debt making me feel bad to sahm - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 12-29-2007, 06:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just feel guilty staying home with so much debt hanging over our heads. I don't know if I should go work or not, and the truth is, I am nervous, I haven't ever had a professional job before, the idea of sitting in a cubicle all day makes me shutter. I could apply for a job at a big company some relatives work at, and after paying for taxes, childcare, etc, bring home about 1000$ a month. I'm afraid I'll hate it and quit right away. I don't know, at that rate w/dh's salary too, it could take me 3 years to pay off all the debt we owe, and dh wants to start a new career so we would need $ saved to do this, so I may not have another lo for 5 years at this rate, I don't know, is struggling financially worth staying home with ds? Honestly I think it is, but I also feel guilty cause we are living paycheck to paycheck.

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#2 of 18 Old 12-29-2007, 06:13 PM
 
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Well, one thing I would do in your case is check out a copy of The Total Money Makeover from the library and read it with your dh.

Then (if you haven't), write down a monthly budget on paper. Write your income and subtract everything that has to be spent that month. If it's negative or there's nothing to put into savings, you'll know your income has to increase.

What I do, because I want to homeschool and stay home with my kids, is do part-time childcare for families where the parents work schedules overlap. You'd be suprised how many people need a part-time sitter and can't find one because daycares want full-time kids.

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#3 of 18 Old 12-29-2007, 06:22 PM
 
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Since someone else brought up Dave Ramsey (Total Money Makeover) I'll add that on his radio show yesterday (it could have been a rebroadcast, I'm not sure) someone called with that exact question. He, who encourages people to work 3 jobs and get out of debt as quickly as possible, said that if your husband's income pays the bills and you want to stay home, then stay home. Don't stay home if you can't cover the bills, but if you can, do it, even if it means taking longer to get out of debt. His wife stayed at home when they were in debt. To me, it's time that you'll never get back. (not that working when they're little is horrible, but if you'll resent working then it might not be the right choice)

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#4 of 18 Old 12-29-2007, 06:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ILoveMyBabyBird View Post
I could apply for a job at a big company some relatives work at, and after paying for taxes, childcare, etc, bring home about 1000$ a month.
That actually sounds like a great deal of take home pay to me, after childcare, taxes etc are taken out. That sounds like a great job.

But a great job is only great if you enjoy it, you know?

And if your heart tells you it is the right thing to be at home with your children, then you might want to look for other options to bring in some money while you can still be at home during the day, as the other poster said.

Good luck! This is hard! The only things I can think of are in-home day care the the other poster said and possibly part time work when your DH/DP can watch the children.

Good luck! It's such a tough call, and one that many SAHMs struggle with.
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#5 of 18 Old 12-29-2007, 06:51 PM
 
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Since someone else brought up Dave Ramsey (Total Money Makeover) I'll add that on his radio show yesterday (it could have been a rebroadcast, I'm not sure) someone called with that exact question. He, who encourages people to work 3 jobs and get out of debt as quickly as possible, said that if your husband's income pays the bills and you want to stay home, then stay home. Don't stay home if you can't cover the bills, but if you can, do it, even if it means taking longer to get out of debt. His wife stayed at home when they were in debt. To me, it's time that you'll never get back. (not that working when they're little is horrible, but if you'll resent working then it might not be the right choice)

Erica

This is such a great post! Thanks! I wish I had caught Dave Ramsey's radio show with the question and answer about staying at home. I think his financial advice is usually quite good.

I agree with him that if you want to stay at home AND can afford to stay at home, you should do it.

I'd be very curious to see what Dave Ramsey thinks of my situation...my DH doesn't make enough to cover all the bills, but I saved for years to SAH and also worked on reducing or avoiding debt to stay at home. I now SAH. It's not quite what Dave said, but maybe close? I don't know. Still, I struggle with working vs. staying at home because honestly we can't follow Dave Ramsey's suggestions for debt free living with me at home.

