What is your household's yearly income? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: What is your households yearly income?
Less than $25,000 62 10.39%
$25,000 - $35,000 66 11.06%
$35,000 - $45,000 73 12.23%
$45,000 - $55,000 62 10.39%
$55,000 - $65,000 54 9.05%
$65,000 - $75,000 72 12.06%
$85,000 - $95,000 69 11.56%
$95,000 or more 139 23.28%
Voters: 597. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 124 Old 04-08-2010, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just curious what everyone annual income is. Do you struggle financially because you stay at home? Do you have any sort of government assistance?

I'm currently staying at home with my dd and I would like to be able to stay home with her long enough to home school her a few years, but I don't know that our finances will allow it.

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#2 of 124 Old 04-08-2010, 09:51 PM
 
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I think that you are going to find that numbers vary widely depending on COL.
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#3 of 124 Old 04-08-2010, 10:03 PM
 
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I agree that cost of living plays a big part (and of course, how much debt/bills one has). I've been a SAHM for over 9 years - even when DH made $11 an hour. We've struggled financially at times, sure, but now we are at a much better place, and very comfortable livng off just one income.

There are so many factors to consider. Did the couple work for years and years saving and planning to have a SAHP? Or did they have babies soon after highschool (like DH and I did), which tends to mean they don't have the same debt an older couple has (ie student loans, life insurance, mortgage, credit card bills, retirement funds to contribute to, etc.). Because I can imagine how hard it can be to go from living with two needed incomes, that you have budgeted your lifestyle counting on, and then suddenly have to cut that in half, or pay for daycare.

It's definitely easier to be a SAHP with a higher income, but there are also families who make it work on very little, and others who can't pull it off even though their wages are pretty good.

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#4 of 124 Old 04-08-2010, 10:10 PM
 
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DH earns a good living at 40-45k annually. We never really had 2 incomes so we don't know the difference. I do know that childcare would eat up half what I could earn, though, and me not being here to cook from scratch, grow food, mend clothes, and make things we need would mean many extra costs. We don't struggle, though we try not to run out and buy everything we want right away because that would land us in debt we couldn't dig out of.
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#5 of 124 Old 04-08-2010, 10:19 PM
 
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We sacrifice a lot to have me SAH with the children. We do not come any where near "keeping up with the Jones" but for right now, our lifestyle makes us happy.

I started SAH because I got fired when my 6 yo dd was born so we had no savings, nothing. I had always earned more than my DH and it had never even crossed my mind that I might SAH. After a couple of months of being able to do it financially, we agreed that it would be better for me to SAH if we could swing it.

We've never looked back and even have savings now. We do not receive any government assistance (although I believe we do qualify for some things) and live on a very tight budget.
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#6 of 124 Old 04-08-2010, 11:39 PM
 
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We certainly have struggled financially. Right now our income is still low but we don't struggle per say, because we are debt free and intentionally keep our bills very low. The kids and I have been on and off medicaid, for a while it was secondary to dh's work insurance (which I was glad to do because I don't *like* using government aid at all)

The COL in are area certainly makes all the difference. Although still, people making double and triple what dh makes struggle here. Some of it's COL, some of it's choices.
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#7 of 124 Old 04-09-2010, 12:18 AM
 
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I don't discuss dh's income. We receive just slightly over the median income for our area. We also have four kids. We're not really struggling, as such, but we're certainly not comfortable, either.

It's not really a sacrifice for me to stay at home. If I went back to work, we'd have more school costs (dd1 is homeschooling, and ds2 will be in September). I'd have my transportation, clothing and outside food costs (I'm sure I'd end up eating out for lunch at least occasionally, when I forgot, and I'd have to maintain a way "better" wardrobe than I personally want). We'd probably end up eating out more - not a lot, but more than we do now. We'd have childcare costs. I doubt we'd come out ahead financially, and we'd be way more time crunched. I don't do well under time crunches, and I hated being a WOHM.

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#8 of 124 Old 04-09-2010, 07:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ticklemegreen View Post
Just curious what everyone annual income is. Do you struggle financially because you stay at home? Do you have any sort of government assistance?

I'm currently staying at home with my dd and I would like to be able to stay home with her long enough to home school her a few years, but I don't know that our finances will allow it.
My dh makes a good living, we are very comfortable but we always have been and a few years ago he made half what he is making now and we lived in a very high COL area. When our first was a baby he made about $30k a year. I have never felt like we were struggling financially and we have never been on government assistance, but we never had two incomes so there was no adjusting and we have always lived within our means, neither of us came to the marriage with any debt and we married young. The Navy put my dh through school, we did not want to take out student loans or ask our parents for financial assistance.
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#9 of 124 Old 04-09-2010, 08:24 PM
 
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My DH makes $110k a year. We live in an area where COL is pretty high, so you really need to make that much just to buy modest a house. We live okay, but have to watch what we spend and keep a tight budget.

