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We live a frugal life, on a budget, carefully keeping track of how we spend our money. Especially now that we live primarily on one income.
That is why I was initially drawn to Erin Odom's soon to be released book, More Than Just Making It, available September 5. (affiliate link)
If you ever find yourself in the situation someday where you are financially frustrated, even to the point of struggling to make ends meet, this is the book for you.
And, let's be honest here. Almost half of Americans are still living paycheck to paycheck. There are a lot of people today struggling to make ends meet. So, if you feel like you fall into the category of financially frustrated, you are certainly not alone.
My husband and I have a big ol' pile of student loan debt that we're working hard to slowly pay off. As I monitor our budget as we slowly pay down that debt, I certainly feel like I fall into this category!
But that's what is so wonderful about More Than Just Making It. It's a reminder that we're not alone and that there is help along the way. (affiliate link)
And, becoming financially frustrated could happen to any of us!
Despite having no consumer debt, Erin Odom found herself standing in line for food stamps and walking into bankruptcy during her eighth month of her third pregnancy. She and her husband were careful planners who worked hard and took advantage of every opportunity that came their way, but through situations primarily outside of their control, they still struggled to put food on the table for their two daughters.
Her story struck a chord because it could so easily be my own story.
Actually, it could be the story of almost any young family!
Years ago, before our son was born, my husband and I also sat through a financial course through our church. One of the first activities in the class was to put together a mock budget for a family making $50,000 per year. Adam and I looked at each other, and we knew we both were thinking the same thing: $50,000 a year?! We couldn't imagine having access to that kind of money!
Budgeting would be SO much easier if we made that much money. But, improving our income situation felt impossible! We graduated from college at the height of the recession, and after months of unemployment, we were both grateful for our just-above-minimum-wage jobs, mine at a grocery store, Adam's as a para at a middle school.
We were just making it. Barely, and by God's grace.
Erin and her husband went through this exact example in a financial class in their church. Her husband was so emotional during the example that he spent the remainder of the class at the hall.
I remember that moment. I wanted to be in the hall too.
That was the moment where Erin, her husband, and their financial coach sat down a took a long look at their financial situation and came to only one conclusion: they had a serious income problem.
The amazing part about Erin's story is that, despite living on a low income, they did not use credit cards or any other forms of consumer debt to help make ends meet. Instead, they turned to help inside their church, through community organizations and federal programs (like WIC), and learned to rely on God to provide using the money they hand in hand.
In this book Erin shares tips and habits that enabled her family to turn their lives around, both financially and through a faithful dependance on God's provision for their lives.
Her tips are GREAT! Especially when it comes to eating well on a budget. If you are interested in a free e-course created by Erin on eating well on a budget, sign up on her blog, The Humbled Homemaker. I signed up for it, and I highly recommend it!
I eat on a budget, but I don't always eat WELL. For instance, with the bottom line in mind while grocery, I don't always avoid the "dirty dozen" because organic cost more. I know how important it is to provide my family with healthy, nourishing foods, and Erin's words have inspired me to put a little more effort into making sure we're even more careful about what we are eating.
But, even more than Erin's fabulous tips, I enjoyed this book because it reminded me that God gives and takes away on His terms, not ours.
Struggling to make ends meet, whether it's caused by an income problem or a spending problem, is mentally and emotionally challenging. It's so hard to pick yourself up off the ground without someone tossing you a lifeline.
It's also spiritually challenging. It's so hard to put your faith in God when you feel that you are not being provided for.
If that's you, this book could be your lifeline.
And for some perspective, this journey is even harder when you're living in poverty, or just above it. And, it's especially harder when you don't live in a country like the United States with federal programs, like unemployment, food stamps, WIC, etc. to fall back on.
Even if you are not currently struggling, this is a important read if you want to learn how to better assist struggling families in the US today. There are many stigmas in our culture against asking for financial help when you need it, and More Than Just Making It reminds us that a little kindness goes a long way. (affiliate link)