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08-14-2003 11:02 AM
Paxetbonum Dh makes 27,000 a year but more with his art jobs on the side.

We rent and are hoping to buy soon but really want to be out in the counrty so we can be more self-sufficient and live a more sustainable lifestyle. We also want to try and escape some of the materialism of our culture.

I am a SAHM but once we are out in the country (growing stuff, eating our own chickens and eggs, etc. my duties will be even more connected to our household economy.)

Our dream is for dh to do artwork from home.
08-13-2003 12:26 PM
cinnamonamon I Fly -- that was wonderful... It just
08-13-2003 01:15 AM
I Fly My old boss, who I love, grossed over $12,000 EACH MONTH . Also had a spouse with a good-paying full-time job. Also made extra money on a regular basis. They were always concerned about money and worried about not having enough. This was a good lesson for me. I knew then that unless I changed myself, it would never be enough. Our society runs on wanting more all the time. How could someone with that much actually worry about bouncing checks?

We have a complicated financial history in our 5 year marriage since dh was a student for 2 years and since we started our marriage relatively "rich" due to some inheritance money. We now live on dh's salary of about 54K. On paper, this is enough for all of our needs, minus maternity insurance for me. Once I left my job, the cost of adding ds and myself to dh's ins. was over $600/month. I feel like this is ridiculous! Our largest expense is college loans: about $450/month. We have a car note of $280 since we opted for a new car to make dh's commute of one hour each way better/safer. Our other car is paid for. Car and house and health insurance, plus utilities and groceries really add up. We also tithe 10%. We never seem to have money left over at the end of the month. We eat out too much, and neither of us is willing to be the "budget police". However, we are depleting our small savings, so this will soon become necessary.

We have made some poor financial decisons, and hopefully have learned a lot on the front end of our lives. By far, our best financial decision was to buy a cheap house. I'm not sure what many of you mean by "ghetto", but I know that we LOVE our house and neighborhood even though many friends think we live in a rough part of town. (One woman came over and said 3 times upon arrival, "you didn't tell me that you live in such a terrible neighborhood." I finally said, "we don't.") We spent 57K on our 1140 sf house, then put about 15K into fixing it up. We were amazed that friends would spend 100K on dumpy little newish places in a better part of town. We pay $363/month mortgage and about $1000/year in repairs and are able to walk downtown. Our neighborhood is very diverse, but we feel that this is extremely healthy, and a big plus. (We also have a rottweiler who weighs 120! )

Right now, our major goal is to get out of debt. We owe about 40K in student loans. We spent all of last year getting out of cc debt, which we will now avoid like the plague that it is. We would like to get out of debt and then figure out a way for dh to work less than he does, so that he can spend time with our family and pursue interests outside of work.

By far the hardest thing for us is to sidestep materialism. We feel that it is important to our faith that we not focus on material goods. However, this has been difficult for us so far. Right now, we are considering moving to a very rural area in part to work on this. If we see a river every day, instead of a new cool mini cooper, perhaps we can slowly better appreciate the REAL good things in life. I have my doubts about whether this will "work", but am willing to try it. I desire to live a life NOT centered around paychecks and money. Thanks for the encouraging stories on this board.
08-10-2003 12:21 AM
Potty Diva I am so excited to say that we NOW, after 11 months of DH being unemployed, have an income!!!!!!!!!

Dh makes 10 dollars and hour and I make 6. We bring home about 24 thousand a year now, that is quite a fall from the 40 thousand Mark brought home a lone last year - but, we'll make it!

We rent our little home now(foreclosure of our 'real'home happened last month) and pay 300 per month. Our utilities run us about 150(including phone bill, lights, and garbage pick-up. Our house is about 700-800 sq.feet with two bedroom and 1 bath. We don't really have a kitchen per say. It's about 10 foot long and 5 feet wide. I have no counter spacec, and my washer and dryer are along one wall of the room. Strange eh? LOL- but I cannot complain. We are living in hog heaven about now. Although I miss my Summer dog more than words can say, and it kills me to think about losing our house
06-26-2003 12:37 AM
BusyMommy Well, we're about to drop some categories. I've decided to take a 2 year LOA until I can find a p/t job.

