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Helping Your Family Through Financial Hardship

by Kelly Crawford

One of the many ways a wife can help her husband or be a burden to him is the way she handles the family finances.  I consider it a privilege and a challenging task to make the most of my husband’s income and it is my constant prayer that “the heart of my husband safely trusts me” in this area.

From spending to saving or even earning extra income, there are so many ways we can benefit our family’s economy!

Since my husband and I married 13 years ago, we have weathered some serious financial storms. About five years ago, through a series of several events, we accrued over $38,000 in credit card debt, besides the mortgage to the mobile home we bought when we married!

A LOT has transpired through that, and when I say, “God used it for our good”, I’m not just being trite…we are a different family because of it.

It was right about that time when the Lord had spoken to us about receiving our children AND about my coming home from work as a school teacher. Boy did our decisions fly in the face of human wisdom!!! And yet, we heard Him clearly keep saying, “Trust Me”.

My husband has worked tremendously hard and we have worked equally hard to stretch the money he makes.  I’m thrilled to report that about three weeks ago, we finished paying off the last of our credit cards and are now debt free!

And though we still pray for our daily bread, we no longer endure the burden of enslavement to debt.


You can read more about how we got out of debt in Finding Financial Freedom.






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Sarah August 1, 2011 - 8:03 am

Really great that you are debt free especially after all your difficulties of the last few months. A real testimony to God’s goodness.

Margaret August 1, 2011 - 8:21 am

Congrats on being debt free! You should call Dave’s show on Friday so you can holler about it. 😀

Word Warrior August 1, 2011 - 8:39 am

We’ve talked about it! I just posted on his wall.

KTHunter August 1, 2011 - 9:40 am

Congratulations! That is wonderful news!

Corri August 1, 2011 - 9:54 am

That’s wonderful! We seem to always be stretched financially, although we don’t have much credit card debt, and it is so encouraging to hear a story about triumph over it! May God continue to bless you in your efforts. 🙂

Meridath August 1, 2011 - 11:37 am

Wow! This came at an incredible time for me. I have been so convicted over the past 2 years that I should be at home, caring for my children, homeschooling, and caring for our home. Just this morning, my husband and I discussed the impact of me quitting my job (I bring in the bulk of the income and carry health insurance for our family). I have felt for so long that my job and role as bread-winner has been a punishment of sorts for not being fiscally responsible earlier in life, but you have helped me see that is not how God works and that I need to have faith and answer his calling….even if it is contrary to conventional wisdom. Thank you so much, Kelly!

Word Warrior August 1, 2011 - 12:30 pm


Be encouraged…I never dreamed I’d see such amazing miracles when it seemed so impossible from a human standpoint. “Leaning not on our own understanding” is one of the hardest things in the world to do. But if we leap out in faith it is SO amazingly worth it! (Not easy, mind you, He will test you to see if you’re really willing to have a blind faith.) I’ll pray for wisdom for your family!

Kim from Canada August 1, 2011 - 2:53 pm

Meridath, it can be done -with discernment and wisdom, of course. I was the breadwinner in our family for years, including after my first child was born. We figured having one parent at home was a good thing regardless which parent it was – so very wrong! This is not to say we did it perfectly when we did change, but now that more than 7 years has gone by we are reaping the benefits! You can read about it here if you’re interested:


Tiffany August 2, 2011 - 11:28 am

Kim – thanks for the encouragment…I read your story and this seems to fit my family exactly! I am 39 weeks pregnant with baby #2, a part time CPA (my husband used to stay home when we first had our son and you are right…we thought it was ok to have 1 at home, it didn’t matter which one it was…but that’s not true.) Anyhow, I went part time after my son turned 1. I will take 12 weeks off work with this baby and then go back to work, but hopefully only for a short while. Although my husband is fully supportive of me staying home, he only makes 1/2 of what I make part time, and he needs the confidence that he really can provide for us. Please pray for us if you think about it!

Meridath August 2, 2011 - 2:15 pm

Wow! What an amazing…and eerily familiar story. I also work in long-term care, on the financial end. I have risen from bookkeeper in 1 facility to consultant of an entire region. I have learned, just in the past 2-3 years, that my success in the business world is simply a distraction from my calling to be a wife and mother at home and I have often felt very uncomfortable when confronted by this fact. Thank you so very much for sharing and for your encouragement!

Becky S August 1, 2011 - 12:43 pm

Congratulations!! We know how hard it is to get to that point. This spring we also became debt free after a long and hard 18 months of “gazelle intensity” as Dave puts it. No cable, no cell phones, no going out to eat etc. But it is so worth it! We also are a single income family as I stay home to teach the children (3 so far). My husband does not have an extravagant income, but with the Lord’s blessing and careful budgeting we do just fine. It is always a source of testimony when we explain how it is possible in this day and age to live on one income.

