so you don’t have to go bothering Him about bargain hunting.
Don’t mean to sound harsh. We all have our own views of religion, I suppose. Especially, it seems, those in the same faith. This just struck a chord with me, especially as it seemed incongruous with the previews installments of the series. And I just hate seeing hard working women belittle their own strengths. You’re awesome, just as God made you. Don’t be afraid to own the awesome He wanted you to be! 🙂
I have to disagree with Delia’s perspective — if one truly believes in an infinite God, He has boundless time and energy to devote to problems both large and small (trivial, vain, etc.).
So glad I found a pin to your blog series on this topic in Pinterest. I should be sleeping right now, but my annoyance of being woke up by the teenagers is now a realization that there might have been a greater purpose in my getting online tonight (or this morning, depending on your location). Thanks again for sharing. I really need to do this.
Sorry you were woken up, but glad you’re here. 🙂
Saying “Thank you,” seems insignificant compared to the blessings I have already received from your blog! (just found it an hour ago) I have always believed that God won’t lead us where He can’t sustain us. Your testament is proof of this covenant. I am not a SAHM but due to medical issues over the past 3 1/2 years, I have been the primary source of income for my family (hubby, dog-kid, cat, and bird). I am humbled and inspired by your commitment, your compassion, and your faith. May God continue to bless you and this blog.
Wow Leah–thanks so much! You made my day. 🙂
Heidi A. says
The trick to thrift store shopping is being consistent- you have to go ALL THE TIME- Most of the time you will leave empty handed, sometimes you will find useful items or something you’ve been looking for, and every once in awhile you hit a gold mine and come in the day after someone your size and style has donated their entire wardrobe! Those are the hard days to not over spend 😉
I also use Freecycle and Craigslist a lot. I have managed to clothe our twins on about $200 total, since birth, and they are set for at least another year with what I have stashed away 😀
Near our home is an amazing thirft store (about the size of a walmart) and they sell everything for the same price. they start on Thursday with all items at $2 and drop the price daily until Weds where everything is .25 cents! almost, all of our clothes come from there and I often find nice name brands…it was truly a God-Send when a family friend told me about this place…Bless You and Your family for leaning on the Lord…we do the same and have found that he gets us through alot!
Wow–$.25 sounds great!
I want to congratulate you for this blog. I am very thrifty and frugal, but I still have problems making ends meet, because I am just not disciplined enough. I love to read about what others do, so I can find a method that I will be able to maintain.
I do not pray God, but I do send requests to the universe (which in my sense is the same thing, with a different belief). It does work. Many times, I needed something, and it came to me.
Once, it was a vacuum cleaner. We needed one, and wanted the Electrolux brand, because it works forever. We went to a store but did not find any at a budget price. When we came back home, someone had put one right beside the door of our apartment building. We only had to replace the hose ($10), and it still works, 7 years later! I do send those requests all the time.
Thank you for helping people who struggle with money, which is a vast majority of people. 🙂
I have enjoyed your blog so much! I found it through my daughter pinning it on Pintrest. You gave such a gracious answer to “L”. I pray that they come to know our great God Who gives us all things to enjoy and provides for us as a Father. Prayer is for all times and for all seasons. Many, many times God has answered a specific prayer that others might find inconsequential but it made a world of difference to me! And it has shown me that we have a personal, interested God to truly cares about our every day decisions. May He bless you always.
Thanks so much Michelle. I always pray for wisdom as I answer comments. 🙂
I came here for helpful tips on how to survive living on very little income. Not to ask your deity for favours and pass off being thrifty as your God’s handy work. The deals were already there before you prayed. YOU found them, it is YOU that’s figuring out the way to allow you and your family to live comfortably. Have more faith in yourself than you do in God! You’re capable of many things. Yes, YOU, not God.
All in all, if you want to help a broader spectrum of people struggling financially, it would be nice if you eliminated the religious remarks so other people could benefit as well.
Hi! Thanks for stopping by. I am so glad that you visited (really!) and that you felt comfortable to express your views here.
I understand your point of view and you are very welcome to express your opinion here, but you probably should be aware that I write this blog about my life and how I personally save money, as well as other topics. I have a very real relationship with God and I choose to invite Him into every area of my life. While it is true that I had to go to that store and buy the clothes, I never would have thought about it if I had not prayed first.
