What is your source of income? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 04-01-2013, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I hope this question doesn't get moved because I'm really interested in unschooling and looking for responses from unschoolers. 

 

How do you finance it? I know everyone's situation is different, so hopefully I'll get a variety of responses :)

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#2 of 17 Old 04-01-2013, 11:37 AM
 
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I'm a relaxed homeschooler/unschooler and I babysit. I don't get much $$. every bit helps

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#3 of 17 Old 04-01-2013, 11:55 AM
 
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Dh works as a small-town physician full-time. Here in Canada, in the boonies, it's not as lucrative a job as most would imagine, but we are pretty comfortable on his income because we live frugally, made some sensible real estate decisions and managed to pay our mortgage off quickly. We're also not young: we're both turning 50 this year, so we have taken a while to get here. 

 

I work a half day a week as a physician. I also work two half-days a week as violin teacher. 

 

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#4 of 17 Old 04-01-2013, 12:07 PM
 
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I came back to ++ we don't have a car payment and I'm very careful about money. It was hard in '08-12 my husband had a pay cut and we had to cut spending BIG time!! But now my husband is making more then '08 so we are getting back to normal. If I was every normal.LOL

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#5 of 17 Old 04-01-2013, 01:05 PM
 
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Both dh and I are self-employed.  DH is a gardener.  I have become a housekeeper, though I used to work with dh BK (before kids).  I recently lost a client, so now I work one day every other week.  One of those days, I bring the girls with me because it is a short, pick-up kind of day, and the YMCA pool is along the way, so we make a day of it.  On this job and other occasional jobs, the girls have worked for me for pay: $1 per hour for "busy work", $6 per hour for real work I can direct and correct and would (theoretically, not yet realistically) save me time.  They can occasionally work with dh as well, though we expect we can do more of that in the future.

 

I like being my own boss and bringing my girls into the business.  I think it will give them good planning skills, and a good trade to take with them when starting out on their own.  

 

I really need to advertise to fill one day a week again (which would mean 2 days every other week.)  Our income is suffering, it makes it difficult getting into the swing of working, especially since my work is fairly physical (which I really like), and dh misses having one day a week with the girls to themselves.  We have 2 different parenting styles:  I am more laid back, but less active and let the girls do whatever pleases them, with some help.  DH actively engages them in games and physical play and gardening work in a way that I can't seem to muster.  I miss them having that every week as well-- the energy and excitement of the day infused the rest of the week.

 

Echoing living frugally-- most of my spare money goes to gym and riding and scout activities, not Stuff.


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#6 of 17 Old 04-01-2013, 03:49 PM
 
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I have 2 businesses, medical transcription and pet sitting.  The 2 businesses go together well as when the holidays roll around and my medical transcription work slows down, my pet sitting starts to pick up.  My husband has a pool cleaning business, but has just decided to take on a full-time job as well as we are trying to pay everything off in order to purchase our first home in the next couple of years.  The hardest part is getting used to having a schedule again and working our activities around his work schedule.  We have been so used to having a completely flexible schedule the last 8 years. 

 

As far as financing unschooling, there really isn't much to finance.  We actually save by not having to buy a ton of back-to-school supplies and clothing. We wait until the week after all the kids return to school and buy everything we need when it is all at clearance prices.  The one year our son wanted to go to school and we let him, the list of supplies the school required was almost $100 and that didn't include the backpack, lunch box, clothing, sneakers, etc. We also don't have to buy special food and drinks for school lunches, which also ran up a nice bill each week. The things we buy for learning projects are things we would have bought anyway, so it isn't an additional cost to us.  We also use the library a lot and watch a lot of documentaries on Netflix, which is extremely cheap and we would pay for anyway. We also don't have to buy all the latest toys and gadgets that are popular with all the kids at the moment.  When he was in school, he would always be begging for something he seen the other kids had, even if he wasn't really that into it himself. So if anything, we actually save money by having our son home versus school.     

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#7 of 17 Old 04-01-2013, 06:30 PM
 
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My husband has a decent salaried job with excellent benefits such as health insurance and retirement as a history teacher, I feel good that it is a very secure position, but we pay a lot out in insurance and he pays a decent amount of child support for his two older children. I work two days a week as a nanny, and bring my son with me. I occasionally teach a dance workshop in the public school, and doula (my son always comes with me). I plan to continue this type of work and bring ds along until he is old enough to choose to stay home alone (if he chooses that). We are also a frugal family, in that we never buy anything new and "stuff" is not very important to us. We enjoy good, local food, outdoor activities and traveling. We do not have a lot of bills, no credit card debt, have only one car payment and rent a home. We are very happy!


