We can devise a thousand honest ways of
making a livelihood.
—Agnes Grey, by Anne Bronte
The Bronte sisters knew firsthand the value of frugality and infused their fictitious characters with the strength and ingenuity to overcome scarcity. Much like Anne Bronte’s
Agnes Grey, our family has enjoyed “practicing
the frugality that accompanies the life of a
rector’s family.” Though we have not found
a thousand ways to make a livelihood, we
have found many. And it all starts with
learned practical skills.
When our three boys were young, I took
it upon myself to educate them not only in
matters of wisdom and intellect but domestic
capabilities as well. After all, most young
men will grow to be fathers who will need
to know how to partner with their wives in
tending to their children and home. So, I
taught my sons to sew a straight line with
a sewing machine, starch and iron dress
shirts, and prepare robust meals for the
family. They have also learned how to chop
wood, wield a hammer, and fix most things
that plug into the wall or connect to Wi-Fi.
These skills can become the springboard
for working together to supplement your
household income. Start by taking stock
of the gifts and skills you share as a family.
What can the eldest child do well that perhaps complements something the youngest
is capable of? Here are five ways our family
puts this into practice.
1. Enter a craft fair.
My eldest son loves sports and at fourteen
years old was an avid fan of a particular
football team. So, we combined that interest with his ability to sew, creating sports
team hand warmers and scarves filled with
flax seed and peppermint that we then sold
at a local craft fair. His nine-year-old brother, a budding salesman, drew people to our
table with his bright blue eyes and charm. He
helped us sell most of our products.
The craft fair has provided our family with the funds to go on mini-vacations,
plan special celebrations, and even purchase a trampoline. We’ve painted Christmas ornaments, made our own soaps, and
even used a wet saw to cut tea cups in half
to create three-dimensional framed art.
Supplementing the Household Income
by Joleen Steel
Five Ways Your
Start by taking stock of the gifts and skills you share as a family.