My best friend's family lives on one income of about $38k and they manage in a cheap apartment. If you really want to stay home there's often a way. I was a single, sahm mom for several years before I got married. I lived on less than $20k per year for several years. If there's a will, there's a way.

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#10 of 124 Old 04-09-2010, 08:35 PM
 
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We live in an area with a pretty low COL, but we struggle at times. Dh works two jobs because even if I were to get a job all I would make would be enough to cover childcare and my car payment) (because we wouldn't get a large tax refund to cover the cost of my car.) I really regret buying it now, but at this point we're pretty well stuck with it. We were getting to a point where we were comfortable and able to buy things that we didn't really need, but were helpful (camera gear and such) but dh injured his shoulder and had to go to physical therapy that is costing us $200 a month and then today we had to get plates, and tags for our cars, I needed a new license, and we had to pay sales tax on the used car we had to buy because dh's died right after Christmas. We are gonna be on an extremely tight budget for the next month. Ugh.

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#11 of 124 Old 04-09-2010, 08:58 PM
 
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Cost of living is one thing, taxes are another. My husband is taxed 49% .. so even though he makes a good salary, he is essentially working 6 months for nothing. It's a little depressing. Quebec has a great maternity / paternity / parental leave (1 year, 6 months 70% 6 months 55% of income - tax free), and also has great child care benefits (everyone qualifies for something, but less if you make more etc). DD is 7 months, so when my maternity leave ends we will feel a little tighter, but I'm definitely not going back to work. Quebec also has $7 a day daycare, but even with all of that, it makes more sense for me to stay at home, any income I would make would just push us into the next tax bracket, so we would be taxed over 50%.

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#12 of 124 Old 04-10-2010, 01:18 AM
 
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Our income has really varied over the years. After nine years of being married, we've had years where we made $17k, $42k, $25k and $68k, etc.

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#13 of 124 Old 04-10-2010, 01:32 AM
 
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We struggle for me to SAH. Our house and cars are paid off thankfully(used my inheritance), otherwise I have no clue what we would do.
Dh made 33k last year, average for the area. He will probably make closer to 28k this year b/c he works for the state and they have stopped paying overtime. We had to get on gov't assistance when the state stopped paying him OT, it cut out 800$ a mth and we couldn't do it. So yes, we have Food Stamps and the kids get WIC. And my middle son gets SSI for disability and that pays for his medical bills.

We have talked about me going into the workforce when our middle son starts prek3 next year, but it depends if I can find a job that will let me take off for all of our son's therapy appts.

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#14 of 124 Old 04-10-2010, 01:40 AM
 
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I second what others have said about cost of living/debt/savings. Wre live in a low COL area. Our tiny $22,000 a year would not make it in other places. But for the most part we make it work. Their is nothing left over and it's very tight, but the basics are covered. We live simply (no cellphones or cable), pay as much as we can with the tax return - like car insurance and other big purchases, like good shoes for hubby, carseat upgrades, flea stuff for the dogs, so on.

Yes, we recieve food stamps and wic. They help temendously, but if it wasn't for the child support we have to pay (more than our rent!) we would not need the food stamps.

eta: after reading others thought I'd add. Our cars are paid for, so is our trailer. We currently pay lot rent and a payment on land (those two are what I refered to as 'rent' above).

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#15 of 124 Old 04-10-2010, 01:46 AM
 
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My DH makes $110k a year. We live in an area where COL is pretty high, so you really need to make that much just to buy modest a house. We live okay, but have to watch what we spend and keep a tight budget.

My best friend's family lives on one income of about $38k and they manage in a cheap apartment. If you really want to stay home there's often a way. I was a single, sahm mom for several years before I got married. I lived on less than $20k per year for several years. If there's a will, there's a way.
I agree, I think if you really want to stay home you will find a way. I know that's not always a popular belief.

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#16 of 124 Old 04-10-2010, 07:03 PM
 
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I agree, I think if you really want to stay home you will find a way. I know that's not always a popular belief.
I don't think it's always true. The post you quoted mentioned being a single, stay-at-home mom on an income of under $20K. I got by for several years on $20K-$25K, as well...but I was WOH. If I'd been home, it would have been less than half that. The only possible way to have done it would have been to move into subsidized housing, and there are always wait lists.

