Originally Posted by Cynthia Mosher
There seems to be an assumption about parents who live an attachment parenting and natural family living lifestyle that they are well-to-do, making it easy for them to afford the expense of their choices. I get the feeling that's not really the truth, that many are in the middle or lower income levels and having to really budget and make careful choices to afford some of their parenting goals.
Well, on the surface in this small survey, it looks like the top incomes have the most respondents. But I'm not really sure where people get the idea that to be natural, you have to have money. Sure, if you want to buy those expensive all-organic mattresses, organic bedding, etc. The only thing that costs us more is our food, and that is mainly because my allergies prevent me from making more vegetarian options, and preferences keep me from buying a side of local beef to freeze. But what makes the biggest difference is our low housing cost.
I answered in the 20,000+ range, but our net income is closer to 19,000 or less, and our taxable income ranges from 11,000 to 14,000 (we are self-employed).
It would be my guess that even if lots of AP/natural parents are low income, they aren't in poverty and they are from financially stable families with access to decent education.
For us, what helps is that we've had some good financial luck that, yes, began with some family help. ILs help dh buy a house in Seattle in 1988. He bought out their portion, and we sold the house for an obscene profit in 2006, allowing us to put a huge down payment on a house near our property. That lowered our mortgage. Having enough of a reliable income (though very low) allowed us to keep up with credit card payments and we were able to refinance recently, lowering payments even more. Our cars are used and paid in full (thanks to a refinance years before). Those together make our yearly income livable.
But they aren't the only choices that make a difference. We have internet and a basic phone and bare-bones cell service (one phone), but no smart phone, no cable or satellite TV. I don't subscribe to magazines or buy books. I use the library extensively. Our entertainment expenses are very low. We don't travel far, and in that regard we are fortunate to have family close by. We buy used as much as possible. We keep spending on lessons as low as we can. We are unschoolers, so no big investment in curriculum. We also don't spend a lot in veterinary care. And we could do better still, with some tweaking. DSHS pays for the girls insurance. The only unfortunate part of the income picture is that dh and I were dropped off subsidized insurance due to an inheritance, and I haven't visited the dentist in a while. We are still working out some income issues, but I'm not really sure how NFP needs to be dependent upon income, with the exception of groceries which, despite what some people say, can easily be far more expensive than conventional, especially if one parent can't stay home for whatever reason. (Yes, conventional can be expensive, but if I had a non-organic whole foods diet, that would be extra cheap!)
I'm curious how other people manage to make "natural" choices on a tight (or non-existant) budget, or if they've really had to make "sacrifices". And for those on the higher income scale, do you think that it allows you to make some of the choices you wouldn't have otherwise?