I started this series with a post about how to stay engaged and not die of boredom when you’re a stay-at-home-mom and I’m going to continue the series by talking about how we do it financially.
This is just David and I’s life and how we manage living on one income. Every family’s needs are different, so this is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Hopefully you will get a better picture of how one family makes it work.
Let me give you some background on myself first – I went to school to get my Master’s degree in Acupuncture in Arizona and had always dreamed of starting my own practice in Denver, CO when I was finished. If that didn’t work, I figured I’d find some sort of independent contractor position in the field and go from there.
David and I decided it was time to start a family when I was about 1.5 semesters away from being done with school. I got pregnant fast, so I was about 5 months pregnant when we moved to Denver. I started renting a room from a place here and tried to get something small up and semi-running when I was 7 months pregnant. I had every intention of slowly growing my business while raising Aiden at the same time. David gets off work at 3 pm, so I was going to schedule all my patients after that until I had enough to start filling the daytime and then we would have the cross the childcare bridge.
As it turns out (and I’m sure many of you are laughing), having a baby and starting a business simply doesn’t work in conjunction with each other when there is no childcare for time to market and do all the other aspects of growing a business. I tried to juggle all of this for about 8 months and after the stress had also gotten to my family, I decided that this new venture could wait a little while longer.
That is my background of how I am a stay-at-home-mom. I didn’t have any huge career that I had to make the decision to walk away from. I am at the beginning of mine and it really hasn’t started yet.
That was looooong.
We are a one income family and with that, we’ve made sacrifies so I am able to stay at home with Aiden and not go get the first job I can find. Here’s how we stay afloat:
1. We trust each other with money. This is a very basic, yet essential truth to managing a tight budget. Neither of us would ever spend money frivolously and we each know what is acceptable to buy without having to consult with each other first. It’s usually just the necessities and the rest we decide together.
2. We use a Simple account. We each opened a Simple account and we love it. It’s very user friendly and allows you to see exactly what you can spend. You have “goals” where you can save for a vacation, set money aside for known bills, or create a grocery budget. David and I can also transfer money to each other. If you want to know more, check it out!
3. We cancelled our DirecTV. We now use Aereo, which is TV streamed through your internet to your house and costs $12 a month. We get live basic TV and you can even DVR shows too. It’s amazing. We don’t have all the channels that DirecTV has obviously, but who cares? TV isn’t good for us.
4. We discuss our finances frequently. No one likes to talk about money with their spouse especially when things are tight, but it’s so important. David manages most of the bills, but I know exactly how much they cost, when they are due and our entire financial picture. Neither spouse should be in the dark about it.
5. I created www.AcupunctureStudyGuides.com. From all my classes throughout school, I created eBooks and am now selling them to Oriental Medicine students around the U.S. to help pass their classes and prepare them to take the national boards. This doesn’t generate a lot of income, but every little bit helps.
6. I am conscious about my “girl” spending. Some girls spend lots of money buying clothes, purses, shoes, makeup and doing their hair. I admit that I used to do these things, but in the recent day, that has definitely taken a back seat. I rarely buy any of these things anymore and when I do, they are often on sale or from less expensive stores.
7. We don’t splurge on food. We make a huge effort to eat at home most of the time. Eating out is just too expensive. We’ll eat out more on the weekends, but we go to places like Chipotle instead of a sit-down restaurant most of the time. Taking Aiden out to eat isn’t exactly the bees knees either, so we’re fine with it. I also would love to only shop at Whole Foods, buy organic only and buy lots of fun, healthy treats all the time like Kombucha, but that just isn’t going to happen right now.
8. We live below our means. We didn’t buy a house that was going to break the bank each month for the mortgage and we didn’t buy the most expensive car we could afford. We took both below the notch we could afford, so we would be more comfortable. We also don’t have any debt on our cars.
9. We buy used. We don’t buy everything used, but we do buy used cars and I find a lot of baby stuff at consignment stores.
10. We budget for the month. We try to figure out upcoming expenses that we need to pay for and put those in the budget instead of on credit cards. We then add in the usual expenses like gas, utilities, groceries, etc. and see where we stand for the month. This tells us how much we can spend on entertainment and such. The Simple Account really does this for us.
That’s how we make ends meet. It’s always a process, so I feel like we are constantly talking about how to be better and what needs to be done differently. Hopefully one day, I’ll bring in a little more money through various streams, but for now, we are happy with this arrangement and that’s all that matters.
What’s your best financial tip?