General Question

Aethelwine's avatar

Can a couple really make it on one income in today's society?

Asked by Aethelwine (42476points) May 12th, 2011

Could you do it?

Is it really a two-income world these days? Are the $250,000 homes really necessary? All the gadgets, trips to Disney, and nice cars with videos for the two minute drive to the grocery store. Are all these superficial items really important for the well-being of your children?

This isn’t about “oh I need to work because I need an identity” please.

I’d like to know what you would sacrifice to stay home with your children.

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57 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

We basically have made it on one teacher’s salary for over a year, in an area known for the high cost of living. I still have trips to Disney and an iphone. But I have no kids. Yeah, me.

Plucky's avatar

My partner and I seem to exist on about a one and half income. We live in a city where housing is really expensive. We don’t have smartphones (although, I’d love one ..our cellphones are probably about 6 years old and we aren’t planning on upgrading anytime soon. We don’t use them enough to justify it. My pc is about 8 years old. We don’t go on trips (other than camping a few times in the summer). We have one vehicle – a nice Jeep Liberty but no video, gps thingy, handsfree whatever and the like.
We have a new house that we’ll be paying for for the rest of our existence – that we bought about 1.5 years ago. $250,000? I wish! The average cost of a single family home here is around $475,000 at the moment.

And, NO, those superficial items are not nessecary for the well-being of anyone’s children.

My partner and I have no children. If we did, we probably wouldn’t have as nice of a vehicle and it would be a very long time before we upgraded any gadgets in our house. I’m not sure we’d have our house either ..we would have had to settle for something much older and in a much less appealing neighbourhood. I’m not sure if I could give up my Xbox 360 though!

Aethelwine's avatar

@tinyfaery You live like, next door to Disney. Not fair. :P

weeveeship's avatar

Depends on how much that one person makes.

Hibernate's avatar

And it depends on how much they spend.

gondwanalon's avatar

And it depends on how much they save.

Aethelwine's avatar

My husband makes just enough.

We spend most, living paycheck to paycheck (mostly bills).

We save nothing, but we manage.

augustlan's avatar

We did it for 14 years, and a for lot of that time we lived very comfortably. That said, my ex eventually made over 6 figures, and I know it’s not that easy for most people. When we first took the leap, we were nowhere near that well off, and a lot of sacrifices were made.

Haleth's avatar

@PluckyDog No kidding! In my metropolitan area it’s basically impossible to find any kind of home for less than $300,000. And that would be for the smallest homes in the farthest suburbs, not the median price.

I can’t think of any family I know that makes it on a single income, even if they live a frugal lifestyle. Sometimes the mother will take a few years off to raise very small children, and then it’s back into the workforce.

My parents have managed to save and raise children by living on both their incomes and living very frugally, and by doing so they’ve provided my brother and sister with great opportunities. They stagger their hours so that one of them always gets home early in the evening. They don’t get to spend as much time with each other, but there is always someone to pick the kids up from school. If they’d tried to live on one of their incomes, I don’t think they would have any savings, but as it is they’re comfortable and secure. If either of them loses their jobs, even for a long time, they will do just fine.

I don’t have any children, so it’s hard to know how I’ll act if I ever have my own family. I think I’d be plenty willing to do without things and live a simple lifestyle, because I basically already do. The only luxuries I really go for are gourmet food and wine, but I mostly cook and eat at home so it isn’t too expensive. My cell phone is about 5 years old and my car is 17 years old. I got it for free from a relative, and I plan to drive and maintain it for as long as possible.

But I would still want to work if I had kids. You asked us to discuss it in terms of finances only, so I think of it this way. If we’re able to live frugally and support ourselves on only one income, the entire second income goes to increasing our security. We could pay off the house early, pay for the kids’ college, save up for a comfortable retirement, travel… All these things would increase our quality of life by making us safe and secure and providing enrichment.

Stinley's avatar

I’m planning on doing this very soon – we are relocating because my husband has a new teaching job and both our contracts are coming to an end with no propect of another job in sight.

