Thursday, January 12, 2012

Financing Our Dreams

So I touched on finances somewhat already, but it is a huge, scary thing for us to think about right now. We aren't totally sure how we will do this whole me staying home thing, though we have a rough idea. We know that we won't be able to afford dinners out (except the rare occasion), fancy vacations or even some non-fancy vacations, or really any luxuries. We probably won't be able to help much with our children's college education or even weddings to the extent my parents have. But we are becoming ok with that as we realize the things we will gain in spite of what we are sacrificing. We were talking about it the other day and realized that whether or not I'm working, we would never be rolling in dough. We would never be at a point where we weren't having to watch our money and be careful. So granted giving up one income will be difficult, but it's not like we are going from easy street to the school of hard knocks, because we have never known easy street. We will just have to improve upon the skills we are using now. Here are some things we have thought about to help make me staying home doable:

  • We will drive our cars until it doesn't make sense to fix them anymore. This isn't a new concept to us, so thankfully we don't feel like it's an area where we are sacrificing (because there are many that give us that feeling). Steven bought a used car about a year ago after his super old car needed it's 3rd or 4th major repair in like a year.... and the repair was required for inspection so it wasn't something we could put off. He has a very manageable car payment as he bought very smartly. Originally, we talked about getting me a newer car after we got married. Now, we recognize that we are so blessed to not have two car payments and we are going to make a good thing last! My car just turned 10 (I've had her since she was 4 miles old and she is now 131,000!) in December and I am hoping to at least get 3 more years out of her, which is how much longer Steven owes on his car. Ideally we will be done with his payments and then get me something newer, or have a gap in between where we can save that money until I really do need a newer one. 
  • I will probably take a child into my home when I have my first baby. When I quit working, it will obviously be really tough at the beginning until we get used to it, so making a little money by watching someone else's child will be really helpful. Of course we can't count on that money since the family could find a different childcare option at any time, or I might not find a child to watch for months after I have a baby, but it will certainly be helpful to have that money coming in. I'm thinking I might watch just one child all the way until it's time for me to homeschool. By then Steven will have had a few raises so hopefully I can give it up. I really hope to find a family who wants their child raised in the same way but the mom is going back to work. Childcares around here cost between $700 and about $1000 a month, with home day cares being much cheaper at $350-700 per month. I would probably charge on the higher side of the home day care range and hope that someone finds value in what I'm offering (plus, the people who advertise for $90/100 per week make me cringe usually.... tons of misspellings, no yard for the kids to play in, picture used to advertise is children corralled in front of a tv, etc. Hopefully since I would be offering much more structure and activity people would expect that I wouldn't be the cheapest one out there). Hopefully knowing the types of toys, food, and environment that I'm providing will make it worth the cost.Better start collecting baby coupons for all the supplies I'll need.
  • I'm going to be learning to crochet, knit, and sew at some point over this next year. I'm hoping that one of those skills will help me to make something I could sell. For example, say I made little girls' dresses. I don't ever really want to have a 'business' because that would probably mean I'm really busy and not able to give as much time to my kids, but if I could sell custom orders every now and again for a bit of extra money, that would certainly help our family. Or maybe I can make baby blankets or something like that. I have no clue because I have no skills currently, but the idea is that I could make a little extra money here or there, and every little bit helps!  Once I stop watching a baby for income (which will be when I begin to homeschool because I don't want to be overloaded since I'm sure I'll have more little ones by that point as well), I want to still be able to supplement our income, even if it's a very small contribution, and this is the only way right now that I can think of that I like. Steven wants me to get certified to teach the Creighton Model one day... we'll see! 
  • We will buy a house in areas that previously were somewhat undesirable to us. I admit... I am kind of a snob when it comes to real estate. I want to be in the more expensive areas- not the big fancy mcmansion neighborhoods, but the older, close to the city center neighborhoods. Those come with a really high price tag. I absolutely love the area we are renting in now, but we could never afford to purchase here. We could probably afford a tiny house in a similar neighborhood, but homeschooling multiple kids in a tiny house might not be a great idea. We can get an average (actually, what we want is smaller than average for our area but feels plenty spacious to me- maybe 1500 to 1800 square feet depending on layout) house about a 20-25 minute drive from the city center for the same price. So I will eat my words and my preferences because there is no 'starter' house for us. Whatever we buy is probably where we will be long term. 
  • We are going to practice living on one paycheck before we actually have to. At some point after the wedding, we will really discuss the nitty gritty of future finances and what we can trim versus what we can't. Our goal is to live on his paycheck and maybe a small portion of mine (since I'm hoping to bring in a very small amount of income) just so we know we can do it. My income would then go straight into savings, which would put us in a really awesome place financially by the time I did quit working. I wouldn't feel comfortable quitting my job without substantial 'just in case' savings, so I'm actually pretty excited about this plan. 
  • We'll thrift most everything we can, ESPECIALLY children's clothing and toys! 
  • I was going to buy some book son going to one income, frugal living, etc. And then it hit me... how unfrugal is it to BUY books on being frugal? So I now have a list prepared for a library trip! 
  • We will take small trips versus big, expensive ones. We'll also tie lessons/field trips into vacations. Part of me is sad when I think of the trips we most likely won't be able to go on, but I know when we go for a short trip to the beach, I will be happy to be vacationing with my family- not wishing I was somewhere else! 
Any tips? Am I missing anything huge? 