As far as helping a broader spectrum of people, I do want to help people and help as many as possible, but helping people to get their finances in order without looking at the eternal perspective would be a cruel deception. I share my life so that hopefully people can see that God is real, that He really does love them and that He is interested in the details of their lives. Financial help without eternal hope is pointless.
I would really love for you to stick around, but I completely understand if my blog is not your cup of tea. I hope you did find some encouragement and help in what you have read so far. Feel free to email me: kimberlee (at) thepeacefulmom (dot) com if you have any other questions. 🙂
Right on, Kimberlee! What a gracious and elegant reply. God bless you, your family, and the help you are providing for others via this blog.
Thanks Nikki–I try. 🙂
I know it’s a while since you replied to L but I was quite amused that they had obviously trawled through so many comments about God before deciding to criticize!
I’m looking to your blog for inspiration. We have had a truly difficult year due to my husband having two pretty difficult illnesses followed by a bout of depression. We are up to our necks in debt as he hasn’t been able to work then last week, in an attempt to save money he decided to get rid of the car and get a motorbike. The next day he tipped over and now has a complicated knee fracture. The prognosis is 6 months to a year before he is back to nearly normal. He had started part-time work and was about to start a further part-time job this week. He will lose the first and the other is now out of the question. So, back to just my salary which happens to be about $29000 so we are praying to God for help. He has been faithful to us but the enemy sent one of his angels to cause a bit more havoc. I turned to my favorite Phillipians 4: 6-7. God bless you.
I am so sorry Sharon! I pray that you will find some relief soon.
Kimberlee, I have enjoyed reading your stories. My husband and I have had a business for 24 years now. Our income is never steady, it’s feast or famine. I have always been a good saver, can’t say that about my husband though 🙂 We suffered a near financial disaster in 2009-2010. We have since learned to live only on what we bring in, no cards. We have 14 year old twins and we work from home. I am going to look into your method, I do love figuring out how to pinch every penny. But one thing I know for sure is that I am not in control, and worrying never solved one crisis. God is in control always.
That is for sure Susan. It’s nice to know we don’t have to have all the answers. 🙂
Thanks for the lightbulb moment! I have been a Christian since I was very young & always known & been shown that God will provide for me. Lately I have been very stressed about our finances feeling like I can’t make ends meet no matter what I do. I have been getting irritated with what God has given us because of this inner struggle. I was doing our budget again this morning & trying to figure out what I could spend at a meat sale in the area. I have prayed about wisdom & God’s provision many times, but it hadn’t really occurred to me to ask God where to shop & even which items to buy there or wait for somewhere else. God is faithful & gracious to keep teaching me!
So glad you had a light go on. 🙂 I have to have light bulb moments on a regular basis-LOL!
Thank you for your inspiration! I just graduated college last year and teach at a small private Christian school. I get judged frequently that I only make about 20,000. I try to explain that I am where God wants me but it’s not always understood. Thanks for the reminder today that God will take care of me and money is not the most important thing in life!
You are very welcome Lynn. Blessings!
I LOVE this post. My family (there are 4 of us) and I just love to camp. Its a pretty inexpensive “vacation” and a great way to spend time with family. In the past, we’ve borrowed tents or gone camping with people who have a large tent. So this year, I decided it was time to look for a large tent (we would like to have 4 kids one day, so I want a tent large enough to hold our whole family for years). So I found a tent at WalMart that had great reviews, but was $152. As a SAHM of 2 and living on an income of less than $18,000 a year- $152 is A LOT to spend on something like a tent for us. So…I prayed about it and something told me to check Craigslist. So, I did. I found the EXACT same tent in new condition for $70, which was much more “do-able”. God answers prayers! Nothing is too small or insignificant for him!
Great example of how God provides for us. Thanks so much for sharing Becky!
Just wanted to say thank you for these post. My husband and I are in a similar situation and your organizing skills have already helped me more than you can imagine. Even more than that though, is this particular post about your jeans. The day after I read this, I was going through the list of things by children would need for camp and my oldest didn’t have one bathing suit that fit. I prayed before I even pulled out of the driveway because all I had was $20 in my pocket to buy everything they needed including the bathing suit. I ended up going in a store that I usually can’t afford to even walk past. In that store I found everything they needed (even the suit) and was even able to replace the worn out white cami that I wear under my shirts and dresses almost daily all for less than $15. Thank you for everything you do and God bless you!
