Monday, January 21, 2008

How Do YOU Make Ends Meet?

With astronomical gas prices rises, food costs going WAY up, health insurance nearly unattainable (if you live here legally that is) and the big "R" word looming on our horizon, how does a family make ends meet?

We are a single income family, and although my husband has a very good job, we can still feel the pinch in our pocket books.

Now that I no longer have babies in my home (my baby is 5 ): I have the desire to earn a little extra... but I have no desire to get a job that would take me away from my children. I know you all can relate.

I would love to hear what YOU all do to pull in a little extra money. Whether it's to make ends meet, or to afford designer shoes. It would be fantastic to see how all you resourceful ladies do it!

I want details. What you do, how often you work at it, do you like it, etc and if you you want to share how you use the extra income.... go for it.

I have looked for a few years for something that "fit" me. I sadly lack in domestic talents, so unlike Gayle, my extra income would NOT be coming from the beautiful things I created with my hands.

Direct sales (aka Pampered Chef, Mary Kay) were a good choice for me, but the first one I tried ended up being WAY too pushy. I just want to sell stuff... I don't want to build an army of recruits!

I stumbled across Cookie Lee Jewelry at a bazaar about 2 years ago, and thought "hmm, a 50% profit, no presentations... sounds good." After a few months I called the woman who ran the booth, found out there wasn't any pressure to "share business opportunities" WHEW, and signed up.

So here are my details. On average I do anywhere from 1 - 3 parties a month. I do sell a bit just out of catalogues, but it has taken awhile to build up a clientele. On a good month I can bring in a surprisingly large amount of money*, on a bad month I make nuthin'. The Summer is usually S-L-O-W. Although it might be because I'm sitting on my porch drinking lemonade, or lounging at the local pool. I'd rather not work in the Summer.

We spend the $$ on gymnastics (Emily, I know you understand), family trips, Christmas and b-day gifts, etc. Although as the cost of living rises, it may end up being spent on milk (I just paid $5.19 a gallon... no joke). We are also toying with the idea of taking a portion of it to start paying vehicle debt down.

I usually enjoy it, but I wish it was something I created myself. I think I'd get a lot more personal satisfaction out of that. But hey, the money is pretty good, and I get free jewelry!

Your turn......


Mrs. Darling said...

Well as you know I tutor for extra income. We are in a fortunate postion having everything including mortgage and cars paid for. I tutor because I want more spending money!

Here's how it works. I get $25 for an hour of tutoring or they pay $25 a day for all day homeschool here with my daughter. Right now I am bringing in about $500 a month in tutoring and $300 a month in babysitting my granddaughter. That gives me $800 a month to use on whatever I like.

My husband still gives me an allowance of $80 a week so that makes my total income $1160 a month. This is not to pay bills or groceries. This is just my mad money.

It sounds like a lot for mad money but I can tell you I have a hundred places for it to go. LOl

I use it for my hair and nail appointments. It's also used for all of my clothes and shoes etc and about half of the kids clothes. Homeschool curriculum my husband pays for unless its just a book Im picking up somewhere.

I also use my money for the childrens friends; gifts at birthday parties and such or taking the kids out to eat for lunch. Today I spent 38 dollars on stuff I need for my booth at the Ministry Fair this weekend at church. Sunday I spent my money on doughnuts for the nursery staff. As nursery director that falls on me. Some times I pay for my own gas for the car and sometimes I dont.

I also pay for part of the two ladies conferences I attend in a years time; hubby pays the cost of the conference, I pay the motel.

All extra classes like basketball and music come out of hubbys pocket.

So in a nutshell my money is used for all my needs and wants, clothes for the kids and entertainment costs during the day when hubby is gone.

Right now I tutor for money as I said but I've also made frozen casseroles and sold them. I've sold cookies and bread. I've cleaned houses. But of all my cottage industries I like tutoring the best.

Halfmoon Girl said...

When I was a single mom, I babysat for a friend. I do not work right now, but I have been trying to be more conscious about shopping on discount days at the grocery stores, making Costco trips into the city, and doing freezer cooking with friends.

Nessa said...

I can't help you on this one. I'm trying to start a second full time career.

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

I'm trying everything I can! I babysit two days a week; that is my most steady income. I do craft shows; that is a junk of income every now and then. And I've sold Usborne books. I haven't done it much lately; I do it when I want to or when I have something big I need extra $$ for. It has been great- no pressure, no minimum sales, I get tons of books for homeschooling, and everyone loves books and feels good about buying them. It has been a huge blessing to me. (When I do it!) I think I may start subbing when all my kids are in school. My money simply goes to help pay bills or groceries or save for vacation. Money is ALWAYS tight. The idea of $80 a week just for me would be a DREAM!!!

CrossView said...

I look forward to reading the responses, too! LOL! I've been mulling on this for the past couple of years and have come up with ZILCH. Being in an extremely rural area doesn't help. LOL!

Until then, I'm working at spending less as my way of making more. =/

candi said...