  1. One of the biggest helps for us money-saving (SAHomeschoolingM of 5) is we plan out our meals for the week, and then shop for the stuff for those meals, plus the everyday items we go through like milk and eggs. It helps us stay on budget food-wise, which can be difficult as a family of 7. I've also heard making meals in advance and freezing them is a great way to keep from eating out - when you don't feel like cooking you just pop something in the oven from the freezer. Unfortunately I don't do this, I'm not that organized, and we don't have an extra freezer to hold extra meals.

    Don't forget, your take-home pay, after a baby is born, would be whatever it is now MINUS the cost of sending him/her to daycare, including the cost of extra diapers, wipes, diaper cream, bottles, formula if necessary, sunscreen and more. I worked in ECE for years, it was the only way I could afford child care (employee discount). Now that I have school-age children, my oldest didn't fair so well in building school, this has been a much happier blessing. Though it's still a struggle.

    But worth it.

  2. When I tell people that my parents didn't help with college and probably won't be able to help with my wedding they look at me like I'm crazy. But more and more I think that is the norm. I'm going to do a Frugal Wedding Series/DIY wedding things on my blog in May to help some people cut the cost of weddings/help people paying for it themselves.

  3. I think practicing living on one income is a great way to make the transition. In addition to saving, maybe you could also make a few extra payments on the school loans? Even a little more can make a difference in the long run.

  4. Thanks everybody for the feedback! Bethanny, you are so right that we need to meal plan. We are awesome about cooking/freezing even now before kids, but awful about meal planning. We do shop by a list, but we will sometimes come home after having stuck to our budget and realize we don't have hardly any dinner food lol. So yes, we need to start doing that!

    J, the thing about the school loans is that whatever we don't pay will get forgiven after 25 years. Of course we aren't depending on that, but right now my payment doesn't even cover the interest each month! So our goal is to pay the interest each month because we would have to pay any interest that accrued when the rest is forgiven, and we don't want to be slapped with a massive interest bill (on top of claiming whatever is forgiven as income). So when we get married the payments will jump pretty high until we have our first kid, since I pay income based, and that will more than pay the interest each month, and start chipping away a tiny bit at the principle. But once we have our first baby, it will go even lower than it is now (again, not even paying the interest) and I have a feeling we won't be able to make any big payments. We will still try to at least pay the interest if we can. It's kind of a mess :P!

  5. I mean Bethany :). I hate when people see my name in front of them and still spell it wrong lol.

    Beth Anne I can totally guest post for you if you want! We did some things that weren't really frugal but will save us a ton of stress, which honestly is more important to us! But we did find some ways to cut corners and save money so it's kind of a balance. If you DIY everything, you will be stressed the entire time. I'm glad I've really been able to enjoy the process! But I know some people don't have the option at all of not DIYing so that will be very helpful to them.

  6. Thanks! I'm still working on some ideas so I'll let you know when it gets closer. Yeah I understand the need for both I'm just trying to do some pre-planning stuff for me bc of how my financial situation is and help others who are planning.

  7. Your kids are going to grow up feeling a sense of belonging and family connection and solidarity that can't be bought with big expensive trips. Togetherness can happen anywhere and for any price! They have their whole lives to take big trips, explore the world. You don't owe that to them any more than you owe them funded college and weddings. You owe them love and protection, which it sounds like you will have a million times over.

    1. Yeah, and that's definitely the most important to me and why we are doing it, but I do have slight guilt over not being able to do certain things for our kids that I'd like to, ya know? But I know even if we had more money, there'd always be SOMEthing that we want to do for them that we can't.

  8. my husband and i completed a course on Dave Ramsey Financial curriculum (based on biblical principals). we were so thankful to have the opportunity to complete the course, we only wish we would have done it sooner. it was life changing!

    we have instilled the principles into the young lives of our children. in addition, each child will be required to complete dave's curriculum, before leaving home. our 16yo will be done this year. she has committed to review the course with her future spouse, prior to marriage (if God calls her to the married life).

    once again, it's life changing.


    p.s. i'm following you! :)

    1. Lena, is it called Financial Peace University or something like that? I remember seeing something of that sort in our bulletin. It looks like they offer it once or twice a year. Thanks for the recommendation! It sounds like something we could really benefit from!

  9. I get almost all my books through Paperback Swap - you pay for shipping when someone wants a book you have and then you get a credit to order a book from someone else (and they pay the shipping to send it to you). So for only about $3 you get a book you can keep until you no longer want it anymore, then you can swap it back out. It's better than the library if you want something more long term. (If you want to sign up for it, would you do so though the ad on my blog? I get 1 extra credit if someone signs up through it!)

    I've thought of taking another child in for daycare to help with the income, but it's probably not the best idea in our small apartment, maybe when we get something bigger. It's a great idea with your background in childcare though!

  10. I think you'll be suprised at how little you can get by on. For the first couple of years of our marriage, I was in retail management and my husband was a research assistant to his professor in grad school and a casual dining restaurant waiter, and we managed to save enough in that time that I was able to stay at home with our son, including while my husband finished grad school (our son's whole first year of life). I know not everyone can make that happen, but you never know until you try! My best suggestion is to start saving now. Don't eat out/go to movies/buy new clothes hardly ever if you really want to save a lot. You might be surprised how much fun you'll have going on walks together and playing board games and stuff like that! And don't believe those silly calculators that predict how much babies cost. You don't need half of the gear they include on their lists, and half of the stuff you do need you'll get as gifts from relatives!
    Anyway, good luck with the financial planning..I'm sure it will all work out awesome in the end!