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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now that we are in the swing of things, we are having a great school year. My only trouble now is finances. DH is working his rear off just to make enough money to pay our bills and the minimum payment on our loans. Forget health insurance for us, or getting out of debt. We are really budgeting just to have the essentials. I know for some folks it would seem irresponsible for me to not put the girls in school and find a full time job. But, homeschooling is very important to us - very. I also work very part time at my passion - birth work. I have only been doing that a year now, so it is only at the point of paying for itself... not paying me. I don't want to give that up either.

Is there a point when you set principles aside and hopes and just do whatever allows you to have insurance and maybe be able to build an extra room onto the house... pay down debts? I mean... one part of me says that it is important for me and Dh to keep healthy and we never know what might happen with that. We also really need more room. And I don't want to die in debt. Another says that life is what it is and we can make do, and making do is enough... and that being with my children and doing the work we are doing is more important than being able to go to the doc for check-ups and building onto the cabin. Also, our debt was made before we settled into this lifestyle... mostly for college and graduate school, and there isn't any way to know where your convictions will lie at that point and going to college is what we did. We aren't adding to our debt at this point. Just not really able to make a dent in it. And living month to month can kind of get hairy depending on what happens in a month.

How do you make finances work in a one income household? If you are living comfortably, would you still homeschool if you had to go without things like health insurance?
 

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I hope there is some really great insight for you on this thread! We are kind of in this same boat ourselves. We are trying to figure out if there is a way to financially make homeschooling work. We have been doing the one income thing now for 5 years, and it has been 'ok' but it is really not where we want to be, and yet we really feel like public schools are not an option, but affording private . . .
 

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DH *just* got a pay increase that is almost doubling his income - and now we are able to be slightly more comfy. But we have been living off only his income for as long as we have been together. We live in a small apartment, we don't get to buy extravagent things, and I get to stay home and be with my kiddos. I really don't think there would be a situation where I would decide to stop h/sing due to financial reasons... I would just make it work. And I say this as someone who has been on food stamps and such, while living in the ridiculously expensive state of California... I know everyone has to do what works for their families, just sharing my opinion:)
 

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We have been in your shoes for a while now. Dh just started a new job that provides affordable insurance. I took a weekend job that I am not in love with , but it gives us an extra $800 a month.

I hope that you are able to find something..I just want you to know your not alone.
 

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we're in a similar situation, and money is always tight. i have to budget every.single.thing. homeschooling is a priority for us though too, so we simply make it work.

with our debt, we enrolled in a CCCS program a couple of years ago. i hate debt management plans, but at least we have a "light at the end of the tunnel" now & the company we chose is good. so, in 2 years, we'll be totally debt free (aside from our home & dh's car...but those will be next!).

dave ramsey is an awesome option too (my first recommendation actually). we incorporate a lot of his principles.

secondly, do you budget food? do you meal plan? this is where i save the most money! i shop 2x month only. i spend $200 each pay period, so $400 month for food. i make my own laundry detergent too & that cost about $30 for the entire year (previously i used liquid gain & it cost that each month!). dave ramsey has a great budget worksheet. i have one in word doc & you are welcome to have too.

for insurance, my husband and i have catastrophic insurance but not day-to-day (our deductible is 10,000!). for day-to-day, we go to a doc in the box type place (CVS has affordable care for common ailments that need prescriptions). we are fortunate that his employer gives us $300 month for insurance. we can't afford to add to it right now, so we bought catastrophic insurance only. our children are on state insurance. we don't qualify for medicaid, BUT i found out our state offers insurance for higher income families for children! it's not my ideal situation, but i feel so blessed knowing they have full coverage now.

the main thing is to try and budget every.single.area of your finances. challenge yourself with this & look for options that will save you money (go to the frugal board here on MDC and the meal planning forum). for example. we have magic jack instead of a house phone (some people hate it...but it works perfect for us!). we use straight talk cell phones instead of verizon, which saves us $100 month now.

anyway. that's my lame advice, lol. sorry i typed your face off. geesh.
 

