Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom: More experimentation and failure

If you’re new here, you’ll want to go back and read the first parts of the Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom series.

It’s quite often that I get emails from people who say, “I really want to build up a blog and business like you have.” While I’m honored they would want to be like me, I sincerely don’t wish all my failures and struggles upon them.

Many of you have only found MoneySavingMom.com in the last year or two. And you might see a successful blog with hundreds of thousands of readers, the fact that I have a team of people working for me or that we paid cash for our house thanks in great part to this blog and the income it provides.

What you don’t see is the thousands of hours of effort, the miserable failures, the huge disappointments and the nights when I only got a few hours of sleep because I was working 60 to 70 hours per week from home to make ends meet, plus being a wife, homemaker and stay-at-home mom.

I’m very grateful to the Lord for how He has blessed the labors of my hands. And I’m humbled beyond belief to think that someone like me — who has no college degree and struggled with math in high school — is helping hundreds of thousands of families around the nation with their finances. That’s God, not me. He can take the weak things of this world and do mighty things through them (1 Cor. 1:27). I know, because I’ve experienced it in powerful ways in my own life.

But before He could do great and mighty things in and through my life, God first had to take me through some very humbling and difficult failures. Last time, I left you when we were groping to come up with any way to make ends meet without going into debt while my husband was in law school.

I remember wracking my brain to come up with anything — anything — I could do to earn money from home. We really felt like my place was to be home with our soon-to-be born child and yet how we were going to pull that off without debt or government assistance* was mind-baffling.

It seemed there was just no way the ends could meet. I felt helpless and incompetent. I’m one of those people who is not skilled in many different areas: I can’t sew or decorate or make beautiful crafts; I’m quite domestically-challenged despite many efforts to reverse those inadequacies!

I’ve always been very interested in marketing, writing and anything related to computers, but I didn’t really know that it would be possible to earn any more than a small amount from any of those things. My attempts to teach creative writing classes fell pretty nearly on their face. I scoured the internet looking for writing opportunities and only came up with a few very small-paying opportunities that someone with my inexperience could qualify for.

In my heart of hearts, I really wanted to start a website of some kind. And after weeks of prayer and research, I hatched an idea to start a website called Covenant Wedding Source which would provide custom-made, modest wedding gowns and accessories. I found a few young women who were exceptional seamstresses and contracted with them to provide the sewing services.

My job was going to be the go-between. I’d market the website, work with the customers and my contractors would provide the custom-made products. I knew that there were very few websites providing modest gowns and I knew, from talking with many brides, that there was a market for gowns which showed less skin but didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

My husband — always the cheerleader — willingly invested $2,000 of our law school savings to start the business (that money paid to have a website designed, buy a computer, a few other needed supplies and a business license). I look back and wonder what got into him to willingly risk what was a huge chunk of money for my wild and crazy idea.

I’d read a bunch of books from the library on starting a business and I was pumped about my great idea. But I quickly learned I was in way over my head. I hadn’t a clue about online marketing and I learned very fast that you can set up a great website, but you need a whole lot more than a great website to get more than you and your mom visiting everyday.

After a few weeks of very little traffic and no sales, I decided I had to become terribly pro-active if you wanted people to notice your site. So I came up with every free advertising idea I could concoct. I joined Yahoo Groups which I thought might have a relevant market and would interact with people and include a link at the bottom of my emails to my website. I wrote articles for any website which would publish my articles and include a link to my website in my bio.

After about six months, we actually had had six different brides who were brave enough to send in their measurements and what they wanted for a gown and have their gowns made by a seamstress across the country. But I learned another lesson: creating custom-made gowns according to a bride’s specifications and measurements requires a massive amount of time and work to pull off — and it’s really hard to do if you are trying to do it inexpensively!

I also was very discouraged to look over the books after six months and realize I’d put in countless hours, but I had not turned a profit at all. This was a problem because we severely needed to see at least a small profit in order to survive. It was a business, not a charity and something had to change.

In the past six months, I had been researching everything I could about online marketing and I’d stumbled upon this Yahoo Group which was all about entrepreneurialism. They had some very interesting ideas — many of which were brand-new to me. The more I read, the more I realized the wisdom in what was shared in this group.

