Mark and I are working on the next Hearts at Home book. This is a first for us…we’ve never written a book together.
This book will be designed for parents to read together. It will challenge moms and dads to parent without regrets. By encouraging moms and dads to have a vision for their family, we want to help transition parents to move from thinking only of providing financially for their family to thinking about providing relationally for their family. The book will also help families to have a vision to possibly live on less (financially) so you can have more (relationally).
Here’s where we need your help: the book needs a title. It needs a compelling set of words that would speak to the needs of families who are facing economic challenges, but want to keep family relationships a priority in the midst of it all.
Usually titles are chosen by the publisher. During a conversation with our editor last week, I told them about the great minds of my bloggy friends so we agreed to let you weigh in on this! Honestly, this is rarely done in the publishing world so I’m thrilled that Guideposts Publishers is open to something different!
So here’s the basic premise of the book and the chapter outlines along with a description of each chapter. What ideas do you have? You can suggest both a title (i.e. Real Moms…Real Jesus) and a subtitle (i.e Meet the Friend Who Understands) or just one or the other.
In today’s culture it is commonly accepted that it takes two incomes for a family to thrive or even survive. But the reality is that many families are surviving, and even thriving, on less than two full-time incomes. These aren’t six digit incomes we’re talking about; these are average families, bringing in an average income and living in average homes.
In other families, one or both working parents are making decisions that are in favor of their family instead of being in favor of their career. They are looking through a different lens and making different decisions that may even seem foolish from a financial perspective. However, these decisions are actually wise for their family. But in today’s economy, why would anyone even want to do that?
The Savage’s, who have been committed to having Jill primarily at home for 22 years, will look at the attitudes that husbands and wives need to have to successfully live on a limited income or make decisions in favor of family over career. Then they will balance those attitudes with the practical actions that will help your family live the life you long for.
Part 1: Attitudes
Chapter 1 Intangible Benefits: Why would we want to live on less than two incomes?
In today’s economy it becomes easy to pursue the tangible dollar and forget about the intangible benefits less work and more family time can provide. This chapter will look at the cost of stress, the need for margin, the concept of availability, the importance of being an intentional parent, the lost art of homemaking, and the value of volunteerism. We’ll look closely at the things in this world that money can’t buy.
Chapter 2 Hidden Expenses: What does it cost you to work?
When considering the income of a second parent working outside the home, too many of us forget to figure in the costs we will incur with the job. Childcare, transportation, clothing, food (eating out and eating more pre-packaged foods), and disorganization all cost something and have to be considered. This chapter will look at a new definition of the terms “gross” and “net” income. Gross income is the stated salary you have, while net income is the actual dollars you will bring home for your family after you take out all the real costs of working.
Chapter 3 Contentment: Living with less and liking it!
In our consumer-driven, advertisement-addicted society, the concepts of needs and wants can easily become blurred. This chapter will look at the concept of contentment and what we really need to live comfortably.
Chapter 4 Counter-Cultural Mindset: Do we really want what the Jones’ have?
Playing the comparison game will only launch us into the land of coveting. To successfully live on less than two full-time incomes we have to throw out the concept of “keeping up with the Jones.’” It’s counter-cultural, maybe even radical, but it’s completely doable!
Chapter 5 Simplicity: Sometimes less really is more!
This chapter will help readers to understand that simplicity is really freedom. By casting a vision for keeping life simple in regards to kid’s activities and home management, we will discover that less really is more.
Chapter 6 Sacrifice: Forfeit to win!
In today’s me-first society, the concept of sacrifice seems out of place. But learning to sacrifice something today so you find gratification in the future is something every parent needs to consider.
Chapter 7 Vision: You have to be far-sighted to be near-sighted.
We can’t determine what we’ll do today without thinking about the results we want tomorrow. You can’t go back and raise your kids again. This chapter will encourage parents to think about the “finished product” of an adult child and then determine what strategies today will make tomorrow’s goal a reality.
Chapter 8 Frugality: You may be at home but you still have a job!