I do think being a SAHM is much more doable than many people think it is, and that being willing to make some sacrifices can be necessary...but there are limits.

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#17 of 124 Old 04-10-2010, 10:08 PM
 
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Our family of 5 gets by on 36k. Last year, dh's hours were cut and we had to go onto Food Stamps for a few months. His hours have been increased back to full time now and I'm working online, so we're coming off the aid this month. And we just paid off our cc debt! Yay!

It can definitely be done. We make a lot less than our neighbors, but we spend a lot less too. And we have excellent credit, so that helped us to find a house payment that was only $10 month more than rent for a 3 bdr apt in our area.

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#18 of 124 Old 04-10-2010, 10:39 PM
 
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I won't give numbers but we had a *very* low income last year.

We are on Medicaid but no other gov. assistance.

We live in a home owned by my mil so we have no rent payment. Our family is happy to help out when we need it, though ideally we would like to be totally self-sufficient in our finances.

We are struggling, but not so much from my staying home as from my husband not having a lot of work in the last year.

Staying with my children and homeschooling are non-negotiable issues for us, but I have run the numbers and we would be somewhere like $20,000 in debt at the end of the year if I was employed and had to pay for daycare.

We do what we can to keep costs low and bring income in.

We don't have a phone line and use prepaid cell-phones, we are in the process of putting a large garden in our yard which will hopefully supply a large amount of our produce plus extra to sell, we take scrap metal and aluminum to sell at the junkyard a couple of times a year, I work 3-4 hours a week out of the home which doesn't bring in much but it helps, I shop the sales at grocery stores which right now means I have about 50lbs. of potatoes sitting in my kitchen which cost me less than $3 and will feed our family for couple of weeks, I have sold stuff on Ebay, have made a few dollars here and there from affiliate programs, etc...
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#19 of 124 Old 04-10-2010, 11:09 PM
 
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I don't think it's always true. The post you quoted mentioned being a single, stay-at-home mom on an income of under $20K. I got by for several years on $20K-$25K, as well...but I was WOH. If I'd been home, it would have been less than half that. The only possible way to have done it would have been to move into subsidized housing, and there are always wait lists.

I do think being a SAHM is much more doable than many people think it is, and that being willing to make some sacrifices can be necessary...but there are limits.
I missed the single part . I think it's much easier to find a way to stay home being partnered. I don't know how a person would do it as a single person, that would be super hard!

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#20 of 124 Old 04-10-2010, 11:25 PM
 
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Our taxable income this year was 34k. That's actually an excellent income for us, it tends to average 25-30k.

HOWEVER, about 10k of that was from investment income that is taxed because we pulled it out instead of reinvesting it. We have a lot of money in investments. What this means is that while we do live very VERY modestly and try (and succeed) to stay within our "income", we have little financial pressure. We can afford to buy our own health insurance. If we needed to, we could pull more stuff and pay off our mortgage within 48 hours (partially because we bought a modest home at a modest price and didn't get some crazy ass mortgage). If an emergency happened, we could deal with it. It would still be stressful, and we prefer not to touch the investments (they are, after all, going to put 3 kids through college/trade school/business startup and fund our old age), and there is a waiting period, but just knowing that that is THERE makes a HUGE difference. Even though we spend far less than most people we know with half or less of our net worth.

So I know that it is possible to do SAHMing (as long as you don't have a huge amount of consumer debt--we had none going into marriage) on a mid 20s to 30s income, I've been doing it for about 10 years now. However, don't underestimate stress, if it's really tight. In many respects I think knowing that I have $$ makes it easier for me to not spend money, and certainly makes me think about it less, though I think that is a bit counterintuitive.
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#21 of 124 Old 04-10-2010, 11:55 PM
 
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Our taxable income this year was 34k. That's actually an excellent income for us, it tends to average 25-30k.

HOWEVER, about 10k of that was from investment income that is taxed because we pulled it out instead of reinvesting it. We have a lot of money in investments. What this means is that while we do live very VERY modestly and try (and succeed) to stay within our "income", we have little financial pressure. We can afford to buy our own health insurance. If we needed to, we could pull more stuff and pay off our mortgage within 48 hours (partially because we bought a modest home at a modest price and didn't get some crazy ass mortgage). If an emergency happened, we could deal with it. It would still be stressful, and we prefer not to touch the investments (they are, after all, going to put 3 kids through college/trade school/business startup and fund our old age), and there is a waiting period, but just knowing that that is THERE makes a HUGE difference. Even though we spend far less than most people we know with half or less of our net worth.

