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Old 03-25-2003, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have this major, huge, on-going argument in our household about finances, jobs, etc. A little background...

When we got married, we didn't discuss parenting because DH's official position on the subject was *We're not having children.* I knew him well enough to know that his mind would change, and he was just trying not to get my hopes up too high, in case something happened. (He said he was never getting married right up to the day he proposed... he said it to friends of ours, in my presence, after he had bought the ring. It's just how he is.)

Anyway, our DD was a suprise, but one we were both thrilled about. Honestly, it would have been better for us financially if she had come along a few more years down the road, but we wouldn't trade her for anything and are totally in love with her.

The current argument started when I was pregnant, and continues to this day. It has to do with who should work and who should stay home and how to pay for all of that.

I was a paralegal before DD was born. I commuted an average of 3 hours per day, on top of an 8 hour workday, so once you factor in lunch, that is an average of 12 hours away from home every day. This doesn't include the frequent OT I had to work. I made ok money at it - about the same as DH was making at his job. My benefits were great (for me only, though), and my firm was a good employer. My direct supervisor was pure evil, though, and I spent a lot of my pregnancy stressed out and in tears because of her, so I was not eager to go back there.

DH is a teacher (second grade). His benefits suck (don't even fully cover him) and his pay is okay, but not enough to support a family.

So, we have this hole in our budget that has to be filled. And the way I see it, there are many ways of doing that.

He can continue to teach and I can work from home part-time (which is what I am currently doing). The upside of this is that I am home with Katie during the day and he is home with her at night, so we have no daycare expense. The downside is that I never see my DH, because I start to work when he gets home. I am afraid that, if we keep going like this, we won't know each other at the end of the next 5 years.

He can look for a better-paying job and I can SAH. This is my ideal situation. He actually tested for a police officer job that would fit the bill, but he didn't move on past the first test. He did really well (scored 88%) but not well enough (they set the cut-off at 91%). THere are other departments he can apply to, and we're looking into that, but he isn't exactly enthusiastic about it, and I caught a lot of heat about *pushing him* last night.

We can downsize our expenses and he can continue to teach. This would be my second choice. We bought our house a year ago, and it is a great house. We love it. But our mortgage is 3/4 of DH's take home pay. I think we could find something less expensive, or even move to a place where teacher pay and benefits are more favorable when compared with the cost of living. COL in Western Washington is pretty high, unfortunately. I'd be willing to move ANYWHERE (well, I don't really want to move in with the ILs, but other than that...). DH wants to stay here, in this house, in this community, in this state.

DH can SAH and I can go back to work. But since my job didn't pay any more than his does, I don't see how this would help us. :dunno: He's said he could substitute teach a few days a week and MIL could babysit, but I don't want MIL raising our DD. I want US raising her.

We could both work full-time and DD could go to daycare. I want US raising DD, so I don't like this option at all.

Anyway, we can't see eye to eye on this at all. I probably DO harp on the fact that I'm not happy with the way things are (DH accused me of that last night), but I do that because he says he is happy with things and doesn't seem motivated to change them. I am thinking we need to seriously talk to someone about this? What do you think? (If you've read this far, you're a saint!!! ) Also, if we need to talk to someone, who? We certainly can't afford a financial specialist, so maybe our pastor? : +6

Anne wife to Phil & mama to Katie
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Old 03-25-2003, 07:05 PM
 
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Well, how "not well" is it working out the way it is right now? Not well like you are having to put groceries on the credit card? Or not well like you have nothing leftover to save for dd's college? What are you doing now to reduce expenses? Do you still go on vacations, eat out, pay full price for clothes and groceries (instead of waiting for a sale/coupon)? Can you make cuts like driving a used car instead of a new one? JCPenney pix instead of Yuen Lui? Stuff like that? I just would need more info to offer any decent advice.

We live on my dh's income - and live in Western Washington like you. I am a SAHM expecting #3 end of May. We have made changes - though I have to admit not too painful of ones as dh is an engineer.

