Is this doable

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
Is this doable
11
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 10:37am
My husband told me today to go ahead and stay home with the kids. After bills and 500 a month for food and gas we have 200 left. Is this doable financially? Does anyone do it for less. Is 100 a week too much for food, diapers, formula for a family of 4.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: damour99
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 10:45am
Does this mean you won't have any emergency cash savings, college savings, retirement savings? If so, no, IMO, it's not doable. If you have a large nest egg (3-6 months expenses) already socked away, and your DH is having his 401(k) taken out before his net pay, maybe.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: damour99
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 10:55am
You can do it if you don't mind being flat ass broke all the time.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
In reply to: damour99
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 11:04am
He does have money taken out for an IRA. We have a very very smalll savings. No emergency money either. He is in teh military though so his job is steady.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: damour99
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 11:16am
What happens if the heat pump breaks? What happens if a kid breaks an arm? What happens if the washer dies? What happens if your dh hurts his back? What happens if some idiot on a cell phone crashes into your car?

My big problem with your scenario is that while it may work fine in the short term (this month or next) it isn't a probably long-term success scenario. $200 a month for all the other stuff? Much of the emergency other stuff in life costs way more than $200.

And what about savings? And what about vacations with the kids? And what about soccer practice or piano lessons?

I'm not going to tell you what to do. If you are in complete understanding of how this scenario will realistically affect your life, and you choose it, I'm not going to say you've made the wrong decision. But I would like to see you make that decision without blinders on. I'd like to see you make that decision after having looked at ALL the negatives and positives.

I personally couldn't do it. Heck, I couldn't do $100 a month for food and diapers. Our average grocery bill runs about $150 a week right now ... with 2 adults and 2 small kids.

Hollie

Avatar for mjdphd
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: damour99
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 11:25am
Part of that answer would depend on what part of the country you live in. Do you live in military housing? The $100 a week for groceries, if that also includes diapers and formula, is probably cutting it really close unless you are really diligent. Is is doable for you? It would depend on your tolerance for being without. For me, I couldn't do it. There is not enough left over for emergencies, and they always pop up at the least desireable time.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: damour99
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 11:41am
This is so much more complicated than 'can I scrape by with X amount set aside for groceries?'.

A really good suggestion that I've seen other people post: Try living for a few months on just the money brought in by one salary. Put the other salary in the bank. If you can do it without too much struggle, then go ahead and do it, plus you've got some savings built up. If you can't do it, then you know you can't, and you can quit worrying about it.

Personally, I couldn't do it. I would never be able to cut things that close to the bone and be able to sleep at night.

Avatar for cyndiluwho
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to: damour99
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 12:03pm
Did you factor in changes in tax rates into that balance? You may be pleasantly surprised at the loss of the marriage penalty. Now, all deductions will come off of HIS income only instead of the higher combined income of both of you. Do your taxes over again omitting your income and any expenses related to having a second income like child care and see what you'd pay. Compare that to what he has deducted from his check to see if he can change his withholding. Unless you were having extra deducted from your check to cover the marriage penalty, chances are he can but do the math before you change the withholding or you might end up in trouble next April 15th. Because lower incomes pay lower percentages of taxes and the deductions will reduce his taxable income, you may very well be pleasantly surprised.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
In reply to: damour99
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 1:08pm
I appreciate all the feedback. We do not need to worry about anything being broken etc. except if something happened to our car. Spending 400 a month on food is not a problem ( I love coupons). I have been watching that for a while now and know what I spend. The 200 would be money for going out, saving etc. I would like to stay home. I am thinking of getting a part time job but this is what we have if I do not work.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: damour99
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 1:52pm
It's doable because I BTDT. DH was also in the military. When I first became a SAHM after bills, groceries etc we had about $80-$100 to get us to the next pay day. Of course that was 20 years ago so things have changed a lot. Also that was after we already had money taken out to go into savings for emergencies.

Avatar for janelle977
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: damour99
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 2:40pm
I agree that a great idea would be to live for several months just on one income, while saving the other. That is what my husband and I did, we now have a nest egg big enough for just him to work while I go back to college. Yes, we are having to live off very little, but I have the peace of mind to know that there's a safety cushion if anything goes wrong. For instance, last week I unexpectedly had to have my 4 wisdom teeth taken out that were impacted, and that cost over 1K. This would have been scary to me if I hadn't known how I would have paid for it. Since it was easily covered without putting a big dent in our savings, it doesn't bother me nearly as much.

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