Thursday, January 8, 2015

How my family has lived off of $500 a week for an entire year: (Part One)

As I browse ads on the internet, I see the release of the newest iphone and then I see the price tag. Hmmm, it sure looks nice but right now that’s dreaming for my budget. Or I should say, OUR budget. Our family currently lives on about $500 a week and this year it will decrease a little more as the family health insurance just increased. It’s funny how I think back to days when I was single, right out of college and making the same money for myself as my family of four now lives on. We live in Florida. The land of no double or triple coupons like up north or out west. Gas prices have just recently started to fall below $2.50 a gallon, but milk just rose to $4.29 at some supermarkets in the area. With our family only living off of $500 a week, you may wonder Why and you may wonder HOW?

If you read my blog, you may know some of the why. After the birth of our first daughter, we decided it was best for me to stay at home. I used to teach middle school but getting sick with pregnancy was not something I planned for, much less could get used to. I was ill for almost all 9 months. So I worked from home doing some work for attorneys I knew in the area for about 3 years after. Then came my second pregnancy….far worse than the first. I had gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and then landed myself in the hospital only to find out I had placenta previa. I stayed in the hospital for 6 weeks before my c-section. (This was 4 weeks prior to my scheduled delivery date.) While we were pregnant with our second daughter, we also found out my husband was having problems with his vision. These problems could not be fixed with the glasses he already owned. We soon learned what keratoconus meant and how my husband would either have the expense of intact lenses to stretch the cornea or a corneal transplant.

My husband and I continued to go along with life, praying his eyes would heal and that we could prepare our family to face the situation of my husband’s health. While I wish I could say we only endured a few months of hardship, our situation went from bad to worse. We soon found out he would need a complete corneal transplant in both eyes. We were also renting during this time and were trying to pray about a way to help either bring in extra income or God allowing us to rent someplace we could actually afford. Two years later, my husband’s grandfather passed away and left his 1988 doublewide trailer to us.

While the doublewide was free…it was also a mess. It had never had updates done other than a re-roof ten years prior. The plumbing leaked, the house smelled like smoke, there was wood damage due to previous leaks, the air/heating did not work, it needed new flooring and lots more!! I cried when I saw the place…I could never live there or so I thought. Through a friend we found a bank that would finance us a small loan to remodel. My husband was working at the time so we were able to get $8,000 to fix it up. I remember walking into Lowes with measurements for my kitchen remodel. “Yes, that would be about $15K” the representative stated. I was so upset...…how could we ever remodel it…how could I ever live THERE. It was a disaster but it was also in God’s plan. I just couldn't see the big picture yet.

After swallowing my pride and realizing our TRUE budget, I regrouped and thought about how to remodel the 1600 square foot home. My husband and I made a trip to Habi-Jax Restore and looked around at stuff. I couldn’t believe it…they had 5 kitchen sets for under $3K! After finding the kitchen and more, our house came together and so did God’s plan. I may not have seen it at the time, but by following my husband’s lead we were able to put together a decent place to live for our family of four.

Above are some photos of our remodel last year. We repainted with a nice coat of "kilz it" underneath all the paint. You can see the kitchen cabinets hung in place and the laminate flooring was just finished. It's amazing when I think back about all the "deals" that were placed in front of us to have a roof above our heads.

Stay posted ya'll...there's more to come in this series. (I'm also posting this on Serenity Now's Blog Party link for the weekend, so I hope new readers will stay around for the rest of this great series.) God Bless and always come back..Sew Hungry For More.