I got nothing!! No money, no ideas, nothing!

But I am quite anxious to read all of the ideas you get.

javamamma said...

I've tried several home sales companies over the last 15 years. It's not really my thing.

The only jobs I've had ever (besides my paper route at 15 yrs) were church secretary, waitressing 9 hours a week (now) and a para sub for the elementary (did it for the first time yesterday). And I've never filled out an application to get any of these jobs. I've been approached by them. Crazy, huh?

We've kinda lived by a rule that I will never work because I HAVE too - God must provide on hubby's income only. And He has....very miraculously (and scary) sometimes. I'm not saying the extra cash my little jobs have brought in hasn't been nice and sometimes very needed. We just haven't looked at me working to pay the bills as an option. Maybe we're arrogant.

I've found my faith must increase as the days get scarier but we've always found God to be faithful to provide our needs and alot of times our wants too!

Sheesh, sorry if I'm getting preachy -not my intent. This has just been our story and I guess I used your blog to tell it. Sorry. I'm having fun reading others comments though. Sex and finances - isn't that what marriage is all about? ;)

Robin said...

I work for a company that provides in-home assistance to elderly folks. I cook, clean, remind them to take meds, chat, play cards, drive them to appointments, nothing medical, just basically get paid to be a friend and help out. I LOVE my job, just a few hours twice a week, but that little bit extra mekas me feel like I'm helping contribute a little something. that's what I do.

Becky said...

Back when my hubby and I first had our oldest son, we knew that the Lord wanted me to be a SAHM. It was not easy during those early years, especially with college debt, car debt, and living off of one, very small private school income at the time.

However, we remained faithful to what we knew the Lord wanted for us, and He provided for us. My brother moved in with us for a while which helped lower our overall expenses for a year or so with his contributions, and then when we moved South, I began babysitting my SIL's kids full time at a rate that was far less (helping her) and yet still sufficient to be worth it for us.

One of the biggest things that helped us through our lean times (and still now) was reading the Tightwad Gazette books by Amy Dacyczyn. They have really, really inspired me to be a better steward of what God has blessed us with. As has Crown Financial Ministries on Christian Radio.

These helped me to see the 'waste' in our spending habits, and to begin to save money in areas where spending had sprung some major leaks. It took us a while to patch up the holes, but with God's help, we began to consider much more carefully how we spent our dollars, and started to get more for our money.

When our oldest son was born, we went 'whole grain' in our family (not vegan...just eating the whole foods...brown rice instead of white, whold wheat instead of white, etc.), and I began buying food from a co-op...grains, legumes, etc. and cooking everything at home and packing lunches (or picnics) if we were heading out somewhere. Our grocery budget was slashed to 1/3 of what it had been. The extra money went into paying off debt.

I've gotten away from cooking at home as much in recent years, but am striving to get back to both because it's better for us healthwise, and it's so much less expensive.

You would be amazed at how much you can squeeze out of a paycheck if you really, really begin watching every penny spent.

I've found that as a SAHM, I don't need the wardrobe of a working woman, and my hair is a low-maintenance style with long layers that I can let go a lot longer between cuts than when I used to wear it shorter. I do my own manicures and pedicures, and I don't buy Department Store cosmetics. My only real splurge is for perfume, because you can't find cheaper that lasts.

Anyway, these are some things that have helped us.

Gombojav Tribe said...

I teach natural childbirth classes one night a week in my home. I doula for couples a few times a year. I charge $275 per childbirth class series. I charge between $500 - $1000 to doula, depending on what sort of services they are looking for.

I also put ads on my blog. It doesn't bring in a lot of money. About $70 a month right now. But, considering I was already blogging, it's not any extra work.

One day a week I help homeschool a friend's children. She pays me $150 a month. I just do crafts, songs, art projects, book reports, public speaking and that sort of thing with them.

Stamm said...

Buy a cow and sell the will get rich.
I clean houses once a week. It is really good money and I can work out the days I want. If a kid is sick or something I just reschedule for another day. The weird thing is I hate cleaning my own house but love doing others. Right now I am only doing one lady's apartment for $35 (it takes me about 1 1/2 hours maybe 2) and someone elses bathroom for $20. When I leave my lady's apartment I feel so good looking around seeing how nice it looks and smelling that nice pine sent and know that she will appreciate it. Plus the fact that my vaccum lines will stay in there more than two minutes is a bonus.

Stamm said...

Buy a cow and sell the will be rich.
I clean two houses every other week. One is a lady's apartment for $35 and it takes about 1 1/2 hours and the other is just a bathroom for $20. You can do anything from full house clean to cleaning the odd stuff like ceiling fans, baseboards, fridge stuff like that. The weird thing is I hate cleaning my own but I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I back out of a house and see the lines in the carpet that will not have little footprints in it soon and smell that nice pine smell and I know she will appreciate it.
I also babysit three times a week.

Ballet, braces, gas and milk. Need I say more?

Sawatzky family said...

