Sunday, January 2, 2011

Living (and loving) on One Income

This past year has been the first time in my adult life that I've not brought in an income of some sort. As of last year we are officially a one income family and you know what? It's doable!
When I got denied EI maternity benefits last year just weeks before Sophie's birth, we were in a panic and didn't think we'd survive a few weeks without my income. It really is a shock to the system to go from expecting and having two incomes to just one instantly. No savings to stretch out, no nothing. I was totally one of those people that thought living off of two incomes was a must in our society. I cried when I "had" to return to work after Parker was born, thinking in order for our family to survive Parker must be in daycare and I must work (I was at least fortunate that Parker was able to come to work with me). And when we got that phone call, I cried even more and thought our family was doomed. After all, how does a family of 5 survive on one income? Income coming from a self-employed newish business at that!
We made changes in our spending. We learned as we went along. We made mistakes (many many mistakes) along the way. Heck, we're still learning and making mistakes but we're now confident in our choice for me to stay home with our children until they're older.
So now when I hear other parents complain that they can't possibly survive off one income and how they sob when they drop their babies off at daycare each day (I was there!!) thinking they "have" to work and they don't have a choice, I want to shake them and let them know it's possible. If we can do it, then trust me any family out there can do it too!
The biggest deciding factor for us was when we calculated how much childcare would cost and how much money I'd be bringing in. I think we worked it out to be about $400 per month that working full time would bring in. And that's not counting transportation costs, food for lunches (at home we eat leftovers from the previous night's dinner), work clothes. Financially it just wasn't worth it for us. Was being away from my children for 9 or more hours per day really worth a few hundred dollars?
There's many other changes we made too that I'll post about in upcoming posts, so stay tuned!

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