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Monday Q&A | Why do I homeschool? + income questions

Every Monday, I answer a few of the questions that my readers send me. If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future Q&A post, just leave me a comment here or email me (thefrugalgirl [at] gmail [dot] com) and put Q&A in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!

Just out of curiosity, why do you homeschool? Is it for religious reasons? The quality of schools in your area? A personal preference? Just curious 🙂


There are somewhere around a zillion reasons that I like to homeschool my kids, actually! But I’ll limit myself to a few.

I like to homeschool because I can:

-infuse all of our learning with our Christian worldview. Incidentally, this does not mean that we just write Bible verses on each page. (not that, you know, any Christian textbook manufacturers do that. Ahem.) It means that we teach our children to look at the world through faith-colored lenses, if you will. And it means we teach them that we can glorify God by doing our math just as well as we can glorify Him by reading the Bible.

-train, teach, and discipline my children as they learn.

-choose what curriculum and learning methods are right for each child.

-be free from grade levels. My 3rd grader can be in 5th grade math, 4th grade reading, and 3rd grade science if need be.

-have my kids work at their own pace, whether that’s fast or slow.

-skip stupid, pointless busy work in our textbooks.

-teach without a textbook if I want.

-set our own schedule. I ♥ this aspect of homeschooling more than words can say.

-give my children more time to play and more time to pursue their interests, because homeschooling is usually very time-efficient.

-enjoy my children’s company during the day. I would miss them if they were gone all day!

-take my children on field trips whenever I want.

-take our school anywhere…outside, inside, down at the pier, at the park, at the doctor’s office.

-make decisions and change things without having to form committees and get approvals. I love the simplicity of it.

-free my kids from homework.

-give my children the freedom to learn without the distractions of cliques and peer pressure.

Of course, I don’t enjoy everything about homeschooling. It’s a lot of hard work, and there are definitely days when think having children gone for 6 hours a day is a good idea! 😉 But on the whole, the good aspects of homeschooling outweigh the bad for me and for our family, and I’m grateful that we are able to make the choice to homeschool.

(for the record, I know homeschooling won’t work for everyone, isn’t the best choice for everyone, and isn’t even a choice for everyone. But, I think it’s the best choice for us.)

I don’t need specifics because it is quite personal, but you live quite the frugal life (obviously) and you as a family appear conscious of money, my question is – how much does your family make per year? Like I said, I do not need exact or details. But more like, $30,000-$40,000 or something general like that. the reason I ask is that I want to be a stay at home mom and I am trying to convince my hubby that we can survive! But he doesn’t believe me!

I actually tend to be very un-private about money (I think it’s odd that our culture considers it to be such a private matter), but Mr. FG is not quite as open as I am.

So, I will be respectful of that.

But, here’s what I can tell you. For many, many years our family lived on an income that was far, far below the average income for our area. In fact, when my husband and I first got married back in 1997, after taxes we had about $400/week to work with.

Happily, we’re now in a higher income bracket due to my husband’s career change from warehousing to IT. Even with the increase in salary, though, we’ve not reached the median income for our area (this income level feels more than comfortable to us, though, because for the most part we have not increased our spending).

So, it’s not as though our ability to save is the result of having a massive income. Instead, it’s more attributable to our habit of living beneath our means.

I know of so many people who make far more money than we do but who are in dire financial straits, and each time I hear of another person like that, I become more and more convinced that how much you make is not nearly as important as what you do with what you make.

Even when my husband and I had $400/week to live on, we still managed to stay out of debt and we even saved up a down payment for our first house purchase. When our income was that low, spending control was definitely key.

If your husband needs convincing that you can live on, say, $35,000 a year, see if you can make it work on paper. Or even better, see if you can make it on $35,000 before you quit your job (and just save the difference!). Seeing it on paper or in real life will probably be quite convincing to him. And even if you can’t cut all the way back to $35,000, perhaps you can cut your expenses enough to warrant you switching to a part-time job.

This may be too personal, so feel free to answer as you wish (or not answer!). I was just curious what kind of money you (or other bloggers) make with your blogs. I love your blog and appreciate that you have very little advertising and that the advertising you do have is family friendly as well as relevant to your topics. I also hope that you are making money off you blog as I know you put a lot of time and effort into it – which is valuable.


The amount of money I earn on my blog varies from month to month. For the first 9 months, I was actually in the hole from blogging because of the $100 I spent for a year of hosting services. After that, I added the BlogHer ads to my blog, and that’s when I got out of my hole. I was so excited when I had $15 in my account! 😉 And when I got my first $100, I was equally as thrilled.

Now I have a few more streams of revenue going, I have more than $15 in my account, and paying my hosting fees is not putting me into the hole (yay!). I wouldn’t say it’s making me rich (though I’m know the really big bloggers are getting rich from their blogs!), but my blog income has helped me to make some progress on my van savings account. 🙂

If you’d like some real number examples of how much bloggers are making, check out the comments section in this post on Blogging With Amy.

I’m not sure if this is the reason you asked the question, but when people ask me if they should quit their job and blog instead, I’m always a little bit hesitant. Blogs can make money, yes, but in most cases, it takes months and months and months of work before a blog is even remotely profitable. I’ve been at this for more than two years now, and as recently as last December, my blog was only earning around $150/month.