I realized I needed to build an email list, look for multiple streams of income to develop on my site and learn more about affiliate marketing. Little did I know that these very things would someday be some of the backbone pieces for the success of MoneySavingMom.com.

After analyzing what my current market might be interested in and how to leverage that, I started experimenting with my small email list to see what worked. Those first attempts were so pathetic that I look back with great embarrassment. But you know what? I learned so much through those failed experiments. And somehow, my email list readers stuck with me!

While I was excited to be learning new things, I still desperately needed to be making more of an income for all my efforts. However, instead of a windfall of profit, I was about to experience one of the most difficult business lessons ever.

…to be continued next Friday

___________

*I know that different people have different circumstances and beliefs, but my husband and I have never felt like it was right for us to accept government assistance. We wanted to trust the Lord to be our Provider and also to be forced to be as creative and resourceful as we could. I’m in no way judging those of you who have chosen differently than us, just sharing how God led our family.

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Comments

  1. sara says

    Good for you for not taking government assistance. I feel the exact same way and really admire you. You have truly been blessed.

  2. Allison says

    Crystal, I have felt judgment from many people who should be last to judge-a lot of family, sadly-but I have never once felt looked down upon when I mention in comments that my family gets food stamps. I appreciate you moderating comments, as that can certainly be an inflammatory topic. Since I found MSM, I have been inspired to be a better steward of what God has given us. Our finances are in the dumps right now since my husband just quit his job out of the blue, but I hope to find a job myself and drag us back up and out of this pit we have created, and hopefully we can become self-sufficient as well in the near future. But for now, I take it as it comes and make sure my family is provided for. Thanks for all your money-saving tips, and most of all, thanks for the Godly attitude and witness that you are not afraid to share across the world.

    • says

      It’s my sincere hope to encourage people — no matter what choices you make for your family! You’re in a very difficult place right now and unless someone has walked in your shoes, it’s really entirely impossible to point a finger.

      I’m praying for you and thinking of you and trusting God is going to provide in miraculous ways for your family. And I so appreciate your positive spirit! Keep it up!

  3. Becky says

    When my DH and I started our family, we qualified for assistance, but DH said that we should not take any, we were able to make it with God’s help, and to let others who were more needy get the help. This has been 31 years ago, and we made it! I washed diapers everyday, used Q’s and cooked from scratch. I was able to be a SAHM to our 2 children.

  4. Kristina says

    Crystal,
    Thank you for posting this. I have done a lot of stuff to make money for our family and still be able to stay-at-home. Mostly out of necessity since we live in a small town where there is not a lot of business opportunities. The main industry here is casinos. I don’t agree with doing something that can negatively affect people; but after getting a lot of negative comments hurled towards me I decided to apply. When I was in their open call I just felt God telling me to leave and he would take care of us. And so we did. We have never taken any government assistance and I refused to take unemployment (yes, I know it is not welfare) and God has provided for all our needs and even on occasion wants. I have had failures at home businesses, which affected my self-esteem; but again, it was always God providing for us. And the successes are only to remind me that it is God and not my doing.

  5. Rose says

    Hi Crystal,

    I have been a loyal follower for over a year now. You have got me hooked not only on your deals, but also your entreprenuer spirit. Even though you live hundreds of miles away I think about you through my day and talk to other people about you and your website. I feel like I know you not only because you are a follower of Christ -I am LDS. But because you seem to share the same desires in your heart as I do. I too have so many unfinshed projects that it’s just ajoke. But I have such a yearning to make income and use my talents to bless others, even while I stay home and raise our children. If it’s one thing that I have learned is that in order for my dreams to come to reality I need to actually DO something -take action and start moving/trying different stuff out. Which is so awsome to hear your struggles because if you didn’t try you would have never known. I have now started to listen to Dave Ramsey and I read his book. He has megazelle ready to tackle our debt- all because I heard it from you. You are awsome!

