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This is How We Do It – Part One

This is How We Do It – Part One

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Hi guys! Today starts a week long series called This Is How We Do It. Each day Barry and I will be answering questions that you guys submitted to me over the past few weeks – questions about how we live debt free, budget, and manage our finances. You submitted great questions! So, let’s get started – and make sure you check out the Dave Ramsey giveaway at the bottom. :-)

  • Image from Fimb

    Do you have any advice on how to get my husband on board? I am a thrifter, saver, do-without-er, but he likes to spend, and doesn’t pay a lot of attention to the bottom line. He’s been unemployed for two years and let’s just say my income doesn’t cut it (we’re probably going to lose our house… any advice for that while you’re at it?)

Wow. It’s very hard to do anything money-wise when your spouse isn’t on board. Recently Barry talked about what to do when your spouse didn’t agree with the charitable giving you wanted to do. For the most part, I’ve found that spouses who really love each other can have conversations about this type of thing without ending up in the slammer for disturbing the peace. If it were me, I would ask him if he would mind chatting with me for a bit. Then I’d sit down with him and describe how I was feeling – how being in debt and being low on funds made me feel exactly. Because honey, men don’t know how women feel unless we spell it out for them on a piece of paper. And usually they’re HAPPY we’ve done so. Men like to come to the rescue. If you tell him how you’re feeling, he’ll likely want to fix it. Then, when he does do something awesome for you (like bringing in some extra cash), make sure to praise him highly for that. And lastly, pray for him. Pray that God will change his heart. Pray that God will open his eyes and give him a YEARNING to provide for his family…..our God moves mountains…..and husbands.  😀

Barry Says –> As far as what to do about losing the house – it all depends on what you REALLY want to do.  If you want to keep the house and the math says you can’t, you have to change the math.  He needs to see the urgency of the situation and get some money coming in before it is too late.  If you want to move on and find a home that better fits your budget, get about selling…and do it NOW.  Don’t wait until you get a foreclosure notice from the bank and have spent every penny of savings trying to stay afloat.

  • My husband and I have been married for 3 years and we are expecting our first baby in 9 weeks :) I’ve been making a move towards living more frugally because to be honest it simply does make a whole lot of sense. I’ve read a whole lot of blogs on things like meal planning and shopping thrift but things in the UK are a little different. Coupons aren’t nearly as big here as they are in the states. So my first question is: can you show an example of being frugal shopping-wise without coupons? I get the impression that in the states coupons are way to go with reducing your grocery bill.  I would also like to know how you and your husband paid off $20,000 in 8 months. For us that’s about £13,000 which to me is utterly mind boggling!!! And on one wage too! I would love to be able to do even just half of that! We have debt that we are trying to tackle and I have just ordered Dave Ramsey’s book in a bid to be a bit “weird”. Before we were expecting our first baby I knew that when the day came for us to start our family I would want to become a stay at home mom. My family will never understand this. My parents think I should be some high flying corporate investment banker but to be honest it is just not my cup of tea. I want a good quality life not just a stack of money with no relationships to show for it. In a few months time we will be living on my partners wage alone which will amount to the equivalent of about $1,400 per month. We both have our own outside businesses that occasionally bring in extra income (He’s a wedding photographer and building that up and I am trying to set up a bath and body shop as I make soaps/lotions/serums etc and I am also a make-up artist). We know that we can certainly make extra income from those things but nothing is steady yet. So I guess I’m looking to ask if it’s possible to do life (even if it is tight) on his one income until another stream of income becomes regular.

Image by Osseous

Congratulations on being a new Mommy! Being a mom is the BEST JOB EVER!

You are correct in your statement that people in the US use lots of coupons. I used to be a self-professed coupon queen…….and now I hardly use coupons at all. How am I saving now? By buying in bulk. I buy large quantities in order to get a cheaper price. Also, I encourage you to buy in season. That means, when certain veggies are in season, buy large quantities and freeze/can them. If you want to be frugal, a chest freezer is a great investment! I find that most people who cut out processed foods have the extra budget room to buy the scratch ingredients – which are usually cheaper. How am I frugal with food now? I wait for a deal….and then I go in for the kill – buying large quantities at once.

Thanks for doing that UK math for me…..because math is not my strong suit – that’s why I married Barry. 😉 Someone else asked this exact question, so I’ll be answering it in another post coming up this week.

My goal in life is to help mommies stay at home and take care of their babies if they so desire – I think you have a very noble goal and I hope we can help you make it! You said “in a few months” you’ll be on one income. So, what’s stopping you from trying it right now? Immediately cut your budget to the bare bones and begin living solely from your husband’s income. Bank everything you get with your job, having no plans to touch it. See how it goes for those few months….can you make it? How are things? Where is it tight? That should give you a general idea of exactly how much extra you need each month to make it in addition to your husband’s income. It is very possible to live on one income…..I’m testament to that, along with several of my close friends. :-)  YOU CAN DO IT! Pray for God’s blessings upon your finances….He provides.

  • I am trying to get started living debt free and feel so overwhelmed.  I have read Dave Ramsey’s books and know what to do, but not how.  I need to see on paper…a real paycheck and how to divide it on real bills. I would like to see a menu plan starting with the grocery sale paper to the table.   I can’t seem to get it together when I try to put the plan in action.  The money just ain’t there.  Please help.  Thanks.

Image by Shawn Campbell

Don’t worry, honey! Being overwhelmed is very normal! :-)  You’ve got the knowledge, now you just need to put it into use. You don’t just need to see A paycheck; you need to see YOUR paycheck on paper. How much are you making? What bills do you have each month? Write them down. If they’re on paper, they usually seem less daunting. Sign up for my daily email (the box on the right) and you’ll immediately receive Barry’s FREE eBook on how to set up your budget. He’ll walk you through it and teach you what to do….with forms and examples. And please, always feel free to email us with specific questions. Don’t let the overwhelming feelings cause you to quit – pray for courage and determination!