But, that was totally ok with me. I blog because I have a passion for the topic and a passion for helping people to see that the frugal life can be the good life. Any money that I make doing it is icing on the cake.


Readers, the first and third questions are sort of hard for you to answer (unless you know another reason that I homeschool!), but do you have any advice for my second questioner? (I lost her name somehow!) How would you go about figuring if the switch to a single income was doable?

Today’s 365 post: Breakfast on the deck

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Karen D.

Monday 30th of May 2011

I know this post was quite a while ago, but I just loved your answer about finances. It is never about how much money you make. I have been a stay at home mom since my first (of 3) children was born, 7 years ago. Being able to stay at home is about planning. My husband is a deputy sheriff, and we live in the best school district in Central Florida. We waited 6 years to have children after we got married. During that time, I worked, as a teacher, but we NEVER used my income. We always lived as if his salary was the only money coming in. My income went into savings, which enabled us to buy our first home and pay it off completely within 2 years. Now we have a large reserve and don't have to worry and stress about money. We are frugal, stick to a budget and plan what we buy and where we spend money, but there is the freedom of knowing that we will be ok on one income, even if the roof needs replacing or the car breaks down. It can be done on a small income ($45,000 in Florida) without deprivation, just a reevaluation of what is important and lots of planning.


Monday 20th of September 2010

Here's my question. I hope it's not too late since I'm doing this late on Sunday night. :) Do you use paper towels? If not, what do you use instead? I realize that rags work fine, but I feel like using Windex and rags to do things like clean counters would use up rags really fast. Not that you're necessarily wasting, but really, I was just curious.

Jenny Achuthan

Monday 20th of September 2010

@Sloan In my experience, rags last a pretty long time. I do use papertowels for some unsanitary things like perhaps wiping down the outside of the toilet, but other than that, I try to use cloth or rags. I've cut up old my husbands old t-shirts and dress shirts for glass, but what I've found works particularly well on glass is the old cloth napkins once they get a stain or 2 that makes them better used this way.

p.s. I put my paper towels UNDER the kitchen sink making them a bit harder to access. Having them "out of sight, out of mind" has really helped lessen the temptation to just grab one to dry your hands (One of my ALL TIME PET PEEVES ;-)


Monday 20th of September 2010

Never too late. :) I'll put it in next Monday's Q&A, as today's is already up.

I do use paper towels for a few things, but I use them very sparingly. More details next week!


Saturday 18th of September 2010

I worked part time when my son was 5 months - 18 months, then I quit to be home full-time. I have never regretted being home with him and living on one income. The only regrets I have about it is that we didn't save up more when we were a "double income, no kids" family, and that I didn't do it sooner. My son turned 11 weeks old on September 11, 2001, and I remember thinking, "I'll never let him out of my sight!" But a month later, when my 13 year old car bit the dust, I sadly agreed to go back to work (hopefully temporarily) when my maternity leave was over so that we could afford a new car. How stupid was that??!! Why didn't we just buy a used car or borrow one from my father, who had about 5? It took us another year or so before we could finally sell our house, move to a cheaper place, and implement our plan of me staying home. My son is now 9 and we homeschool because he has special needs (gifted/Tourette's/Sensory Processing Disorder) and I'm so glad we were used to living on one income. It was no sacrifice for me to continue staying home and homeschool him and keep him out of school where he was teased, stressed, and bitterly unhappy. Let other people worry about the Joneses----do what you can to enjoy the children you are blessed with.


Tuesday 14th of September 2010

My husband makes $40,000/year before taxes, and I'm a stay-at-home mom. We're still learning how to live on our now-decreased income. For the first year of my son's life, I was working at a $50,000/year job and my husband was making $25,000 as a grad student. However, we were also spending $300/week on daycare ($15,000/year). That was a bit high for a single child in our area, but with more kids, our daycare expenses could easily consume the majority of my income. Combined with needing a second car for me to get to/from my job in our new city (hubby can't take public transportation like he did for grad school), and my entire salary would basically be consumed with expenses related to me just having that job. My job wasn't that important to me, and I discovered I'm a much happier person as a stay-at-home mom, so in terms of sanity, staying home was the better choice for me!

We structured our life to live on only my husband's salary when he decided to take this job (which involved a long-distance move) - our mortgage is $831/month, we don't have cable (or even a TV), we have the lowest cell-phone plan we could find for our usage level, we are on a very strict "eating-out" diet - basically enough money in the budget for 1 Ruby Tuesday-level meal out per month, plus some fun money to make it all not too burdensome ($50/month for each of us).

Anyway, long story short, it is definitely possible to live on one income, but you have to structure your life differently in order to do so, which means both partners have to be on board. I highly recommend taking the entire income of the potential stay-at-home parent and sock away any money not used for childcare. Do that for 6 months, then you'll have a good idea of whether or not you can do this on your current lifestyle. If not, you may have to do small things (cutting out cable, eating out less) or more dramatic things (moving into a smaller, cheaper house, or moving closer to work for the working parent to be able to eliminate one car).

Jenny Achuthan

Monday 13th of September 2010

I LOVE all your reasons for homeschooling! I so wish I could, but there's that nasty little detail about my husband having me committed to the nearest "funny farm" to contend with. I wish he'd support me in that. I know it would be hard, but sending my kids (9 and 13) off to their 1st day of school this year was bittersweet indeed. I love being with them!

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