So I know that it is possible to do SAHMing (as long as you don't have a huge amount of consumer debt--we had none going into marriage) on a mid 20s to 30s income, I've been doing it for about 10 years now. However, don't underestimate stress, if it's really tight. In many respects I think knowing that I have $$ makes it easier for me to not spend money, and certainly makes me think about it less, though I think that is a bit counterintuitive.
Again, this depends on COL.

You mention buying a "modest home at a modest price". The house next door to us is for sale. It's old, a little rundown (not a dump or anything), very modest sized, etc. The neighbourhood is nothing special (I like it, because we can get to a lot of things on foot within anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes...but the corner store and the local video place both closed in March). The yard is average sized, and average here isn't that big - when I saw the size of yards where my in-laws live, I about passed out.

The house is listing for $644,400. I checked. We'd love to buy it, and not have to move out of this neighbourhood. (FWIW, I grew up not too long from here, and it was considered a moderately crappy part of town - not really bad, or anything, but bordering on the "wrong side of the tracks". It has a slightly better rep these days, but it's really not a fabulous neighbourhood or anything.) There's just absolutely not way. We might have a prayer, on two professional incomes, but buying a "modest home" around here, on one income, is basically not possible.

Our rent, for a 1250 sq.ft. townhouse/rowhouse is over half of your taxable income. I really don't think we could even begin to manage on $34K. (Mind you, we do have more kids than average.)

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#22 of 124 Old 04-11-2010, 12:03 AM
 
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I don't think it's always true. The post you quoted mentioned being a single, stay-at-home mom on an income of under $20K. I got by for several years on $20K-$25K, as well...but I was WOH. If I'd been home, it would have been less than half that. The only possible way to have done it would have been to move into subsidized housing, and there are always wait lists.

I do think being a SAHM is much more doable than many people think it is, and that being willing to make some sacrifices can be necessary...but there are limits.
I guess I should clarify.. I was a WAHM. I sold vintage items on Ebay and babysat a little girl 2-3 days a week. I made my own income, but it was small and I only worked a couple of hours a day at best.

Also, sometimes it takes major sacrifices like moving to an area where COL is lower. I see people all the time keeping their $500k house and 2 fancy cars while they say, "We just can't afford to live on one income".

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#23 of 124 Old 04-11-2010, 12:20 AM
 
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Also, sometimes it takes major sacrifices like moving to an area where COL is lower. I see people all the time keeping their $500k house and 2 fancy cars while they say, "We just can't afford to live on one income".
A $500K house here would be a shack, but I get what you're saying.

We'll move to a place where COL is lower, eventually. It's not so I can stay home, though. It's so we can build some savings, investments, etc. It's going to really suck, though. It's not about money. It's about the fact that dh and I are both really introverted and have a lot of trouble making friends, and our entire support network is here. We're also limited to places with reasonable transit, because dh is legally blind, and he can't get around without it.

I think it's awesome that you did what you did, though.

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#24 of 124 Old 04-11-2010, 12:36 AM
 
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A $500K house here would be a shack, but I get what you're saying.

We'll move to a place where COL is lower, eventually. It's not so I can stay home, though. It's so we can build some savings, investments, etc. It's going to really suck, though. It's not about money. It's about the fact that dh and I are both really introverted and have a lot of trouble making friends, and our entire support network is here. We're also limited to places with reasonable transit, because dh is legally blind, and he can't get around without it.

I think it's awesome that you did what you did, though.
That makes total sense. It sounds like you have some special circumstances.

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#25 of 124 Old 04-11-2010, 01:05 AM
 
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We were at $40000, then parenting partner (xdh) lost his job due to a new owner. He then got another FT job making less, $35000 with a small company. Then they basically told him they couldn't afford to have anyone but family and asked him to work 60 hrs at same pay (he was already working 52 hrs) which didn't include OT pay, it was salary... he said yes and then they told him they needed to offer him layoff instead (guess they thought he wouldn't accept). He is 52 this year. We have no idea what we are going to do. I thought maybe I should try to be a lactation consultant since I believe deeply in breastfeeding... he has been applying all over, is currently on unemployment. He has 20+ years in law enforcement/ courts system and a degree from college so you would think he could get a good job.... I asked him to go apply for food stamps last week. I have an organic garden started. I will not use WIC since there are only a few items they offer that I consider nutritious, like beans, but you can't get organic... and the fruits and veggies.... but I am dairy and gluten free (and say NO to GMO) so the rest of what is offered will not help, plus they tell you only the person the check is for may consume the items... I am not comfortable lying at all and xdh would be the only one interested in canned fish (except maybe the cat). I believe very deeply in a sahp and would not compromise. For one thing, if you pay for daycare (and the thought of leaving my children with anyone other than mom or dad is not acceptable to me at all) it would take half or more of my income, probably like 2/3....plus I do extended nursing- dd2 eats from me constantly at 16 mo. I do homeschool dd1 and will homeschool dd2 (5.5 yrs apart). I believe so strongly in a sahp and homeschooling I would live in a tent or at a relative's if it came down to it to be able to continue. We have talked of me looking for a 3-4 hr a day job while he is on unemployment, as he would be able to stay with the children (and dd2 could go for 4 hrs without me now that she is 16 mo), but I have no degree and have been out of the work force for a long time. I used to work in management at pizza, but I was much younger then...