With just the info I know now, I would vote for your dh to keep teaching and for you guys to reduce your expenses however you can. I think a mortgage that is 3/4 of his take home pay is WAY too much - when we got ours, I don't think they would have even approved us for that ratio. I don't know how you can pay utilities and insurance and gas and all the other must have stuff not to mention fun things on 1/4 of his take home pay. Could you move to a less expensive house within 30 minutes of where you are now - so your mortgage could be much less and your dh could still commute to his job? I know where we are living, if you drive 15 minutes one direction the houses are much less and 15 minutes in a different direction they are much more.

I understand your wanting to stay home (I totally agree with you) but I would not want my dh to be a cop - too dangerous! Does he LIKE teaching? Is he good at it? If the answer to those is yes then he should keep teaching - we need good teachers! Maybe you could do a little something from home for extra money? Seems like there are lots of things - watch kids after school for a few hours, sell Tupperware, whatever.

Whatever you do, I would not do either 1) put dd in full time daycare nor 2) you go back to your 12 hour a day, stressful job. Those are both terrible options in my opinion. When dd is small, she needs you and/or dh primarily. And I used to be a nanny - LOVED, ADORED that boy - treated him like my own child (my dh calls him "the firstborn") but I would not leave my child with someone else to raise for 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, for years of his/her young life no matter how loving they were. No one else is YOU!

Good luck deciding. I am sure it will all work out in the end.
Kirsten
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Old 03-25-2003, 07:10 PM
 
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I wish I could offer advice, but all I have is solace. We are in a similar situation. I have a bachelors in social work, good benefits, but heinous pay unless you have a Masters. DH is a carpenter. I keep pushing him to take the police test as well, but instead he has decided to get a Home Depot credit card, max it out with tools and start his own business. I am trying to be supportive, but inside I am eaten up. What if this doesnt work? He doesnt want me to work, and I don't want to either, but I am so afraid of geting behind in our bills. Our mortgage is the 1st priority, and after that everything is paid when we have the funds. It sucks. I offered to wait tables a few days a week, when he is off work, but he doesnt even want me to do that. My youngest is only 9 weeks, so the seperation anxiety would probably kill both of us! Are there any private schools in your area? My uncle switched from public to private school teaching and is making much more $$$.

Evergreen- Loving my girls Dylan dust.gifage8, Ava energy.gifage 4 and baby Georgia baby.gif (6/3/11).

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Old 03-25-2003, 07:16 PM
 
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It sounds like you and dh have several things you need to work out. Talking to your pastor might be a good place to start as it should be free. Kristen has lots of good ideas. Maybe you and dh need to sit down and really take a good look at your budget. There are almost always things you can cut if it is important enough. One option for child care you didn't mention was having your MIL help with dd during the day (maybe afternoons if dd takes long naps?) while you work part time from home. You would still be there for serious things (like bfing and kissing booboos) but could possibly get some work done so that there was time with dh at the end of the day. I'm sure you and dh can reach an agreement with a little work.
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Old 03-25-2003, 07:34 PM
 
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I am a nanny and I love it, I take ds with me and get paid $10 an hour to watch kids during the day. DS has others to play with, and it doesn't cut into any time with my dh. When #2 comes I am going to open a inhomedaycare and watch school age children before and after school, that way it isn't all day, that would stress me out way too much. So I would look at other in home work that you could do so as not to miss out on seeing dh
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Old 03-25-2003, 07:53 PM
 
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I didn't see you mention this alternative:

You cut expenses, dh continues to teach, and you continue to work part time from home, but you hire a mother's helper to be there while you are working and you get a fair amount of work during the day. Either that, or you find someone to barter babysitting/help with and you get some work done during the day and then some more in the evenings and have some evenings to spend with dh.

I also didn't notice how old your dd is, but I do believe that things will change in fewer than five years. My youngest is 4 and I can vouch for that. It won't take five years before you will be able to get up early to get work done, get work done while she is up and around, and even eventually put her in a few hours of daycare or nursery school or whatever each week.

Does your husband earn any money during the summers?
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Old 03-25-2003, 07:58 PM
 
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Oh, I wanted to add...