The belt will certainly be tighter, but our kids are worth it!
06-24-2003 08:23 PM
quantumsarah After reading the thread, I wanted to add: I live in central Texas. We live in a house that has one bedroom and one bathroom, and is about 600 sq.ft. Three adults, two young children. We pay $500 a month in rent, plus about $150 a month for utilities, not including phone. There are two working vehicles, but neither will hold both of my children's carseats. (If the boys go somewhere together, it's in their father's car. My ex visits every week.) We raise chickens, and grow fruits, vegetables, nuts, and herbs. I live with my parents, who both work fulltime, and I stay at home with my sons. The boys get medical insurance through my mother's employer, but I haven't had medical coverage since I was a child, except for the times I was pregnant and on Medicaid.
06-24-2003 07:48 PM
quantumsarah I voted in the $50,000 to $75,000 range, but if we made $75,000 a year, I could afford a car instead of the gigantic piece of yard art I have now. *laugh* We make about $52,000 a year, and are a family of five.
06-24-2003 04:49 AM
IdentityCrisisMama I never would have assumed that “AP” parents were on the lower end of the income bracket. I feel it is a rather privileged way to parent. I don’t really mean this in a bad way : > )
06-24-2003 03:54 AM
Lifesabeach well we made a lot last year but we live in So CA so it doesn't go very far. We also rely on the stock market and in the last 1.5 yrs we have taken a major hit and it's looking like it's time to stop acting like we have money to spend
06-24-2003 02:28 AM
pie btw before we moved we paid 1100 a month for a one bedroom apt. We had a teeny yard though!
06-24-2003 02:26 AM
Originally posted by lorijds
We live on a little over $50,000--and 5 years ago I would have thought it heaven, but we barely make ends meet. Owning a home can be pricey, and if you want to buy a home under 100,000 in this town, you need to be prepared to do some serious renovation. I'm not talking a big house, either--we live in 850 square feet, two bedroom, one bath, pretty basic.

I live near the beach in Southern CA. We rent. If you want a house below one hundred grand here you get a time share. Maybe a trailer home BUT the lot rent would be VERY high.

They are shutting down all the trailer parks anyway to build community parks and campgrounds.

You honestly can't buy a single family home anywhere around here for under three hundred grand, and that is in the really rundown parts of OC. In my town you cannot even dream of getting a house for under 375 grand.

So we are moving to the desert where you can own a home for under two hundred, or even under a hundred if you want to.
06-23-2003 01:14 PM
Worldshakerz Before baby, my dh and I made approximately 36,000 after taxes. WOuld have been a little more, but I quit working in my 6th month of pregnancy last november. I'm not shy about how much we make, whether we be rich or poor. We lived on that very well, though not luxuriously. At that time we lived in a 1-bedroom apartment for 460/month, paid between $75-100 on electric, about $60-75 on phone (mostly basic stuff, but a few frills like call-waiting), about $50/mo on cable, $30 for roadrunner, $150 on credit card between us, $60-$75 on gas for our $300 paid-for car. I shelled out some money for school...books, supplies, etc, and paid for a semester of college, approx $1000. Car Insurance for the year $950 (broken down into 10/mo of $95 payments), tags renewal $36 dollars, health insurance premiums plus copays, about $3000. Our grocery bill was very high, but I'm including in grocery: regular store-bought, some organic, variety of regular vitamins and supplements, non-food items such as paper products, water filter replacements, cat food and cat care, cleaning supplies, lightbulbs, yadayada, film, pictures developing (im a nut for taking pictures), and movie rentals our bill comes out to $1000 a month! Oops, not including eating out, which we used to do all the time, especially at work for lunch out a few times a week: average $200/mo. Oh yeah, laundry $10/week in the machines. Exceptions of film developing,eating out, movie rentals, all the above a would consider needs. Now throw in wants: clothes, shoes, (thrift stores for me), occasionally a new cloth item but always from the sale rack. We also paid for our own wedding and honeymoon last year, about $2000 all told. We splurged on our honeymoon I have to say, in Orlando it was one big shopping spree, our first one in over a year. Well, this all adds up to having had just enough to get by comfortably. Pay check to pay check for us. Hope this isn't TMI for anyone, I guess this has inadvertently turned into an exercise for me to find out what happened to the money hehe.

Well, I haven't been working since last november. This year things are very different, living on dh pay which will be about 28000 after taxes. We rarely eat out, though maybe we do order chinese once a month as a treat. We moved into a 2-bedroom apartment to accodomate for our new addition to the family (February) we pay $560 now. Our grocery bill we have drastically reduced, and I'm constantly figuring out ways to cut it. We don't buy as many of the vitamins that we used to, just the basic multi and a few others for cold season. We cut out lots of the packaged food items (healthier anyway). I just found a co-op which will be saving me lots on produce and dairy! Hurrah! We have a cloth diapering kit coming in the mail now....big savings there. There is a great book that has given me some ideas called "Living Well on a Shoestring" it's got some great ideas. We don't have cable (just the cable modem now). We RARELY rent movies...i think maybe 5 all year total.