I just love how sweet God is to provide for us! Thank you so much for sharing this story Shannon. 🙂
I am so loving your blog and wanted to say that my husband and I just went through financial peace university with Dave Ramsey. Everything that you are saying he also teaches and gives step by step instructions on how to accomplish the goals. He is a Christian as well and i just thought that I would share. I am glad that God lead you to write this blog because it is so many people who need it. Thank you so much!!!
Kimberlee, thank you so much for sharing! I started reading your blog a few weeks ago, and my husband walked in to find me sniffling over this post (well, maybe sobbing once I tried to share it with him 🙂
Finances, commission-based pay, and why I can’t make a feasible budget work every month have been huge burdens on my heart lately, and even bigger sources of frustration. At the same time (but separately , I thought)God has been working on my heart in the area of prayer, and how I haven’t been in communication with Him nearly enough. I have been so seriously blessed by your blog (which I pinned from a friend), giving my the “man up” speech in both areas! Honestly it had never occurred to me to pray over the more mundane areas of spending money (mostly the “God please send more!” prayers), but it makes so much sense! Thank you!
I also loved your post about realizing it’s time to grow up and committing not spend what we don’t have. Guilty.
Since beginning to read your blog (and from the wonderful model of some Christian friends) my husband and I have started a freedom account and keeping all receipts to go over them once a week at our “budget coffee-dates” (these happen at our kitchen table during nap time 🙂
I feel so good about our finances, even though we have a lot of work to do, and my husband (who is much better about money) and I are finally a team on this! I know it can’t be easy to share such personal info, but you are making a real difference in people’s lives. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing your hard-won wisdom 🙂
Wow Ashley–I am so happy for you! I am sorry that I made you cry though–lol! Congratulations on communicating with your husband and getting everything on track and thanks so much for your encouragement.
this blog is so super inspiring!!! love love love how you talked about praying about a shopping decision.. i do this all the time!! i just lost some weight and for the life of me could not justify spending a bunch of money on a new pair of jeans when i have a son to feed and one day send to college. i had been praying to lose weight, and it was an answered prayer… and then i outgrew all my jeans… and i got a random email from a store i dont usually shop at saying that the clearance was marked down 50%. i go to the site, check it out, put a pair of jeans in the shopping cart, feeling guilty all the while.. go to the final checkout phase and suddenly $80 jeans that were marked down to $40 magically turned into $10. i have never loved a pair of jeans so much!!!
Thanks so much for sharing that story Jennifer. I love how faithful God is.
My sister sent me a link to your site because of your Freedom account. My husband and I have been married for almost 2 years and are constantly trying to find something that works financially. Though I was super confused about the Freedom Account, I kept reading 🙂 I was thrilled when I read that you prayed about where to shop!! (God showed me the other day that I need to even pray about who to vote for on The Voice haha) Then you quoted The Message and I was stoked! I just wanted to thank you for posting and let you know that I plan to check in as much as I can to read what you have to share. Thank you!!
Welcome Ashlee! Glad you’re here. 🙂
I’m enjoying this series very much. For 10 years when my kids were young we lived on one income. Now I work part-time and we are approaching four years of paying double tuition for Christian education (elementary and high school). We know God will provide.
I’m so glad you’re enjoying the series Harriette!
Michelle VZ says
And I now love that you are sharing your faith too! Awesome! I too pray about where to go, if I should, etc. Loving this!
Thanks for your encouragement Michelle. 🙂
Jennifer Bowyer says
I just have to share also… I recently discovered a hole in one of my two pair of jeans and thought to myself “God, how am I going to afford a new pair? And where am I going to find them?” I have a very hard to shop for body, in my opinion! I went on with my day and later on, decided to clear out my closet of the few items I don’t or can’t wear anymore…. and I found an almost new pair of jeans that I had put away last year when I got pregnant with my son!! They fit perfectly 🙂 God is good!
Love it! God IS good. 🙂
I had a very similar prayer when my oven died 2 days before Thanksgiving. Prayer and travel to a store I NEVER shop – I went home with my dream stove, in cream (the color of all my appliances) for $200! When normally this model cost about $500. The clerk said it was so cheap because the color was wrong – I didn’t argue =) God ordered that stove just for me =)
Love it! Thanks for sharing.
You are not alone. I can’t tell you how many times I have prayed to find clothes I needed at a price I could afford.