Have you looked into refinancing your house? The rates have been incredible. We bought our house just over a year ago and are refinancing now. Our mortgage is going from 8% to 6%. Our monthly payments will be going down nearly $200 because of that, and we will actually own over a third of the house whereas before we were still just paying off on the interest. If you haven't looked into this, please do. Even if you still decide to move, you will do better because you will have more equity in the house.
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Old 03-25-2003, 08:29 PM
 
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Hate to say this, but you know the answer: sell your house and downsize. If your house is costing you 75% of your income, you have too much house for your income and you have bought something you cannot afford.

Sorry, but it's true. I'm no financial whiz here, but the general rule of thumb is that housing shouldn't exceed 33% of your income, unless I am mistaken.

So, what other expenses do you have? A second car? You may think you need it, but you probably don't, not if one of you stays home?

Cable? Kids are better off without it; they get smarter, and you spend more time with them.

Credit cards? Satan's dandruff, baby. Pay off the big ones first and CUT THEM UP.

Clothes? Welcome to Goodwill and Savers.

Makeup, facials, nails, spa treatment - No.

You may want to downsize the car you have, too. SUV owners are going to be hurtin' for certain with gas prices the way they are. You may think you need an SUV. You don't. Besides being gas guzzlers, they are unsafe.

P.S. My dh is a sahd. ..and I am a public school teacher. I feel your pain.
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Old 03-25-2003, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kirsten
Well, how "not well" is it working out the way it is right now? Not well like you are having to put groceries on the credit card? Or not well like you have nothing leftover to save for dd's college? What are you doing now to reduce expenses? Do you still go on vacations, eat out, pay full price for clothes and groceries (instead of waiting for a sale/coupon)? Can you make cuts like driving a used car instead of a new one? JCPenney pix instead of Yuen Lui? Stuff like that? I just would need more info to offer any decent advice.

We live on my dh's income - and live in Western Washington like you. I am a SAHM expecting #3 end of May. We have made changes - though I have to admit not too painful of ones as dh is an engineer.

With just the info I know now, I would vote for your dh to keep teaching and for you guys to reduce your expenses however you can. I think a mortgage that is 3/4 of his take home pay is WAY too much - when we got ours, I don't think they would have even approved us for that ratio. I don't know how you can pay utilities and insurance and gas and all the other must have stuff not to mention fun things on 1/4 of his take home pay. Could you move to a less expensive house within 30 minutes of where you are now - so your mortgage could be much less and your dh could still commute to his job? I know where we are living, if you drive 15 minutes one direction the houses are much less and 15 minutes in a different direction they are much more.

I understand your wanting to stay home (I totally agree with you) but I would not want my dh to be a cop - too dangerous! Does he LIKE teaching? Is he good at it? If the answer to those is yes then he should keep teaching - we need good teachers! Maybe you could do a little something from home for extra money? Seems like there are lots of things - watch kids after school for a few hours, sell Tupperware, whatever.

Whatever you do, I would not do either 1) put dd in full time daycare nor 2) you go back to your 12 hour a day, stressful job. Those are both terrible options in my opinion. When dd is small, she needs you and/or dh primarily. And I used to be a nanny - LOVED, ADORED that boy - treated him like my own child (my dh calls him "the firstborn") but I would not leave my child with someone else to raise for 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, for years of his/her young life no matter how loving they were. No one else is YOU!

Good luck deciding. I am sure it will all work out in the end.
Kirsten
What I mean by *not working well* is that DH and I don't see each other because I am working pretty much whenever he isn't. We aren't putting groceries on the credit card yet, but things are pretty tight. And we aren't even thinking in terms of saving for college (or saving at all, really) right now.

As far as reducing expenses goes, we keep looking for places to cut but can't come up with any. Any help there would be appreciated! We each have a car, but they are both paid for and our insurance is pretty inexpensive. If we eat out, it is usually because we have a gift certificate or my ILs are taking us out. DH and I hardly ever buy clothes for ourselves, and most of DD's wardrobe comes from MIL. I probably don't coupon shop enough for groceries, but I do look for in-store sales. And Katie's pictures are all done through Picture People, but MIL buys most of them. (Do you get the idea that we depend on my ILs WAY too much... way more than I am comfortable with, anyway?)

