Wednesday, June 3, 2009

One Year Ago

Around this time last year my husband started his new job and I was finishing up college by taking CLEP tests and 2 online classes. Since I was still in school, I didn't look for a job because I needed time to study for these CLEP tests. It was our intention that when I graduated I would find a full time job.

Since it was impossible to study for a full 8 hours a day I needed something to do to keep me occupied as well as make me feel productive. I began evaluating our spending, clipping coupons, shopping at CVS, all in order to save money and be a good homemaker.

Here is an excerpt from a blog post from June 6, 2008:

"Since I have been home I have had some time to find things to keep me occupied and I decided to start using coupons and planning my meals according to the sales to save money at the grocery store. Now please don't think I am cheap because I am not! I am trying to be more frugal and wise with the money that God has blessed us with and we are working on saving up for our down payment since buying a house could be in the not so distant future for us!! Anyways, I went to Wal-Mart and using my coupons I bought a box of Honey Bunches of Oats, Post Live Active Cereal, and Grape Juicy Juice for $1.46 tax included! I thought that was pretty exciting! Then I went to Aldi for the first time and was impressed, I will probably do some more shopping there, I spent $10.02 there and then I went to Kroger and after a few coupons my grand total was $33.50 (after buying beef & ice cream for John David!) My grand total for groceries for the next two weeks was $44.98! Not bad at all...my mama would be proud!"

This really was a starting point for our "intense frugality." We have always been frugal (I am a saver....in fact some of my babysitting money from when I was a teenager was used for our house down payment!) It's hard to be married in college, without jobs, living off of excess financial aid and not be frugal however we now look back at those days and wonder how we did it. We ate out often and thought nothing of purchasing things just because we wanted it.

I really believed in college that we would get out and have good paying jobs, purchase 1 if not 2 new vehicles, and live in a $150,000-$200,000 house! My husband's first job out of college paid great and had a great future earning potential. However, we realized last summer when I began staying home just how much we could save for a down payment on our home by spending more carefully and with me having time to bargain shop, meal plan, use coupons, and cook dinner everynight. We were able to save more that $500 a month while he was at that job for our down payment! (From a single income!)

We evaluated my worth staying home and decided that I am more valuable at home. First of all our food costs are much lower because I do bargain shop, use coupons and cook our meals and snacks from scratch, I know if I worked full time our food costs would probably be doubled because I would come home drained and not want to cook anything and convenient foods and eating out would be my answer! Since I don't work full-time, I am able to keep our home clean and John David doesn't have to bother with housework,laundry, or meal planning/preparation at all. He comes home from a busy day of work and he is able to relax!

After evaluating what I was worth to my husband at home we decided that I would work part-time. I work from home around 20 hours a month and am currently going into the office once every week or every other week. This gives me something to do, the ability to use my degree, and earn a little money. We live only off of my husband's income, my earnings currently are for paying off debt and car savings (car repair/"new to us" car fund). Once we get the debt paid off, my earnings will be to get the emergency fund fully funded and then will be used for extra principal. Since we are strictly living off of his income, once we have children I won't have to work at all unless I want to.

It's interesting looking back on your life and recognizing turning points and lifestyle changes!

I love managing our household and being my husbands helpmeet!

4 comments:

- B said...

I recently became a stay-at-home mom to my little angels and it has been tough! But you are an inspiration to me. I love seeing how much you are able to get at the grocery store for so little! Please keep sharing!

Christa said...

Rachel for you to be so young and already so wise with your finances is amazing. If you keep this up, when you are older you will truly have no financial worries. I want to recommend a book to you called, Your Money or Your Life, by Joe Dominguez. This is a big picture book, that lets you see what you can be doing with your life in the future, by being very frugal now. It changed the way I see money for good. This guy retired at 30 and lived a very frugal life off of his investment income for the rest of his life. It was amazing. He devoted his time to charities, and he wrote this book and devoted the money to a non profit organization. I think you would really like the book, you have a lot of the same values.

Missy said...

God always blesses you when your priorities are in order! Women today have not been taught that their place is to be a help mate and they need to make their home and family top priority. It sounds like you are happy at home I know I am!:o)

Christie said...

I think you are living just as God would have you! I love the way that you use your money! You remind me of a simpler life (and I don't mean that in a degrading manner) Your blog reminds me of how God intended life to be. You are an inspiration and I hope one day that my daughters can do the same thing. God bless!