Friday, January 4, 2013

Staying home--the financials

I am at a point in my life where I can provide insights and perspective by sharing what I've learned during the wild, lean years of motherhood. Who knows? Maybe some of these writings will help someone. I also want to reaffirm my dedication to frugality and continuous learning as this new year begins. Wheee!

So many people are spinning their wheels. Working. Rushing. Crabby.

That used to be me:
worked full time;
attended college part time (to stay competitive, after all);
squeezed out a baby now and then;
used childcare; and
tackled household chores in my spare time, if ever.

Heck with that noise.

My husband's job relocation during the same year as the birth of our second baby forced me to quit my full-time job a few years ago.

I haven't looked back.

I wonder if others are spinning their wheels for no reason. There isn't much time to strategize while one is in "reaction mode."

When a family considers living on one income, they typically do the "daycare" math. Income minus daycare expenses is the logical first calculation. That answer is often surprising and life-changing.

If I worked outside the home, my salary would probably just pay for the conveniences associated with my working. Any money left over wouldn't amount to much.

Those conveniences weren't considered in our initial calculations, but I know how things work. Good intentions are no match for stress and exhaustion. Oftentimes eating fast foods and frozen dinners and mindlessly buying clothes and gifts would happen, because there was no time to create alternatives.

Here is our story:

Just after our second child was born, a job relocation put us in a town where we had no family or friends. I was uncomfortable searching for daycare when I didn't know anyone who could offer suggestions of good caregivers. I didn't have a job lined up, anyway.

We felt confident our fixed expenses (plus a little extra) would be covered with one salary. Everything else was pinched and budgeted.

Pinching and budgeting became my job.

Things changed big time. We couldn't consume as we had. Household expenditures such as food were strictly budgeted. Cooking from scratch became habit as did gifting from scratch and entertaining from scratch. Breast feeding and using cloth diapers relieved some spending. Big ticket items like new tires or a new mattress were budgeted months in advance.

I read The Tightwad Gazette books cover-to-cover REPEATEDLY. Author Amy Dacyczyn became my hero.

We are fortunate we never got in over our heads with expensive mortgages or debt. It doesn't take much to make us happy. We are go-with-the-flow type people and are definitely NOT high maintenance. (High maintenance people probably say that, too. Ha.)

We weren't able to put much money in the bank at first. It was our goal to simply stretch that one income to cover our needs. Things got easier as time progressed.

I stay home because it's best for our family; but by my NOT having a job there is one more job available for someone else. So there's that, too.

Stay tuned for:
Staying home--the human aspect
Staying home--budgeting in detail
Staying home--home-based businesses. Oh boy--I've tried THEM ALL. :)

Are you currently staying home? Would you rather work outside the home? Please share your story!!

(Also stay tuned for my super-duper awesome secret launching sometime around March.)
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  1. Right there with you! Leaving my full-time job to stay at home ended up paying us off in many ways. I did a lot of "from scratch," too, but wanted to, as far as that goes, but a lot of previous expenses got eliminated, as you said. And over the years that, the better financial discipline we developed, and learning to walk faithful to God in things monetary seemed to be what prospered us the best (not to forget God's grace). We never got "rich" as the stats would define it, but we've "lived rich." Not everyone can do this, I know (for a few years I couldn't, though I wanted to), and it may not be for everyone, but I feel we've been so blessed by it.

  2. Sylvia: Sounds like we're kindred spirits. The non-monetary riches are worth so much more! It also took me many years of wishing to stay home before circumstances pretty much dictated it. Interesting how things come about, huh? *wink* Have a lovely day!