I don’t have a new job and am thinking that I would like to be around for the 2 kids as they settle into the new place.

But I am unsure as to what I will be able to do to save money. I already buy secondhand a lot and shop at the cheapest places and buy as little stuff as possible. We have a caravan so holidays are pretty cheap. We go to free places at the weekends like the beach and walks. We will give up one of the cars (we both travel 25 miles to work in opposite directions at the moment). We are moving to a more expensive area so already we are having to look at smaller houses. The girls like swimming and dancing so I’ll need to consider if we can afford lessons or not. Probably not. My 9 year old will need cash to go to places with her new friends – I would not want her to miss out on the chance to make new friends eg not go on a trip to the cinema or bowling, because of money

I’ll let you know how we get on after 6 months but my guess is that I’ll be working by then and we will have debts to pay off.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Did it for awhile, but it meant having no savings. Kids are expensive. The stress of having a working parent is often harder on the parent than it is on the kids. Ultimately, a working parent is doing two jobs – running a house, raising children, and spending 40+ hours a week working for someone else. You can survive without trips to Disney, new cars, bigger houses. What’s hard to pass on is being able to send your child on a trip overseas or to an academic summer camp that they qualify for, or taking them to art museums or to hear the orchestra or theater. Our extra money has always gone for cultural enrichment. Faced with spending $4000 for new carpeting for the house, or sending a child to China for 6 weeks with school, I send the child to China in a heartbeat. I would not want to have to pass on that opportunity because I couldn’t afford it. Likewise, getting both children out of college with no debt for undergrad education is extremely important to me. They can pay for grad school themselves, but I didn’t want them saddled with debt for undergrad.

chewhorse's avatar

You can achieve it on a good salary if you budget (even having fun) but there are some jobs out there that insist you must have an extra income to live.. 35 to 50 G’s a year can do it with 2.2 children or more but don’t expect to buy any showcase houses or shiny new cars. Modest can make you happier than you could imagine.

cookieman's avatar

We survived on one income for a couple years when my wife was laid off.

Never missed a mortgage payment and the other bills got paid (albeit late on occasion, which screwed our credit).

All savings stopped, but we still had a good amount of spending money.

Trips to Europe stopped, but we still managed a couple of weekends away locally.

We went from two cars to one, which was manageable, but required more planning (and the occasional borrowed car from family).

So yes, we have lived on one income, but it’s not ideal. The biggest problem is not being able to save. Without savings you have no emergency money if something breaks, no extra money for holidays & birthdays, and no hope of saving for your kids college, wedding, etc. – much less your own retirement.

Now if I made six-figures, this might be a different story, but alas, I doubt I’ll ever make that kind of cabbage.

PS: $250k for a house here in the Boston area will get you a 800sq. ft. shack of a fixer-upper way out in the sticks.

RTT's avatar

Yes you can, you have to stay on a budget. Budget what is important as family and children. You do not need all the gadgets to live life today. Thank you, RTT

Stinley's avatar

@RTT what do you mean by gazette? I read gazelles at first and agreed that I wouldn’t need them to live life today

LuckyGuy's avatar

When we started out we bought a double house. We lived in one side and rented out the other. The “stay-at-home” partner became the caretaker. In my state, if you live in the other half you have the right to be as selective as you want when considering tenants.
Sure it was not as big as a “real” house but it was enough, and it helped us save – a lot.

