Honestly, probably by some standards we can't afford it. My husband and I both made the decision to attend private college, and since then we have been strapped by massive education loans. It really has effected our financial situation significantly.
The other big decision we make is for me to stay home with our kids. I have decided to stay at home because we want a big family and we want to homeschool. That means things are pretty tight around here sometimes.
I often get really frustrated with our financial situation. But we could eat the food of a Standard American Diet and I could go to work, and we could get 100% out of debt in just a couple of years. We could make that choice - it's within our power to choose that. You know what? It's not worth it to me! We have some health challenges around here, and I would rather have my health (and work through the health challenges of my kids), than be debt free and have lots of extra cash but still be sick (or spend thousands on doctor bills!). I would rather stay home with my kids and sometimes find it challenging to pay our bills than miss out on what we believe God has called me to in staying home with them. I'm not saying these decisions are right for everyone, but for us, they are. It is a sacrifice to eat healthy, for most people. But for us, at the end of the day, it is worth the sacrifice. We continue to work toward getting out of debt, we make slow progress, AND we also prioritize eating healthy.
So...that's the vision. What about the practical side? Here are some decisions we make that allow us to eat this way:
-We buy in bulk every time we can.
-We do not buy expensive cuts of meat. We mostly eat ground meat and whole chickens. Incidentally, I was buying ground turkey at Whole Foods the other day (it's a much better value than anything else I've found), and the guy asked me if I made dog food out of it. I guess that must be what most people do with it. Um, no, we eat it. Thanks though. ;)
-We were given our van and paid off our jeep years ago. No car payments, and no plans to trade them in for new cars.
-Most people's housing costs between 25 and 35% (or more) of their take home pay. Our rent is about 17% of our income.
-We do not waste food. We eat all our leftovers, or make them into new dishes. We rarely allow meat or produce to go bad in the fridge. I have to stay pretty close to home to do this. When I get too busy things go bad, in more ways than one. :) Being home allows me the time to plan well.
-We make EVERYTHING from scratch. Pre-prepared healthy foods are stinkin' expensive. (And often not all that healthy, even if labeled "organic.")
-I keep track of the prices of everything and pay attention to the best values. We cycle between a natural meat market and 2-3 different health food stores plus co-op bulk buying.
Don't misunderstand me here, I'm not saying you should go spend money you don't have. But, there is a faith aspect to this. Make some steps in the right direction. Talk with your spouse about it. Buy $5 of extra veggies. Look into what it costs to buy beef from a rancher and start saving toward it - remember that what you usually spend on beef in your weekly groceries will stay in your bank account, since you'll already have beef in your freezer!
|Our freezer with 1/4 of beef!|