I love when God provides for us more than we could ask or imagine. 🙂 I’ve had this huge armoire in my 2 yo sons room since before he was born. I thought it would be perfect! Well it’s been less than perfect but it was free and it held clothes. 🙂 I finally decided I needed to sell it and find a more suitable storage for my son’s clothes. I figured I might be able to find a medium sized dresser for the right price. We went to a particular thrift store, the furniture happened to be half price and I got some child sized pieces that were perfect! With money to spare!!! Even though I didn’t pray specifically about that trip, me and the Lord have been having it out over our financial situation. It was such a blessing! Anyway….your posts are very inspiring and I am hoping to share them with my husband and encourage him. Thank you!!!!
God is always faithful, isn’t He? 🙂
Lorie Reading says
I found you on pintrest and had to read. recently i quit my part time job of 18 yrs, total 30 at my profession. I have been diagnosed with posible fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel. these two things made it difficult to do my job but i was also very discontent and needed a change. I wanted more than anything to be home full time. Since quitting we have had to manage on about $800-1000 less a month. I thought of writing about how we’ve done it, but truthfully my husband has picked up alot of the slack. I’ve been a part time stay at home mom and a full time stay at home mom. now I have one child 16 still at home. I have to say I am excited to be at home with him his last 2 years of HS! However, I sometimes feel like I’m not contributing enough because I’ve always brought in an income but now after a devotion I read this morning I feel that God put this restlessness/disease in my life as a plan. What that is, I am not sure? I hope to read more of your blog, Thank you for sharing
@Lorie: Fibromyalgia can be painful and debilitating – I understand personally! But I would suggest reading “Foods that Fight Fibromyalgia.” It has really helped me, and coupled with knowledge of how God’s food works, and with His grace, it has been so much better!
Also remember that God did not diagnose you with sickness and disease. That is from the enemy. God wants you well and in good health. God may have intended for you to slow down but not by making you sick.
Very good point Sherri. Thanks!
I’m sorry but I don’t understand… What is from the enemy? Do you all (Sherri and Kimberlee) believe that disease comes from Satan??
I can’t speak for Sheri, but I believe that some disease occurs naturally from the decline of our bodies as we age, some occurs because we don’t take care of ourselves and some occurs because we are attacked by satan or have opened ourselves to demonic influence. An example is Luke 13:11 “and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.” Acts 10:37-38 says “You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached- how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” This verse indicates that people were healed when they were released from the power of the devil.
The main point that I was agreeing with is that God does not cause sickness and disease.
Good answer! Having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in my 40’s, I can attest to the truth that illness may stem from a number of sources. We may know or not know where they originated. I’ve grown to be less intent on searching the “why” and more pursuant of my trust in God and dependent upon His grace.
Thanks Kristy. 🙂
I loved that you prayed about where to shop! I know that Heavenly Father wants to and needs to be part of our lives. I know he cares if we are on a budget and that he wants us to live within our means to take care of our families. How responsible and faithful of you! 🙂 Gold star!
Thanks Jan! 🙂
I just wanted to tell you that your Message excerpt almost made me cry. Despite my faith, I struggle with religion-based blogs and books since they rarely really connect with me in that spiritual way (and frankly sometimes even really irritate me). That excerpt was perfect and really touched a nerve with me an even just in reading it, felt my faith strengthened and that seriously NEVER happens! I just started reading your blog but I have a very nice feeling that I’m going to stick around! =)
Joann, you have no idea how much your comment means to me! I want to show people that God is real and we don’t have to be religious rule followers to have a relationship with Him. So glad you’re here!
So often as I raised my children as a teacher and single mom, I would find a need (or maybe a want) I did not know how I would provide. I would turn to the Lord for an answer and then would follow “my feeling” which I believe is God talking to me. So glad you do this, also. So many pray but then do not get still to listen. Now as my husband and I face retirement and half the income, I will look to your website for new ideas. Thank you.
I have been reading your posts since yesterday (found you on Pinterest) and I am really falling in love with your blog. The realness speaks to me. This post in particular REALLY spoke to me. Thank you so much for posting the scripture with your story. I NEEDED THAT!
Hi! I am a mom of one (currently – hopefully more in the future). My husband and I are just starting out and looking for a way for one of us to stay home permanently. Your blog has inspired me that it is possible. Specifically, this post reminded me to let go and let God take care of it – He loves my daughter and our family more than me and He will work it out. Thanks!!
This brought chills all over my body! Thank you for sharing! God is there for big and small needs! That is a great thing to know and witness!
Thank you for this post. I felt led to let you know that I stumbled on your blog after praying about an issue for a while and I know it was exactly what God intended for me this evening.
