Laine’s Letters

Lori Alexander offered a series called Laine’s Letters, from a website no longer online. It is from a housewife in California, who stayed at home to homeschool four children, raising her family on a household income of not more than $30,000. It gives a good idea of how to live on a low income, but more than that, it shows the attitude of a Good Wife. She had a lot to complain about, but she never complained, and instead made getting by in the lower-middle class into a triumph.

Here is the first of Laine’s Letters:

1 ~ Tithe the first of our income ~ as soon as it comes in. This is the foundation of our money (Proverbs 3:9,10). We had a hard time with this when we first began tithing, and it was hit or miss whether we tithed or gave. We definitely had a “purse with holes in it” as described in Malachi for those who do not put God first in their finances. We then got serious and gave regularly. God sewed up the holes in our purse. (She taught her children to tithe, too.)

“Bring all your tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine House, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open the Windows of Heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).

2 ~ Give to the poor and those that are in need every month, as well as the spreading of the gospel. A generous man will be blessed, the Bible says. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 7:38).  “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given” (Proverbs 19:17).

3 ~ Pay back all our debts. We paid more on the principal every month to get the house loan paid off quicker. We also pay our taxes and have the money ready when it is required. “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes: if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another” (Romans 13:7, 8). So we paid back all of our debts. Many, many times at self-sacrifice.You can’t imagine how joyful my husband is at having no debt against his name.

4 ~ Save, save, save. Every paycheck, I do my best to put a little away. Even if it is only a little, it is a savings. We have a savings account, a retirement account where a sum is taken out of my husband’s salary each month, and an emergency account for emergencies. “There is desirable treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders all that he has.” Proverbs 21:20

5 ~ A good budget is a necessity. There are so many good Christian books on budgeting by Larry Burkett and Ron Blue among others. I can tell right where I am in a month just by checking my budget in my purse that I keep on 3X5 cards. {Then she has a Yearly Budget and a Bare Bones Budget in case her husband became ill or hurt.}

6 ~ A Freedom Account is something I learned from Mary Hunt years ago. I take my yearly expenses and divide that amount by twelve, then I know how much has to go into my Freedom Account each month for these yearly expenses when they crop up….It takes discipline, but it’s so profitable once you’ve been trained by it.

7 ~ I do my best to keep our electrical and water bills as low as possible. When we were in an electrical crisis and our bill tripled overnight, we went into a very small, hip high refrigerator with no freezer and shut down our water heater. …We had to heat our water to bathe and to wash dishes. It was rough for awhile, but I was able to keep us on our budget. {She admits that they had to truly sacrifice to get out of debt and this is an example of a sacrifice they made, no hot running water for a time.}

8 ~ I keep our telephone bill at $25 a month or lower. The way I’ve been able to do that is by using a phone card from Costco for long distance calling…We call my mother-in-law weekly and a few other calls during the month, but mostly we write letters or email. {Today, with iPhone, it makes having a phone ridiculously expensive! I have lived 55 years without an iPhone and I am sure you can to if you wanted to in order to get out of debt.}

9 ~ I save a lot of money on food by cooking from scratch and by continuing to try new recipes in my kitchen. I make a lot of things from scratch including some cleansers and cheese, buttermilk, yogurt, etc. I make almost all of our bread and keep stretching myself in this area to include all types of bread. “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all that he has.” {Proverbs 21:20} I pray before I shop, while I shop, and then after I shop as to what I will cook. I love shopping with the Lord! I shop from many stores and loss leaders so I shop weekly. About eating out, that is something we don’t do very often, so it’s really special when we do eat out. I love the Dollar Stores and have found many great deals there. Also Big Lots is another favorite of mine. It’s really amazing how much you can save by simply staying home. ~Smile~

10 ~ Savings must be like a bill that you pay. It really helps to look at it that way and to get it into another account as soon as possible. “After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.” {2 Corinthians 12:14}

11 ~ An emergency savings is good to have in your house for emergencies. This also should not be touched unless you have to use it. I learned this from a book about the depression. It’s so good to have on hand.

12 ~ I read Christian finance books frequently. {She then lists books by Larry Burkett, Ron Blue, Mary Hunt, Tightwad Gazette, and Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy.}

13 ~ We don’t have any cable, so we don’t get much reception. But I figure we have saved approximately $6000 in the past 17 years living without cable. {You could save a lot more than that these days!}

14 ~ We also do not have Internet access. Whenever we need to use the Internet, I use it at the library for free.

15 ~ I try to keep us as healthy as possible by good food with quality ingredients. “She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar.” I study health, nutrition, and herbs as much as I do stretching our finances. It has saved our teeth, since we don’t have dental insurance. I am amazed at a woman’s saving power in the home. It’s such a blessing! Time is money. What we do with our time results in how our money is spent, one way or another. I keep studying Proverbs 31 and praying through the verses to learn to practice all that God would have me to practice in keeping this home. I recognize that in my home keeping ~ spiritual, emotional, and physical health is going on. It’s all so invaluable that you can’t put a price tag on it.

16 ~ It’s so true that if you waste not, you want not. I’m always looking for ways to stretch something a little farther. “Better to go to be supperless, than to rise in debt.” {Benjamin Franklin}

Published by proprietor

Happily married, with children.

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