Home: Understanding Family Economy (Part 4)

I’ve written extensively here about the economic advantages of a woman who well-manages her home.

I’ve discussed the hidden costs of working outside the home, earning money from home, family economycutting the grocery budgetpaying off debt, and a bit about our own personal journey of my leaving work to come home. One of my first ebooks, which now helps supplement our income, spawned from one of the darkest times in our lives.

For this post, I’d like to do more of an ‘inspiration overview’ of what it looks like when the home is the center of economic affairs, one of the characteristics of home that began this series, and how a woman, together with her family, can live life with home as the source, not the sacrifice of it all.

We’re One Family

Understanding the economic dynamics of a healthy family is crucial to even begin working toward the goal. First, members must all see themselves contributing to one “purse”. It’s not my money, his money, their money–though saving for personal goals has its place, but for the basic functioning of home life, we are a family and we all work together to that end.

Children’s Part

So all should work together to save and to earn, to use money wisely and to be resourceful. It is my opinion that children should be involved, not shielded from the monetary responsibilities of running a household. They should grow up with a good sense of what bills look like and understand the cost of living. The earlier they learn the “work for pay” model, the better prepared they will be for real life. (This, as opposed to simply getting an allowance.)

While children shouldn’t necessarily be required to contribute directly to the paying of bills, they should be required to be good stewards of utilities and the consumable comforts of home. A pattern of wastefulness may be countered with monetary consequences until he learns the value of resourcefulness.

Multiple Streams of Income

Kevin Swanson calls his family a “seven-income household”. In a typical, American home, the children are largely financial liabilities, with parents spending to provide them with many wants and desires outside of what is reasonable. Giving gifts is a good thing; going bankrupt to help your children keep up with the neighbors is not…not for a family and not for the child.

We encourage our children to find ways to make money to spend on items they want. But occasionally, they also offer to pay for their part if we eat out or chip in on something the family is saving for, etc. It’s only logical that we should be helping them develop healthy saving and spending habits. I think it’s safe to say that a poor practice of financial control by individuals has morphed into one of our nation’s biggest problems.

As children get older, it is reasonable that the family would benefit from everyone’s income–if everyone eats, uses electricity, enjoys vacations, etc., why shouldn’t everyone pitch in? It’s counter-culture, perhaps, but something families of the past understood made it all work.

Time = Money.

Frankly, the more time we have, the more money we can save and/or earn, which is an important aspect of having a manager at home. She can use all the powers of her mind and all the facets of her gifts and abilities to reuse, create, produce and multiply her resources. We may think of a woman coming home as “reducing to a one-income family”, but a woman who understands her potential can continue creative income-earning opportunities in addition to saving and stretching the money they make.

God Blesses Family Economics

I have lived through turbulent economic crises, we have been the scorn of those wondering why we would be so “irresponsible” to have children on such a tight budget, we have been to the desperate place of, “What are we going to do?” and I have seen God do the unthinkable and miraculous on our behalf. He is a faithful Father, and though hardship can and will come, I have never seen Him forsake the righteous.

When we give to Him what is His, He promises to take care of our needs and I think we need a grass-roots return to that fundamental truth in a way that causes us to live out our faith in shoe leather.

And beyond His provision, I believe He wants our homes to be beacons, even financially, providing enough even to always be ready and willing to extend our hands to the needy around us.

“Father, help us to resist the fear and temptation around us to forsake Your promises for what the world tries to offer. May we be good stewards, wise, resourceful, creative, and above all, acknowledging that it all belongs to You.”

Part 1: Hope For Society Lies in Finding the Real Meaning of Home

Part 2: The True Meaning of Home Lies in Our True Identity

Part 3: The Center of Agriculture (Or Close)

 



14 Responses to “Home: Understanding Family Economy (Part 4)”

  1. Katy says:

    Beautifully written. We have already started teaching our children to work for things they want. We provide their needs, and we even provide some of their wants. But we won’t provide all their wants. We have taught them that they will never receive all their wants, even if they pay for them. Life isn’t about stuff. But, if they desire more than we provide they are free to seek money to purchase those items. Even at these young ages they will come and ask us for a job, ask others for little jobs (they are still quite young so seeking a typical job isn’t appropriate yet), etc to raise their own money for extras they want. They not only are learning a good work ethic and the value of a dollar, but they are also much more careful with the toys and items they purchase with their own money because they remember how hard they had to work to actually get it.

    This is also a great time to teach tithing. They are earning, tithing would just be a natural lesson as an extension of that process.

  2. Ponder Woman says:

    YAY!!!

    I don’t really have anything to add; just wanted to cheer you on! :)

  3. Kelly L says:

    These are wonderful points.

    Regarding the “Children’s Parts,” there was a time my daughter would continue to put worn, but not dirty or smelly, clothes in the laundry. I told her if it continued, she’d have to pay me a dollar for sorting it out for her and attempting to waste water and soap. It only took 3 times before she became more diligent.

    This section so timely for me! We do give her an allowance for chores completed. There have been times she gets half or none because of a lack of diligence. Not often, though, she loves getting the money. She tithes faithfully, but I just realized 2 days ago that she has not been saving 10% too. That’s on me for mentioning it a couple times when she was younger and then letting it go. This staying on top of EVERYTHING thing is hard sometimes!