RTT's avatar

What I mean is you do not have to buy all the gadgets to live life. Just spending money on your family and children. As going to the park, taken a walk, going to the beach and barbaque. Going places were you do not spend no money or very little money. Also you do not need a cell phone, all the cable channels,buying a computer, or computer games, and a second car. You can use the pubic libary as checking out books,music, movies, and using the computer.Thing you can cut the cost of living. Thank you, RTT

optimisticpessimist's avatar

It is very important to me. I am a stay-a-home mom right now for this reason. I was a SAHM when my first two were little. My husband made a lot less then (around $20,000) so initially it was no trips, no cable (we did not even own a TV), no internet or cellphones (not that the last two were really options back then). Our entertainment was going to the beach (free), going to the drive-in (once or twice a month, low cost and two movies), free or $.25 books, the library or window shopping at the mall. We did not have any credit cards. We had mainly used furniture which was either free or cheap. Actually, we look back on it and laugh as our first curtains were sheets (less expensive than curtains), our living room futon was our bed at night and a couch during the day, and we ate at a coffee table in the living room. As we accumulated enough money, these things were slowly changed. During the initial two year period, we did receive WIC, but no other government assistance. I did not re-apply after we had moved to an area where the cost of food was lower.

After the oldest two were in school, I went to college while they were at school (using my GI Bill.) Then I started working part-time. I quit a job once so I could be at home with them during the summer. When I turned in my resignation, they asked me why and I told them. They offered to just put me on sabbatical for the summer and I would start again in the fall once the kids were back at school. That was awesome! Once they were in middle school, I started working full-time. That lasted for a year and I had to quit because we were moving. At the same time, we found out I was pregnant again and I never looked for a new job as I intend to be SAHM at least until this latest one is old enough to go to school.

During all that time (19 years), my husband’s pay has increased so the lack of a second pay check is meaningful but not really detrimental. We have the money for what we need and some of what we want. We have only ever budgeted off of my husband’s income. Any money I made was separate so that if I needed to quit or lost my job, we would have no financial issues. It was probably easier for us to do this because we knew I would lose any job I had within 3 years due to moving. That is my personal story.

Professionally, I had seen many people who had two incomes where one of the incomes only ended up paying for daycare and a second car. Items which were only really needed because two people were working. As a side note, I will say I was a little surprised at the amount of people (children or no children) who would go into debt to have a house full of nice furniture, two very nice cars and all the latest gadgets when they had enough extra income to save the money for several months and buys some stuff out right.

@RTT I think you mean gadgets.

Stinley's avatar

Thanks @RTT @optimisticpessimist the post has been edited so we see gadgets. Now I get it! those gazelles were really confusing me

I agree, I have been having a discussion for days with my 9 year old about her classmate who is bringing her new 3D electronic game gadget to school. We don’t allow her to take hers (older version) to school. We thought long about getting her one because we didn’t want her to get the latest craze because ti is a craze. She talked and talked about it, borrowed one whenever she could, and as a big christmas treat we got her one. I’m sure she likes it partly because it was not easily gained. She’s really sensible and is asking questions like ‘do you think [friend] is right to bring a new expensive toy like that to school?’ and ‘is she spoiled because she got the latest version for no reason?’. (we do get the ‘why can’t I take mine to school?’ question too..)

I’m trying to bring her up to save for the things she wants, to wait and see if the latest craze is worth the hype, that cheaper one can be found if you wait. Lots of waiting…she’s doing ok.

Blackberry's avatar

I guess you could do it, but I wouldn’t want to. From what I’ve heard, kids are expensive lol. I tried the whole sacrificing my fun and free time, and it sucks ass.

Seaofclouds's avatar

We’ve been living off one income for a little while now and have been doing fine. We managed to pay all of our bills, still have some family outings, and still have money in savings. We have 2 nice vehicles. One is paid off, the other is not. We both have smart phones. We are planners though and we plan for everything we can financially. We have a budget that we stick too and whenever we want something, we save for it. We also have family outings that don’t cost a fortune. We went to DC to go to the Air & Space Museum last weekend (admission is free).

Stinley's avatar

It’s hard as we are surrounded by stuff and people buying stuff and this being the acceptable way to go about our lives. I find the excess hard to stomach at times but at other times I am caught up in it and want something badly. I’m looking for a trigger word or something that will help me snap out of the longing and stop me from buying that thing.

skfinkel's avatar

This is a great question, and something all potential parents should think about. There are benefits from staying home with children, at least the first year of an infant’s life, that are incalculable, but it might hurt the woman’s career—and that can have financial repercussions. If our country valued families, they would help couples financially during this time, so that this decision could be made without huge costs. (I am not talking about fancy cars or phones, but meeting one’s reasonable financial obligations.)