Our mortgage is such a large portion of our income because we got it when I was still working full-time. I don't think anyone would approve our mortgage based on just DH's income, because it really isn't possible to afford the rest of the basics on 1/4 of his salary. I have looked into refinancing, but our mortgage is at 6 2/3 %, and it doesn't seem like refi would really help that much. I personally would LOVE to move into a smaller house or even a condo, but DH thinks that would be a terrible idea. He thinks the house is the best thing we have going for us, financially. I really disagree, but neither of us is having any luck convincing the other.

DH is an excellent teacher and I know he loves it, and I hate the idea of him changing careers. And the thought of him being a cop does really scare me. But things for teachers here are bad and getting worse, and being a cop is the only thing he wants to do other than teach.


Gr8flmom ~ I am going to check into private schools. I have heard that they are worse than public schools around here, but it is definitely worth looking into.

mom3 ~ I'm not sure MIL would go for that, unfortunately. However, I am going to give that some serious thought.

momatheart23 ~ I would love to do exactly what you're doing. I was a nanny for two babies when I was in college (their moms were friends) and the babies loved having a playmate. Unfortunately, I've looked around a little, and most people aren't open to the idea of a nanny bringing her own child with her to work. I am going to keep looking into that, though.

hydrangea ~ I don't make much at my WAH job, so I am not sure I could pay a mother's helper anything. I don't know any other moms in my shoes that I could trade babysitting with, but I will be on the lookout for them, just in case. And I will call about refi, but I have this strong feeling that it isn't going to work for us. I hope to be back with better news, though!

Anne wife to Phil & mama to Katie
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Old 03-25-2003, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Baudelaire
Hate to say this, but you know the answer: sell your house and downsize. If your house is costing you 75% of your income, you have too much house for your income and you have bought something you cannot afford.

Sorry, but it's true. I'm no financial whiz here, but the general rule of thumb is that housing shouldn't exceed 33% of your income, unless I am mistaken.

So, what other expenses do you have? A second car? You may think you need it, but you probably don't, not if one of you stays home?

Cable? Kids are better off without it; they get smarter, and you spend more time with them.

Credit cards? Satan's dandruff, baby. Pay off the big ones first and CUT THEM UP.

Clothes? Welcome to Goodwill and Savers.

Makeup, facials, nails, spa treatment - No.

You may want to downsize the car you have, too. SUV owners are going to be hurtin' for certain with gas prices the way they are. You may think you need an SUV. You don't. Besides being gas guzzlers, they are unsafe.

P.S. My dh is a sahd. ..and I am a public school teacher. I feel your pain.
You snuck in there while I was typing, I think!

I completely agree with you about the house. I just don't know how to make DH see that. I think we are in way over our heads with it and we need to downsize. But he considers it a great investment in our future (and I agree with that, too, it is just that the cost of that investment is too high for us right now, IMO...)

We do have a second car. The *main* car is actually the one I drive - a Toyota Camry. My parents gave it to us last summer and it is in amazing, perfect condition, despite being 10 years old. It is also the only one of our two cars that DD's (rear-facing) car seat fits into. : Our second car, the one DH takes to work, is my old, pre-baby car. It is a tiny Saturn coupe, and gets amazing gas mileage. So he drives that to work. We could probably get rid of it, but our gas expenses would increase since he'd be driving the Camry to work, and we wouldn't get much for the Saturn. It was in a very minor fender bender and has a scratch on the front bumper, but any cosmetic defect ruins the resale of a car. Plus, it is a '96 Saturn... not exactly a big money car. : However, if I thought it would help, we'd get rid of it.

We only get the regular channels on TV. We have to pay for it because the reception out here is terrible, but we just get the networks and CNN, I think. No cable.

Credit cards ~ We have no CC debt. Well, that isn't totally true. We have about $300 on our CC right now, but that was for something I needed for my WAH job, and it will be paid off at the end of the month. We are strict about not running up CC debt. We do have student loans we're paying off, though. And I'd like to consolidate those and have lower payments over a longer period of time, but DH hates that idea.

Clothes ~ We don't really buy any. DD's wardrobe is another story (she has gobs and gobs of clothes, mostly from Gymboree and Baby Gap) but MIL pays for that.

Beauty treatments ~ Don't do them. I do buy foundation whenever I run out, because this stress is making me break out! But other than that, I don't spend money on makeup, facials, nails, massages, or anything like that. I get my haircut once every few months and that's it.

