Thriving in a One Income Family

When I am around my family, I sometimes feel like a freak of nature or an exotic specimen in a zoo. They are amazed by our one income family. Not the amazement that comes when you want to study or learn, it is more along the lines of the "let's go to the zoo and watch the monkeys do it." variety. (Yes, I just referenced MTV's The State. Never heard of it. That doesn't surprise me.) They usually like to make backhanded remarks saying, "I don't know how you guys do it, since you don't work." This is not even the post to get into whether or not what I do at home is "work" or not, that can be tackled some other day. I do say that we do more than fine for a one income family, they don't seem to believe us. I guess they just can't see how it is possible.
  
We are getting rid of our debt
I know, we have debt and that may not seem like the first great example in how well we are doing, but we are paying it off at a commendable speed. Once the debt is paid off all that money is going to great causes like our Roth IRA, an emergency fund and fully financed amazing vacations. Wizarding World of Harry Potter, anyone?

We are spending less than we make
This of course was not always the case, but it is now. It is also the biggie, because it isn't always easy to do. At this point we are spending significantly less than we make. We still buy things, just not as much. The children are involved in sports and clubs, the sailor and I go out on dates and we all get an allowance. We are not stuck at home staring at each other wishing we could go do something.
  
We contribute to a TSP
A TSP is a Thrift Savings Plan, it's a government equivalent to a 401k. Although, in the military they don't do matching contributions, but it is still a retirement plan. It comes directly out of the sailor's paycheck and we never even miss it.
  
We are bold in our frugality
There is no shame here in telling people about our goal to get out of debt and end up rock stars in retirement. We are proud to be without cable, to make homemade gifts for ourselves and others and not use credit cards to fund something we can't afford. We have a financial goal for ourselves and we are sticking to it.
   
We still give
At this point it is not a huge amount and we hope to give more. One thing that helps us give is doing it automatically, it comes out of the paycheck before we even see it. Not all of our giving is monetary either, we donate our time and items regularly.
  
We are happy
I have declared it, so it must be true. I didn't take a poll, but as I sit here writing this I can hear all three of my children laughing, they are playing a card game. The sailor is watching Mythbusters on Netflix and commenting about how people who think America faked the moon landing are crazy and making me giggle. Our house isn't ever really quiet but it is peaceful and joyful.

My biggest problem is their judgment in our direction. Maybe they assume we are poverty stricken, because we don't drive a flashy car or have $100 shoes for our children. Maybe they think I should be working to compensate for our destitute lifestyle. Which is hilarious to me, because they are all two income families with debt out the wazoo. The concept of saving and living below your means is completely foreign to them. They say things like "life is too short" and "you only live once" which I feel over simplify the situation. Yes, they are right, life is short, so why do I want to be worried with debt, when it is now something that can be easily avoided.

I know one income families can survive and thrive, we are proof.