JLeslie's avatar

We do it now. Actually, even before I stopped working we were technically doing it for a several years, because all of my salary went to savings. We don’t have kids, but we could afford to be on one salary even with children, assuming it was a typical circumstance. What might be different is my husband could not spend quite as much on his hobby maybe. If we had had children the last 15 years we definitely would have less savings I think. Plus, when we were first married we could not have afforded the house we bought. But, our plan had been for both of us to work, and then when I have a baby go to one income. We could have done it, it just would have affected being able to buy a bigger 2nd or 3rd house, we always have lived on less than we earned, saved money, and planned. I should say my husband currently makes more than the average, but for the majority of our marriage it was a typical salary I think, only recently has it gone much higher, but with the loss of my salary we make less now than when I was working full time those last couple of years.

I actually think it would be much better if couples could live on one salary for many reasons. Besides the obvious flexibility it gives a couple, it helps single people also. This constant push for more and more and bigger and bigger hurts society in general I think. As it is now, many suburbs if you cannot afford the big house, your kids are in crappy schools. A moderate income should not mean living in a not so great neighborhood or inadequate school system. It would take a cultural shift for people to pull back and be more moderate about their spending; I think maybe there was a little bit of that recently, but not as much as people think.

A comment about the gadgets, my husband and I still do not have a smartphone, we are agonizing now about upgrading to one, because we dread spending the money. All of my tv’s are old big square ones, except a very small one in my bathroom. My stereo is 20 years old. Every kitchen appliance I have is over 15 years old. We don’t buy just to buy, and I would hope I would raise my kids to really think about how they spend money and if they really need the new gadget. We also don’t drink, which is expensive, we don’t have HBO, my husband takes his lunch, we only eat out once or twice a week.

JLeslie's avatar

@skfinkel How do you want the country to help couples financially when they have a baby? Why is it not the couple’s responsibility?

marinelife's avatar

Yes, it can be done. I have found that happiness is not related to income. Of course, it is sometimes a drag that we have to plan purchases like new shoes or glasses.

Aethelwine's avatar

Thank you everyone for taking the time to answer. I’m amazed at what people will pay for housing. The community we moved from recently had very nice, comfortable homes on decent sized lots for under $100,000. You don’t even want to know what our rent is for the cute little farm house we are renting now. Our yard is large enough that we need a riding lawn mower, and I bet our rent is less than many car payments. I don’t know how people pay these unbelievable prices. My sister pays $1500 a month for a tiny two bedroom apartment in Studio City, CA. $1500 a month would get you a McMansion here in western Illinois.

augustlan's avatar

@jonsblond It’s all relative though. Where the cost of living is higher, so are the salaries.

KatawaGrey's avatar

This is one of the reasons I want to be a full-time writer. With any luck, by the time I have kids, I will be published and be writing full-time or well on my way. As a writer, I figure I can be both a stay at home mom and have a full career which, to me, is the best of all possible worlds.

It helps that I do own my car now. I know that I won’t always be driving this car but I doubt very highly that I’ll want to get a new one for a long time. It also helps that I don’t have student loans to pay off.

I do think it would be difficult for a family to have only one income and I’m assuming you’re talking about a normal income and not several hundred thousand a year but there are a lot of things that people can live without that they simply don’t realize. Cable, for example, is nice to have, but it is not necessary and if a family is that hard up, cutting cable may not be the worst thing. Eating out is also not necessary. I have heard some people try to tell me that eating out is necessary for them because they’re tired or they just “don’t cook.” Well, no, eating out is not necessary and you can save a whole helluva lot of money by learning how to microwave some ramen.