To begin to save the world, we must first nurture the children. Read "The Continuum Concept: In Search of Happiness Lost"    saynovax.gifgoorganic.jpgintactlact.gifMe-hippie.gifreading.gifhelp.gif10.5 yo dd1- nut.gifreading.gifblahblah.gif ; 5 yo dd2- angel.gifhearts.gifbouncy.gif
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#26 of 124 Old 04-11-2010, 01:25 AM
 
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There is also the debt factor to consider. Between the two of us DH and I have over $1000 a month were supposed to pay towards student loans. This is the main reason why we figure we will not be able to own a house any time soon, even if both of us were working.

The only reason we can afford for me to stay home right now is because we are in university-subsidized housing...plus DH gets a housing allowance on top of that...plus we are paying interest only on the student loans (uggg), plus our cars are paid off.

Without the subsidized housing we would be paying about $2400 a month for where we live now...maybe more. And our house is by no means luxurious. Its a two-bedroom bungalow with maybe 850 sq feet. But it has a yard...a glorious, wonderful, yard.

So, yeah. COL really, really matters. Food's expensive here too...as is gas and just about everything else.
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#27 of 124 Old 04-11-2010, 08:10 AM
 
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We're around the median nationally, but below average for a Massachusetts household.
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#28 of 124 Old 04-11-2010, 07:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
You mention buying a "modest home at a modest price". The house next door to us is for sale. It's old, a little rundown (not a dump or anything), very modest sized, etc. The neighbourhood is nothing special (I like it, because we can get to a lot of things on foot within anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes...but the corner store and the local video place both closed in March). The yard is average sized, and average here isn't that big - when I saw the size of yards where my in-laws live, I about passed out.
I'm not in a low COL area, though it's not like, say, certain areas of CA during the housing bubble. And what you describe is more typical for homes in our area of the Seattle burbs, and this area really didn't get hit much by super low prices. All of the houses except for ours in our area appraise supposedly at 800k+, with the majority around 1 - 1.5mil. However, even when we bought near the top of the housing craze around here, we paid less than your neighbor's house. Not because other properties that were crappy weren't going for more, but because we had a huge cash payment waiting, weren't in any rush, lucked out on finding a seller who really just wanted to sell the house ASAP and unlike most of the owners of the older non-mcmansion houses in the area did NOT buy the property to flip it or renovate and sell, ect. Sometimes it does feel weird to be in the only 1980s non-renovated house surrounded by McMansions, but that's what we are.

But again, the reason why living on a very low (for community average) salary works for our family is because there's no stress and no debt. I know that's really not possible for the vast majority of people (two incomes or one).

I think it's much easier to deal with a lowish single salary when you do not have huge stress on you, and when you have absolutely no consumer or student or vehicle debt.
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#29 of 124 Old 04-11-2010, 07:59 PM
 
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I think it's much easier to deal with a lowish single salary when you do not have huge stress on you, and when you have absolutely no consumer or student or vehicle debt.
Seriously impressive .
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#30 of 124 Old 04-11-2010, 08:01 PM
 
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whoops - we make 75-85k... you missed it, I think. We don't really struggle financially, but sometimes it feels like it - like in february, when our furnace *and* washer died, and we had medical bills for our cat of $500 and were still paying the midwife and bought a car (well, got a car loan)... but we make it through, and while it was emotionally trying, i'd say the fact that we were able to do that without loans means we're doing pretty well, though we usually aren't putting a lot in savings each month, etc.

We live in a very low COL area, though, so I guess we're middle-upper class around here.

Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise idea.gif  (1/06), Oliver Matthew  blahblah.gif (7/07) and Avery Michael fly-by-nursing1.gif(3/10)

 

dizzy.gif Wading slowly and nervously into this homeschooling thing.

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