I am so glad you are here Katie. 🙂
I would like to ask your readers who are really struggling to please let someone know, too, if they think God is leading them to…I know some people pray for provisions and God tells someone else to give to them, and I know He can do that and does but sometimes I think it’s OK to ask for help, too, although it can be humbling. My family right now is blessed above our needs and honestly if I knew a friend or family member needed something I would love to help them. When my church says they have a specific need for someone I give items from my stockpile or whatever and try to be very generous. But sometimes, it’s hard to help people if they never say they have a need.
Thanks Diane-that is a very good point. 🙂
Mac Mendez says
Thank you for posting that passage; it’s one that I often need to be reminded of!
Love it! Yep, God’s hand is showing again! Good for you for being faithful. Works EVERY time! (if we could only remember that!) lol
I found this post on Pinterest. After reading it, it is inspiring. I’ve found that God has provided for me and my husband, always and it’s nice to see someone else living with Him in everything. With any luck we will both be in college in the fall, and it means living on 2 part-time jobs. I have no idea how we’re gonna make it, but I pray everyday that God will show us the way. I think this blog, might have been step 1. I’ve always been frugal, but I know I’ll REALLY REALLY have to tighten our belts. Thankfully, it is only the two of us and our four legged kiddos (2 dogs and 2 cats). But this is such an inspiration. I feel like if someone out there can make it with 4 human children, then surely we can with just our four legged foursome and God’s intervention. Thank you, this provides so much peace to my mind in a moment of weakness and doubt!
I love your post!! We also, live on what is considered below the poverty line. We recently took a pay cut to $20,000 a year, basically part time, as local missionaries on the University campus near us. I am about to give birth to our fourth BOY (ha… our budget will have to increase one day for me to feed all these boys!!), but I can identify a lot with what you wrote. And I love, most of all, how you wrote about how we can’t do it without the Lord. I also, pray before I shop, and usually I pray over my grocery budget (which I also squeeze into around $100… thanks to couponing I’m able to get much more with that than I used to!). We honestly won’t be able to pay all the bills on $20k, so we are praying for divine provision, which the Lord has always proven faithful to do. We just aren’t willing to give up the momentum of what is going on on the university campus and what the Lord is doing there… not when God is able to provide. So, anyways, I hear you, I appreciate your post, and love what you’ve written. Its neat to hear I’m not the only one out there that lives like this. 🙂 Because, I think I’m the only one I know around us (aside from overseas missionaries) who lives like this willingly. But hey, if we never present an opportunity for God to move, and us to believe him to move, will we ever really see supernatural activity? I don’t think so. And finding 3 pairs of pants and a name brand shirt for $35 in this country, is supernatural activity. 😉 ANyways, just wanted to say thank you for your post. (However, I do have to say I’m not sure how you manage to homeschool them all. Mine are all between newborn (when he comes) and 5 yrs old… that’s another mountain to tackle another time since I’m REALLY not so good with teaching that age… so for now they will rotate through christian school one or two at a time until they are literate (third grade or so) and then I may homeschool.) Blessings to you and yours.
“If we never present an opportunity for God to move, and us to believe him to move, will we ever really see supernatural activity?” So true, Jenilee, so true.
I would rather live in a way that seems foolish to the world and see God move, than to meet all my needs myself and miss out on knowing Him more intimately.
Hi! Loving your blog! I’m a single mom of a 13 year old daughter and a son, 11. I home school and only work part-time, so my income is very limited. Fortunately right now we are living with my parents while I pay off credit card debt that I incurred after my divorce when I was trying to make it on my own. I started homeschooling after I couldn’t afford their tuition any longer. Even though I don’t have rent and utilities, I still have food, clothes, gas, braces for both kids, and debt which has me living paycheck to paycheck. Did I mention that my car is on it’s last legs also? LOL Yeah it’s difficult, so any advise I can get from others is very welcome!
Sounds like a very tough situation Michelle. Hang in there!
This is so Awesome!! Even though our income is more than that you have totally encouraged me to be more frugal with the money we do have!! Thank you for the bible verse and your tip about praying first. I think that is the best planning tip I’ve heard yet! I will be coming back here for a lot more great ideas!
Thanks Bethany! 🙂
Kimberlee, I came upon your blog through Pinterest and I am loving it! My husband and I do not have children yet, but we are trying to financially prepare so that I can stay at home and raise our children one day. I am a school speech pathologist (I have several students who have Asperger’s) and my husband is a part-time college pastor, so we are preparing to live off of his salary alone. Thank you for your wise tips and your Christ-honoring advice!
