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#31 of 49 Old 06-15-2011, 08:40 AM
 
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We only have 1 vehicle. Almost everything we own is second hand. Our mortage is affordable at 860 dollars a month. We buy in bulk, and we eat vegetarian about 3-4 days a week. I dont spend much on myself. Its rare that I get to buy a new outfit. I plant a garden so I can have cheap produce. My husband has a really stable well paying job.

 

I have an education and could double our income if I went back to work, but its just not worth it to me.


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#32 of 49 Old 06-22-2011, 01:43 PM
 
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I left my dh a year and a half ago and, on my own with very little job history, had to find a place to live for myself and my kids. I moved out to my friends' mountain land, bought a 5th wheel travel trailer for $200 and lived in that. Since then I've added a cabover camper and my boyfriend moved up here with me, bringing another 5th wheel with him that he pays $410/mo in rent on. I've been a stay at home mom for most of my kids' lives but this stint has been since my camp job ended last August. Living in travel trailers is not ideal (no insulation and very little space), but it made it possible for me to be home with my kids during a traumatic time for all of us.

 

Now my partner and I are looking to move into town, in the SF Bay Area of California, which is high COL. We decided to only look at houses that are under 1/3 of his income. It certainly isn't easy to find one in a decent neighborhood, but with persistence we have found a few and will hopefully be moving soon. If you're determined, and patient, you can accomplish quite a bit.

 

What's interesting is that we have been able to find 3 bedroom houses in this area for less than what my ex-dh is paying for a 2 bedroom apartment, and his rent is going up soon.


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#33 of 49 Old 06-22-2011, 06:08 PM
 
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Good Financial Planning! DP and I just purchased a home, we put about 35% down and the mortgage payments will be about 25% of his moderate salary. We hope to pay off the house in 5 years.

 

We spent two years, living cheaply in an apartment when we wanted to be in a house, looking for the right place in our budget. We were strict about the house budget! DP is debt free, and has been his entire adult life. He paid off his first home, then when he got a windfall he purchased a rental property which he paid off asap. Now we have the income from 3 (soon to be 4) rental units. I have some debt, but I've been working on paying it off for a few years now (it's a small amount, but I was a single mom for the last 4 years). It was really DP's good financial habits. He has always lived very frugally. We buy older cars, so no payments. We don't aquire new debt (other than the new mortgage). We basically live frugally - we don't eat out very often, we don't take vacations, we don't buy things we don't have the money for.

 

Sometimes, it bothers me that I drive an old rusty minivan when it seems like all the other moms have nice newer cars/vans, but I just remind myself that WE own our cars, not the bank. It also helped when I saw a girl scout mama in her brand new Toyota Sienna living in a really crummy apartment, on a busy street. I had been jealous of her van, I knew she was lower income than I was. I was happy to be driving my old van knowing I had a really nice place to come home to.


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#34 of 49 Old 06-25-2011, 06:05 PM
 
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We chose to buy a much less expensive home that we could afford.  We grossed 6 figures last year, but only spend ~10% of that on housing.  Other expenses (utilities, etc) add up quickly and food is $$$ here (milk is ~$6-8 a gallon) and we buy a lot of organic, local, etc.  We don't really end up with a lot of money left at the end of the month, but we don't spend the majority on housing.


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#35 of 49 Old 06-25-2011, 08:05 PM
 
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We cut our income in half. We refied our mortgage to 30 years and will be making the minmum payment for the next 2 years until I go back oto work.


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#36 of 49 Old 06-27-2011, 08:35 AM
 
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we rented cheap condo, then moved to an even cheaper 1 bedroom for a year- long enough to save up for a down payment on a house. the mortgage will be less than our 1 bedroom apt rent. the kids are in our room for the first 3 years of their life anyway. it sucked and was cramped but totally worth it to just suck it up. we are debt free minus the house as well so that helps.


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#37 of 49 Old 06-27-2011, 09:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoami View Post

We have ZERO debt, and this is the number one reason we have been able to make this work.



I think this is really key.  If I were in your position OP, I would pay off every debt you currently have (student loans, vehicle loans, credit cards, etc.) and then start living off your DH income while saving yours.