Me, slinggirl.gif mama to 1.5 yr old kid.gifDS, step mama to two tweens, married to a sarcastic sports nut censored.gif. We are unschooling! mdcblog5.gif http://twocoolfourschool.wordpress.com/

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#8 of 17 Old 04-01-2013, 10:43 PM
 
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We are very frugal people. We don't have much stuff and we like it that way: we do have the essentials and we live a comfortable life.  I used to work four half days a week as a teacher but it was recently bumped up to five.  I do not like the new schedule and it doesn't seem I have much say in it, so I am considering quitting my job.  In our case, the decision not to send the kids to school costs money in childcare.  I am hoping that if I quit my job, I will have a source of income that has flexible scheduling.  I have no idea what that is yet but will soon be experimenting.  I suspect, our biggest homeschooling/unschooling expense will always be childcare.  In addition, since we don't have a library around here, we spend some good money on books as well.  But then again, we don't spend much on clothes and shoes so maybe it is all a wash.   

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#9 of 17 Old 04-02-2013, 01:28 PM
 
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DH is a full time electrician at a steel company which allows me to stay at home. Our income isn't huge but it is comfortable as long as we are frugal. We also don't do a lot of "stuff". The kids get oodles of clothes and toys from grandparents. Even so, they are much more entertained by crafts which is usually made from stuff we already have around the house (pine cones, macaroni, string, egg cartons, paint, crayons, shoeboxes, ect.) We also live frugally. We rent, have a single car payment (which is very low as we put 50% down), all of our furniture is used or hand-me-downs from family. We don't eat out much, we don't have cable or sattelite TV, we have no credit card debt, and we have a garden to supplement our food supply, (a great learning tool by the way!) and hardly ever spend money on ourselves. We camp and fish instead of big family vacations. We put off a lot of purchases as long as possible to be able to pay cash, and often decide after the wait we don't really need or want it anyway. We eat vegetarian several times a week (beans and such, cheap!) and avoid most processed and boxed foods which can get expensive.

 

I'll admit we don't have as much as many family and friends do. We can't buy brand new vehicles, buy new and updated homes, and we don't have the latest phones or other gadgets. But we specifically choose not to have those things so that we can live the way we want to. We have done the 2-income thing with daycare and school and all that and everybody was miserable! The crazy schedules, the little time to ourselves, and even less freedom to do the things we felt were important simply were not worth it.

 

We have found that home/unschooling really isn't expensive unless you make it that way. There is so much learning just by living our lives together, and tons of free ideas and information online to supplement that. Not to mention your local library! We do spend some money on a dance class and gymnastics as it is two things DD really enjoys. Thankfully it is not very expensive in our area. I spent well over 100$ on schools supplies the one semester that DD was in school, not counting the "proper" clothes and shoes, field trips, transportation, fundraisers, lunches, snacks,class parties  ect. I think we are definitely saving money by homeschooling!


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#10 of 17 Old 04-02-2013, 09:09 PM
 
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 We camp and fish instead of big family vacations. 

"Vacations" can be a huge money drain.  We don't do them because the kids are still young and content with the places we go to locally.  Admittedly, we have many fabulous options-- several national parks that include lakes, rivers, mountains, volcanos, and beaches, wilderness areas, Mt. St. Helens as well as other natural areas nearby-- all which can be enjoyed simply out of the trunk of a car at the campground.  $18 per night at area national parks, 2 hour drive, that is that.

 

We are also "lucky" to have family locally, so we don't pay airfare to far locations to visit grandparents.  

 

Cars are used and maintained until they can't be.  We don't need to by fancy clothes for work-- dh's gardening workclothes are thrift store scores.  Most other clothing purchases are from the thrift store, and, yes, it is perfectly acceptable to wear pants with worn-out knees with strange, mismatched combinations.  DD2 even wears tights as pants and you know, who cares if we're staying home?  I don't wear make-up or fancy lotions and age-defying creams.  I don't get my hair "done" or dye it, and it is pure silver at 43.  (Drives my sisters crazy the way I don't fuss over how I look, though!)  All those things can suck your income dry!


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#11 of 17 Old 04-04-2013, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses everyone :) (I hope they keep coming!)

 

These are really helpful for me. My husband is of the opinion that people who "don't work" are just lazy. It seems to me that it takes more energy, creativity and resourcefulness to "not work" (his term for it, not mine) than it does to sit at a desk all day and earn a paycheck.