But thank you all for the ideas, and please keep them coming!

Anne wife to Phil & mama to Katie
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Old 03-25-2003, 11:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Baudelaire
Hate to say this, but you know the answer: sell your house and downsize. If your house is costing you 75% of your income, you have too much house for your income and you have bought something you cannot afford.
Sorry, but it's true. I'm no financial whiz here, but the general rule of thumb is that housing shouldn't exceed 33% of your income, unless I am mistaken.
That 33% was what was coming to my mind too but before I wasn't sure it was right. You know what I would do? Go straight to the library and get some of Suze Orman's books. She is great - and gives wonderful, common sense, easy to understand financial advice. She is on tv every week too - not sure what channel or day or time but we come across it channel surfing all the time. Maybe if your dh saw her on tv or read her book with the advice that your mortgage shouldn't be more than "x"% of your income then he would come around?

Sounds like you guys are doing great with the cars and other expenses already. It is the mortgage that is doing you in! Fix that one thing and you could stay home and dh can teach. I wouldn't feel guilty about your inlaws buying stuff for their grandchild. Grandparents LIKE to do that - and if they can afford to when you cannot - why not?

If the house (mortgage) is causing you problems - both financially and insofar as it is a source of stress/argument between you and dh - then you should move to something you can afford on dh's income. I know it is not the most ideal thing - to have a big, nice house then sell it to move to something smaller. But if you (or more precisely, dh) look at the big picture, the house is not a great investment - it is draining you of your finances now, your stress level is high because of it, dh is considering leaving a job that he loves and is great at, the future "investment" potential of the house is not worth any of that now.

I hope he comes around. With the one change of moving to a more affordable house, all your problems would be solved - or so it seems... That is what I would do. If he won't come around, I would try to hire a mediator type person - someone unbiased - to help you sort it out. Sometimes someone else saying it helps. But I bet it will be in Suze's books!
Kirsten
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Old 03-25-2003, 11:21 PM
 
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have you or your dh ever thought about being a tutor? have the student come to your house? maybe trade tutoring with some mothering help from the student?
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Old 03-25-2003, 11:50 PM
 
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Tutoring is what came to mind for me. I am also a 2nd grade teacher, and while my dh is not a sahd, he does make much less than I do. So, I tutor 4 students a week, three after school and one on Sunday (bleechhh!). Guess what? I make about $650 a month just from tutoring!! For us, this has been our savings for the house we plan to buy next year. It goes into a savings account and we never, ever touch it.
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Old 03-26-2003, 01:23 AM
 
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I've seen a book called "The 4/3 Solution" and it looked like it could help you. It worked on the idea that each parent could work 2/3 of a job and end up happy. Check it out at the library!

Could you really step up your WAH while your dh is on summer break, then slack a little in other times? Then you could each contribute to the finances while still having some family time...
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Old 03-26-2003, 01:40 AM
 
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One thing that hasn't been mentioned here:

Why not put your house up for rent? Then you could use the rent money to pay the mortgage.

In the meantime, you can rent a place for way less per month than you are currently paying for a mortgage. Get an apartment, a much smaller house, a house in a cheaper neighbourhood, whatever.

You won't be "throwing away" your rent money b/c you still own your house and your tenants are paying the mortgage for you.

Now you have a much smaller monthly expense for a roof over your heads, leaving more money all around. Heck, if you are really brave, BUY another place (for a much smaller mortgage)....many people do that and you don't have to be rich, lol.


I also want to tell you that my very dear friend and her DH did what you did: she worked days, he worked nights so that they didn't have to depend on anybody else to raise their DD. She finally quit working when she gave birth to #2 and DH got a day shift/promotion. Yes, it was so hard. I often heard her complaints about how she and DH barely saw each other. But they both are so adament that it was worth every bit of it. They have two lovely girls who know and love their daddy as much as mommy. If you have to do this for a while, make a pledge to each other to accept it and try to move on.