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Would it be possible to get a weekend job? Or a job for a couple of nights a week? Have you cut back on everything that it's possible to cut back on? (eating out, grocery bill, cable, minimal phone bill, etc?)
 

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i have been trying to decide whether i want to go back to this lifestyle ever since i started working again a year ago. i think i am going to do it, i just need to pay off the rest of our car and get its maintenance up to date. its an older car, but i think its in good shape. anyway, its a hard decision to make. we would have just enough money to cover the essentials as well. i would most likely be looking for some sort of very part time job, but nothing major. there's no point in quitting work to be home with the kids, and then finding a part time job that is taking up the majority of the day anyway. i feel for us this is the best choice though. dd1 is in first grade and has special needs, and she has been excelling ever since i took her out of preschool. it could just be her maturing, but i'm wary of sticking her back in school and having her regress and go back to laying on the floor in a ball by herself all day. right now they are in a home daycare during the day while i work, but as she gets older i feel like she needs more stimulation and help with her "academics".

as i began to research trying to live off dh's (modest) income, i found that a spread sheet type budgetting form really helped. we are going to have to cut way back too, on things like cell phone bills and groceries. i'm lucky that dh is a chef and brings food home regularly from work, but it's not organic and i like the girls to eat organic foods most of the time, so we still need to quite a bit of budgetting. do you have access to reduced rate clinics or something similar for if you guys need medical attention?

ok, sorry this turned into a huge ramble / blabber session! i think you should try and decide whether you would regret not staying home with your children later in life. many people work and feel great about it. i'm more of a sentimental person, so for me i don't think that would be the case. good luck in whatever you choose!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all of the advice and replies. I'm going to be straight here, and if I get flamed for it.... oh well. We are currently on food assistance and my girls have Medicaid. We don't have cable. The only utility that we have to pay for is electric... we kind of live off grid, so the rest of the utilities are tied into our cabin from the resources around... ground water, etc... I don't buy clothes for myself, unless there is a sale at Wal-Mart or I get them from Goodwill. I have to buy All Free and Clear detergent because DD1 has eczema, but the rest of my cleaners and things I make do with. We really don't buy anything much aside from what we need to live and to keep our businesses going. I would consider a weekend job, but DH has an erratic schedule being an artist and musician, and that would probably mean paying for childcare, which would cancel out income. It almost seems pointless. I've budgeted really all I can budget. That isn't going to get me any more money at this point.

It makes my heart hurt to think about putting the girls in school just for some job that I really wouldn't feel passion for, and then in turn be missing out on their lives while they have to experience what is our public school system instead of the education I can give them at home... where they are now thriving. It isn't like we are going without at all. Except for DH and I not having insurance, and us not being able to get basic things sometimes like haircuts, or other simple more luxury type things I suppose. I guess what it boils down to is what is more important. I think about it and it seems to cancel out. The state isn't funding my daughter's education, but they are buying our food. Cancels out... maybe? I would like to see a time in our life when we can afford to have insurance and we don't need food assistance. Sometime, I'd like to be able to travel with my girls, to see things. I'd like DH to have a more normal schedule sometimes. But, being able to be the ones to nurture our own children throughout the entire day. To allow them to be able to come up in a way that is important to us, that we feel is in their best interest as future adults. For the both of us to work at jobs that we feel contribute to society and that we have been called to do. That is my only hope. DH and I both have graduate degrees. DH is using his. I stopped teaching public school when DD1 was born.

Sorry to whine here. I just don't have anyone really to talk to about this who might be able to offer advice that is workable for me. I'm to the point of hearing it all though. If I am in the long run making an awful decision, then it is time to change. I know some resent people who need food assistance and Medicaid. I know that. Especially, I suppose, people like us. But, I am working hard at my birthwork, and maybe someday, I'll be able to make a little money at it. We are very rural and things here tend to move slow. I understand it is an issue of larger society that we are in a place in time where one income is a hard row to hoe. Very hard. I'm very torn as to what is "right". It just seems so strange to me that there exists childcare centers where we take our children in such a number as we need them today. I am very supportive of women choosing to be mothers and career women at the same time. That option should be there, but at the same time, I'm wondering if this system of working, school, working, school, buy a few things, etc... is in our best interest. I'm happy to be home with my babies. I do want to do other things as well... helping women and families through my birth work... do some writing. But, mostly, I want to be able to be with my children. My mother worked and worked. She came home too tired to be with us, or many times even to cook for us. I felt often alone as a child, and it wasn't my mothers fault, though it took me so long to see that. That feeling has been a huge part of my becoming a woman and my feelings about that, and now my becoming a mother.