Charity August 1, 2011 - 1:47 pm

How wonderful Kelly! 🙂

We are currently living from paycheck to paycheck and barely squeaking by. The week that our baby was born (3months old now) I went to check the dryer to see if the clothes were finished and was met with quite the surprise. As I reached the hallway I realized that the carpet was wet, no soaked. Water was pouring out from the crack under the laundry room door. The laundry room was ankle deep with hot water. After panicking (a little) and waddling to the phone to call my husband he came home to help clean up the mess and hopefully remedy the problem. Long story short, the wash basin was busted in the washer, all the water had ruined the dryer (both unreparable), carpet damage, trim damage had to be taken care of (we are renting this house. This little emergency completely depleted our emergency fund (so thankful that we did have that though), we are over run with payment plans on doctor bills and have still not been able to replace our emergency fund. I am very thankful that the only debt we have is non-interest collecting medical bills, but we feel like we are currently swimming upstream! After reading your post today I feel more determined to stretch my husband’s paychecks further and build our savings back up.

Word Warrior August 1, 2011 - 2:32 pm

Oh Charity, I feel for you. And yes, having an emergency fund is what usually keeps your head “above water”, no pun intended in your case 😉 If you’ve read “Total Money Makeover”, you’ll remember Dave’s inspiration to building an EF as quickly as possible…”scrimp, save and sell!” Can you ebay something? Yard sale? Bake sale? (I’ll share a bit about this tomorrow at Morning Motivation). Hang in there and plug away a little at a time.

Charity August 2, 2011 - 11:40 am

I should say that our EF was quite basic, just a little over the $1000 that Dave suggests. We had been battling the decision of building the EF to 3months worth of living expenses or sticking to payment plans for medical bills for quite a while. We have so many doctor bills that once we make the payments for the month, there was no money left to throw toward the EF, then the water emergency happened.

Although we moved across the state just under a year ago and had a HUGE yard sale before we moved, somehow our stuff has reproduced when we turn out the lights at night, so we had planned to have a yard sale this weekend. I was already planning on making biscuits and muffins to sell, but I hadn’t thought of a “bake sale” really. I think I can turn out a few dozen brownies and cookies to throw in there as well, thanks to your suggestion!

We have a few things listed on Craigslist that a few people have shown interest in as well.

For the last month or so, I’ve spent less than $12 weekly on groceries because we were stocked up on lots of essentials. And this is for a family of 6, and yes all our children are little, but still, I think it’s quite an accomplishment. And it’s so wonderful to see the look on my husband’s face when he comes home to a “balanced” meal on the table. He has actually said to me “how did you do this?”, because he knows we have really cleaned through the pantry and freezer over the last month. Pillow talk has been about eating a huge salad and fresh fruit “someday soon”. I think he’s had his fill of frozen peas and carrots 😉

Ginger August 1, 2011 - 2:53 pm

Praise the Lord! It is such a great feeling being debt free. We just now got our tax refund (adoption refunds take a LONG time to process). Since this year, the adoption tax credit turned into an adoption refund, we got a huge check. We were able to put it all towards paying down our mortgage. Man that felt really good!

Renee August 1, 2011 - 9:46 pm

will this be archived for access later?

Linda August 2, 2011 - 12:07 am

Congratulations, Kelly! So happy for you.

Blair August 2, 2011 - 5:37 am

Way to go! That is awesome! We have $10,000 of our $80,000 left and we are so excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel finally!

Word Warrior August 2, 2011 - 7:24 am

WOW, Blair, how exciting!

Adeline August 2, 2011 - 7:15 pm

Praise the Lord!I’m really happy for you.God bless you & your family=)

katie August 3, 2011 - 4:18 am

How encouraging! Due to a series of events, we have maxed out our credit cards, yet dh’s job still doesn’t cover the bills. We do tithe faithfully. I did fond a way to work at home and it is a great thing to involve our homeschooling children in. Dh supports the business, but does not want me to file for tax paperwork. He wants me to run it under the table. I do not feel that is right. What can I do?

Thankful for His Grace August 3, 2011 - 1:23 pm

I’m not sure if this is true in all states so check your states tax law but in MN if your business makes less than $600 per year, you do not need to file anything. Hope that helps!

Congratulations Crawfords! How exciting. Is there a way to hear your Motiviation since I missed it??

Isadora Daher December 27, 2011 - 5:57 am

Hello.This post was really remarkable, particularly since I was looking for thoughts on this issue last Saturday.

Adam White May 13, 2012 - 10:44 am

Adam White…

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Lisa January 21, 2014 - 8:32 am

I heartily agree! I too do my best to make the most of my husband’s income.


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