@jonsblond: It seems that maybe western Illinois might be the anomaly here albeit and awesome cheap housing anomaly, but an anomaly nonetheless. I live in a pocket of Connecticut where it would be pretty hard to find a decent house for $100,000 but I could find quite a nice house for $250,000. There are houses in my neighborhood going for less than that with three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a garage and a nice, large yard. Considering that CT is one of the more expensive states to live in, this town is nice. It’s a good, affordable place to live.

Of course, I also think that people simply don’t try when it comes to saving money. I’m not talking about people who are truly hard up, but there are plenty of folks who don’t of things like unplugging electronics to save electricity, or turning their fridges down a notch or two for the same reason. These are the people who drive to a local restaurant rather than walking or who truly feel as if they need their Blackberries and iPhones.

bkcunningham's avatar

@augustlan, my stepdaughter lives in the DC-Metro area. The cost of living there is very high. They talked about moving to the south, but kept saying the salaries are lower and they wouldn’t be able to make a living.

My husband said, to an extent, it is all relative. We don’t have a state income tax in Florida. Housing, real estate tax, personal property tax et al are much, much lower. The thing they needed to realize though is that your debts don’t change.

For instance, if they have a car payment, that isn’t going to change regardless of where they move. If they have credit card bills, cell phone bills, or whatever; that doesn’t change. These are the items they need to get a handle on as far as budgeting.

When we moved from the DC-Metro area to NC, it was amazing to see the difference in the cost of housing. (The same goes for the astronomical prices of real estate and taxes in New England.) Food prices are pretty much the same. Gasoline is somewhat cheaper than in the city. Childcare would be astronomically cheaper outside the city.

Facade's avatar

My boyfriend is the only one working at the moment, and we’re doing fine. If we had kids, we’d be in trouble financially. Lately, we’ve been able to save thanks to some prayer and good fortune. I also get money from my parents on occasion.

Coloma's avatar

I was a stay at home mom til my daughter was 11 and I went back to work part time. It wasn’t always easy, but we managed and I have no regrets. I was able to be there for her, volunteer at her school, teach an an extra curricular fun class at my home and be involved with all her activities, Not to mention having the space and time to grow a big garden, keep farm animals as pets and give her a happy, peaceful lifestyle in a great rural setting.

I am now divorced 8 years and manage quite well on about 30k a year income.

I live simply, but very well, have extra time to enjoy life and while I have my concerns it is all good!

I am old school in the sense of if there is ANY way to have a parent in the home during the formative years I think that is the best case scenario if it does not cause too much stress.

Mariah's avatar

My mom has been a stay-at-home mom my whole life, and I think what my sister and I have gained from having her around FAR outweighs what we’ve lost from not having her potential added income. As a kid, it was very very nice to get off the bus at my house, not a babysitter’s, and have my mom there. I don’t think we’d be nearly as close now if she had been a working mom. My dad’s income alone is enough – our family has our share of fancy electronics, my medical bills get paid, and my sister and I can both go to college. We don’t take a lot of vacations – boo hoo, it just makes the ones we do take more special. I think our one-income life is perfect.

I am, however, torn on this subject, because while I feel that having a stay-at-home parent is what’s best for kids, I couldn’t picture myself as a stay-at-home mom. I feel too passionate about my future career, and will have worked too hard for my degree to give it up. I don’t know what I’d do if I had kids.

obvek's avatar

“Gazette” is relevant to this discussion in that the now archived “Tightwad Gazette” written and published over a number of years by the mom of a single income family household is probably the most iconic, contemporary American example of this style of living. It and the simplicity-based book Your Money or Your Life are two of the best reading references I know of.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I don’t know about a couple, especially where I live. An average house in my neighbourhood is US$1.2M.

Part of the reason I don’t have kids is that I’m not married and couldn’t afford to raise any in NYC on the average salary of a freelance admin in film and TV. Unless you’re union, you don’t make that much. It’s barely enough to get by. And the people who are union in this business live outside the city proper, and are married with spouses who work. I’m not sure what I’ve done wrong to end up the way I have at my age, when many of my cohorts are now directors or producers, and aren’t living hand to mouth. I’m not sure what I can do about it if I want to remain in the media business.