Also, I wonder what Dave Ramsey's take on staying at home long term is...
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#6 of 18 Old 12-29-2007, 06:57 PM
 
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This is what Dave Ramsey had to say about being a SAHM:

LETTER 1
Tonya would like to become a stay-at-home mom. She writes: "WHAT SHOULD MY HUSBAND AND I CONSIDER BEFORE DECIDING IF I CAN AFFORD TO STAY AT HOME?"

Ramsey points out that you actually have to make pretty good money to be able to be a working parent: The costs of daycare, work clothing, and "convenience foods" such as lunch out and prepared dinners really add up. When you stay home, a lot of these costs disappear.

If you want to stay home, Ramsey suggests trying to live only on your partner's income (minus the cost of daycare, which can still come from your income if needed) for a few months. This will give you both an idea of what it would be like financially if you did quit working, and would enable you to prove to yourselves that you can do it.

Ramsey finds that there are a lot of working moms who would really like to stay at home and, often, there is only a car payment standing between them and the life they want.

"Don't trade a car for a kid," Ramsey warns.

Put it this way: Most couples realize they are willing to cut their lifestyles in order to live on one income. Ramsey suggests selling the car and buying a used one that you can pay for up front. See if there are other big bills or expenses you are willing to forgo.

Remember, you don't have to be debt-free to quit working. As long as you are working toward paying off your debts and managing your other financial responsibilities, don't feel guilty about becoming a stay at home parent.
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#7 of 18 Old 12-29-2007, 07:00 PM
 
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More Dave Ramsey...

Stay-at-Home Mom or Pay Off Debt?

QUESTION:
Heather and her husband have $40,000 in student loans. She wants to be a stay-at-home mom, but her husband wants to get the student loans paid off before she stays home. What’s the right thing to do?
------------------------------------------------------

ANSWER:

I want you to stay home. You should live on your husband’s income for one year, use your income to pay off the student loan in that year, and then stay home with your kids.
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#8 of 18 Old 12-29-2007, 07:01 PM
 
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I think you have to prioritize. Getting out of debt quickly is not worth having someone else raise my children in the formative years. Also, by being home,and investing a bit in good machinery, I can personally make my kids lots of things like toys and diapers and household items and save us money. But that is my situation. Everyones is different. I also plan to homeschool, so I need a good foundation of trust by being at home with my kids.

I think you have to look at the long term payoff.

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#9 of 18 Old 12-29-2007, 07:09 PM
 
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Your child is so young. If you want to stay home, I would do it if it is in any way possible.
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#10 of 18 Old 12-29-2007, 07:13 PM
 
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Your child is so young. If you want to stay home, I would do it if it is in any way possible.


Yes, I agree with thismama. I just saw how young your child is. I agree that if you want to stay at home, then find a way!

Even though it didn't make much financial sense for me to quit my job and stay at home because of the salary and benefits I was giving up, I still did because I felt it was extremely important to be home with a young child.

I will probably feel differently about the pros and cons as my baby gets older. Good luck!
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#11 of 18 Old 12-29-2007, 11:58 PM
 
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Since I have never worked I really shouldn't contribute to this conversation but I think that no matter what its always money to stay at home with kids.
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#12 of 18 Old 12-30-2007, 12:20 AM
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For me, being home with the kids is way more important. Cut up your credit cards and stay home with your kids. You can't replace this time that you have with them.

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#13 of 18 Old 12-30-2007, 01:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks mom's for all the support. I looked at some of the Dave Ramsey videos online earlier, they were helpful. I 'tried' to talk to dh about my concerns which didn't go as well as I planned, he concluded, I don't want to work so he'll get a pt job, and I told him, I could get a pt job if he would watch ds, but sometimes i think he doesn't want to watch him. I just don't want to pay for daycare for pt cause it will eat up so much of what I would be making. I don't know, maybe it would be better for him to get a pt job cause he could probably make more than I could at a pt job. I have degree, but little skills as I went straight to being a sahm after college. All i have experience in is housekeeping and childcare, which is great for a sahm, but not for a good paying job. Actually I wanted to continue college and get an ESL or library science ms degree but ds surprised us. I have applied for a wahm job and a wohm job, but I haven't heard anything back yet.