  6. says

    Crystal, Thanks for posting this! My business has been up and running for just a little over 2 years and I can totally relate! It’s great to find something to do as a work at home mom, but it’s definitely got it’s challenges too. Reading about your struggles and How much you needed to trust God’s guidence to get where you are today is SO encouraging! Thanks, can’t wait to read the rest…

  7. Heather says

    I am amazed, encouraged, ashamed, frustrated,redirected.. so many different feelings about all that I have read and followed with you on your blog. With your working at home, to paying cash for your home–It is amazing to me all that you and your husband have accomplished. I wake up everyday not knowing what the week has to offer. I trust in the Lord with all my heart and offer to him everyday our stress and worries ( but there is always the feeling that tends to stay with you) We are slowly getting out of debt, with no savings at all. We have 4 amazing boys who are the joy of my heart. My desire to have more children is one that aches at my heart too. But we are so financially unstable it is sad that is what is keeping us from having more. I am not working because of the children, but need to do something from home. We are renting our home and wow, what a wonderful accomplishment it would be for us to buy our home with cash! I quite honestly can’t even imagine that… God has worked in your life with great Grace and Mercy. What a blessing. I pray every day for his Mercy to be upon my family. God bless you

  8. Tranquility says

    It is so awesome to see His glorious work and blessing in your life:) It has been such a great blessing and encouragement for me to read your blog because your faith in trusting God’s sovereginty plan:) I totally agree what you said “He can take the weak things of this world and do mighty things through them (1 Cor. 1:27). I know, because I’ve experienced it in powerful ways in my own life.” I am the same way I was working from home to help my husband’s income while he is working full time and going school at the same time. The Lord has been faithfully providing us throughout our lives. Thank you for sharing your success, failures of your business and His tremendous blessing in your life:) (Psalm 139) God bless you and your family!!

  9. Charlotte says

    Thank you for posting this, but did you have to leave us hanging?!? :) I am smack-dab in the middle of launching an at-home/online business. I feel so far in over my head that it will take a submarine to pull me out. Luckily, I feel that the Lord is driving that submarine… and I’ll come out eventually.

    I’ve been tossing ideas around in my head for years, but kept telling myself and my husband, “Now’s just not the time.” Then I woke up one morning this spring and God very clearly told me, “It’s time.”

    I still have so much to learn and so far to go, but every day I am more and more amazed to see how God has prepared me for this. He’s placed me in so many places over the years to meet the very people I need right now to help me get things going.

    Can’t wait ’til next Friday for the next installment.

  10. says

    I feel so much better! Of course you know our story Crystal but for others we started our website and published our first edition of Dining On A Dime (Not Just Beans back then) 11 years ago next week!

    It took us 8 years to even see a profit and just in the last 2 years have we made any major money and that’s only because hubby is working full time on it. I’m glad to know that you aren’t the only one who is/was working 60-70 hours trying to get the business going.

    I am very thankful that now that we have our new site it seems like it is going to be easier and will not take as much time. I am excited to see the rest of the story too!

    • says

      I’m so thankful to have a team helping now so that I’m able to put in a lot fewer hours (most days!) and have more margin in my life and my priorities in order. But I well remember those 60-70 hour weeks! Anyone who says starting your own business is easy must have never started a business! :)

      Congratulations on the new site!

  11. says

    Crystal,
    Bless you for continuing to trudge through whatever life throws at you. My husband and I are kind of in the same boat as he has been unemployed since Dec of 2009. We have taken unemployment assistance and we are okay. But, God certainly has taught us how resilient we are and we seem to always keep the mortgage just a month or so behind with the help of my home business, my fulltime job, and family. Thank you for your post. I will be bookmarking your blog and look forward to reading further.

    jane

  12. says

    Thank you for your post. Back in December was I inspired by your blog and decided that I would start my own business. I merged two of my passions and jumped in with both feet. While my husband and I have been extremely blessed in life, we still have have to live on a tight budget. A child protective social worker’s salary will only go so far. I believe that his work is something very important and so I’m happy living on meager lifestyle. Realizing that and the fact that we have three kids, I know we will need to build an addition unto our home one day. Our desire is to pay cash for that addition so right now we are working towards that goal by saving and working on my business. My husband has been supportive so much so that he gave me money out of our savings to fund my dream. While I know there is a lot of hard work involved, I know that dreams can be achieved.

