I work part time now but my contract ends in May and I'm expecting #2. I would love to stay at home, DH is concerned about finances. Just wondering how most people are doing on one income...I'm personally willing to make the financial sacrifice because I think it's worth it. If you're financially comfortable, please share some insights with us about how you've managed!
What is your financial situation?
Poll Results: How are you doing financially?
10% (10)We are really struggling and in financial crisis
23% (23)We have to watch every penny but we are getting by
26% (25)We live simply but are comfortable
29% (28)We are able to afford some extras and live comfortably
10% (10)We are very secure financially
Not really answering the question but I would make sure his employment is secure. 6 years ago I stayed home after giving birth and in the end did go back to work because my hubby is a freelance writer. In good times, things are good but in bad times, its definitely not good. I will say I think it's important to have an emergency fund for emergencies. Also do a test run, try living on one income for a while before you make the official leap.
I voted getting by, but I think we'd be "simple but comfortable" if we weren't paying mountains of students loans. We also have relatively low housing costs, and I think that has a HUGE impact. AND we're better off now than we've ever been in the past, since we were students pre-baby. I think it's easier to live on less if you're not used to spending more, you know? I agree with the PP - try living on one income (factoring in the additional money you'd have from childcare, your commute, etc.) and see how it works. At best, you'll see that you can easily manage on one salary. At worst, you'll add some money to your savings while you're doing the trial. Good luck!
Ah, crud..I voted before I read.
If I did not work we would live simply but comfortable
One thing I did that did help us to be comfortable was do very sporadic jobs. Elections, census, planting trees - I did all before this before returning to work part time.
Edited by purslaine - 11/16/11 at 4:59am
THis year we are in the watch every penny camp. Started with 6 months of unemployment. Half of dh's work income goes into paying off our (informal) mortgage to my dad, with whom we are far behind (not that he would forclose or anything, lol, but we don't feel right not paying up). The other income we had, which was rental, has pretty much dried up completely. *Nobody* is paying rent. Eviction costs money. One woman has been living in the house and only paid rent 5 months out of the year (spread out, to string us along, lol) and won't leave even though the heating system doesn't work--and dh can't pay to fix it right now because....nobody's been paying rent. gah.
This month our available income for living on was $800. If we hadn't had savings, we'd be utterly wiped out at this point. Hoping next month is a little better.
I would say we live simply but comfortably. My dh has a secure job and doesn't make a fortune and we manage just fine. We have a strict budget and we stick to it. I think that's the key. When we first started out on one income, we seemed to be struggling every month. Now we know exactly how much we can spend on groceries, cable, clothes, gas, etc. It's a lifesaver. We can't go on lavish vacations or anything but we're comfortable with the way we live.
We are in the few extras category. We are able to live extremely cheap. That is our bonus. We have paid off good cars too- so that is really nice. We try to really watch our money- but we did splurge a little bit this fall on a new mattress and new laptop for me and iPad for DH. But that has been a really long time coming :)
i voted for simple but comfortable, but i honestly think we are living with a few extras. my husband is able to buy an older wagoneer outright just because he wants to. each month we buy stuff we have wanted for a while (he just graduated and got a job) and we dont worry about having money for food, rent or bills any longer. we have paid off old bills, and are now buying things like washer/dryer (used!) and will be able to afford christmas.
i think that the old definition of getting by is the new definition of having extra money, if you know what i mean.
We're somewhere between counting pennies and simple/comfortable - depends on how I'm feeling :) But, DH has a stable job, and we did just buy a house last year. Things like paying for a homebirth or doing work on the house really cut into the paycheck, and we have to schedule out when we can pay which bills, but on the other hand we can pay for those things. I would probably just feel more comfortable if we were renting and knew our housing expenses would be more predictable.