And finally....a hug!!

teapot2.GIF Homeschooling, Homesteading Mama to DD ('02) and DS ('04)  ribbonjigsaw.gif blogging.jpg homeschool.gif

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Old 03-26-2003, 01:48 AM
 
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why is your DH against the idea of consolidating your school loans?
that is one of the things the loan officers tell you to do with multiple loans to 1. pay everything on time, 2. make it easier 3. cheaper in the long run

I'd also find a way to consolidate those loans.

Everyone else is giving great advice.
Good luck
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Old 03-26-2003, 05:03 AM
 
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Oh, I can relate!!!! My dh is a p.s. teacher, and our house payment eats up most of his take home pay......and he got the mortgage on his income alone.....they use gross income, not the small bit he keeps. We also bought our house about a year ago....now we are trying to move. We can't afford it, and it's not like living here is worth the financial struggle. We are like you- there really isn't anything to cut out to save money. Our fixed bills are simply too high. My dh has fought this move tooth and nail, but has finally seen the light. In our case, it isn't just the financial aspects, but some personal ones as well (I hate where we live and want to move regardless of finances).

Anyway, here's what we are doing- I found a tutoring job, which has helped tremendously- I work 12 hours a week and bring my two kids with me. Keep checking your paper for nanny jobs, some will specifiy that bringing your child is okay. If not, put an ad in and take care of a child in your home, if you feel you can handle it. I did that before I tutored, and it was great. Just keep looking, and tell everyone you know that you are available for childcare or babysitting.....the word will spread. DH coaches two sports for extra money, your dh could look into that (not at elemetary level, but middle and high schools always have coaching available, and though they try and fill them internally first, they do hire from other schools, he'll have to check). He can also teach summer school, but apply early, as those jobs fill quickly. He can also work at a Slyvan center during the summer, or something like that.

We are trying to move out of state, where teacher pay is more relative to cost of living. PM me if you want more info, we've been researching this for the past year. Your dh should have no problem finding a job, as elementary teachers seem to be in demand (at least where we're looking).

Hopefully your wah job will pick up and you won't have to worry so much. Best wishes to you!
Kristi

"Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen." Ralph Marston

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Old 03-26-2003, 05:06 AM
 
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Oh, if you haven't already, apply for your states "CHIP" program for medical insurance, it will cover your dd (not you or dh though) if your income meets their requirements, which it probably does on a teacher salary (my dh makes slightly over our states cutoff, so we pay out of pocket for a private plan, as dh's insurance is waaaaaaaay expensive)

"Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen." Ralph Marston

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Old 03-26-2003, 01:07 PM
 
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There is alot of good advice on here that i agree with, I just wanted to let you know that i know how you feel about depending on the il's too much. My dh is fiwniqshing up college and we are living here in the apartment his parents own for the fourth year now. It is really really really wonderful that they let us live here free of charge because I don't what we would do otherwise, and I am so grateful that they are so generous, but it is hard depending on them especially because we are so opposite. You feel like you owe them something even if you dont. So my main advice is to do whatever it takes to get out from under their wing. I don't know how your husband feels about it but try to get him to see how tough it is if he doesn't already know.
Good luck to you.
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Old 03-26-2003, 02:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by katt
why is your DH against the idea of consolidating your school loans?
that is one of the things the loan officers tell you to do with multiple loans to 1. pay everything on time, 2. make it easier 3. cheaper in the long run

I'd also find a way to consolidate those loans.

Everyone else is giving great advice.
Good luck
ITA with this advice. Right now interest rates are so low that you can lock in a low interest rate when you consolidate your student loans. Also, if your DH has any Perkins Loans, have him call the school (or whoever administers it) to see if he qualifies for cancellation of some of it due to his work. When I was working as a prosecutor, I qualified for cancellation due to working in law enforcement and I think they also allow cancellation for working with children also, although you'd have to check on the details. Also, even if you consolidate, there generally aren't pre-payment penalties so if you ever make more money, you can always pay more each month then.
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Old 03-26-2003, 07:48 PM
 
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Have you considered part-time work and daycare?


I understand not wanting daycare for your child, but if the finances are tight and your dd only sees you and DH stressed about things, it might not be that good for her.

I work part-time and dd goes to day care those days. I get 4 days out of 7 to be with her all day and 3 days where I get nights and mornings....

It pays the bills and gives me hugs!
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