I just found this on Pinterest. Thank you so much for sharing this. We have four kids and live on a small income as well. It is nice to know that we are not alone and that we should not fee guilty about it!
I stumbled upon your blog through pinterest and am catching up on the installments. I ABSOLUTELY love the wording of the passage from Matthew! Just brings such an even deeper understanding and conviction for me! Thank you! just what I needed to hear today!
Thank you soooo much for this installment! I have been learning to trust God in the little things lately. This has really changed my perspective on trying to live on less. Why didn’t I think of involving God in my shopping? It all belongs to Him in the first place! Thank you thank you thank you!
You are so very welcome Theresa–blessings!
I needed to hear this so much this morning. It almost brought tears to my eyes to read that passage in the Message version, so appropriate and so true. I’m so glad I found your blog this morning!!!
I too am living on an incredibly strict budget as I am the only one working right now and my husband is in medical school
I am so glad Kelsey–welcome!
Lori Mitchell says
What an inspiration you have been with your blog. There is no doubt God will bless you and your family for keeping him in the forefront. I pray for more blessings to come your way!!
Lori–thank you so much for your encouragement. It is nice to get feedback and to know that what I am doing is helping others. Thanks for your prayers! 🙂
I frequently go to resale/consignment stores. They usually have a nice selection of clothes and shoes at half the price AND I save time by not having to go to the mall or shop at multiple stores since there are so many different brands there! I also take some of my clothes, shoes, and assessories there and if someone buys them I get a store credit. I only go every few months but I usually walk out with 60$ worth of clothes but had enough store credit that I only paid 20$ or less. It’s a fun way to buy some fun trendy pieces or seasonal items without shelling out the $$$.
Thanks Alecia. That is another great idea for buying clothes cheaply.
Melissa K. says
God is faithful even when we are not….and that’s an awesome thing!
Yes He is Melissa!
Kimberly – I am inspired and excited by your post. I am a stay at home mom with a wonderful husband who has been layed off twice in the past two years. I am also a Christian and when my friends or acquaintances ask me how I’m doing I always turn my thoughts and praise to God and his provision for us through it all. I know He loves me with a passion far surpassing the love that any earthly father (or mother) can feel for their child and it is trusting in that love and knowing he has a plan for us that keeps me plugging on. Of course, its nice have have some practical skills in budgeting, etc to pull it all together and so I am eager to read everything you have in store.
Thank you for having the guts to be a christian in the public eye and for sharing your insights.
All the best,
Thank you so much Leslie. It is a little scary sometimes to step out, but I know that I have to tell what God has done for us. He is so good!
K. Knight says
Well that is the bottom line, isn’t it?
“My God will provide all your needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus.”
Good word K. Thanks!
I’m sorry, but what does God have to do with money? I thought this post was supposed to be about tips for money saving strategies?
Hi Melissa! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. You make a very good point. 🙂
While the series is about saving money, it is our personal story of how we survive on less than $28,000 a year. We can’t make it without God’s help. I have story after story of how He has provided miraculously when there is no other way, so I wanted to be upfront about that in the series. I don’t want people to think that we have done this on our own when that isn’t true.
If you have more questions, feel free to email me: kimberlee (at) thepeacefulmom (dot) com. I would be happy to answer them for you. 🙂
I LOVE this!!! My husband and I discuss all the time how we really shouldn’t be able to be making ends meet. On paper it just doesn’t add up, but in reality we’re somehow living comfortably. We know it’s because the Lord is blessing us for doing what He wants us to be doing. It’s an amazing thing! Good for you for sharing this with others to hopefully give them the courage to fully put their trust in God.
Penny Workman says
Your blog and all the wonderful comments are so inspiring. Thanks to all of you for uplifting me today! May the Lord continue to bless each of you!
Thanks so much Penny!
I started reading your post and was thinking, “ok, but where is all this planning does God and his faithfullness come in?” since we live our lives “knowing” He will provide rather than seeing it allwork out on paper…… I was so happy to see you live the same way!
Thanks Molly. He is definitely the One who makes everything work!
I just found your blog on Pinterest. I love this story and hearing about God’s provision. God is so good. I love seeing, hearing about, receiving these small miracles. These thing may seem small but they remind me of how Big God is and how even our small problems are important to Him. Thanks for your blog
May God continue to bless you.
