My father-in-law recently went on a medical mission to the jungles of Honduras where a team of local doctors, medical staff, and ordinary people helped meet the medical needs of the people there. His job was to fit people for glasses. (Of course he’s also the Worlds Best Gran-Dad so he was a hit with the kids.) One of his teammates took this photograph. What is astounding is that this is one family! At the teams best count they had eleven children. What is more astounding is that the average income in Honduras is about $920 per year. It makes me wonder “How do they make it?”
I remember quite vividly the night at dinner when my wife told me that she was expecting our first child. It was wonderful! (She was very creative but I won’t go into detail here.) We were DINK’s(Dual Income No Kids). That means that we had disposable income every payday and were in want for nothing. A child was no problem in my mind. Fast forward 20 months……. we are now SIK(Single Income with Kid) homeowners. Most of our DINK savings has now gone into the down payment on our house to keep the payment low enough for our new budget. It is at this time that my wife again tells me that she’s expecting our second child. Only this time I’m not as thrilled. My first thought was “How are we going to afford another child?” “I’ve already got our budget down to minute details such as how much we spend on a real Christmas Tree each year!” Fast forward another 22 months….. I’m still planning to spend $45 on our Christmas Tree in December not to mention the rest of our budget is tweaked out to allow room for family educational expenses, recreational activities, Clifford the Big Red Dog Birthday Parties, diapers, baby food, and $50 per month in clothing for the whole family.
But it wasn’t until I was forced to that I created a budget and decided together with my wife to stick with it. Without it I would be very stressed out and worrying every month if I would be able to see any savings or worse yet that I’m spending more than I’m brining home. Now, I know that as long as we stick to our budget the savings will eventually come and my family will be provided for. There’s an assurance there that I am in control of my financial destiny. If anyone is interested I’d be happy to share my personal budget spreadsheet. It works for us. Without it we wouldn’t make it.
So how do Honduran families make it? I guess the they don’t have as many distractions to budget for. There’s just the distraction of feeding all the kids so they don’t starve! Then there’s the need to provide basic shelter and medical care such as my father-in-law’s team gave. I’m not sure there is any need to save for college or if they even have a credit union or bank to use in their neck of the woods if they did want to try and save some money.
BTW: I hope that we have more children in our future. I know that no matter how empty they make my wallet, my heart will always be full because of them.