 

Like a lot of the previous posters we buy used or discounted for almost everything, try to keep our grocery budget down, own older vehicles, eat (mostly) at home, don't take vacations, etc.  I don't feel like these things are big sacrifices.  In fact, its such a way of life that paying full price for things or buying a new car seems silly to me.  The only thing I really worry about is what we will do if my DH gets laid off.  In this economy being aware of and planning for a lay-off really make sense.

 

Now, off to try the taco lentils recipe!


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#38 of 49 Old 06-27-2011, 10:07 AM
 
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We live in a pretty low COL area. I know we're below the national average anyway. We both drive used cars and we don't really go out to eat or to the movies. We take advantage of a free entertainment as much as we can. We do have debt, mostly from student loans, but we make it work. Most of our money goes to food and rent. We eat pretty simply, although I do buy mostly organic produce. Simply meaning that I don't do a lot of fancy cooking. We're vegan, so we save a lot never buying meat, cheese, etc. We rarely buy new clothes, and even when we do, we keep very simple wardrobes. I only have maybe 4 or 5 shirts and only 2 pairs of pants. I like it that way-less laundry!  I'm very low maintenance as far as beauty products are concerned.  No pricey salon visits or anything. I'm diligent about turning lights off, not wasting water, and reusing things whenever I can.

 

We also save a lot of money because, fortunately, we're all really healthy.  I've sometimes wondered if I would be able to stay home if one of us got sick or something. We only have major medical insurance since Dh is self employed. Health insurance would be a HUGE cost for us. We have very little in savings, although we're working on it.

 

We do all of this on about $60,000/year. To me, that seems like a modest or average salary. I'm really not sure about that, though, since most people never talk about money in specifics. I have no idea if that's low/high/average for a one income family.  Anyone care to divulge that information? I'm really curious what others have to work with.


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#39 of 49 Old 06-28-2011, 06:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquarius aspiring View Post

How do families with one income and a stay-at-home parent afford to make a monthly rent or mortgage payment? Do you live in a low cost-of-living area?

 

I know that you can save money with clothing, food, household products, etc., but how do you save money on housing, especially with one or more children?


We most definately live in a low COL area and made that choice delibrately.  We live outside of town (waaay out) bought more house for less money, and saved big on in town taxes and services.  It's been one of the best decisions we ever made.  No, we don't have city water/sewer, a garage, close by stores/schools/or jobs, but it's worth it to us.  Plus, it's beautiful out here!  We also started our first ever garden this year, which'll save us big on food.  With me being at home and living where we do, we've been able to improve our house and yard, put our daughter(s) in a private school, and have a few extras w/o living above our means.  Both of our cars are older (10 years and six years),  paid for (and were before kids), we limit our credit card use to one, we have life insurance policies in place, dropped our land line and both have older cell phones and great plans, we enjoy basic satellite tv, and we're done having kids now, which means in about 4 years I fully intend to head back to work part-time to supplement our income.  We've been extrememly blessed that my husband's income has kept up with our level of need and since we make conservative spending decisions plus have some savings, we should be okay until I can get back out there.  Even then, I want to be home when the girls are, so I'll need a super flexible schedule (won't be making that much unless I stumble on something really, really good!).


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#40 of 49 Old 06-30-2011, 09:09 AM
 
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When we were looking at buying a house, we knew that I wanted to be a SAHM (even though we had no kids back then).  We purposely looked at houses in a price range that we could afford on one income.  I had seen too many double income families get sucked into buying $400K houses, and then complain that they were "stuck" working when they really wanted to be at home.

 

So, we purchased a house for half of that, in a town 10 minutes away that wasn't as desirable, and pay all our bills with DH's income.  I get to stay at home, and we can still afford to do fun stuff.  It does take budgeting-- if we want to buy something big, instead of just immediately purchasing it, we have to plan it out, and save up the money. 


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#41 of 49 Old 06-30-2011, 01:56 PM
 
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I agree with a lot that has been said.  I bought my house before I was married and we decided to NOT upgrade when we got married and doubled our income.  Worked out great when I decided to quit my career.  However, TBH, a lot of it is really is just career choice.  If you have a partner that makes really good money, you can stay home without financial worries.  Sometimes it's not about anything you are doing *now* but about choices you made 10, 20, 30 years ago.  And... age helps, too.  We're in our 40's and 50's and I can imagine that what we do would be more difficult if we tried this 20 - 25 years ago.  There are a lot of factors and individual situations are too unique to really say what will and won't allow parents to financially be secure on one income.