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#14 of 18 Old 01-01-2008, 03:16 AM
 
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I just wanted to say that I totally get where you are coming from. We are constantly in a state of broke and it's tough. I do work doing massages at night. Only about 6 a month and it is good extra income,but still not enough. Living this way is stressful and takes a toll on our relationship. I work very hard at saving money in everyway I can. To me that is the same as making money. I bf, cd, make our bread, make our almond milk, etc.
But the reality is that until our debt is gone, we will live poor. It sucks. Dh is currently looking for a higher income job and we will move to wherever that is. I pray for that job everyday and hope that once we make more then we spend we can pay off debt and get in a good place.

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#15 of 18 Old 01-01-2008, 06:21 PM
 
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I have debt from the last time I was in college and also from the birth of our first child, during which time we did not have health insurance and did not qualify for Medicaid. We did the best we could and paid cash as long as we could, but eventually it got out of control. I am in the process of Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have zero remorse. Why lose sleep over things that were out of my control? As that commercial says, there's more to life than money and I'm not about to let something like money force me to raise my kids in ways that I don't feel are best for them. So my advice to you is to not feel guilty about staying at home just because you have debt. If you think that staying home is what's best for your children, that's what matters.
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#16 of 18 Old 01-02-2008, 05:32 PM
 
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When an opportunity to refresh your financial scene comes along take it. I'm not saying return to work, not at all... but perhaps sell off a car, or downsize your home, or start an at home business.

We recently lept to a new state because dh was so unhappy at his job, we ran the numbers and found things would be same or better. Actually they are turning out to be better.

Another thing I'll suggest since I too really have struggled with guilt, and until a month ago we were sliding backwards about $400 a month eating up all our savings... become the family accountant if your relationship will handle that. I balance the books pay the bills online and keep dh notified of huge actions and balance changes. This helps me to stay very aware of money when I go out to the grocery and such - and it has been empowering, something I personally needed after leaving a supervisory job.

I should add, since I saw pp writing about it. I have also taken it upon myself to find co-ops to buy our food since I insist on local and organic. food can be expensive so I try to make alot of things from scratch too. It helps out with the bills - I also stay at home alot becasue I don't wanna burn up to much gas money...

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#17 of 18 Old 01-02-2008, 06:44 PM
 
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I'll start with an option for making some extra cash. There are so, so many creative ways to bringing in extra money. I couldn't possibly not bring in any extra money. I have taught myself Quickbooks and now have 6 customers. I find that there is a great niche at least in my area of small companies (mostly friends) that have been doing it all themselves and are getting to the point where they need a little help. I work from home, on my own hours with little to no investment or overhead. My customers are very flexible. I work about 10 hours a week, make about $800 a month and I haven't paid 1 penny for childcare and my son is 20 months.

There's a lot to say on the subject so I'll try to be concise and not repeat. When I was questioning whether to SAH my friend said 20 years from now do you think you would look back and say i wish I had spent more time at home with the kids or I wish I had spent more time at the office making money. If you want to work you absolutely should. If you don't I think you can almost always find a way. I had a good nest egg saved, we cut expenses and my husband went out on his own which meant leaving his father who was not paying him enough and was not making him feel very good about himself so it was a win win. We now have more control of the money he is making and when and although although some more expenses they are manageable and we get tax write-offs for many home bills. We still aren't quite covering all of the bills and savings is dwindling but we do have a line of credit we can dip into. I have been good up until now about not incurring any additional debt. Unfortunately this will probably change over the next year. 2nd and last child is due in April. It will be tough for another year or two. I find this SOOO worth it. I am very frugal so I believe in myself to get through this. If you are not you may want to think differently.

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#18 of 18 Old 01-03-2008, 07:43 PM
 
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So many of the posts echo what I think is so true...that you can not get back the time when your children are young and formative.

I say do what you can to manage debt, but also realize that you must follow your heart and your instincts when it comes to parenting.

I would much rather work in the future to pay off debt than to regret NOT doing something for my children that in my heart I felt was right. That said, I think it's very wise to do everything in your power to balance following your heart and staying financially afloat.

I really like what Dave Ramsey said about not trading in your child for a car payment.
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