When Hubby and I got married, way back in the day, we knew that at some point I would stay home and keep the house while he brought home the bacon. After 20 plus years of marriage and just about that many years of living this way, we still get mixed reactions. However, we are okay with it and have made it thus far, virtually on one income.
How did we do it? Glad you asked. Let me give you a bit of background first. I had been working for about the first three years of our marriage when it came time for me to quit. (That is a whole other post for another day.) At this point of our lives, we had recently moved to a new state far away from all friends and family, everything we knew. We literally packed up our two trucks and headed East. (Just about everywhere’s East coming from California.) We had savings that covered the moving expenses, and our butts, while we both found a job. We were living in a sort-of-furnished mobile home, really enjoying life. Then I quit my kitchen job one of the local senior citizen homes, to take care of our home and possibly start a family. Hubby was working full time, making a bit over minimum wage.
Honestly, we didn’t have a financial plan or even a budget for that matter. I sure wish we did, though. It would’ve helped us be a lot wiser with our money and maybe save us from debt. We were two young lovers, just enjoying the simple things in life, like staring into each other’s eyes. This was way before Pinterest, heck, Pinterest-worthy we didn’t even have the internet then. So, we really didn’t feel the prePinterest-worthy home, hair, car, wall decor, meals or anything. We simply lived simple.
In the early years we didn’t use credit cards and paid for most items in cash. I was pretty crafty so I made a lot of our decor and gifts for friends and family. I cooked and baked, getting better by the year. (At least I hope so.) Therefore, we didn’t eat out much. We did these and many other basic frugal lifestyle habits, just trucking along.
Year five we gave birth to our first daughter. At the same time Hubby had started a cabinet making business. (Again, another story for another post.) Long story short we didn’t have much business or accounting experience, one thing lead to another and we were in debt. With a business to keep afloat, a baby to care for and rent to be paid, there was no escaping that we needed a plan. As anyone who has been where we were you can imagine the nice, sweet, rosy (insert sarcasm) conversations Hubby and I had. We had to get on a budget and do it fast.
The first things to get on a budget was tithe for church (which we were already paying), our groceries, rent and utilities. This started us on a lifetime of budget living. I wish I could say it was all easy and a bed of roses from then on. Let’s just say that one of us is a saver, likes to live on a budget and overspending sends this one of us into cold sweats. While the other…well, we are opposites. Need I say more. Budget living is not easy for everyone. Some relish “living in a box” and “staying in the lines”.
Nonetheless, having an agreed upon plan/budget did help us navigate our way back when we got off course. Our budget was a reference point and sometimes a referee when called upon. Over the years there has been tweaking done to the budget as more bills got added on (piled up) and jobs and pay changed.
Whether you are single, married or rooming with someone a plan/budget is key to your financial success. Without one you are inviting disaster to happen. Anyone can do it, no matter how hard it is for you. There are many budget planning resources out there. Our favorite is Dave Ramsey. Just make sure the financial help you get is free. You are trying to get a handle of your money and spending. Even if the cost is very low, it still cost you your hard earned dollars. I just did a Bing search for free budget planning and eight topics came up under the search bar. If you’re not on a budget, start now. You can do this. You are worth it.