Thanks so much Grace! Glad you’re here. 🙂
I also pray before I shop, and I just wanted to say thanks for sharing! I love it when God shops with me, too; I always get the best deals then. I love reading your posts! 🙂
Thanks Rosie. I’m glad you’re here. 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing with us! I am in a similar situation financially ~ and I used to be in the situation where our mortgage was more than we now make in a month ~ a LOT more. We are living on 1/4th the income we used to make, and you have given me hope that we will survive! I hope you don’t mind me adding your blog to my Pinterest “money saving ideas” board. I think so many people could benefit from your approach….not only your approach to handling finances, but also how non-judgemental and faithful you are. Thanks again!
Thank you so much for your encouragement Lisa. It is definitely my heart to be non-judgmental, so it’s good to know that I am coming across that way. 🙂
I’m glad I can encourage you too. Blessings!
Dianna @ practicing frugal says
Wonderful, thought provoking message. God should be with us in everything we do. One of my goals is to strengthen my relationship with him.
A friend once was in severe debt and had no idea how to set up a budget or get started. She asked me to help. I helped her get started and when we got to the part where she was going to start giving a small amount to church she said “what if I don’t have it to give?” Then she looked at me and said that God would provide and she would pray that he would provide and get her through.
I always admired her for that statement. It had a great impact on me.
Thanks Dianna. I have found that whenever our family chooses to obey God, even if it doesn’t make sense on paper, somehow He makes it work. Thanks for taking the time to comment! 🙂
Stuff and Nonsense says
i absolutely love this story
and how it shows
that the Father cares for us
in all things
i shared a story
a few months ago
about praying over an expander
lost in a lake
that God led us to find
after much prayer
if you’re interested in reading it
click here http://www.stuff-and-nonsense.net/2011/06/needle-in-haystack.html
thanks for sharing!
Alison, I read your story and it made me cry. God is so good! 🙂
I love your “bottom line”. I’ve found in my life the amazing ability of God to not only bless me (like finding pants in your size within your budget), but also His ability to teach us (like you’ve shared he has in your life).
I had my “bottom line” moment last year when I finally gave up on all the methods I’d tried to lose weight (I’ve been overweight since I was a teenager), and no matter all the changes I’d made to eat more healthy, work out more, drink more water, I just hadn’t been able to find the right mix that would work for me. So I turned it over to God, and over several weeks he taught me that exact balance that works for ME, with my body type and health challenges (and includes addressing some of those health challenges with medication). Now it’s a demanding and excrutiatingly slow, but I finally know the answer to what works for me. Now I just have to implement and stick with it while taking care of my family, but that’s the easy part. He showed me that it IS possible and exactly what it will take, so there’s hope. (Plus, now that I know exactly how much effort and time it takes for me to lose each pound, I feel a little less guilty for not being more successful before now. After all, God gave me this body, and he knows exactly what challenges and abilities he’s given me, and He doesn’t compare me to others with different challenges and abilities so I shouldn’t either.)
Sarah, thank you for sharing that beautiful story. I love that God cares about EVERY detail of our lives. 🙂
I love reading your posts! This one made me want to stand up and cheer! I love when we get opportunities like this to brag on God! He is good and faithful – all the time!
Thank you so much Nicole. We can cheer together! 🙂
There is almost no need to buy anything new.(Except for underwear and socks). I bought 8 pairs of pants-6 jeans, 1 pair of nice black pants and a pair of brown cords for $40 at Goodwill. I completely replaced my pants with Calvin Klein and Jones of New York which I definitely couldn’t afford new.
Thrift stores are my favorite way to shop, but I don’t always find my size there. I love it when I do. $40 is an amazing price for a new wardrobe! 🙂
I realize I sound like I’m in their marketing department, lol, but seriously check to see if you have a Savers near you. I have had much better luck finding my size there than at Goodwill. Most Goodwills put things on the rack by color (not size) so finding your size can be taxing. Savers puts everything on the rack by size so it’s much easier to find what you are looking for.
Michelle Wimp says
you are so right, we can’t do anything without Him. “in all things big and small, seek Him.”
Thanks Michelle. 🙂
I buy our clothes at Savers. $5.99 pants, $3.99 tops, $1.99 kids clothes. It’s great!
They are opening more stores all over the country. http://www.savers.com
Those sound like amazing prices. Is it a thrift store or are they new clothes?
