Since I recently announced that I resigned from my fourth grade teaching position and will be staying at home, I have received quite a few questions. I wrote a short little update post that answered some questions but so many have remarked on one particular aspect…
And I totally get it. When Collin and I were deciding if this was even possible, finances were one-hundred percent the only reason we hesitated at all. It’s scary -no terrifying – to think about losing an entire income. We spent many evenings crunching numbers and talking out what-if scenarios for our future. I think a lot of families think there’s no way they could do it financially, but it really is more doable than you might think.
I am gonna break it down a little and without getting too personal (’cause that ain’t classy) I am going to let you know a little about how we plan to make it work. Please note, we are in no way, shape, or form, rich. Collin makes decent money, but I still think many would drop their jaws if they knew how “little” he makes and knew we were making this decision.
Let’s get started!
Collin and I never knew I would stay at home. It wasn’t really a thought in our minds until after Nora was born. But without knowing it, we had sort of been preparing all along. We have always disliked how our society seems to treat debt as if it’s normal. Want a nice house or car that’s really expensive? Go ahead and simply make small payments, and then put those payments on a credit card and then make payments on that! That’s just become the norm in America now. Well, we never bought into that and have always avoided any debt like the plague! Now, we have some debt that was unavoidable to us (student loan, mortgage) but we simply live within or even below our means. So, when we decided I would stay home, we weren’t stuck with tons of debt that had to be paid on each month.
LIVING WITH LESS
Another area in which we go against the societal-grain is in everyday living. Now we are human, so we want nice things, but we cannot always afford them. So, we just live without or live with less. We don’t have cable because we rarely watch TV and that would be a waste of money. So we make do with Netflix. We bought a house that was way less than we could afford. Because of this, we are able to pay $100 extra on our mortgage each month. We have made sacrifices with the cars we drive, the clothes we wear (hello Goodwill and thrift stores) and many other areas of our life. We don’t have the nicest house, or the fanciest cars and we don’t buy expensive clothes. Not always because we couldn’t make those things ours, but because we try to spend wisely. After we made the decision for me to be a SAHM, we cut back in some other areas as well. We lowered the data on our phone plans, got rid of some subscriptions, and even started making some things at home instead of buying them. We are still really happy and have everything we need, and it is helping make one of my dreams possible!
While I am losing my income and that is a significant loss of moolah, there are also some trade-offs to consider. We no longer have to pay for child care for Nora. Child care that would cost more and more each time we have another baby! I will no longer be driving 30 miles a day to work, and that guzzles quite a bit of gas each week. I plan to sell a lot of my nice “teacher clothes,” and I can trade those in for a simpler, less expensive wardrobe. I am so terrible at remembering, or allowing time for packing my lunch each day. So, I often end up paying for a lunch at school. So far this year I have spent close to $120 dollars on lunch at school alone! These are all things to consider when contemplating if you could make staying at home work for you!
Above, I talked a lot about how we did things to prepare or how things we were already doing prepared us for this change. Maybe the biggest thing we did to make this possible was intentionally prepare for the change. Once we decided this was something we truly wanted to make happen, we took steps to prepare. We had my direct deposit changed so that half of my paycheck is put directly into savings and is not touched. This way, we were already saving for the future and getting some practice living on less. We used Collin’s income to pay our normal monthly bills and the other half of my paycheck to pay off debt each month. If all goes as planned (and we know plans often do not go smoothly) we will be debt-free, except our mortgage, by August 2017! This step of getting prepared was really one of the biggest we took in this journey.
PRAY AND TRUST
Most importantly, we have prayed throughout this entire process. I feel that God is calling me to stay home and raise our babies and although it is scary, I trust in His plan. We often pray that God will provide for us financially and guide us during the adjustment of this all. We have seen time and time again in our lives that God has his arms around us and has provided for us when we needed it most. Why should now be any different? God is taking us on this journey and we believe he will equip us as needed.
I know that staying home is not for every woman. I know many women who have no desire to do so. I totally get that, and respect that. I do know that when I announced my resignation, I had so many moms say how lucky I was or how they wished they could do the same. If you are reading this and you have that desire, my hope is that this maybe encouraged you to see how it may be possible. It takes work, discipline, and a bucket-full of faith, but if it’s something you desire or feel called to do…it IS possible and you’ll never regret making the sacrifices it will take.
If you have any more questions about this, please contact me! I would love to encourage you and help in any way I can!