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#12 of 17 Old 04-05-2013, 10:40 AM
 
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These are really helpful for me. My husband is of the opinion that people who "don't work" are just lazy. It seems to me that it takes more energy, creativity and resourcefulness to "not work" (his term for it, not mine) than it does to sit at a desk all day and earn a paycheck.

 

He should probably spend a few days with someone who "doesn't work" but leads a frugal, resourceful life. It's hard to appreciate how much work it is unless you live through it for a while. There was a point a few years ago when I found my frugal resourcefulness had become so time-consuming that I simply couldn't fit it into my days. I realized that first thing in the morning my list of chores consisted of this sort of stuff:

 

-- chopping firewood

-- starting a fire in the wood stove

-- setting dried beans to soak for hummus, chile, falafel or whatever

-- rinsing the sprouting seeds to grow sprouts

-- watering and feeding the chickens; collecting eggs

-- watering the garden

-- grinding grain; starting dough for bread

-- setting up some yogurt starter to replenish our yogurt, or making nut milk or soy milk

-- hand-washing all the dishes from the food prep I'd done so far

-- pulling down laundry from the line; hanging out the next load

 

After that -- which could take up to two hours -- I was ready to have my morning coffee and start my day. Then I could get busy with all the usual daily meal prep and housekeeping, as well as all the things that pile up on an occasional but ongoing basis, like sewing or mending clothes, home repair, yard work or snow-clearing, canning or freezing or drying / preparing bulk food.

 

And somewhere in there we tried to fit home-based learning for four kids as well as all our music and our community activities. 

 

In my family's case we could afford a bit more convenience, so in the interest of sanity I gave up on some of the above things. We now buy most of our milk, sprouts and yogurt and some of our bread. My garden is much smaller: mostly herbs, plus root and salad vegetables. We've just started buying eggs. I have family friends who are still by necessity living lives of extreme frugality. They typically work from dawn until they drop into bed at night. I have one friend who recently went to work after years of being an at-home parent. She is positively giddy over how much easier her life is. She told me "I can work two eight-hour days and make enough money to buy all the squash, potatoes and onions we need to get through the entire year. Just sixteen hours' work for all those vegetables! Amazing!"

 

Miranda


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#13 of 17 Old 04-05-2013, 12:40 PM
 
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Budgets work with two columns: money coming in and money going out. You want the two columns to balance, and you can do it either with more money coming in or less money going out.

 

My husband and I have seasonal work so we are off for two months in the summer. During the winter, we have more money coming in. During the time of "not working", I try to impact our budget from the other direction, and it DOES take more work to spend less money. I am able to do things to be cheap that I am NOT able to do while I am a busy working mom.

 

When I'm off, I save money by:

--growing our own veg

--making our bread

--walking everywhere instead of driving (so not using gas)

--not paying for childcare

 

"Having a job" is not the only way to impact your budget.

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#14 of 17 Old 04-05-2013, 01:12 PM
 
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Thanks for the responses everyone smile.gif (I hope they keep coming!)

These are really helpful for me. My husband is of the opinion that people who "don't work" are just lazy. It seems to me that it takes more energy, creativity and resourcefulness to "not work" (his term for it, not mine) than it does to sit at a desk all day and earn a paycheck.

I agree with a PP that says he needs to spend a day in another's shoes! My DH always wanted me to work and after I stayed at home for 2 years with our first he joked that I could finally "pull my weight" with my new job. Well then he suffered a long bout of unemployment and had to stay at home with our girls and WOW what a change of attitude for him. He had no idea how much work it was to feed, clothe, entertain and engage, clean up after and keep out of trouble two little girls. It was all he could do just to handle them and NOTHING got done with housework or gardening or anything else really. When we were both working we were even more miserable trying to juggle it all so now he LOVES having me home and wouldn't trade it for anything. I haven't let him live that "pull my weight" comment down since.mischievous.gif

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#15 of 17 Old 04-05-2013, 02:38 PM
 
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Well then he suffered a long bout of unemployment and had to stay at home with our girls and WOW what a change of attitude for him. .... I haven't let him live that "pull my weight" comment down since.mischievous.gif

 

LOL! Love this!

 

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#16 of 17 Old 04-05-2013, 05:15 PM
 
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It is not an easy road for sure, but  simple living is just me.  My kids are happy with little things. Even if they where in public school I would still live the same.

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#17 of 17 Old 04-05-2013, 05:56 PM
 
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Haven't let him live that "pull my weight" comment down since.mischievous.gif

 

Haha.  You now have a nice trump card!

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