I think this may be my first comment on your blog although I do read often. I just turned my love of baking and cooking into a source of income for my family. I sell out of my home and I am "open" three days a week during the hours my husband is at work. I also take special orders for party's etc...sort of like catering I guess. We live in a small town that offers nothing like this so I am filling a need in the community which is why sales are good! Our extra money goes towards all sorts of things...sometimes bills sometimes fun....wherever needed. I LOVE it I get to be creative and have social interaction with adults! I have three kiddos 5, 3, and 2 so sometimes my sanity is questionable ;)

MyKidsMom said...

We also live on one income because of my homeschooling. So I was quite surprised to learn I made over $3,000. (which is alot to me) on various "odd" jobs this year. I do occasional babysitting of my son's best friend (though it's more like a play date; a 12 hour playdate. His mom's a paramedic). My husband and I also every couple months run a kid's program at another church when they have special meetings and want their people to attend the service. (We get $60. a service for this, they insist). Finally, I also sell on Ebay as the mood hits me- usually when I really want and "extra". I go to Ebay and come up with the money that way. But I wish I could find something that would bring in more steady income, while letting me be an at-home Mom. Still looking for that one.

ByHISgoodGrace said...

We have lived on my husband's income for over eight years now and I know it is only by God's grace that it has happened. We live in New England and life is expensive here, housing is crazy. However, I have read a few books over the years that have helped us. "How to go from two incomes to one" and "Miserly Moms" have helped, though I'm not that extreme. I do believe it costs money to have a job, so you must calculate how much you would spend in order to work (gas, clothes, babysitting) and then after taxes realize what you are really bringing home--then decide if it's really worth the time away from your family. Also, if you spend two to three hours a week budgeting and shopping and you save $100, you've got to look at it that you just earned your family $100. How many part time jobs will you earn $33 per hour?
If you're willing to spend time learning something in order to build an income--learn how to design web sites. It's not difficult to learn either if you are self-motivated.
I do believe in the Biblical principle that if God doesn't want us to be rich or poor--and if He gives me more, it's so that I can do something with it in His name.
Oh yeah and I just read this article about saving money on groceries, here are some highlights in short for you: "Get serious about coupons"
Don't shop with your kids, you'll spend more. Reduce every two weeks instead of once per week.
Play Survivor Island, once a month, skup your regular grocery shopping trup and stash the cash, force yourself to clean out the pantry. Build your menu around sales. Use cash only. At warehouses buy: bread, butter, cheese, condimetns, ice cream, laundry detergent, milk, napkins, paper towels and tuna. These are the items that most likely will be cheaper at places like Costco.
These are all from Woman's Day magazine...hope it's helpful.
I know this is wordy, sorry. I do think it's such an honorable thing to take your role as wife and mom as a ministry. Budgeting is part of this. Remember, God honors faithfulness.

Christin said...

As of next month, I start keeping a baby for 3 hrs/5 days a week. I told her I couldn't do it for less than $100/week. She agreed. :)

And at this point in our lives (with Jet in night school) we barely buy things. We're trying to pay our mortages off. I REALLY want to be out of debt. Badly. So...we buy next to nothing. That is my way of "making money" these days. :/

OH! AND I DO YARDSALES. Every summer I have one. And make about $400.

Stacey said...

Do you know how to make jewelery yourself? I think it'd be fun, I don't know how, but it would be fun to learn.

I type at home. Very exciting, I know, I know. Putting those typing medals from h/s to work for me! Right now this money goes right into the family living fund, and I wish I'd never started. I really didn't know I needed an income until this came along nearly six years ago.

My pay varies depending on the amt of work I bring home (I can usually determine that) and the job I type. I get paid in the mail every other week. With the workload I'm brining in now, I make from $200-$400, about $300 every other week being average.

I'd love to shave that from the budget and quit--any ideas? This is a great post, Karlie. Shows we're all working hard to make it AND puts some ideas out there for those who need them. xo

Kimmie said...


I hope what I share doesn't sound 'religious' but this is what we do...

My husband does have a good job...

we tithe, we give (beyond tithing) and we give God our needs. He has been our Provision in every way.

We have done adoptions-one international and 4 domestic (through the state system) in process for another international...which takes money...we use all we have and then stand if faith.

we don't have a huge savings or retirement plan, we just know that we can't out give God and that He holds us (and our finances) in the palm of his hand.

I highly recommend our lifestyle and would be happy to share more if you like ;-)btw, I don't shop 'designer'-a lot of things are 'given' to us and I love thrift shops (not tag sales too much though), it never fails that if I ask God...He shows up and blesses me with what we need. People always comment on how they like our clothes ;-)

mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

Unknown said...

I clean houses for what was supposed to be extra money, but has actually become pretty vital at times. I just got another cleaning job, so that I could pay back the money that my grandparent's loaned me for getting my car fixed.

Alana said...

I have been teaching Kindermusik (music and movement for preschoolers). I am actually in the process of selling the business, but will still be teaching for the new owner. It helps a little, but we still have trouble making ends meet many a month!