Bellatrix's avatar

What a great question @jonsblond. I think it is quite difficult to manage on one wage and I commend you for being able to achieve it. I agree with you about McMansions etc. I also think (and I am generalising here) some younger couples feel they have to have the big house, the nice furniture and the flash car and they go into debt to get those things.

When we started out, we bought a small, three bedroom home that we had to finish off ourselves and build fences for and create gardens and lawns. We had pretty much nothing but second hand furniture and a second hand car. We struggled to pay our mortgage on that house at first. Lived on baked beans for dinner pretty often. When I had my first child I had to go back to work and I hated it, but rent was no cheaper than our mortgage. We didn’t have a choice. With my second I was lucky enough to be able to take a couple of years off and be an at-home mum and I was able to be at home with my youngest for a few years. I did use that time with my son to start my degree though. I knew the time would come when I had to support my kids (marriage was not great) and I needed to improve my qualifications to do that.

I don’t think there is a simple answer to this question. Every situation is different and those situations change. I don’t think all working parents are working for the superficial things. Some are working to keep food on the table/roof over their heads and some people are just not suited to staying home full-time. I think if parents find great quality child care and spend the time they do have with their children, putting them first, that is not necessarily a bad thing. There are plenty of stay-at-home parents who don’t spend quality time with their children too.

JLeslie's avatar

I really think this indicates what many of us have talked about on other questions, the middle class is being squeezed. Salaries have not increased much over the last 10 years for the middle class while the wealthy get wealthier. I want to live in a society that one salary is enough for a family wtth two children. It doesn’t mean Mercedes in the driveway, and the latest gadgets, but shelter, food, basic transportation, basic technologies, and some savings should be doable.

Aethelwine's avatar

@JLeslie I want to live in a society that one salary is enough for a family wtth two children.

That is what it felt like when I was growing up. My mother, she’s 75 now, hasn’t worked a day since I was born 40 years ago. My father never discussed his income, but he made more than enough to take care of us. There were many more families then with stay-at-home moms. You rarely see a stay-at-home parent anymore. @Bellatrix makes a good point. I think many young couples expect that nicer home, car and vacations at a much younger age than when many of our parents acquired such things. My parents didn’t get that nice house until they were in their early 50s. Same with their car.

My husband and I were talking about this last night. He’s received many comments in the past from co-workers about why I don’t work. Some not very nice comments. We struggled with money for years when we bought a fixer-upper at the age of 23. After 16 years of that house draining us with things needing fixed all the time and property taxes going from about $400 a year to almost $1700, we had to leave the house. I can understand why the comments were made then since we were struggling, but it felt like it was expected of me to go out there and work and not stay home with the kids. Like it was unheard of these days and I must get bored being home with the children. My husband’s boss made a comment to him that really irked him, and me too. She said to him “Well, it is a two-income world now”. It was a subtle dig at me. This is coming from a woman who stayed home with her children when they grew up, and is now (not working) living off the millions her husband received from a settlement due to a serious accident. None of her children work now, they are all in their 30s. They are all living off of their father’s money (and quickly running out of it). Her comments touched a nerve, so I thought I would ask this question. sorry for the little rant there. I feel better now. =)

I love the support I get from many of you here who have experienced staying home with your children, and those of you who don’t have children but support this lifestyle. I really don’t get this type of support anywhere else in my life, except from my husband of course. Thank you!

suzanna28's avatar

I think you can yes.

I think as human nowadays we expect alot more material things out of life than our ancestors did.

You can if you live very simply.

E.g most of us have too much clothes, too much shoes, gadgets we don’t need etc.

My father always tells me when he was young he had one shoe only and he never thought he was poor.

Also my father would also say most children had one toy growing up.. Even poor kids have too many toys.

Also people nowadays want to go on holiday , go to private schools.

You just have to really evaluate whether what you want is really what you need to be happy.

The problem nowadays is that people think money is the key to happiness when it is not.

