Hello! We are Chris and Angela Aitken.
We are high school sweethearts, best friends, and homeschool our three children. All while running our family businesses. (Yes, I said businessES. Plural!)
It all began with a dream. To live sustainably through our own business while helping others, and to teach our children how to do the same.
A few years ago, we sold our home and moved into a (much) less expensive living situation. We then took a leap of faith and Chris left his full-time job (we don’t necessarily recommend doing this btw) to start his own video production business serving non-profit organizations. It was not easy and we had to learn how to live as frugally as possible to make ends meet.
We even lost nearly everything due to a moldy rental home situation that also cost Angela her health but led to learning how to self-heal for less out of sheer desperation. (She’s now mostly recovered)
For awhile we lived frugally (read: deprived) with very little happiness or hope. But then we started budgeting differently than we ever had before (stay with me now, this is where it gets good). And even though we had been “careful” with our money all along, we really started figuring out how to have fun and THRIVE while living within our means.
And this ALL on a single income. Because even though it has been tempting for me (Angela) to work (and at times I did have my own private side business as a physical therapist), we truly believed I should stay home to educate our children. In fact, every time we started to pursue a different course … me looking for even part-time work outside the home and checking out schools for the kids, the doors would close. BOOM.
But sacrifices are not forever.
So while we have spent the last several years learning from our mistakes, we have held onto the hope that our frugality and hard work would one day pay off.
We have saved up a downpayment for a home (more on that in another post). We live on a single non-profit salary (less than $50K/year), and have three kids. We have no debt.
We’ve started multiple family home businesses (with NO debt). We’ve learned how to budget in a way that’s simple, sustainable, and FUN. Even though we don’t have a huge income, we have figured out how to buy organic and (mostly) gluten free for our family of 5.
We realized that our generation is all about SAVING money. And our parents’ generation seems more about MAKING money. So while we would focus on one area (saving) and also try to get a business going to meet our basic needs, we weren’t really thriving. It wasn’t until we put everything TOGETHER that we started to see the fruits of our labor.
Like I said, we have family home businesses …
This blog … which has evolved from a health/fitness focus to family finance … like me.
Video production for small businesses and non-profits. My husband is also a motion graphics artist and works full-time for a non-profit company in addition to his own production business. And we film weddings together. (Nothing like a romantic date that pays. 😉 )
And most recently, we launched our family coppersmithing business, Big C Copper
We are super excited to see where it leads. It has been such a great creative outlet for all of our family and has given us a lot of opportunity to get our kids involved in the hands-on aspects of creating handcrafted copper home goods and gifts. (more on Big C in another post)