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#42 of 49 Old 06-30-2011, 05:44 PM
 
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This is my family as well.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bokonon View Post

I live in a high cost of living area and have been a SAHM since my first was born over 6 years ago.

 

My husband has a good salary.  We budget pretty well.  We don't go on expensive vacations.  We sold our house at the height of the market and paid off our cars and student loans, so we have no debt.  That helps tremendously.

 

We are very lucky though, and realize that.



 


Abra, Married to George, Mother to DS 12/03 & DD1 08/09 & DD2 12/11.  We are planning our next adventure to South America in April 2014!
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#43 of 49 Old 06-30-2011, 05:51 PM
 
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LOL! This won't help you at all, but we actually live in an abandoned house. Of course, when you think of that you think of a totally decimated old place with broken windows and rats living in it, but that's not the case. I'm friends with a couple who lost everything and could no longer afford their home. They packed up what they had left, moved to the mainland and abandoned the house to the bank - who doesn't want it! So basically, it's been sitting for two years and nobody will take it. My friend asked my husband and I to move in with our daughter because they couldn't care less about the house now and have moved on. The bank refuses to foreclose. It's a weird situation that has worked in our favor. We get a gorgeous 3 bedroom house for nothing at all.

 

So yeah, we don't pay rent. You may be able to find a similar situation "house sitting," but I don't know where you'd look. Before we lived here, we paid $500 a month for a little efficiency on the back of someone's farm. But living in Hawaii is WAAAAAY different from living on the mainland. I'm not sure how people on the mainland do it. Things are a lot easier here and people care less about having less. A run-down old place here is nice by Hawaii standards.


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#44 of 49 Old 07-01-2011, 11:44 AM
 
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wow that is an interesting situation!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by amberskyfire View Post

LOL! This won't help you at all, but we actually live in an abandoned house. Of course, when you think of that you think of a totally decimated old place with broken windows and rats living in it, but that's not the case. I'm friends with a couple who lost everything and could no longer afford their home. They packed up what they had left, moved to the mainland and abandoned the house to the bank - who doesn't want it! So basically, it's been sitting for two years and nobody will take it. My friend asked my husband and I to move in with our daughter because they couldn't care less about the house now and have moved on. The bank refuses to foreclose. It's a weird situation that has worked in our favor. We get a gorgeous 3 bedroom house for nothing at all.

 

So yeah, we don't pay rent. You may be able to find a similar situation "house sitting," but I don't know where you'd look. Before we lived here, we paid $500 a month for a little efficiency on the back of someone's farm. But living in Hawaii is WAAAAAY different from living on the mainland. I'm not sure how people on the mainland do it. Things are a lot easier here and people care less about having less. A run-down old place here is nice by Hawaii standards.



 


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#45 of 49 Old 07-03-2011, 06:42 PM
 
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We had to move way out of the city to afford a place, but for us it's worth it. We were so not 'city folk' when we moved from Indiana to a suburb of Washington DC. We wanted a home and knew we'd have to move out to do it.. and that was a sacrifice we would make. My DH makes average salary, but we've come from making MUCH less (18k) so I guess we are okay with budgeting because of that. We don't buy new cars, we don't go on huge vacations (but we do treat ourselves!).. we live pretty moderately.. not as frugal as we once did, but not a jet setter lifestyle. I am very thankful for what we have.


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#46 of 49 Old 07-07-2011, 09:37 PM
 
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We had to get rid of a car, cable, and cell phones.  BFing and CDing baby #2 and three with mostly handme down diapers -our stash was originally bought with inheritance from DHs grandpa-has helped with costs too.  Our parents do help us with groceries.  DH is a teacher and works summers to pay for extraneous things like fence and car repairs (last year was carpeting)


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#47 of 49 Old 07-08-2011, 02:47 PM
 
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Good for you for thinking and planning ahead.  Our rent is exceedingly low for the area and for the fact that we have acreage.  It's low in part because we're renting from my parents - but they rented it out before at around this price in part because the house is a SERIOUS fixer-upper and the property is A LOT of work.   So, you can find reasonable rent if you're willing to accept less than what is sold to you on television as how real people live.