I also shop at Savers. It is a thrift store of sorts so the clothes are used, but I have had incredible luck finding what I need there. They are big so they usually have a lot of different sizes and styles in stock. Plus, they do all kinds of deals where they will have everything half off for a day or something similar. That means the shirt marked $3.99 is now only two bucks! I realize this might sound corny, but I feel so grateful to God every time I leave there because I end up paying way less than what I would for Walmart clothes and get far superior quality.
Has anyone told you how much a Proverbs 31 woman you are? My favorite “don’t worry” passage: Phillipians 4:6, if we just let our requests be made known to Him, even if it’s something He isn’t planning on doing, the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will be with us. How great a promise is that?
That may be the highest compliment I have ever received. Thank you so much T.R.R.!
Oh dear friend, I LOVE IT! I absolutely LOVE IT mashallah. I actually wasn’t expecting the spin you put on it, thanking God for His provisions, instead of talking about how shopper savvy you are (you do seem very good at this living on a budget business too:)
In my religion, we are urged to pray before any “interesting” decisions we may want to make, such as shopping, job application, volunteering outside the home, marriage, career choice, a new business/elective class, etc.
The prayer offers many good benefits as you would know seeing as you prayed about this decision (something I’m working to implement myself), such as guidance from the Lord, help in obtaining what we did pray for (you sure got an amazing bargain there!), and also calmness of the heart and connecting to the Lord and also consciously yielding that all success can only come from Him anyway, so you are just making sure to implore for it in the first place.
Really so good mashallah:D
Thank you so much Rahilya. You are such an encourager! 🙂
What a powerful message! Thank you for sharing.
You are very welcome Jamie!
Thank you so much for posting this. I always feel as though we are missing out on something but the truth is we are not…it’s just clothing! People get so hung up (no pun intended) on where they buy clothing. I am so grateful for your blog and wonderful ideas! thanks!
Thanks for the encouragement Samantha!
Way to go! A couple of months ago I put a juicer into my shopping cart on Amazon. The price was $60 and I really wanted this juicer. But I also felt like this could just be a whim of ours and that maybe we wouldn’t use it if we bought it. So I forced myself to wait – for 2 months.
Fast forward to when I needed a new griddle. I figured I would be spending about $70 for the griddle I wanted and was prepared to spend that much. I am/was tired of getting by with a cheap one and wanted a better quality one. I headed to the outlet malls and the kitchen store there.
I found the exact griddle I was looking for $30. Yay! I was perusing the store and happened upon the exact juicer I had in my cart at Amazon – for $35! I quickly called my husband to see what he thought and he said to buy it. I got the griddle and the juicer for just under $70. God is good!
That is so cool Jennifer. God is such a good provider. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
I don’t know if they still do it, but levis used to have a lifetime guarantee. In the past I have contacted them, they provided me with a postage paid label, and they REPLACED my jeans with brand new ones at no cost.
Ooh–that’s even better Shea! Thanks. 🙂
Perfect! I once lived in Japan and my friends there prayed for everything (the first time I’d been around people who did that). They took me shopping for my apartment and prayed that we would find good deals. We ended up getting things at unbelievable prices. Pretty Cool. 🙂
That’s neat Jenny. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Susan Campbell says
You are absolutely right! Every single thing we have is because God gave it to us. I commend you for not only acknowledging, but sharing with the world that God provides.
I used to ask my husband how he could be so carefree, and he explained he has faith that God will take care of us.
Thanks Susan! I like your husband’s response. 🙂
Beautiful. Awesome. Thank you.
I have also found myself praying over where to shop for clothing needs in the past year or two. It makes so much sense since He knows what’s hanging in every store. The passage in Mathew is perfect – what a great reminder for us to focus on our Great Provider. His resources are never limited.
You are welcome Deanna. I love that God cares about every detail of our lives. He is soooooooooo good! 🙂
What a blessing you are to mothers and families. Yes and we can’t o it by ourselves. God is there I help us in ALL things. Just need to ask.
Thank you so much for your encouragement Vicki!
karen b says
Love it! Its always a good feeling when you spend less than you are intending & actually get more!!!!!!!!!!! I found 3 pair of jeans for my over 6 ft tall son the other week @ Goodwill for $4 a piece, normally we spend around $30 because he is not only tall but super thin as well. Was super thankful for that also.
That’s great Karen!
Amy T says
Karen- My husband is like that, I also find really good prices on clearance racks at kohls, jcpenny etc. but you have to have the time to look around a lot