Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Real Reason Behind Our Lifestyle


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 that 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 the 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.*

13 comments:

Kelly said...

This is a great post Rachel! So glad you shared it. You're definitely an inspiration to me!

Amy @ Finer Things said...

Rachel, I am so excited to share this post with my readers. Thanks so much for writing it ~ such an inspiration!

Lisa said...

You and your husband are wise beyond your years. You are doing a great job!

Audra said...

What wisdom from such a young age! Sometimes when I start thinking "Oh, if we had just a LITTLE more money we could go on that trip or buy that car or get those clothes..." I remember those things are going to rot and rust in due time! Our purpose is so much bigger than that--we are building the kingdom of God from our homes!

Great post!

Amy Lynne said...

Wow! I wish I had your wisdom when I was younger. Your family will be great because of all the choices you have made together. Good luck in your future, it sure looks bright.

Katie said...

Rachel, I found your story via The Finer Things in Life...I loved it, thanks for sharing! My husband and I don't have kids yet, but when we do, I will stay home. We are waiting until next year when all our debt beside our mortgage will be paid off. Thanks for reminding me to get back on track with saving money & putting extra towards our bills. Kids are such a blessing & I don't want to miss any of it by having to work. I'm sure that some days I will be close to going crazy, but in the end it will be worth it! lol

Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...

Wow. Wonderful encouragement. I am a SAHM with two littles and have just recently decided to stay home. What a financial shock since we were not at all frugal and we're now learning.

What a great choice you made - and a smart one that really will pay off!

Jennifer said...

Great post! I will have one coming up soon. I wish my husband and I had been as smart as you about it.

Lisa said...

Hey Rachel,

My post is up about my latest quilt. Check it out!

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of both of you. It is great to see you focus on things "not of this world"... DB

Sherry said...

What a blessing to hear how you made the choice to stay home! Children definitely are worth giving up so much to raise them right! :D God is good!

Anonymous said...

Way to go! I have been a SAHM for 12 years because my DH and I, like you, bought our modest home on his salary alone. It has made our life much easier compared to others who need a 2 income family to pay for the house, etc. And you are right, sometimes I do question my sanity, lol, but this was the right decision for us. Many people don't think about this in advance like you and John David did. Good luck, you are doing great!

Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship said...

Well done, Rachel! It's refreshing to hear of young adults so dedicated to their faith and the sanctity of life. I wish more people would have those conversations before they get married. I just heard from a friend who is getting divorced b/c her husband never wanted kids but thought he would probably change his mind over time...and didn't! Sad, sad tale, in my opinion. May God bless you with children in His timing!