In other words... big decision. Here I am putting it out in cyberspace. :( It's fine... it's the truth.
 

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we are in a similar boat. we live basically paycheck to paycheck. we have a little bit of a bumper of savings, but its barely anything, and we often take out and aren't able to put back into it. i also have a grad degree and if i went to work, i would double our income. we could live quite comfortably. but it is so important to me that i am home with my kids. my dh supports me, but wants me to do something part time. i have been teaching 1 class this semester at a local community college, but htey aren't offering it next semester, and they may not offer it the semester after that.

sometimes i think wistfully of all the things i could offer my dds if went to work- the vacations and experiences that we can't afford right now. but then i also remember that this lifestyle is an experience that i could not give them if i went to work.

i am an absolute feminist and think that everyone needs to make the decisions that are right for them. but i know that for me and my girls, i can't leave them. i don't feel comfortable with the idea of sending them off 8 hours a day to be (at least partially) raised by strangers. the longer i homeschool the more philosophically i am against school.

so, i don't have any advice, other than, there are other mamas out here too. its hard, but really, i remind myself that the years that they need me so much are really a small amount of my life. once they are big i will be able to work and it won't be so tight. but this is time that i could never ever replace. i will have the rest of my life to buy things even when they are older i can take them on vacations. but this phase will pass and i don't want to miss it.
 

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no flames here, your post was really inspirational. i work in a daycare/ preschool, and the kids spend all day asking me when mommy is coming- even the ones that are bonded to me really well (they are a reason why i'm having a hard time just quitting work). it really is heart breaking. i asked dd1 (who is 6) a couple months ago whether she would rather have lots of presents for christmas this year, or mommy home with her all the time, and she told me she would rather have me around. sorry if you mentioned this already, but have you asked your girls what they think? if they don't mind living without the extras ( i know insurance is above their heads, i mean the other extras lol), does it really matter if they get them? i think most kids are more interested in traveling and that type of thing when they're older anyway. if you look at your situation as being more of a temporary type thing (say until the kids hit their early teen years), does it make it seem more do-able to you? they may get to a point where they are independent enough to stay home and work on school work while you go out and work for a while during the day. i think part of my problem is that im having issues with looking at it as being a smaller chunk of time versus FOREVER. as others have mentioned, i'll have plenty of time to work and earn money for things after the kids are more self reliant. i just feel like im trapped at my job! lol.
 

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I think you should increase your income. I assume you have no savings, no insurance (for adults). I've *been there* and it's a tough place to be.

I'd look into a work-at-home job. LiveOps comes to mind, but there are other companies that offer similar positions. If you can type and have a good ear for spelling and grammar, look into transcription work. I did general transcription for awhile and the pay was reasonable. It worked out to about $1,000 / mo. working the equivalent of p/t hours (20-25 hr/wk) while my kids were sleeping or otherwise occupied.

Also, could you run paid co-op classes for other homeschoolers or tutoring? Could your DH give art or music lessons?

I guess I'm trying to say that increasing income doesn't necessarily mean not hs'ing. But, I would definitely find ways to increase income.
 

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Health insurance is one thing I would forgo homeschooling to make sure we have, however with my work experience (zero) and my skill set (cooking and childcare) it would be difficult to either find a job that provided benefits nor one that earned enough to purchase private policies for the family. So it would fall on DH to find a job that provided benefits.

Have you looked into all state programs for health insurance? My state has a low cost insurance plan for working families. It is very affordable and is on a sliding scale.

