December 01, 2011

Big News?? I think so . . .

but you may disagree.

Here is my big news (maybe you will be disappointed to find out that I am not pregnant at age 52). 

What has paying off bills and getting out of debt done for us?  We are able to help others in a big way. 

We have come to know some college students that attend the local university.  They have been attending our church and have been in our home for what I call "dinner, movie and laundry night."  Yes, they do their laundry, eat with us and we watch a movie together.  One week we watched the movie Jaws and I had forgotten what a great movie that was. 

In order to save money and to ease the financial stress of paying for college, we offered two of the girls the opportunity to come and live with us beginning in January.  They have accepted.

Our den, which used to be our oldest son's bedroom, is being transformed into a "dorm" room for them.  The first thing I had to do was find bunk beds.  I checked Craigslist, sent an e-mail out to people in our church, looked on free-cycle and checked the ads in the newspaper.

Since I didn't have another choice, I checked the furniture store and they had a great sale.  I was able to buy a sturdy set of wood bunk beds along with 2 nice mattresses.  That is all we need for that room.  The girls have a small dresser and a desk.  There is a t.v. in that room and I have an old livingroom comfy chair I will put in that room. 

Why are we doing this?  Because it is the right thing to do.  I want these girls to finish college and I want them to finish college without worrying about finances.  

I ran out of money when I was in my Junior year of college and I never have finished my Bachelor's degree.  If someone would have offered to do this for me, I would have my B.A. today.

There is a third girl who is a freshman and she cannot live off campus during her freshman year.  We have offered her a way of saving money by providing her meals.  She can eat with us and/or we can prepare meals with her help on a weekend and she can pick them up. 

When you cut back and pay off your bills, you are able to put money in savings and you are also free to be able to help others.   What we are doing may not be comfortable for everyone to do.  It is for us. 

My father-in-law is a minister and my husband grew up in a home where people were always welcome.  I grew up in a home that was open and welcoming to people.  My parents took in girls that had aged out of the "children's home" at age 18.  My parents gave them a home while they went to business college or nursing school. 

So our families have a history of helping others.  It was modeled to us.  Some people would not be comfortable with taking in college students into their home.  We prayed about it and we feel that this is why we are here at this time and in this financial situation so that we can help others. 

Please don't read this and think I am bragging.  I am not and I hope that none of you feel that way. 

What does this mean now?  I have 2 (or possibly) 3 more mouths to feed.  The water bill will be higher too.  We have paid off bills and we have more wiggle room in our budget. 

Today as I grocery shopped I spent a lot more money than I normally do as I had some really great coupons for sale items.  I was able to pick up Oatmeal for $1.99 for a 42 oz. canister; flour for 88 cents for a 5 lb. bag, butter for $1.88 lb., polish sausage for only 98 cents for a 12 oz. package (great in my homemade potato soup), Tide powder (22 load size) for only $3.00.  I will mix this powdered Tide with my homemade powdered laundry soap to extend the Tide.  I also bought Era liquid laundry soup (32 load size) for only $2.00.  I was able to get a good quality shampoo and conditioner for 88 cents a bottle.   

There were more great deals and I stocked up.  I'm not sure how much our food bill will increase and it will take several weeks for me to come up with a normal food budget beginning in January.  One thing I do know and that is the past two years have prepared me for this.  I know how to save money, to extend the use of many household items and how to prepare delicious, frugal meals.  I can do this.

I'm not writing this post to brag.  Not everyone is up to this type of situation.  College students are struggling in our community and this is our way of helping out a few of them.  Perhaps you can help by contributing to a food drive specifically for college students.  Maybe you can even take the lead and start one on your own.  Some students can't afford to even buy clothes at thrift stores as money is so tight.  What about a clothing drive?

I hope you aren't disappointed with my big news.  But I think being pregnant at 52 would go beyond big news and be more big shock and awe!!!


Anonymous said...

Well being pregnant would have been surprising also. I think what you are doing is wonderful and I know those girls are so thankful

HDNelson said...

This is just such an amazing thing you are doing, Martha!!

I think they will appreciate it so much!

Debs said...

Sounds like you will be blessing those girls a great deal.

Audry said...

This is great news!! What a difference you will make in the lives of these young people. And I suspect you will reap a benefit too!

Rose said...

You are a blessing for these students. Don't apologize.

Bernice said...

I think this is a wonderful thing you are doing. But as a parent I wonder what the girls parents think of this, have you talked to them? Also were they living on thier own before(not on campus)what is thier transportation needs,
what about thier entertaining in your home,have you set house rules, other then thier room will they have to help out with household chores like cooking and cleaning the kitchen the bathroom?
I am just curious like I said it is a wonderful thing you are doing but wonder about everything that is entailes.

Arden said...

Have you shared your recipe for potato soup?

I think what you are doing is wonderful and I think it will work out great. It is good to remember that we don't just save money to have it.

Martha said...


These young ladies are in their early 20's and I do believe they talked it over with the parents. They have been in our home on several occasions for hours at a time doing laundry, homework and just plain hanging out. They are willing to help out with any housework or anything else. They are grateful and I am going to enjoy having them in our home. We are a good match.

Anonymous said...

I am floored by your kindness. You are such a softie. Good luck with the girls.

Bernice said...

I hope you didnt take my post wrong, I guess you could call me Fearful Freida, bringing strangers into my home for a length of time is scary to me, not knowing thier backgrounds, friends etc..I think it is wonderful and I really hope it all works out for you and the girls

Nicole said...

You are AMAZING Martha!!!! How generous it is of you and your husband to do this! These girls are very fortunate to have you in their lives. I think it's great that you have such a connection to your community. I'm sure it's going to be a rewarding experience for both your family and the girls!

Elizabeth said...

I think this is wonderful!!! What a blessing for those girls and what a great opportunity for you too!

I do want to add a suggestion though. Having been in a situation of living with strangers for a short time (a nanny stint) it is best to make all expectations known BEFORE they move in. While it may seem a given that they will do their own laundry or pitch in helping make supper once a week, sometimes what is expected is not known and after a few months it's uncomfortable bringing it up or making a point of something. I think it would be more comfortable to sit down and just write a list together of what you will need them to do while in your home - whether it is a curfew or something as simple as a chore chart each week. Staying with someone can get uncomfortable if one or the other parties feels taken advantage of so it would be great to touch base with them and them with you! Just a suggestion! :)

Country Life said...

I just found your blog and I think what you are doing is wonderful! Those girls are very blessed to have found you! My daughter is finishing college (half an hour from home) but going to a college that is two hours from home for four years. I know how expensive it is! You are a good person, God Bless!