I was given a review copy by B&H Publishing in exchange for a fair review.
Homeschoolers, single-income families, and many Americans struggle with balancing their budget. It's not always because they are not being wise with their money. Art Rainer argues in his book Find More Money that often times there is an income issue rather than a spending issue. When you can't cut any more corners or make those pennies stretch any further, you might just need to find more money.
About six years ago, my family was in that same position. It was really fun to read this book because it described our journey and some of the ways that God has provided opportunities for us to not just meet our basic needs, but to live generously. That is what I think is the power of this message. It is really rewarding to be a conduit of God's goodness to others. I'll share our story and encourage you to read this book if you relate!
Where We Were Financially
In 2014 my husband was working hard to finish his Masters of Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. This is a 120 hour masters program...it took him six years. At the end of that journey we had to get really creative with income streams. Here were some of the things he was juggling while taking a full load of classes:
- teaching music lessons
- waiting tables at Chili's
- wood working/selling on Etsy
- tutoring for Classical Conversations
- interning at our local church
What was I doing to help our family income? Homeschooling. If you're not a homeschooler, you need to know that that is actually a job that acts more like an expense than an income! And it keeps you from actually earning in other ways!
We were content though. Even though we didn't have all of the resources, we knew we were where God wanted us to be.
In Find More Money, Rainer tells stories of people who were just like us. He defines the problem as a "disappearance of margin"—where 40% of Americans can't cover a $400 emergency expense. When you find yourself in this kind of situation, Rainer encourages you to find a side gig.
The "Gig" That Worked
In 2015 a friend of mine encouraged me to start a blog as an income stream. So I did. I took my experiences from homeschooling and started sharing them. At first my income was minimal, but I did get some curriculum for free which lowered my expenses. That was a positive swing.
Rainer encourages that the hope is in the Provider. It actually isn't about how much you make, but what God wants to do with your life through the resources He provides you to work with.
It was a sacrifice to devote my free time to working on building my blog. Homeschooling is an exhausting enterprise! Blogging (or any side gig for that matter) is not a miracle solution. It takes hard work, patience, persistence, maintenance, and a willing to fail.
But it is also fun and rewarding. According to Rainer, you need to find something that connects your passion, skills, and opportunities. My blog did that for me.
Not only has my side gig blessed my family financially, but it set us up to live generously through unexpected trials.
In 2016 my sister, who was my homeschooling best friend, was killed by a drunk driver. With this new income source, my husband was able to quit his Chili's gig and stand in the gap with me for my four nieces and nephew. It freed our time to serve them, and it provided income to help feed five extra people. God knew we'd need that and He is so good to provide.
I remember not long after that looking at my son, who was soon to graduate high school, and saying, "You're going to have to figure out a way to pay for your college because I don't think we can help you!" Then God gave us the idea for Latin with Andy, and his side gig started in the summer of 2017.
Three years later it has turned into a full time gig for our whole family. The true blessing is that we're freed to give our time and energy in other areas.
- Andy can take a full load of classes and serve his community because his bill is covered.
- My husband can continue to tutor for Classical Conversations because his time is flexible
- We can support missions generously, open our home consistently, and travel frequently because God has allowed us to.
Find More Money - Book Benefits
This is an easy read - I actually read it in one evening! I love that Rainer weaves stories through his practical advice. I feel like he put in book form what we experienced. If you're feeling overwhelmed and burdened by finances, this book is a great place to start to give you inspiration for finding your own side gig.
Here are some of my favorite features:
- Walk through a strategy for developing a "Find More Money" goal
- Find hundreds of ideas and inspirations for making money on the side that fits your skill set and personality
- Learn how to develop a mind for business
- Get tips for how to build your business
Our world is changing and there are so many opportunities for making a little extra money that will free you up to follow God in some of the pursuits that don't pay as well in money, but are so rich and rewarding in other ways.
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.