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 the CLEP tests. It was our intention that when I graduated I would find a full time job.
It was impossible to study for a full 8 hours a day and 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.
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 them.
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 than $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, 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 (money borrowed from our dad’s for home repairs) 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 husband’s helpmeet!