How many rich celebrities have we seen in history that kill themselves or always complain about being unhappy. Why do you think alot of them check into rehab. It is because the life they have is not filling the void they feel in their life.

I think also that the reason people don’t realise the cost of living went up alot was because women started working.

I am not saying there is something wrong with this.

But business men saw this as an opportunity to make more money. because when women first started working initially back in the 50s this meant more money was coming into the household. Because you have to remember when most families having one breadwinner was the norm. That was the norm and no one felt poor !!

So gradually the cost of everything went up. Because the more money you make the more business men want of it.

Think about it.

The cost of living didn’t just go up for not reason.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@jonsblond: It’s really a double-edged sword. On the one hand, two incomes would mean more money and more opportunities for your family. On the other hand, having a parent always home is enormously beneficial for the kids. I would go so far as to say that it is more beneficial than having the extra income. Your children are not starving, naked or unhealthy. That is what is important. When they grow up, they’re not going be mad that they didn’t have more clothes or that they had to apply for scholarships. They would be mad and probably a little screwed up if they were always home alone when all they wanted was for mom or dad to be there.

Just out of curiosity, would you ever switch? If you had the opportunity for a great job that paid the same or more than Mr. Jon, do you think you would take it and have him be a stay-at-home parent?

bkcunningham's avatar

@jonsblond, you keep saying, ‘because I’m now working.’ You are working. You have one of the most difficult, enriching, important and lowing paying-by monetary terms-jobs in the world. You absolutely are working and you do have a job and it sounds to me, in all honesty, that you are doing a fantastic at your job. Keep up the good work!

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If I had a child then I would want to be the stay at home parent for the first ten years in order to help with schooling and getting them out and about in the world. I’d give up a lot in order to do that. Clothes would not be an issue with me as they are now (like a hobby I guess) nor would home decorating, eating out at nice restaurants or taking as many adventures with my partner. My main focus would be on things for all of us but that’s because I would get pleasure and enjoyment from the sharing so it wouldn’t be so much a sacrifice.

laureth's avatar

People interested in this question may also be interested in this slightly different one that I asked a while back.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

You asked if I think it could be done on one income and my answer is yes if:

There is only 1 child and the minimum income is $30. hr US and for a minimum of 40 hr work week. I don’t factor in a car payment or rent/mortgage higher than $1500.00.

LoboDelMar15's avatar

Yes, It is very possible . My mum stays at home and my pa is an electrician. Last year he made about 60 thousand dollars.With his pay alone he feeds 4 mouths(including mine)....and he recently purchased a new honda. It all depends on money management really.

blueiiznh's avatar

of course they can. Its about living WITHIN your means.

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond You shouldn’t worry one second about what others think about staying home with your kids. Hell, I don’t have any kids, and I haven’t worked for about a year and a half now.

Is it possible sometimes when someone makes a remark about you not working, that you might take it as a judgement when it is only a statement? I am sure there are people who judge it, I am not saying you are always twising things, but for example one of my close girlfriends didn’t work for years while her girls were little. I don’t judge it for a second, I think she is a fantastic mommy, and her children are wonderful. But, at one point when they were having it a little tough financially, I said to her she might feel better if she worked a little and earned some money. What I meant was more free. It was not a negative judgment of her choice, but I felt like she had forgotten what it feels like to have extra cash, and not have to watch every penny closely. She actually has gone back to work part time now, I am not sure how she feels about it. She still is able to pick her girls up every day from school, so from her childrens perspective not much has changed, but for her, her day is much busier, and more stressful I would guess, but also there are positives.

For me personally, I cannot imagine handing over my infant to someone else while I go to work. That is how I think I would feel if I had a baby.

Funny, many people say they want to be home with their children when they are little, but I think thereis a good reason to be home during the crazy teen years.