One hospital stay could ruin you financially.
 

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KY does not offer medicaid for parents, too? Makes me glad IL has done one thing right! I have medicaid-dh's health insurance through his college teaching job is now over $2k a month. Needless to say, that's 80% or more of what we bring in. I would look into a part time job that will give benefits for you both to have insurance. I can't blame you for not wanting to drop hs and a good job you like (without med benefits). I would not, either. The past year we are finally keeping our heads above the water as far as income and debt go. It's been sooooo hard, but worth it to stay home with the kiddos.
 

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if you need a part-time job, you could check out being an internet assessor, the pay is pretty decent. i know lionbridge pays $14 an hour. they prefer a college degree, but even if you don't have one...apply anyway! it may not be a strict rule, ykwim? also, i used to work for a furniture company when we first started homeschooling. i was the manager's administrative assistant on saturdays & my shift was 10 hours. the company was bassett, and they offer insurance to p/t employees...so my whole family had awesome coverage from a one day a week job. maybe you could find something like that???

anyway. no flames from me at all. i know people in our lives think we're probably nuts for living on one income...and truth be told, we probably are a little crazy. we wouldn't have it any other way though. i love being a stay-at-home mom! social work will always be there waiting for me...my kids are only young once though. i truly pray it works out for your family! i hope you find a way to make it happen.

hugs.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by eastkygal View Post

Now that we are in the swing of things, we are having a great school year. My only trouble now is finances. DH is working his rear off just to make enough money to pay our bills and the minimum payment on our loans. Forget health insurance for us, or getting out of debt. We are really budgeting just to have the essentials. I know for some folks it would seem irresponsible for me to not put the girls in school and find a full time job. But, homeschooling is very important to us - very. I also work very part time at my passion - birth work. I have only been doing that a year now, so it is only at the point of paying for itself... not paying me. I don't want to give that up either.

Is there a point when you set principles aside and hopes and just do whatever allows you to have insurance and maybe be able to build an extra room onto the house... pay down debts? I mean... one part of me says that it is important for me and Dh to keep healthy and we never know what might happen with that. We also really need more room. And I don't want to die in debt. Another says that life is what it is and we can make do, and making do is enough... and that being with my children and doing the work we are doing is more important than being able to go to the doc for check-ups and building onto the cabin. Also, our debt was made before we settled into this lifestyle... mostly for college and graduate school, and there isn't any way to know where your convictions will lie at that point and going to college is what we did. We aren't adding to our debt at this point. Just not really able to make a dent in it. And living month to month can kind of get hairy depending on what happens in a month.

How do you make finances work in a one income household? If you are living comfortably, would you still homeschool if you had to go without things like health insurance?
I'm in the thick of that as well. Sept 1 my dh lost his very good paying job (he is an contracted self employed driver) which threw us for a loop. We live in ?Australia, so insurance isn't an issue thankfully, but even the generous unemployment bene's we got were barely enough to make ends meet for the 2months it took to find another job. He is working again, and we think the pay will be 'enough' .. but I cannot handle the stress of what if again! I've applied for over a dozen weekend/evening jobs and had no luck. At this point my 2 are starting school at the end of January, with the new school year here, and I'm going to look for pt day work and see if I have more luck.

We have decided that 6hours a day is not the end of the world for us, not that I am thrilled about it.. but the uncertainty of a self employed family in a field where the amount of work fluctuates during the year is just too much for us (we never had that worry with the company he WAS contracted with... ) I have been so stressed over the last 2 months worrying about money, bills etc that we have gotten FAR too little schoolwork done which says to me I would be majorly stressed through the year trying to get 'enough' done. SO to answer your question, I guess for me family stability (and my own mental health.. I've become increasingly depressed) is worth more than hs'ing at this point in my life.

