A Tale of Two Incomes


My husband has a full-time job that fits his skill set well and provides great benefits, though the pay is very modest. However, God has enabled us to not only survive but thrive on that income. We regularly thank Him for my husband's work. 

For years I worked as the secretary at our church as a part-time job to help supplement my husband's income. At that time, "my income" was added with "his income" and we thought things were tight. There wasn't much extra. 

Then in 2010 I stepped down from my position at church. We were beginning to do other things - some daycare, then foster-parenting, and simply homeschooling. For most of that time, we did not have any additional income and were forced to learn to live completely on one income. It was great for us - we had a bare bones budget, without much wiggle room but one that fit us just fine. 

Earlier this year I returned to the secretary position at our church. It's interesting how we're doing things differently this time around. Even though our income is now back to the exact same level it was in 2009 (no, my husband's not had a raise in the meantime), we're treating "my income" as extra money. We have learned how to live on my husband's income alone. Therefore, what I am making is not simply being absorbed into the budget.

This time around, we're setting specific goals for the extra money. Goal #1 has been achieved - we saved up a substantial emergency fund. Now we're on to goal #2 - pay off long-standing school debt. We set what is for us a big goal - $5,000 - and are aiming to pay at least that much off by April 2013. That will not pay off our debt completely, but it would take a good-sized bite out of the balance. It's a big goal, not an easily achievable one, though still realistic. We're making good progress each month as we are intentional about where the money goes. 


It's amazing to me how different our situation has looked from these two perspectives. I used to complain that we "needed a bigger shovel" (ie. more income) to dig ourselves out of our debt hole. Now, I see that God has provided what we need and extra. We may not have a huge income, but we can work with what we do have to start making headway. My income used to be absorbed into our budget, leaving us thinking that it was "necessary" and that we couldn't survive without that income. We were wrong. God used the journey we've been on for the last 2 years to teach us many things, one of which was financial. He will provide. He does provide. He already has provided. Sometimes we need our eyes opened to see His provision. Sometimes we need Him to give us creative ways to cut costs, wisdom to make good choices about money, courage to take those first steps towards financial freedom.

Our long-term financial goal is to have our school loan paid off before my husband turns 40. That will be in 2015 - just 3 years away. Trust me, it's time for these loans to be out of our lives! They've been with us far too long. And although they are under half of what they started out as, we want them gone for good and are setting aside every dollar we can find to put towards this goal.

What are your financial goals? Have you put them on paper and outlined small steps you can take to achieve them? Do it! Even small steps in the right direction are progress!


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