Schooling on a Shoestring

As I watched my exhausted husband walk through the door that night, I knew something needed to change. Like many other homeschooling families, we were facing the difficulty of living on one income. Unforeseen car repairs, appliance breakdowns, unexpected medical bills, and the additional expense of curriculum costs were adding to an already tight budget. We could barely break even and our homeschooling ship was sinking. Frustrated, I prayed and asked God, what can I do to help my family?

My answer came the next morning from His Word in Proverbs 31. God used this Scripture to help me outline a new financial strategy to keep our family afloat. For the next twenty years, I hung on to the money-saving principles He taught from these verses:
Proverbs 31:11: The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

I needed an attitude adjustment towards accumulating things. Having the latest whatever was out the door. Sticking to a budget was going to require discipline and long-range consideration for paying monthly musts such as mortgage, utility and phone bills, and groceries.

Proverbs 31:13: She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands

God has gifted every woman with talent and mine was training horses. This small, but profitable home business provided the extra we needed and helped us save for rainy days and family fun nights.

Proverbs 31:14-15: She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

Since homeschooling requires cooking more than one meal a day, God taught me that we could avoid eating out or purchasing expensive entrees if I simply got up earlier to prepare my family's meals from scratch. My grocery bill was also reduced by purchasing groceries in bulk and praying for His blessings on our garden.

Proverbs 31:16: She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

Great shoppers are made, not born. God wanted me to be a wise steward and humble myself to use coupons, wait for the best discounts, and to fix the old before buying something new.

Proverbs 31:17: She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

A healthy homeschooling mother is a blessing to her family. My children wanted someone to accompany them on bike rides and hikes, and it was time for me to discipline my eating and exercise habits. When I finally got into shape, I felt better about myself emotionally which reflected to my children when I taught.

Proverbs 31:20: She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

All the money we have, as well as the ability to earn it, is from the Lord. Although the lean years tempted me to stop tithing and ignore the needs of others, God's Word commanded me to give back the first of our fruits (Proverbs 3:9-10). Honoring the Lord from my wealth and sharing with those in need reaped a special blessing for our family.
Are you struggling today and looking to the Lord for wisdom in supplementing your family's income? If God has called you to homeschool, He will provide what you need if you're willing to obey Him and apply His truths to your finances. (Philippians 4:19) Trusting God isn't always easy, but any sacrifice you make is worth the rewards of teaching your children at home. Plus, don't be surprised if years later, when the children are grown, you reap the blessing I did from Proverbs 31:28: Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

Lord, Thank You for Your faithfulness in providing everything we need to homeschool. Help me to remember that if You care for the flowers and the birds, how much more You will provide for our family. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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