Hubby works (mid-30s), I (late 20's) SAH with DS and am due with #2 in late April. It's only possible for me to SAH because my hubby is really good at his highly specialized job skill, so his job was/is very secure. That said, he still felt great hesitation with his new role as SOLE provider. Now, he's fine with it and really likes that I'm home with our son. We live quite comfortably, bought our version of dream house a couple months ago, have renovated the kitchen cash, and buy the items we need/want, dine out whenever/wherever we want, pay bills early, have memberships to museums, martial arts classes, etc, are able to give to charities that are meaningful to us, are able to afford preschool, babysitters, etc. **Just to give the full picture though - my hubby's not the biggest 'planner' so we should be doing a lot *more* - setting aside more in our Roth IRAs, saving for replacing our HVAC systems, etc. So even being 'comfortable' is not necessarily our goal!
For us, it's possible because:
1) We denied ourselves a lot of things early in our marriage that other people our age were splurging on because they thought it was essential. Things like big weddings, new cars, exotic vacations, etc. As a result, we have almost no debt (student loans and cars were paid off very quickly).
2) We have never been 'keep-up-with-the-Jones' people. We have 2 small sedans, most of our furniture is craigslist, 70% of my wardrobe is thrifted, and so on - although, you'd never know.
3) Generally, we're bargain shoppers. We eat very well, eating hormone-free meats, shopping farmers markets & WFs, and pick berries at local farms, but for any items NOT on the 'dirty dozen' list, we shop Aldi or Costco. We don't drive more than we need to. My hubby buys almost all of his MANY books used on Amazon.
4) We're a team in everything - we have all our money together and are big 'partners'. In that, we don't spend splurge in secret, or live on credit, etc. And we usually don't spend more than about $50 without discussing whether it's really necessary.
However, if you're asking for ADVICE on HOW to switch to SAH:
1) First, be sure you'd really be *happy* being at home all the time, and that it's not some role you'll end up resenting.
2) I'd highly recommend a 'trial run' before the official change (like another mom above suggested). Especially looking up SuzeOrman's Budget calculator! We're not 'budget' people, but it was very helpful to draw up 2 different budgets of before/after to see it all on paper first. It's VERY comprehensive, even little things like newspaper subscriptions, car insurance, clothes/glasses, medications, etc.
3) Having an emergency fund 3months longer than how long it would take your hubby to find another job, and to work together as a team in everything.
4) If it's important to you to re-enter the workforce someday plan ahead by getting reference letters now, being sure to budget in any required continuing ed courses for licenses, etc.
Best wishes :-)
Edited by creddy - 11/28/11 at 6:42pm
We're just starting to come out of a financial crisis and are watching pennies but basically ok right now. We would be just fine on dh's income but for my becoming disabled a few years ago and racking up a lot of medical expenses. Some things you just can't predict, or cover comfortably even if you could predict them. But we're doing our best and heading in the right direction (knock on wood).
We live comfortably and can afford a few extras.
We purchased a home this year, and could have spent more money than we did. We had the normal extra expenses that come with getting a new house (installing a new faucet and garbage disposal, we ended up getting a new bed, etc.) and had a few tight months while DH's old house was on the market (we ended up refinancing and are now renting it out and making a small profit, that is being saved for when something in that house needs maintaining.)
With the cost of daycare, especially because I'm due to give birth in the next six weeks, it's much more advantageous, monetarily, for me to stay home. We live in an extremely low cost-of-living area, but with the cost of before/after care for DD6, and two kids in daycare, it would wipe out any money I would make at any job. I do feel like it's my contribution to the budget to make sure that I don't overspend, I cook from scratch to save money, I tend to the garden, etc.
We have room in our budget for things that other people see as necessities, but we choose to live frugally. My MIL always thinks that we're having money problems, because she hears about us shopping at thrift stores and consignment sales for clothes for us and the kids, having small Christmas/birthdays/holidays, staying at "cheap motels" when we go on trips, always driving and not flying, etc. In fact, she brings in - between her late husband's pension and Social Security - about 1/3 of what DH does, but outside of our mortgage payment, she spends WAY more on "stuff" than we do. We're always shocked at how much she manages to spend at the grocery store, when I'm shopping for four and I spend a fraction of what she does.