    I love the “We’re One Family” Part, too. I just started watching a baby and get $60 a week for it. My husband said he was glad my daughter and I would have extra money to shop or go out to eat, because he really is generous and loves to bless us (he gets to go to business dinners and lunches and was glad we’d have the chance). Since I control the money/budget/bills in our house, I said I’d rather it went to the pot. What you wrote here helped confirm that was the right decision, instead of taking the $ and using it only as “fun $.” Although, I think lunch once a month will be nice and not too wasteful. ;)

    Confirming and Timely post, as usual!

  4. Keri says:

    We have grown, unmarried children who still live with us. They pay rent. They know it’s alot cheaper to live here then their own apt. right now. They are responsible and have bought their own vehicles and pay all their own bills. Sometimes, they even splurge for lunch or dinner! You wouldn’t believe the grief we have gotten at times for having unmarried adult kids still living with us.I could care less..lol. I know our time is limited and I am enjoying every minute of it. We have all benefited from it and enjoy each other so what’s the big deal? My only complaint…lol..It get’s a little loud at night when they all come alive! Remember those days!!

    • Word Warrior says:

      Keri,

      Ironically, there’s little wisdom in the alternative–adult children move out as soon as they turn 18 and everyone takes on a new household, new bills, all incomes split and no body benefits. It’s another one of those upside down things. I’m glad y’all are being smart ;-) I’m sure your adult children already see the wisdom in it.

      • Keri says:

        There is another huge benefit that is not often mentioned with unmarried adult children living at home. It is called investing in the lives of the other siblings. Something I wish I had thought of before I moved out at 19 to live on my own. Adult siblings having a decent relationship with younger brothers and sisters.

        We are not perfect here by any means and we all have our moments..but there is nothing like watching a 28yr.old daughter, nurture and love on her 14 yr.old brother. Last time he got sick..I watched her take care of him and love on him and cook for him. It is a Beautiful Thing!! What a concept..right!!

    • Carolina says:

      In Spain, my homeland, adult kids stay with the parents often until they get married. or until they are really old. And yes, in most cases they contribute to he home. with hands and with money. Same thing for Italy, Portugal and Mediterranean countries in general. In the Anglo countries in the north, the tendence is to leave as you as you can afford it.

  5. Carolina says:

    Kelly, manger at home or manager at home?

  6. Laura says:

    One thing I wish I could figure out how to do is to teach my boys to be more careful with their possessions. I have children’s books that I enjoyed as a child in nearly perfect condition with the covers and pages in tact. In a matter of hours/days, they are destroyed when my boys get them. I don’t think our boys are spoiled–they do have chores to contribute to the household, though they don’t receive pay as of yet…but, for instance, they will start building with the big blocks poppop gave them for Christmas and decide they need a roof…something thin and flat…hmmm…a book! Perfect! So they incorporate them into their play as something other than a book to read…the next thing I know they are playing earthquake and all the blocks/books are crashing down and being trodden on…so I scratch my head and wonder how much to squelch the creativity of the play and pretend, to save the quality of the books/toys…or is it just that boys are HARD on things?

    • Word Warrior says:

      Laura–that is hard, because boys are creative and you don’t want to discourage that. I think what I would do is specifically express their need to treat books with care. I’ve heard of this where parents teach their children to especially handle literature and books with care and they just know it’s off-limits for any other use.

    • Carolina says:

      I think that girls are more careful with stuff. my sisters and I never broke a toy or lost the pieces of a puzzle. My two boys are just the opposite…

  7. [...] Part 4: The Center of Economic Affairs [...]

  8. [...] Part 4: The Center of Economic Affairs [...]

  9. Erica says:

    Kelly,

    I just can’t believe how much I feel like I am looking in a mirror every time you post stuff like this! My entire family is involved in selling items on eBay & Craigslist, as well as trash picking to not only get items to refurbish and sell, but also to get metal to scrap. We are all involved…and all held responsible for turning off lights, not wasting utilities/food/etc. We don’t believe in allowances and much to our families upset refuse to give them. Everyone pitches in and helps…because we are a family and we are supposed to work together. Regardless how the rest of my family feels – I know that what we are doing is what is right for our family.

    I have been told by family members that we should have stopped having kids a long time before we did. I was told that we were being irresponsible and that we should know better. Told that we couldn’t afford the kids. Sadly that pressure pushed my husband to get a vasectomy because I refused to have my tubes tied….I wanted more kids. I actually feel sorry for so many members of my extended family…while they might have things – we have each other and lots & lots of love. I look at some of my nieces & nephews and feel sorry for them because they are growing up and acting like they are entitled to things. While my kids are working hard for everything on a daily basis.

    Thankfully it has led to my older kids being able to think outside of the box and I feel comforted knowing that when they do move out on their own that they will be able to adapt to any situation that comes their way by living through this with us instead of us (the parents) keeping them out of discussions on our fiances. Surprisingly the biggest fight I ever got into with my own mother was in regards to us discussing financial issues around the kids. She believes that kids need to be kids and that there are areas that they don’t need to be involved in – like fiances. She gave me a mouthful about talking about money problems around the kids. After picking my jaw up off the floor I flat out told her that this affects them and they need to know about it AND be a part of the solution. She doesn’t feel this way…and it has led to my 15 yr old step brother not knowing anything about their finances and feeling entitled to have what he wants when he wants it, yet telling me that they don’t have any money (because that’s what they tell him) while they are going out to eat all the time and buying him video games. They are sending him major mixed messages that is really going to screw him up when he gets older, if it hasn’t already! How do you justify saying there is no money and then ordering $50 in pizza the next minute?!?!? You can’t. I would much rather have the kids know where things stand and be involved in making decisions on how to help…and actually do something as opposed to being in the dark.

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