Many two income families spend more money on convenience products and services simply because they don’t have the time to do it themselves. When a spouse stays home, one facet of their job is to save the family money by comparison shopping, preparing more meals from scratch, keeping the home organized, and paying attention to the money matters of the family.
Chapter 9 Faith: Ordinary people trusting in an extraordinary God
When living on a limited income, fear can creep in unexpectedly. Moms and dads have to trust God to give wisdom and sometimes provide in extraordinary ways. This chapter will encourage parents to move from fear to faith as they learn to live with less. It will also address the beauty of heart-transformation that happens when we let go of control and allow God to lead.
Chapter 10 Community: You can’t do this alone!
There’s nothing better to motivate you than being with others who are traveling the same journey you are. As you build a community of friendships with other families who are also living with less you’ll benefit from shared wisdom, shared clothing, shared food, and shared values.
Part 2: Actions
Chapter 11 Finances: Budget is not a bad word and cash really is vogue.
In order to live on less money, you have to know where your money goes. A spending plan is a must for families looking for that second income that comes from wise money management. This chapter will explore financial planning, budget basics, debit don’ts, and the reality of debt. It will give practical strategies as well as usable forms and resources for family money management.
Chapter 12 Savings: Do people still do that?
In order to live on a limited income, you have to plan for unexpected expenses. This chapter will look at short-term “sinking fund” savings that pay for insurance deductibles, routine medical care, and home and auto maintenance and repair, as well as long-term savings that will assure you a comfortable future in retirement.
Chapter 13 Food: Have your cake and eat it too!
Many families find their budget is shot after a trip to the grocery store or an unplanned-for meal at a restaurant. With one spouse at home, home cooked meals increase and eating out decreases. This chapter will look at dozens of strategies for feeding your family frugally.
Chapter 14 Housing: You can live like no one else!
How much house do we really need? What neighborhood do we really have to live in? Housing costs make up a large percentage of a family’s budget. This chapter will explore ways to save money on housing expenses and think realistically about your family’s housing needs.
Chapter 15 Holidays: Santa’s on a budget and vacation is a non-negotiable!
Do kids really need a birthday party at a local kid-friendly destination that is sure to break your budget? Do we have to get on an airplane to go on vacation? In this chapter, the Savage’s explore holiday celebration and gift-giving strategies that fit even the smallest budget as well as vacations that don’t break the bank but are remembered for years.
Chapter 16 Home Business: Make money doing what you love.
With the internet at our fingertips, entrepreneurship is on the rise. If you really need some extra dollars coming in and you are good at something, why not make your talents work for you? It will be a job you love and it will be a schedule you control. Work doesn’t get much better than that!
Does a family really need two vehicles? If so, do you have to drive everywhere you go? Sometimes we jump into the car with thinking. This chapter looks at transportation options that will decrease fuel consumption and increase creativity and exercise. It will also address vehicle needs with teenagers in the home.
Chapter 18 College: Higher education at lower costs
Don’t we need to work so we can put the kids through college? It’s a question asked by many parents. In this chapter, the Savages will share lessons they’ve learned while educating three of their older children and planning for the education of the other two. Strategies will include financial saving and responsibility for the child, community college and state universities, and motivating strategies for planning and preparing for the future.
Chapter 19 Insurance: It’s all about the risk.
If the terminology of insurance doesn’t get you, the complexity of the policies will! Yet most families can save a ton of monthly expenses by better understanding insurance and evaluating if they really have what they need rather than what they’ve been told that they need.
Chapter 20 Retirement and Investments: Don’t do tomorrow what you have to do today.
Because we are so focused on the here and now, too many families wait too late to plan for retirement or think about investments of any kind. From the time you say “I do” you should begin planning for the future you hope to have after you’ve raised your family and completed your career.
Real stories of families who made it work!
I can’t wait to hear your ideas!!! You’ll have all week to submit them. Please share this post with your friends so they can throw their great ideas into the mix, too!
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