  13. Karen says

    I’ve been following you and your blogs since I saw a link to Covenant Wedding Source at the end of an article you wrote for LAF. I am also a homeschool graduate and have three children close to the ages of yours. I live in Canada, so most of the MSM deals don’t apply to me, but I check your blog every day just for the more personal posts. I really miss Biblical Womanhood. :-) God has really used you to encourage me to be a better wife and mommy. Thank you so much!

  14. Aimee says

    Thanks for sharing your story. We too, have made some pretty tough, and if not directed by much prayer and by the promptings of the Holy Spirit, crazy decisions. We moved our family across the country to what seemed like a completely foreign land to take a job for my husband that ended up not working out so we made the decision to quit and start our own business. Then after two years we were hired by another man who recognized my husbands talents and we thought all our financial worries were over. We were wrong! Almost two years later that same man, now deeply troubled by his personal demons asked my husband to take a $25K pay cut!! So we once again quit and started our own business earlier this year. We have had really, really tough times this year, and I’m sure we will have more of God’s “Proving” moments ahead of us, but when you make your decisions prayerfully and then do what you feel is right you will always have what you need. So now I’m running our business from home, getting ready to home school our children in the next week or so, and doing my very best to start taking on our out of control budget (I HATE DEALING WITH MONEY!) I’m looking forward to your next installments. I guess its time for me to crack open that “Total Money Makeover” book I purchased a few months ago (and download the Quicken Software too). Sigh…

    • says

      @Aimee, sounds like you’ve had your share of ups and downs! I just wanted to encourage you to READ THAT BOOK. : ) Once you start reading it, you really won’t be able to put it down. (It actually reads kinda like a magazine; there’s a testimonial practically on every other page.)

      And another thing: I was dreading doing the budget because I knew we were in debt and were slowly draining any savings we had to cover our bills. I thought the process would take us at LEAST three hours, maybe more. I was wrong. I actually timed it. Granted, I had all the “numbers” ready (How much is our average X bill? Oh, I have that right here.). It took us around an hour. That’s all.

      And by the time we finished (which WAS exhausting), we both were excited to give it a try, and really started feeling like we were controlling our money, not vice-versa.

      (P.S. I don’t use money software. I’m too slow and particular with it, and everything would just get backed up, and it would be too easy of an excuse for me to not get it done.)

      So: You can do it!! : )

    • christina says

      @Aimee, hi aimee- i encourage you to open the book and just read the success stories!! that will get you pumped up!! =) me and my hubby read through it together and it has changed our lives!! good luck!!!!!!!

  15. Maria says

    Crystal

    Thank you for being my encouragement. God lead me to MSM for this reason over a year ago. Not only am I able to get great deals, but you counsel me. God is using you as a tool for me and so many others out there. Amazing what he does. PLEASE continue to tell us your trials and your successes. I LOVE who you are!

    Sistahs in Christ,
    Maria

  16. says

    Hi Crystal,
    What an accomplishment! I’ve been trying to figure out what I could do to help my family out financially. My husband just graduated with his BA and is on a waitlist for a pharmacy school, and he works part time. It’s a good paying job with benefits, but part time does not cover all of our living expenses. With grants we were able to make it, but we no longer receive grants, so we find ourselves in a tight situation. We are receiving food stamps, WIC and live in a HUD subsidized apartment. We never wanted to receive government assistance, and it took swallowing our pride to finally realize that God WAS providing for us in many ways, this being one of them. We know that Heavenly Father blessed us with the apartment we are living in, it was evident in the circumstances surrounding our prior living situation and how quickly we were accepted into this apartment and how quickly we were able to find someone to take over our other lease. Since receiving food stamps, I realized that there is no shame in receiving government assistance. We have paid into these programs for many years, and will yet again be paying into these programs when my husband is finished with his schooling. In the end, we will still pay more into it than what we received.
    I admire those who are able to make it without receiving government assistance. But please do not think that I do not have faith in God providing for me because I am receiving government assistance. Sometimes, that is one of the ways God provides.
    Crystal, thank you so much for all of the information you provide! I am amazed by how much we are saving from couponing! This is truly another blessing from our Heavenly Father. I don’t know how we would have stayed out of debt in order to provide for our 2 children without the Drug Store game.
    By the way, do you have specific posts where you explain how you were able to pay for graduate school without going into debt? I’ve seen several posts where you talk about eating rice and beans and not spending money on anything unnecessary. But 3 years of graduate school for us is over $140,000. I just don’t know how we would be able to get buy without taking out loans, and we depleted our savings in order to survive…hence why we needed to apply for government assistance. Thanks!