This has been a little long, but again it has been an exercise for me. Really becoming a mother has made me stop and think what is important, and in some ways money is on the bottom of the list. Staying home with my ds is the best decision I made! Both dh and I will be returning to school this fall....maybe someday we will make more...until then, we are cutting all the corns we can....but yes I would love to be "rich" financially...would love to buy all organic, buy a house and fill it with environment friendly products...that is our ultimate goal and we aren't afraid to work for it..
06-23-2003 12:34 PM
hslingmomof4 I voted and I'm learning not to tell b/c some think I have all this money and I don't. I have a family of 6. Our income use to be double and didn't have a problem telling. Dh and I started out as teen parents (19) so we were proud to work hard from where we started. We use to make 106K (cincinnati, Oh area) and quite honest,lwe still were broke b/c of our student loans. We owe about that much in student loans. Well, two years ago dh got laid off from his job. Actually they called it a fire. They didn't want to dish out a severance as in the benefit package. Ironically, they fired an addtl. 12 more ppl. 5 months after he got laid off, I was laid off with 3 months severance but it went quick. He was unemployed for 15 months before he got this job in Florida. Now, it has been 18 months for me and I'm not returning since I am hsling. Besides there aren't any jobs in my field in Florida. It was a dark time for us.
Now we live in Florida where they say it was an lateral move with income. No it isn't. It is more expensive for houses that would equal the size in the Midwest. Companies don't dish out the money as the midwest. So, our standard of living went down from two years ago. However, we are managing. I've cut groceries down to the point that at the end of the month, I become creative. We lost our house, two new vehicles and sold a lot of furniture before we bankrupt. We weren't careless, we didn't see it coming. We have never been through this before. So, the ones that posted here and stated that they were laid off or their spouse is or was. I feel for ya. I'm rambling now. That is a sensitive subject for me.

Is there a lost a job support board here? Maybe we can all talk about it and find some leads. Who knows?
05-27-2003 10:10 PM
cinnamonamon Our utilities are a pretty decent chunk, as well -- $160 - $180/month! We aren't really allowed to have clothes lines here, so I can't save money that way -- unless we put up a fence in our backyard (deed restrictions : ). We also have a water bill that's almost $40/month -- I seem to remember it being about $15 when I lived in Michigan!

thistle (I love your name ), you are an inspiration -- I know there are ways to cut back, I just need to take the time to do them! I have the ability to cook, I just get lazy... you've convinced me to get on the ball - no pizza delivery here, tonight! :LOL
05-27-2003 02:34 PM
angelfromalasaka we have well water so we do pay at all. we also have adump which is free.
that makes up for the 100 month elec bill and the heating costs for oil.
05-27-2003 11:20 AM
thistle My DH makes 24K with the assurance that there will be NO RAISE for the next 2 years at least (Thanks Texas Legislature!!) Last year I made about 2K. That is about 50% of the median income for a family of 3 in our town. We live in an expensive part of TX (Austin), and our rent on a small 2 BR is $675/mo which includes cable but not water/gas/garbage : Our housing/utilities expense takes up a big portion of his pay. Our health insurance is $200/mo. I refuse to give that up b/c this is the first time as an adult that I have actually had health insurance. Most of the cost is for me. DH's portion is covered by his job and dd's portion is only $15/mo. Plus he has a MANDATORY 6% contribution to his retirement, so that's $120/mo we don't even get to see. DH wants to buy a house, and we could probably swing the payment but taxes are kind of high here and homeowners insurance is the most expensive in the country!! I don't know how we'd pay for repairs.

On paper, we are poor. We qualify for WIC but don't get it. I don't particularly FEEL poor. I buy about half and half organic produce. We eat organic bread, but that's because I bought a breadmaker for $10 at a thrift store and make my own for about 50 cents a loaf (maybe less). I cook from scratch a lot, but we also eat out some too. Most of my clothes come from the thrift store, once a year or so I will buy something new at Ross' dress for Less. Dd's toys come from yard sales and she wears gifts/hand me downs.

When we want to do something we save up for it. We went on vacation last year to visit DH's family and this year we are going to visit mine. We do not use credit cards at all and our only debt is my student loans (which is another story altogether). I put a set amount of money into savings every month. I try to put a little extra in too, but often end up hainvg to use it. We have 1 car- a 92 Toyota. I like having emergency money available for the inevitable car repairs.