Our cars are both 8+ years old and paid off, I rarely buy anything that's not on sale, we use the library a TON (they know DH by name there...I just put the books I need for homeschooling or whatever on hold, and he picks them up), and we have a big garden. We recently went vegan, which has really helped out on the eating out...that part of our budget has really gotten lower since we turned vegan, because it's just too hard to find restaurants where we can find food that we can eat!
DH is getting a sizable Christmas bonus this year, and after discussing it, we've decided to just bank most of it. DH's laptop is 5+ years old and has seen better days, and he really wants a new laptop, but I have spent several days just trying to talk him into using HIS bonus for something for HIM. There will be plenty leftover, but it's taken some persuading for him to get himself what he wants. We don't count on the bonus coming through and don't figure it into our budget.
As a previous poster mentioned, we're not keep-up-with-the-Jones' kind of people. DH's brother has purchased two Coach purses for his wife this year, among other things that she demanded. I see no reason for a SAHM to have even one designer purse. This past Valentine's Day, Zales had a diamond heart necklace that could be pre-ordered for $19. On Black Friday, I saw a Swarovski crystal necklace that I really liked (I'm picky about my jewelry) that was $19, that DH ordered for me to be given on Valentine's Day. Now we joke that we have to have a Valentine's Day tradition where I get a $20 necklace. We find that to be amusing. :) We get a kick out of going to consignment sales on 1/2 off day and coming home with bags of clothes and rarely spending more than $30, while SIL dresses her kids in ONE outfit that costs more than that. But I think that's more of a mentality that you either have or you don't...you either begrudgingly go thrifting, or you find it fun and exciting. We also don't buy a lot of "stuff." I go grocery shopping and that's about it.
Last year, I was a single mom, with no child support, and I was living off a tiny percentage of the money that DH makes. Forget a retirement account or savings; I was lucky to get all of the bills paid every month. I have admittedly had a hard time transitioning to a life where I don't have to worry about the electric bill and the water bill both being paid in the same month.
Afford extras and live comfortably. Just like the other mommies reply, we never got a flashy ring (we actually don't have a wedding ring at all), had a wedding, bought a house or car, so we have no debt. We lease (so no property tax) our home and car. Hubby works full time, 7-4pm and I stay at home full time. I always splurge on groceries and will buy clothes for AE here and there. I mostly make all our holiday gifts or buy her books off Amazon. Hubby gets payed well, but I prefer to have money saved, then spend it.
As of now, we are also planning on homeschool and not having another baby, so that definitely helps with us saving money.
I agree wholeheartedly with redbirdlady on this one!
We have room in our budget for things that other people see as necessities, but we choose to live frugally. ... I think that's more of a mentality that you either have or you don't...you either begrudgingly go thrifting, or you find it fun and exciting. We also don't buy a lot of "stuff." I go grocery shopping and that's about it.
Even though my husband grew up never having to worry about money, my family was always below the poverty line and struggling. However, my mom always made thrifting, yard saling, and bargain hunting fun for us. I've never needed things to be happy, so even things like gift-giving between my husband and me just aren't important. That said, we have discussed many times how there are things we will not compromise on - like the quality of our diet, living in a safe neighborhood/good school district, and gift-giving to others, and so on.
I've been a sahm for 11 years. During that that time we've had a period where we were in a major financial crises and periods where we were very comfortable. Right now it isn't much of a struggle.
We are careful about spending money but we are able to live within our means without being deprived of necessities. We do not use credit cards. We do have some savings. We have one car. We do not eat out often. Dh takes lunch from home. We don't take vacations or spend a lot of money on entertainment.
I would track how you are spending your money now and see where you can cut back.
Realize that if you both do work you may have expenses that you won't have if one of you is a sahp.
I voted "we are struggling." Dp is working two jobs and I SAH with the girls. Since I homeschool, putting the girls in school/daycare for me to get a job isn't an option. I know that the majority of our problem is due to ourselves. Spending money when we shouldn't and our biggest problem... going out to eat! I think we are at our breaking point though, our relationship is suffering because of all of the stress we are putting on ourselves via our bad choices. Hopefully with tax returns we can get caught up/paid up and then be okay.