    • says

      My apologies if it sounded like I was saying you weren’t trusting God to go on government assistance. We just believe very strongly that’s not what God called us to do — and by committing to not receiving government assistance and bringing our needs only to our Heavenly Father our faith grew by leaps and bounds and we become mega gazelle creative. There is definitely no shame in receiving government assistance, but I do believe that, Biblically speaking, it is the church’s role — not the government’s — to provide for the poor and needy. Unfortunately, many churches are not fulfilling this role and the government has had to pick up the slack.

      Has your husband considered possibly getting a second part-time job while waiting to be accepted into pharmacy school (not sure what the economy is like in your area)? Or possibly delaying pharmacy school for a few years while you work hard to get in a better position financially?

      I have a post planned for sometime in the next few weeks on Going to College Without Going Into Debt. We did graduate school for a little 30K, by the way. I’ll share some tips and practical suggestions we learned from our research.

      • says

        @Crystal, Going into College without going into Debt–I’m looking forward to reading that one. Wish we had, and hope to prepare our children so they won’t. Thanks Crystal!

      • says

        @Crystal, I didn’t feel you were saying I wasn’t trusting God. The comments of others seemed to lead that way though, and I wanted to make sure no one would feel bad if they needed government assistance…and that sometimes that is the path God may want us to take.
        My husband is currently studying to take the Pharm Tech exam and hopes to get a second job doing that (it will also give him more pharmacy experience to help beef up his resume for when he reapplies). I’m also working part time doing bookkeeping for my parents. But that is just barely helping us scrape by at this point. Graduate school tuition is increasing every year, unfortunately. Just 3 years ago tuition was only $96,000. In 3 years it jumped almost $50,000…that’s insane!
        I can’t wait for your post to get more ideas as well. We hope to keep our loans at a minimum, if loans are needed.

    • Krystal says

      @Corrina at Eternity On A Budget, I think it is important what Crystal said- that she did what the Lord told HER family to do, which is how we should all make our choices. My husband and I found ourselves expecting after only a couple months of marriage and we were both getting our bachelors in education. We felt so blessed since I was told it would be extremely difficult for me to even get pregnant, but were very concerned with how we were going to make it financally. We were (what we thought) doing really well living on $900 a month (and this was only 7 years ago!). However paying for insurance and medical bills were out of the question! We were completely against going on government assistance, until we prayed about it and asked our church what they thought. With much humility we accepted assistance. This I think was a huge lesson for the both of us, never let pride or arrogance keep you from letting God provide in the way he sees fit for your family.

      Unfortunately my body did not handle this pregnancy well and my body wouldn’t even go into full labor- which resulted in a c-section and long hospital stay. Weeks after having our first child I started having major health problems. I had lived with a heart defect unknowingly all my life and the stress of pregnancy had on my heart made me unable to work, go to school, and care for my newborn. Had we waited to have children for a few years my heart might not have been able to withstand the pregnancy. I think it is only by God that I had even survived as long as I had! With me not able to work, my husband doing his student teaching, working, and helping care for our baby, we depleted our little savings, took out a small loan to pay for some of his schooling and later accepted food stamps. It was then we realized how exactly God was providing for us in the middle of our storm.

      I ended up having to have heart surgery (they say “minor”) and later because my immune system was also so low having to have a tonsilectomy to keep me from getting reoccuring infections. I believe God not only gave us the blessing/miracle of a child but in the process the gift of good health like I had never had. It provided me a chance to be there for my family and to take care for them. Also, we learned how to be humble in our walk and listen to his voice. We realized that we have to have complete trust in him with our entire lives.