Besides being able to live on one income and be home with children, I just want living expenses to be reasonable period, so when both spouses are working they can save for the future. Or, even if one is working, still have room to save, save for a rainy day. It is so stressful to live check to check, I don’t wish that for anyone.

creative1's avatar

You can do it just don’t live off credit like most do these days, get the credit card bills paid off, and rid yourself of anyother unnecessay interest loan type credit things. You can pay cash for a car and still have a nice car. It is all possible if you just stay within your means, instead of living like you have more than you do and need all possible things.

augustlan's avatar

One thing I think we should all remember is that sometimes, even with both people working, they are living within their means, with or without children. Still living paycheck to paycheck. It’s not always about nice places to live, two cars or expensive gadgets. It’s about and education and opportunity and location. It’s about income. Some folks are hard-pressed to make more $10 an hour, and both of them will likely have to work just to afford the necessities, even before having a child. We say “Of course, it’s possible.”, but it’s not always so. Those of us who have been able to do it (with or without major sacrifices) are lucky that we could.

laureth's avatar

@LoboDelMar15 – That’s nice, if one spouse makes $60K. If you have two spouses each making $30K, it’s not quite as easy for one to just stay home.

creative1's avatar

@augustlan You make a great point but I know people who make 60–100k per year and are bearly making due to having 5–10 high credit cards plus vehicle loans or leases (which I feel are worse you don’t even own the vehicle). They get themselves in such debt that I can’t believe. A friend asked me to help her because she was struggling and wondered what my secret was when I make so much less than her. I have since help get her out of over $15k of credit card debt, she ended up with a low interest loan which she just recently paid off if she had been doing it her way she would still be paying the 18–21% interest to the credit cards at the minimum payments. She was bearly paying her bills making over 60k a year because of all the debt. She has since cut up all her credit cards, with the exception of one which is for emergencies only and that is suppose to be locked away in her home away from her purse so an emergency isn’t a shopping trip because she feels the blues.

Aethelwine's avatar

@KatawaGrey Would I ever switch?

I did when my sons were very young. I went to college and then worked for two years after I graduated. My plan was to work because it was what I wanted to do at the time. Then my husband was laid off from his job and I was the only one working for several months until the company I worked for closed down. Jon eventually found a job that paid well and I stayed home. It didn’t seem worth it at the time for me to work when most of my pay would go to child care.

My only dream at the moment other than being home with the children is photography, and I know that won’t pay any bills. If Jon wanted to be home more than me I would consider working, but he knows how important it is for me at the moment, and I know I wouldn’t find a job that would pay more than what he makes right now. I’ve wanted another child for several years now, but I know it isn’t in the future for us. Jon knows this and is supporting my decision to be here for our daughter now. I know I’ll have to work outside of the home once she’s older, and I’m ok with that (even if I have to be a Walmart greater when I’m 80) because I’m getting my dream job at the moment.

@bkcunningham Thank you for the kind words. Very sweet of you. =)

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond I can’t understand why anyone would question the choices you have made for yourself and your family. You and your husband sound so united, and you seem to be so happy and fufilled being a mommy. :). I always feel like you are so relaxed and loving – good energy.

Aethelwine's avatar

@JLeslie Thank you. Would you believe my own grandmother made comments about me not working outside of the home? she was a bitch anyway, but still ;)

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond Does she say it out of worry? Some of the older generation felt stifled or enslaved in their marriages, and wanted the choice to have more independence and more choice.

Aethelwine's avatar

@JLeslie No. She was an Irish firecracker who worked as a teacher in a one room schoolhouse for 30 years. She hated my mother (my father’s second wife) with a passion for some reason. My father’s two daughters from his previous marriage received special treatment. She treated my mother and me differently. She didn’t even come to my wedding.

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond She did not come to your wedding. Not nice. I think we don’t care what she thinks about whether you work or not.

In America the Leave it to Beaver wife stays home scenerio really only happened in a big way during the 50’s and 60’s. Women worked during the big wars as part of the war effort. Back when America was new pioneers the women helped work on the farms. Many new immigrants the women many times worked in factories and other jobs. Extended families were closer knit and helped take care of the children.

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