 

I love what an earlier commenter wrote about simplified eating - I LOVE to try fabulous new recipes too, but the budget can't handle it.  No cable here (just a television with no reception so we use it for movies), no credit cards, no debt (bought older vehicles and paid cash), very little eating out, even less vacationing.  When we do "vacation" it's usually to an event related to DH's business so we can write off most of the expenses.  If not, it's staying in a friend's cabin, etc...  We raise our own beef, pork and chickens/eggs and sell some of it so that pays for our own consumption of the meat and eggs.  We grow a garden - cheap way to get organic food!  I hang clothes on the line and (when I'm being good - I'm off the wagon right now), we cloth diaper. I breastfeed and we feed our children what we're eating - no store-bought baby food, etc...  We shop yard sales and thrift stores (don't remember the last time anyone had storebought clothes).   Like Chicky2 we have learned to live with things that other people go out and fix/replace immediately.  For instance, my dishwasher hasn't worked for months...my washing machine doesn't work right but it's good enough for now...and the dryer timer doesn't work so if you use it you have to pay attention and not let it run all day.  We do have money set aside to replace all three, but we'll get by until a killer deal comes along.  A few years back 3 of my stove burners didn't work at all and the element in my oven went out.  Fortunately it was summer and we got by with that one burner and the BBQ - then someone we knew was remodeling a home and gave us a double oven and a new stove!  My carpet is atrocious (I said the home was a fixer upper) and we just get by.  (Okay, my A/C has been out in the van for 2 years - and finally I did tell DH that I WANT it fixed ASAP!  But, by God's provision and because we live frugally, we have cash set aside to take care of that.)

 

To be honest, in my opinion, two of the best things you can do is a) begin living on one income right away - sock the other away in savings and b) dump the magazines and television shows that make you think that what you see in/on them is how "regular people" live.  IT'S NOT!!!  At least, it's not for regular people who are living (within their means) on one income. 

 

I cannot tell you the peace that comes from having no payments to make, very little stress ever over money, and getting to raise my own children!  I've been on the other side of this fence and I'd eat beans and rice every day of my life not to have to go back there again!  (Oh...and there are 6 of us at home right now...another on the way...and we live on about $40k/year.)


Mrs. S - Crunchy child of The King, Wife to my best friend, and Mama to my many blessings.

 
 
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#48 of 49 Old 07-10-2011, 07:45 PM
 
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I am a SAHM and I have been since my first daughter was born. Currently I live in a "weird" situation. ex-H and I had been together since I was 15. I got pregnant and married at 16 and had DD1 at 17 and DD2 at 20. After 6 years of being together I realized that I was gay and we parted ways. About a year after separating and neither one of us being able to make it ex-H, myself, my partner and my two DD's moved in together. We share a 3 bedroom apartment and it works for us. DP and I pay 1/3 of the rent and utilites and ex-h pays 2/3 and the phone bill. It allows me to stay home, ex-H to keep his job and see his kids (he has to be at work at 2am so if we didn't live together he would only see them on the weekend), and my DP to go to school and work part-time. Its not something that we plan on doing forever, but for right now it works.

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#49 of 49 Old 07-11-2011, 11:27 AM
 
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This is actually a really cool situations! I love that you two are able to live as roomies so the kids get both parents and Dad gets to see them every day. Seems like it works for everybody. :)

Quote:
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I am a SAHM and I have been since my first daughter was born. Currently I live in a "weird" situation. ex-H and I had been together since I was 15. I got pregnant and married at 16 and had DD1 at 17 and DD2 at 20. After 6 years of being together I realized that I was gay and we parted ways. About a year after separating and neither one of us being able to make it ex-H, myself, my partner and my two DD's moved in together. We share a 3 bedroom apartment and it works for us. DP and I pay 1/3 of the rent and utilites and ex-h pays 2/3 and the phone bill. It allows me to stay home, ex-H to keep his job and see his kids (he has to be at work at 2am so if we didn't live together he would only see them on the weekend), and my DP to go to school and work part-time. Its not something that we plan on doing forever, but for right now it works.



 


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