      The Lord has provided for us again- all of my husbands undergrad and graduate degrees are completely paid! Again, we were so scared of taking out loans back then because we didn’t know of that the Lord would provide later with a loan forgiveness program. However, we trusted him, and He was faithful and he will be in the future!

      Now, we seem like we are barely scraping by with my husbands teaching job while I stay at home with our three kids. We are still on WIC and government health benefits for our kids, but God is slowly getting us away from those programs. (Nutrition WIC provides is so important when our meager grocery budget is small- $150/mth and our oldest has a special medical need.) He has taught us a lot in our short 8 years of marriage but we are now very humble, faithfilled, giving people. Like many have said, you have to follow what God has told you to do and not expect to live your life like everyone else.
      (Jer 29:11)

      • says

        @Krystal, Maybe I should ask Crystal to please delete my comments as they seem to be misinterpreted. I am saying that we did what God wanted us to do. I believe Crystal when she says that she did what she felt God wanted her family to do. I am not trying to be argumentative. My comments were never directed at Crystal or meant to put her or her choices down in any way. I’m glad that she did what she was prompted to do. We all have our own paths in this life that is ours to take. Each path was divinely created for each us in order to provide us with the most growth.
        I’m glad that you did what you felt God had planned for you, Krystal. I too have complications with childbirth which have led us on a different course than we had planned. I too, as I said in my first comment, had to swallow my pride in order to apply for assistance. I know we are where we are because of God. His hand has been in every aspect of my life. He has protected me, provided for me, and blessed me in so many ways that I will be eternally indebted to Him. There have been so many times that we have not known how we were going to make it (even now despite being on government assistance) and God has provided for us in ways that we still don’t understand. They are miracles, and we are grateful for them.
        We all have done what we have done after much prayer. My wish is for those who need to take a different path to not feel that they are less of a person for having to take the path they must take.

  17. says

    Aww, man! I want to know what happens… delayed gratification stinks. ;) But, I’ll be back for Friday’s installment! :) Thanks for sharing your story! ♥ Michelle

  18. Marlana says

    Good post. You and I are kindred spirits on this issue. In fact, I just had a discussion the other day with some folks who seem to think that a person can be successful and not have failures. The last I checked all successful people have had failures. Incidentally, that’s why I found college so useless to real life application (outside getting a job). School awarded me for playing it safe, doing what I was told, and not making mistakes. In fact, making mistakes meant something was wrong with me. In real life, I learn and grow from my failures, and its by adventure and risk that I learn.

    I am going more along the lines of the investor, but your same ideas apply to both fields. Investing and businesses have so much in common, one being tax advantages. :) By relating to all the failures and struggles it takes to learn business and investing, I was bothered that so many people always speak of you as “lucky.”

    Many blessings to your family!

    • brookeb says

      @Marlana, Know that all colleges don’t necessarily follow this model. As a prof I have that option to structure my classes to reward different actions, including taking risks (in project topics, discussions, etc.) However, if a student takes a risk and that falls flat, a penalty would be akin to any penalty they would receive in the ‘real world’, no? To simply reward trying wouldn’t be like the real-world situation either.

      • Marlana says

        @brookeb, I taught English for two years. We had grades, and I did not like them because students were dependent on them (I tried to tell them not to worry about it). I am not saying it is wrong to go to college. I just found that grades created in me a fear of failure. 16 years of school will do that to most people (as the case with my students).

        Of course, in order to do well in business you also have to want to make the right decisions and have clear vision, but you can’t be paralyzed by the fear of a red pen either.

    • Marlana says

      @beth,
      start with Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Just take his principles…leave the ones you don’t like, but I guarantee it will give you a lot of ideas on how to support yourself without getting a job. I am a firm believer that any woman can be a work-at-home-mom by learning to leverage their time and money.

      • says

        Just for the record, I strongly disagree with much of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad books and think that many of his principles could bring financial ruin upon your family. I know many people who have tried his principles and only a handful who aren’t in pretty dire straits financially as a result.

        I do agree with his principle of working smarter, not harder. But I don’t think that comes from investing other people’s money. :)

        Dave Ramsey’s advice is not as exciting, but it’s much more grounded and solid — and has worked for hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom I know personally.