Now, once you know how much you have to spend on groceries, we can talk about meal plans. I am a meal planning junkie, but I don’t do mine based on the sale paper since I buy in bulk . But, it’s easy to do. Let’s break it down. Sit down and write down what’s on sale and what you’re going to buy. What would you like to cook from that list? Visit All Recipes and use the “ingredients” tab for help with meal ideas. So, on paper you should have a list of what you’re going to buy and a list of what you’re going to make. Do you lack anything on that list that you don’t have in your pantry? Add that to your grocery list. You should be going to the store to buy what’s on sale and what you need to complete your meal plan for the week. Nothing else. Don’t go to the store hungry and attempt to leave all hungry children and spouses at home….they’re expensive. 😉 You might also try doing a cash budget for groceries to insure that you don’t go overboard on how much you spend….when the cash is gone, you’re done.  And always know, I’m here to help you if you need it.

For all the posts in this series, see links below:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven


Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her three children, Annie (June 2009), Andy (August 2012) and Eli (September 2014). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.


  1. I’m the first lady… and unfortunately, we’ve already sapped our our savings AND received the foreclosure notice. My DH has a job interview on Wednesday and if he doesn’t have an offer by the 18th, I’m going to suggest trying to sell before the foreclosure really happens. I don’t know what else to do… I did end up sitting him down and talking to him on my own this past weekend. He seemed to be very receptive. Thanks for reminding me to pray for him. We all need that.

  2. Thank you, thank you and thank you again! I didn’t even think to try start living on my hubby’s wage now! Very informative. We will try from now!!!

  3. Great advice to the questions! We’re a family of 6 living on one income, and we do fine! I woudnt change my life for anything!! :)

  4. Ps – How do I enter the contest? I see no form at all.. ? I clicked on the link & it’s telling me to register, etc…

    • I’m using the Rafflecopter form this time to try it out. You should be able to sign in using your Facebook page (if you have one). Then you can click the buttons to enter. I won’t use the information for anything except to contact the winner. :-) Let me know if you still can’t get it work out. You should see a box at the bottom telling what I’m giving away and there should also be a ticker of the date and time left.

  5. Hi Stacy, I received a message today asking me to verify That I wanted to subscribe to your newsletter. I have been a subscriber for many months if not longer….and love it! Just wanted to let you know in case there was a problem.

    I am loving your new series!

  6. Awesome Post, awesome giveaway…I HOPE I WIN!

  7. This is great, Stacy! I’m behind in reading, so I’m just now getting to this. But this is all great advice (of course). I liked the idea of living off one income while the other spouse works if your goal is to be a stay-at-home-mom. We did this, and it was wonderful! We used my income to pay off all our debts, and then build our emergency fund. It was such a blessing! Great advice!

  8. I do like you…no coupons…I buy in bulk. I am so nervous about moving and having to figure out the good prices and deals ALL over again! I will write a post about it and link to you like crazy! LOL

    • Here’s a little trick I figured out…..find a local homeschool group and join their online community…you can find out everything you need to know there – and also by asking around at the Farmer’s Market. :-)

  9. Hi Stacy, I just signed up to receive your emails. I’ve perused your 100 no processed crock pot meals and am really excited to start using them. A little background on me and my life. My husband and I are both retired Coast Guard. I just retired last month. It’s a great feeling. We have one child out of six left in the house, he’s 11. We decided to sell the house, most of our stuff and buy a truck and a fifth-wheel trailer and explore the United States for a year. We are debt free, completely. It’s also a great feeling. We are learning how to live on our retirement incomes while traveling. I’m an avid cook and also LOVE food, therefore, I also need to focus on working out. We love Jesus and love this new life. I am now able to homeschool my son and teach him about the Lord, as well as our nations beauty and history. I know we have a wonderful year in store and I look forward to incorporating your recipes and down to earth common sense (or not so common anymore) in our every day lives. My biggest challenge right now is organization in a 400 square foot moving space, but I’m working on it. Thanks again, and nice to meet you.

    Julie G.

    • Wow, that sounds AWESOME!!! How wonderful that you’ve been able to do that! I hope you enjoy every single minute. :-)

  10. Thank you for Barry’s e-book on budget setting. I am retired, debt free, and sinking into the quagmire of medical/prescription needs and not enough income to cover. I was a stay-at-home mom, homeschooler, and I still test home schooled students. In the years after my husband pulled out, there was only deep debt and a small IRA account. Due to God’s mercy and an inheritance, I was not only able to get out of debt and stay that way, but put aside monthly amounts to cover periodic expenses (property taxes, car and house insurance, firewood, etc.) However, I’m not able to put away any extra now, so there is no extra. How do old folks stay on top of the game??

    • Hey Kit, I would first seek out ways Medicare (or even the drug companies or your doctor) might help with the medication needs. You’re already earning some extra income it seems, which is helpful as well. As you get into the budgeting booklet, take a closer look at how I teach people to do their budgets and recognize every month isn’t the same. For example, you mentioned firewood, which is an expense in the warmer months that carries you through the colder ones. Your gift budget is likely much different in December than in January. Don’t let those dollars disappear because they aren’t being planned well on a monthly basis. Although those are basic points, I hope they’ll help you get started. Feel free to contact Stacy or me if you have any more specific questions. Thanks!

  11. I was interested in your crockpot recipes. Can I substitute pork tenderloin in your pork recipes? I usually just add sauercrat, apple slices and chicken broth. Looking for other options. Thanks

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