One Income Family
A Decision to Stay Home
by Monica Resinger
Confessions of a One Income Family
Living on One Income
Can We Live on One Income?
I worked at an office job up until my son was two, struggling with the guilt and yearning of wanting to be home to raise him full time. I was extremely lucky because my grandmother watched him, but I still would rather be home raising him myself. I felt my son and I were both missing out on things that would never happen again such as his first step or mommy kissing boo-boos.
My grandmother knew that I desperately wanted to be home raising him, and at one point, she told me she couldn't watch him anymore because she couldn't keep up with him. She used this as an excuse to get me to take action because she knew I wanted to stay home, but I was afraid to take the first step. This is the point a decision had to be made. Did I want to continue to have someone else raise my child during the day or did I want to follow my heart and raise my son myself? I knew all along that raising my boy was the most important thing to me, but I was afraid to quit my job because I thought we wouldn't have enough money to live on.
It seemed my husband didn't make enough money for us to live on because of our spending habits at that time. Not so much his, but mine. I would go out to lunch daily at work and freely spend the money I earned on cosmetics, things for the house or other unnecessary items, rarely looking at prices. I was a spendthrift that wasn't sure if I could change. I tried to think of ways to make money from home and thought of a lot of ways, but they all seemed out-of-reach for me at the time.
Finally, even though I was still afraid of not having enough money to live on, I made the decision to quit my job on the good faith of my abilities to cut back or drop my spending habits, and to save money in every possible situation I could. I had it all planned out. I'd save coupons, shop only sales and cut dollars at every angle I could. I would consider this my new "job."
It wasn't easy. We didn't have the money to do the things we used to do like go to the movies or order a pizza, but the rewards of teaching myself a frugal way of life were worth more than I can say. I was no longer torn inside and felt I was where I wanted to be. I found that nothing was more important to me than being home raising my son. I learned how to be a good, thrifty homemaker. As time passed, my husband started making a little more money, which offered a little more freedom in spending. Soon, we were planning our second child and she was born and I got to stay home and raise her too!
These were treasured times for me and I'm still home even though the kids are in full-time school now. It's nice to be here when they get home so they don't have to come home to an empty house and I have time to prepare home-cooked meals and keep the house up. When they get days off, I'm here and we don't have to worry about who's going to watch them.
If you're a working mother that yearns to be home raising your children, here are some valuable lessons I learned from my experience. I hope they help you in some way.
Take a good look at where your money is going.
First, sit down with a piece of paper and pen and add up how much it is costing you to work. The first and biggest place to look is daycare and transportation costs. Also write down what you spend on lunches. Try and think about "hidden" costs such as ordering pizza because you worked and don't have time to cook a meal or your wardrobe. Add these and any other working costs up and subtract it from your income.
Find ways to save money.
Take another piece of paper and write down ways in which you can save money and estimate how much. For example, by using coupons and shopping sales, you may be able to save $100 a month on groceries. Write it down along with other ways such as closing doors of rooms not in use to save electricity, or instead of going to the movies four times a month, go once and write in the amount saved. You have to think of everything you currently spend money on and figure out ways to cut back. You'll find you can get very creative when you need to be.
Add it up.
Now add your lists together and see if you can "make" as much as your job. Most of the time you can get pretty close, but if you can't, don't fret because where there's a will, there's a way. If you haven't met your income by the above savings methods, consider other ways to make money.
How can you make money from home?
The first thing to do is ask yourself what you're good at and what you enjoy doing. Everyone has a special talent. For some people, it may be a craft. For others, it may be writing, grooming pets or planning trips among many other possibilities. Whatever you do well, find a way to make money with it. Someone who's good at crocheting afghans may make up a website about crocheting and sell these afghans or take the finished afghans to a craft bazaar to sell. Someone who's good at writing may begin writing in their preferred subject and start submitting to magazines or look on the Internet for other ways to make money writing.
Don't let fear get in your way.
The biggest thing I learned is to not be afraid of change. Sometimes, we have to take what seems to be a huge step to be able to get what we want. I took that step and made it, so can you. The most important thing I can say about all of this is to follow your heart. Do what is right for you, not what someone else thinks is right for you. If being home is what you want, then pursue it with all your heart.
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