        • Marlana says

          @Crystal, Yeah, I agree. I’d be *very* cautious before borrowing money for a business. I would never tell someone to do that though I have known people to do that successfully. However, I would never advice that because business is a process one has to learn by failing, and its not wise to fail with other people’s money.

          But the principles that anyone can become creative and see business still stand. And that’s what I’m talking about. I apologize for not clarifying.

  19. says

    I’m glad to see the return of the Work-at-Home Mom series. I’ve felt very strongly since my first son was born that home is where I need to be spending most if not all of my time. My husband is right in the middle of graduate school and working for the school part-time. We can almost live off of what he makes, but then an emergency comes up or something happens that digs into the student loan stipend.

    I hate the feeling that I’m sitting on my hands when I could be doing some actual earning to keep our family afloat and maybe even save up to pay some tuition. I have a bachelor degree in music and keep hoping for more piano students to come my way, but the economy is still very slow where we live, and there’s just not the demand that I expected.

    What I’m gaining most from your story is that if a mom wants to work at home, the answer doesn’t often lie in one place only. I need to keep looking for and trying new things. I also need to be better at seeing God’s direction for me, working as hard as possible in what He wants me to do, and then trusting Him to provide.

    • Marlana says

      @Joanna @ Starving Student Survivor,

      how far are you from a city? you could rent a studio and hire piano teachers to teach piano with you getting a small sum of money. There are a lot of college students and people in the city who would like to teach but cannot because they do not have the space. If you could provide the space and leverage your time, it would work well. But that won’t work if you live too far away.

      • says

        @Marlana, I actually have experience teaching music classes. Someday I would love to rent a space and put in several keyboards and teach group piano lessons. But with a preschooler and toddler, I need to teach from home for now.

        We live in a small town, surrounded by rural area and even smaller towns. I have had a hard time even finding people who are interested in taking piano. My best hope is that the economy will pick up and families will have more room in their budgets for music lessons.

        • Marlana says

          @Joanna @ Starving Student Survivor, I totally and completely understand. I was actually trying to think of a plan that would allow you to not be away from the home much; however, a toddler and preschooler would definitely still be too much to handle such a feat.

          Yes, the economy should eventually pick back up. Blessings.

  20. says

    You know who should write a book about entrepreneurship? Crystal!

    And my 2 cents: While of course it’s a personal choice whether to accept government assistance, there are good reasons these programs were created and it’s no shame to use them for their intended purposes. Say there is a family with a parent in law school, who are less resourceful than Crystal’s family and aren’t able to make it through. If the parent quits law school and takes a dead-end job in order to support the family, is our society as a whole better off than if he or she had taken food stamps, stayed in school, and gotten that law degree?

    So far my family has been fortunate (and resourceful) and has never needed such assistance. I’m happy that some of my tax dollars go into various programs that help families that need them. Who knows, despite all our planning and hard work, maybe it will be us some day on the receiving end.

  21. says

    Crystal,

    Thanks so much for posting this! I’m excited to hear more! I have been trying to find a income working at home. I have a 22 month old and a 2 year old. We live in a small town. We moved from Nebraska to where family is in Tennessee in order to make ends meet. Thanks for letting me learn form your success and struggles. My husband has been looking for a job for two years (though right now he is working for his dad). It’s not a desired job but its a pay check. I’m blessed by learning all your money saving tips.

  22. says

    I think that anyone who takes time to read and follow Money Saving Mom is not the type of person who takes advantage (as in stay on it when they really can go out and work, etc.) of government assistance. I think that assistance is a good thing when it helps those who are really in need get out of a dire situation. If you use it to help you move ahead then it has done its job and then you can again start to pay in to help others who are in the same situation you were in.
    It is sad that those who abuse the system cast a shadow on those who really are in need.

  23. Mary says

    I greatly appreciate how truly Christian you are in your attitudes and behaviors. Though you feel strongly called to avoid government assistance yourself, it is obvious that you do not stand in judgment of those who use those programs. Thank you for your positive attitude and your fabulous blog! My budget might fall apart without your help!

  24. Cheryl says

    Ive been on here for a few months and maybe I’m naive but how do you make money w this blog? I dont pay. I read your advice and follow it.