But, until the end of January we are at home, and we'll keep learning while we are obviously ;) We're now adding learning about 'going to school' to our topics at the moment as the boys are actually excited :scratch... not sure how that happened :lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenmama2 View Post

AOP have you read Radical Homemakers? Inky leeeuuhh I hope your are home with your girls soon.
I haven't... I will take a look.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post

KY does not offer medicaid for parents, too? Makes me glad IL has done one thing right! I have medicaid-dh's health insurance through his college teaching job is now over $2k a month. Needless to say, that's 80% or more of what we bring in. I would look into a part time job that will give benefits for you both to have insurance. I can't blame you for not wanting to drop hs and a good job you like (without med benefits). I would not, either. The past year we are finally keeping our heads above the water as far as income and debt go. It's been sooooo hard, but worth it to stay home with the kiddos.
No... I wish, but at this point they only cover those who are unable to work because of health issues, as far as folks our age goes. If I did go to work, it'd probably be only for insurance and childcare... probably couldn't afford anything else. I'm also afraid that it would affect our ability to buy food.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CariOfOz View Post

I'm in the thick of that as well. Sept 1 my dh lost his very good paying job (he is an contracted self employed driver) which threw us for a loop. We live in ?Australia, so insurance isn't an issue thankfully, but even the generous unemployment bene's we got were barely enough to make ends meet for the 2months it took to find another job. He is working again, and we think the pay will be 'enough' .. but I cannot handle the stress of what if again! I've applied for over a dozen weekend/evening jobs and had no luck. At this point my 2 are starting school at the end of January, with the new school year here, and I'm going to look for pt day work and see if I have more luck.

We have decided that 6hours a day is not the end of the world for us, not that I am thrilled about it.. but the uncertainty of a self employed family in a field where the amount of work fluctuates during the year is just too much for us (we never had that worry with the company he WAS contracted with... ) I have been so stressed over the last 2 months worrying about money, bills etc that we have gotten FAR too little schoolwork done which says to me I would be majorly stressed through the year trying to get 'enough' done. SO to answer your question, I guess for me family stability (and my own mental health.. I've become increasingly depressed) is worth more than hs'ing at this point in my life.

But, until the end of January we are at home, and we'll keep learning while we are obviously ;) We're now adding learning about 'going to school' to our topics at the moment as the boys are actually excited :scratch... not sure how that happened :lol
I try not to worry about finances, but when things come up... like someone hacked into our bank account about a week ago and took all our money. We still haven't gotten it all back yet. My health this year hasn't been great. It brings it up for me. I can more than tolerate going without "new" clothes, shoes... vacations... but not being able to see a doc, or being extremely concerned for our well-being and paying bills on time. My health mentally has been taxed too. I've been busy promoting my birthwork... almost like a part time job trying to build up our income.

Quote:
Originally Posted by inky leeuhhh View Post

no flames here, your post was really inspirational. i work in a daycare/ preschool, and the kids spend all day asking me when mommy is coming- even the ones that are bonded to me really well (they are a reason why i'm having a hard time just quitting work). it really is heart breaking. i asked dd1 (who is 6) a couple months ago whether she would rather have lots of presents for christmas this year, or mommy home with her all the time, and she told me she would rather have me around. sorry if you mentioned this already, but have you asked your girls what they think? if they don't mind living without the extras ( i know insurance is above their heads, i mean the other extras lol), does it really matter if they get them? i think most kids are more interested in traveling and that type of thing when they're older anyway. if you look at your situation as being more of a temporary type thing (say until the kids hit their early teen years), does it make it seem more do-able to you? they may get to a point where they are independent enough to stay home and work on school work while you go out and work for a while during the day. i think part of my problem is that im having issues with looking at it as being a smaller chunk of time versus FOREVER. as others have mentioned, i'll have plenty of time to work and earn money for things after the kids are more self reliant. i just feel like im trapped at my job! lol.
Thanks so much for this. I taught public school for 4 years before DD1 was born. I had students asking me to adopt them simply because I had the time to listen to them and refer them to the counselor if need be. Because I told them stories of when I was there age, and read them books. I saw the school system missing so many things and kids missing their parents, that I made the decision solidly that if we couldn't afford Waldorf school, which now we don't live near one, I'd homeschool. I know that isn't the case all the time, but I had a loving mother who had a very very difficult time mothering us because she worked outside of the home. I don't want my girls to experience that. I know me. I'd be that exhausted, aggravated mom if I worked full time outside the home. My sisters both make it work. They have jobs they love - nurse and massage therapist. They see their kids during their work day. They thrive. They are happy working away from home. I would be too if it were something important to me, and I still got to homeschool. I just can't stand the thought of not being able to really.