We have to do this on our own because both my & DH's parents are dead. We don't have any backup.

Most importantly we love each other and are happy.

05-26-2003 02:17 AM
Originally posted by Justice2
Our utilities are very inexpensive...our gas bill is the most at 58.00 last month and our water was $15.00 this month.
That's what I miss about Virginia. My husband's water bill was $12 before I moved in, then it went up to $24 a month. I guess it was the extra daily shower. When we moved to CA, a water bill of $100 was common, and no one I talked to seemed to think this was strange. In VA we never wasted water by pouring it on the lawn--it seemed so strange to do this in CA where our county had to buy water and didn't have enough in their own reservoirs.
05-25-2003 10:57 AM
Justice2 My dh makes in the 40-50 range (closer to 50) with the opportunity to go up into the 70's next year. We are very forutnate. We live in a very small town in SC and are renting a house while we save to buy it! Our rent for a two bedroom house is only 350 (house not mobile home) a month. Our utilities are very inexpensive...our gas bill is the most at 58.00 last month and our water was $15.00 this month. It's amazing to me because I don't look at us as having much money, but my neighbor came over yesterday after I went to WalMart (for a garden hose) and when I said that I had spent $100.00 she replied with "lord, I wish I had an extra $100.00 to spend at WalMart". I guess it's all relative.
05-25-2003 03:24 AM
Viola I took a poll like this once before, but our income has come down since then. My husband grosses an even $60,000 as a computer programmer, specifically a firmware engineer. Given that my sister is single and makes over $40,000 and has to economize, and my other sister, also single but with grown children, makes about the same at one job, but can't make it without a second job delivering newspapers, I figure $60,000 for a family of almost 4 isn't exactly rolling in the dough, but we do manage to save a little money, and spend money on things we want at times. So we have more than we need just to get by, which is a better situation than I've been in for most of my life where I was living paycheck to paycheck and in debt. Still, I'm always looking for ways to cut back, especially on utilities which can be high in the west, water especially. We also have more house than we need, but all of our vehicles are paid for, which is nice.

The most money I ever made at any job was $24,000 which included overtime, and this was when I worked in purchasing in Virginia in 1997. My last job where I was living in Orange county, CA and doing temp work in an accounting office of a distribution center, I made $10 an hour with no benefits. The people wanted me to come back at least part time after my baby was born, and my feeling was how? I'd probably have to pay $10 an hour for daycare.
05-21-2003 11:23 PM
CandyLayne honestly, i don't know exactly how much dh makes (even though i do the bills) but it's enough for me to pay the bills, have some left for savings and entertainment and still allow me to be at home with her. i quit teaching when i was 7.5 months pregnant, so we lost almost 30K then but it's the best decision we could've made.
05-18-2003 12:15 PM
Originally posted by Alenushka
In some states, 34K is a resonalbe amount for survival. In San Franciso Bay are it is poveryt for family of 2.
It is considered poverty here too! We qualify for tons of assistance programs because we are within 133% of the poverty level here in Idaho....we are actually $20,000 under the median income level for Idaho based on state statistics.


I am glad that such programs are available to those that need them though! Makes me glad that we live here(instead of say...california) on his income instead of somewhere else because his job does not take cost of living into consideration...your income is the same no matter where you live.....stinks! LOL

I had just wanted to say to the original poster that said "$50,000 does not feel like a huge income when you have a family of 3 or more" that for some families that make smaller than that, and have more people, it is indeed a huge amount.
05-18-2003 02:39 AM
Alenushka In some states, 34K is a resonalbe amount for survival. In San Franciso Bay are it is poveryt for family of 2.
05-17-2003 05:06 PM
Originally posted by FirstTimeMom
The thing is that if you don't make $50,000 plus it sounds like a lot but when you do it doesn't *feel* like a lot - not for a family of three or more.
DH only grosses $34,000 a year, and we have a family of 7

$50,000 would indeed seem huge to us!
05-12-2003 09:08 PM
cinnamonamon Yea, and it doesn't help when the "good paying job" has a screw up with payroll & doesn't deposit the check, and you've already sent out bill payments that you now HOPE don't bounce, & in the mean time you are using credit cards for food, gas, etc...that you never seem to end up having the $$ later to pay right back...grrr DISCIPLINE -- that's what we need. And no more co-signing, and his job to become a bit more stable.... ad naseum ...

