The Reason Behind Our Lifestyle

 

This post was originally published  July 1, 2009 on my former site, Frugal and Simple, as part of the Mommy, Come  Home series at Amy’s Finer Things. This was written over 4 years ago, before our oldest was born! Staying home has not been a financial burden for our family since we planned for me to stay home since the beginning of our marriage. 

When my husband and I were planning on getting married, we had several important conversations about finances, our roles in the household and kids. We decided before marriage that when we are blessed with children, I will stay home with them. Both John David and I had mother’s who stayed home when we were small and recognized what an impact that had on shaping us.

We married when we were young, in college, and poor! I was 19, he was 20 and our income was approximately $20,000 a year. Because of such a meager income, we knew before marriage that in order to make it and not go into debt we were going to have to live very frugally. We were okay with hand-me-down furniture from family, shopping for clothing at thrift stores, not going out much and living on a limited grocery budget. It wasn’t always easy, especially in the beginning, but we don’t have any regrets about our lifestyle and know those small sacrifices have gotten us to where we are today.

Since we entered into our marriage knowing that I will stay home with our children, we lived frugally during the next 2 1/2 years. We saved money given to us when we married, income from odd jobs and once John David started working we kept our standard of living the same as it was in college to save! By keeping our standard of living the same and continuing to fine-tune our frugality, we were able to purchase our first affordable home in December 2008 (with a 20% down payment)!

Now we are 22 and 23, own our own home, two paid for (older) cars, have no debt and almost have a fully funded emergency fund. We currently are living off of my husband’s income (less than $35,000). I work limited part time (20-30 hours a month on average). My earnings are not figured into the family budget because we don’t want to rely on my income at all. Currently, my income, after tithes, goes to a car savings fund & our emergency fund!

We don’t have children now but we know that when we have children there will be absolutely no stress about deciding if I should stay home, losing one income or how we are going to make it. We know we will have to make material sacrifices, keep our hand-me down furniture, continue shopping at thrift stores, eat out rarely and stick to a tight grocery budget but it will be worth it because our children will be our wealth!

If you are married without children, it is not too soon to make the decision to stay home. I believe the sooner you make the decision the more prepared and less stressed you will be once you find out you are pregnant or bring your precious baby home and decide then you want to stay home.

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Pray!

2. Have an honest, heart-to-heart conversation with your husband and discuss whether staying home is what you both want for your family.

3. Before the kids are born (or as soon as you and your husband decide you are going to stay home with your little ones) begin to adjust your budget to live only off of your husbands income. Use your earnings to pay off debt, build up a nice emergency fund, or pay extra principal towards your home.

4. Keep in mind that all the stuff we want and work so hard for (large homes, new vehicles, designer clothes, the latest and greatest electronic gadgets) do not bring us fulfillment and have no eternal significance. However, children are of eternal significance!! I know there will be days once I have children that I will probably question my sanity about my decision to stay home but I know that once I reach the end of this life, I won’t have any regrets about giving up vacations and new cars to stay home with the children God has given me.

Be sure to visit Amy at The Finer Things in Life for more articles about staying home in her Mommy, Come Home! series.

*This is my story, my personal conviction and my suggestions to help those who feel they are called to be full-time mommies. I do not look down on women who work outside the home at all, I know they are doing what they believe is best for their family.

Rachel

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