Remembering things are temporary is a hard thing for me. Thank you for reminding me. It does make me feel less urgent about things, but still like we need a little more stability. DH's work has times where we make almost nothing, and then times of doing pretty good. It isn't consistent enough to keep us from a place where we might fall right off the edge really. One little thing...

Quote:
Originally Posted by yippityskippity View Post

I think you should increase your income. I assume you have no savings, no insurance (for adults). I've *been there* and it's a tough place to be.

I'd look into a work-at-home job. LiveOps comes to mind, but there are other companies that offer similar positions. If you can type and have a good ear for spelling and grammar, look into transcription work. I did general transcription for awhile and the pay was reasonable. It worked out to about $1,000 / mo. working the equivalent of p/t hours (20-25 hr/wk) while my kids were sleeping or otherwise occupied.

Also, could you run paid co-op classes for other homeschoolers or tutoring? Could your DH give art or music lessons?

I guess I'm trying to say that increasing income doesn't necessarily mean not hs'ing. But, I would definitely find ways to increase income.
thanks... We have no savings and no insurance... that's right. We live month to month. I have a Master's Degree in Teaching and a Bachelor's degree in English/Creative Writing. I just don't know how to find these jobs and how to tell if these companies that hire work from home transcriptionists are legit. How do you work it into hsing? I'd love to be able to work from home and set my own hours. I tried Melaleuca a few years ago and that was a huge flop. I hate cold calling... I hate parties... I loved the products, but I couldn't do the work. So, that sort of stuff is out. Transcriptionist sounds nice, since I could still do my birthwork and still hs.

I like the idea of tutoring. Definitely! DH does teach lessons... that is part of our income. Thanks for the ideas. :)
 

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You could also score tests like ACT or SAT online, I believe. I heard someone talking about that (if you have a Bachelor's degree). What about going back to school for a nursing degree? With a Bachelors there are a lot of programs that have night/distance programs for it, and it's a job you could find many schedules for-like weekends only with good benefits. And being in school in the meanwhile will delay your student loan payments and maybe even bring in financial aid. I totally understand that the job would be for benefits only. I am like 8-10 credits away from a Bachelor's so any job I would get would barely pay enough for me to go and definitely not enough to make up for what I save staying home. I would have to pay in tons for daycare alone that wouldn't cover my wages.
 

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With your degree you could become certified to administer tests like the ITBS or SAT-9. I don't know if your state requires homeschoolers to do nationally normed tests, but if it does you could get quite a bit of business from homeschoolers. There may be some smaller private schools that would like to contract you for testing. Basically you mail in a copy of your diploma (or your teacher's license) and perhaps watch a video to be 'certified'. Here's a website with some info: http://www.bjupress.com/testing/faqs/testers.php

A friend did this and she would test kids for 2 to 3 hours a day for about 70 to 80 dollars per day per kid of testing. There wasn't huge demand, but still a few hundred dollars here and there can make a big difference when you are on the edge.

Definitely check into tutoring - I would pay for a good writing tutor for my daughter. Perhaps check into some places like http://www.writeguide.com/ or http://writeathome.com/ or www.time4writing.com or http://www.home2teach.com/ and see if they need any part-time writing instructors. They are all online, so if you have the computer set up they need, you could work from home.
 

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if we had the money, i would totally pay for creative writing classes for my homeschooled kids as an extra! tutoring would be great, too. would you be able to maybe find some work helping post partum mothers? that would sort of tie in with your birth work, and you could get your name out with circles of moms who have growing families, which may provide you with some more clients for your actual business. i think i remember you mentioning though that your hubby has wacky work hours. this is an issue for us too- my dh is a chef who does random caterings @@.
 
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