I do have to say that my sister TRIED to make payments -- but her husband is a youth pastor & she stays at home with her 2 under 5 (and expecting another!)... When she bought it she was unmarried & working construction (go muscle-mama) with one baby & didn't yet have back problems!
05-12-2003 08:18 PM
angelfromalasaka dont feel bad..... my dh co signed on car for my sd, she totalled it, didnt pay the insurance, bought herself a big yukon last aug and guess what. hasnt made the payments since then !!she makes them on and off. we cant get the car back since she totalled it.
we made bad choices too, we traveled alot the two years before we had kids.but paying it all off...
i know if someone would have told me we would make good money and have no saving !!!
05-12-2003 07:59 PM
cinnamonamon Well, I voted 60+ and am shaking my own head in shame. I grew up poor & on welfare -- so this is about 10 times what it cost my mom to raise the 6 of us on, and we have no savings?! I still don't understand where all our $$ goes. Granted where she lives in Michigan, she (I say she cause my dad bailed when I was 15 & my youngest sister was 3) paid rent at $300, for a two bedroom house with a basement, and a 400sq/ft apt. is $475 here. My dh has a pt cruiser : but he wanted it & he worked hard to get where he is, so I figure he deserves it. I on the other hand was happy with my '91 Ford Ranger. Unfortunately I cosigned for my sister on a loan, and after she ruined my credit & couldn't sell the truck, I finally had to take it & take over the payments. So I'm stuck with a '96 truck that I don't like & has high payments when I had just paid off my last truck! And I STILL don't have air conditioning!! :

I will say that in our case, we have horribly mis-managed & wasted our money. We have a lot of credit card debt -- for things that we never should have bothered with. Do you really NEED brand new furniture? We should have saved that $$ for when the air conditioner had to be totally replaced 8 months later!
05-11-2003 04:26 PM
angelfromalasaka I think its hard to be in any ones shoes. we make 50 plus, but also drive a 91 car and cant get another one yet. that is our goal for this year.
alot of our money is for cc debit, and food as it cost more here.our morage isnt bad at 1100 a month but our oil for heating and electic can be high.
things cost more here in general but i thank God we dont live in the bush..... they all pay so much more for shipping !!!
angel mom to grace 5/12/99 and drew 11/24/00
04-25-2003 11:24 PM
Almamiel We're making a little under $9000/year right now. We're VERY frugal, but our savings account (meager though it is) is slowly's a hard thing. I'm in the middle of having to make the decision to be a wohm (dh would be with dd - he could take her to meetings/work, thank god) and I think it is the most heartwrenching decision...hard times.
04-25-2003 05:22 PM
plum We are on the lower end. I think Dh makes around $12000 a year. But he's also active duty Air Force so there are benefits that come with it. We have a three bedroom townhouse-type thing on base, which I love. We don't pay heat or electricity, just the extras (phone and high speed internet connection). We have health insurance and I get to see a midwife. Groceries at the commissary are cheap (we spend around $30 a week on groceries, maybe less) and other things are tax free at the BX. We have one car that we make monthly payments on (99 Toyota) and another we owe $600 on (97 Saturn). The most expensive thing we spend money on is our car insurance.

He has enough training in his career field to easily find a job when he is finished with active duty. I'm going back to college next fall to finish the other two or three years of my undergraduate degree and have already found a medical program that I'm almost positive I'll be accepted to.

I think if our circumstances were different, like if we were older (and were used to having more money) or had more children, this might not be as easy. I know it's hard for a lot of military families, but we're still young and only have the one baby on the way (and a house full of cats ) so I'm happy. It's in the middle of nowhere, but I also feel lucky. My reservation is an hour from here so I can see my grandparents frequently and our parents live four hours away, so we can visit on the weekends. Actually, we're going home for the weekend when Andy gets off work.

I even get to be a SAHM, something I never thought I'd do. We don't have much money, but all things considered I'm really happy right now.
04-21-2003 04:57 PM
Originally posted by mojomom
It really has taught me where our focus money wise needs to be. We should have saved more payed off more and spent more wisely. Too little too late but what lessons we are learning about ourself and enjoying. This is all new and just happened who knows if I will still see the sunny side after a few months.
BTDT. It's really hard. We lived off dh's 'severance' (which was actually back-pay the company owed him) for three months. Because the company called the back-pay severance on the paperwork, we never got a cent of unemployment. I wanted my dh to fight it, but he's too laid back. I was working part-time and bringing in just enough that we didn't have to borrow money before dh's new job start paying (took four weeks to get the first check). :

Dh's new job pays 30% less than his old job + I quit work to stay home with dd and our ds due to arrive any day. It's hard, but I'm learning that there's things more important than the size of our bank account. I must say I like knowing the bills will be paid tho. LOL
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