Ask Miserly Moms: Monthly Budget Crunch
by Jonni McCoy
Q I quit my teaching job this year leaving behind EXCELLENT health insurance, so that I could stay home with our now 11 month old daughter. I take in three children for a total of $200-255/week. My husband is a carpenter and earns approximately $400/week (no benefits). On the surface it seems as though we should be able to swing it easily, then I take a shocking look at our spending. Unfortunately my husband smokes, which is costing us nearly $300/month!!! I am not going to get him to quit, so that is a fixed expense. Our house payment is $500/month, and the car is $370/month. Once you take out those fixed expenses you end up with $1230/month.
Next comes one of our biggest problems, health insurance! I couldn't believe it when our new, private, insurer told us that for $100/month we would have a $2500 deductible, NO maternity coverage, and a $500 prescription deductible!!!! So, basically we are only covered in absolute tragedies. I want more than anything to stay at home with my daughter until she is in school. But my husband is losing patience with always being short on money and really wants me to go back to work. Thank you so much for the service you provide!
Mom in Need
A It sounds like your husband does not share the same values as you do, namely the need for your daughter to have you at home. This is your number one obstacle. Until he feels that this is a priority, he will not want to give up anything or change lifestyles to make it happen. So, I would first start gathering information on the importance of having a mom at home during a child's early years and discuss it with him.
The changes that you may need to explore to make this work will require some agreement on his part. When we first make the adjustment to one income living, we often have to do without the comforts and luxuries that we feel we deserve or have become accustomed to. First, you may need to consider selling the new car and getting a used or less expensive new car so that your payments are either lower or gone altogether. Second, you should look at reducing the spending in other areas as well, especially groceries. There are many ways to reduce that expense and use that money elsewhere. The first half of Miserly Moms is devoted to groceries.
The other thing to consider is whether it is your responsibility to provide for the family financially. I believe that this is your husband's job, and you are to care for the emotional and homemaking needs of your family. Your husband is choosing to live a certain way and expects you to make up the financial difference it causes. You need to decide if you want to take on that role.
As for health insurance, you have found a fairly good plan. Many families pay more than that for similar coverage. Private insurance is expensive. Stick with a plan and increase your coverage as you can afford it. Remember that you won't be in this situation forever. Things will get better.
Jonni McCoy is the author of "Miserly Moms-Living On One Income In A Two Income Economy" and "Frugal Families-Making The Most Of Your Hard Earned Money!"
Visit the Miserly Moms Website at miserlymoms.com
The advice given in this column is based upon personal information and experience. For further information on the disclaimer, please visit this address: miserlymoms.com
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