Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Experiment: Can we live happily on one income?

This might seem amusing to those who are already successfully living on one income. But we never have before (as a permanent situation), and this will be an adjustment!

Here's what we're going to do: Micah and I talked last night about where he's heading with his career, and how I'm going to get to the place where I can do what I really want...that is, be and work at home. We have decided that, while it is still not time for me to quit my job (I believe I have mentioned before on this blog that we have a lot of debt that must be dealt with!), we WILL learn to live on his salary alone. Starting right now, we are phasing my salary out of our budget. It will probably take a few weeks before we eliminate it completely, but we are doing this ASAP. Within a month or two, we should be living completely on what he makes.

We are going to create a separate account for my paycheck, and it will be used only for saving and paying off debt. Micah has committed to do whatever needs to be done (even if it means taking a second job--hopefully it won't!) to support us.

This will not be an easy situation, because Micah is still in the beginning-training-certification (ie, unstable) stage of his career. Our finances have been volatile due to this, and our debt. But we trust that we are doing the right thing, and that God will provide the work that Micah needs.

Beginning situation:
  • Rent on a small house in a modest neighborhood
  • All the typical utilities, food, necessities, etc.
  • One monthly car payment and car insurance on two cars (one paid for)
  • $400 p/mo in gas (maybe more)
  • Currently not on health insurance, but we are planning to get on a plan as soon as possible.
  • Few extravagances, though we do have high-speed internet and eat out inexpensively on occasion.
  • An enormous amount of debt. I will not embarrass myself by stating the amount...let's just say that we could have bought a house with that money. Please: don't anybody out there put yourself in this situation for ANY reason :op

Well, I will post updates on our progress, and the experience! Should be interesting. I am nervous, but excited to actually be making progress. It feels like we've been stagnating for a while, and now we're actually heading somewhere!


Blogger Erin said...

Hello Erin,

I found your blog through Crystal's. I picked up on your name, because mine is "Erin" also! :-)
My husband and I are doing something very similar right now...he is in law school, and we are living off of my income. I would enjoy sharing ideas and thoughts on this, if you would want to. God will bless your desire to learn to live on one income! My blog is: God bless you!

10:21 AM, October 06, 2005  
Blogger Carrie said...

Congrats on your decision to work at living on one income! I'm sure you can do it. :) I have some friends that have a similar situation to you, as far as college debt . . . they both have to work right now, too. I'm not sure if they live on one income and put the other toward debt, or not--doesn't matter, but I think that is a great idea. I think it's so sad that colleges encourage students to go into debt to pay for their education. I know that is the norm now, but it sure doesn't help the students when they get out into the real world and then have to start paying for their education . . . I was blessed in that my college didn't offer a loan program of any kind, and required each semester's bill to be paid in full before the student could return to college the next semester. But I also had parents that paid for my whole education, which I know is very rare. I know I didn't appreciate it nearly enough at the time, but I am very thankful for it now. I did help with earning money toward books, clothes, supplies, etc, but I wish now that I had been more determined to help pay for my education. (By the way, my parents aren't rich, and they did use a loan to help pay for my sister's and my college, but it's all completely paid off now. God provided!)

Hee hee, I wrote a book again--anyway, just wanted to say that I'm sure this will be a great step for you guys, and you will probably be amazed how many ways you can find to save money! Have fun! :)

8:06 PM, October 06, 2005  
Anonymous Tiffany said...

Wow! $400 a month on gas! Unbelieveable! Good luck! Although I have to say, my husband and I did this same activity my last year teaching. Unfortunately, we were not as disciplined as you seem to be and we frequently cut into that money (we were building a house at the time). However - we are now living successfully off of one income - once I left teaching, and that extra money wasn't there to tempt us, it wasn't an issue! By the way, my husband and I lived in Spring when we first got married - we both worked at Compaq (when it was still Compaq - about 5 years ago). I like reading your blog because it reminds me of being there!

9:01 AM, October 07, 2005  
Blogger Erin B said...

Woo-hoo, another Erin here! LOL!! We are a one income, no children yet family and we love it!!! I know it's hard to step out and do something that so many in the world consider crazy, especially since from what I've read of your posts, you don't have children either....but God will truely bless your desire to follow His will in your lives.

2:29 PM, October 09, 2005  
Blogger Erin said...

Thank you all for commenting!

Wow...two other Erins? We're taking over, girls:o)

Erin #1, I would love to share more thoughts on this. I'll be posting more on my blog as we go along. I'll come and visit you on yours as well:o)

Carrie, hi!:o) Thanks for the encouragement. I know we'll get there someday...the process isn't always fun, but it is hopefully a growing and learning time.

Tiffany, we haven't been as disciplined as we should be at all! But we are trying to get better now. I guess when you want something bad enough--like how badly I want to be at home, and how badly we both want to be out of debt--you'll do whatever it takes!

Erin b, I'll come visit your blog too. I always love when new people comment, because I have new blogs to go check out:o) Thanks for your encouraging words!

9:46 PM, October 09, 2005  
Blogger Erin said...

Tiffany, we live like 10 minutes away from Compaq! So this is your old stomping ground? Do you still live in Texas?

9:48 PM, October 09, 2005  
Blogger razorbackmama said...

I hear ya on the debt!!! Ei yi yi!!! Most of it is from student loans (my dh is a veterinarian), but STILL!!!!!

Have you ever looked into The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey? We are wanting to start doing it.

4:19 PM, October 11, 2005  
Blogger razorbackmama said...

OK so like I'm a goober. I just noticed that you have Dave Ramsey's site linked on your sidebar. LOL!!!!!!

4:37 PM, October 11, 2005  
Blogger Nichola said...

Yay, Erin. You guys go!

I hate to but I just had to make a comment about your internet. In my circumstance, where we don't make a monthly income because we are farmers, we decided to go for the slow internet. Plus we live in the country and the lines are not new. (Read: Hard to connect sometimes.) However, we pay $9.99 a month. That is for 50 hours of service. I am very happy with dial-up when I compare that with the $40-50 bills my friends pay. 50 hrs is plenty of time usually. If I am on more than that a month then I shouldn't be anyway.

Just thought I would throw that idea in the pot for you.:-)

8:18 AM, October 12, 2005  
Anonymous Tiffany said...

We moved back to Florida (where I'm from) back in 2001. But I sure do miss the food in Houston! Some of the best restaurants I've ever eaten at were out there!!! At the time that we lived there, I was mostly miserable because I was soooo homesick - I had never been away from home for such a long time, and I come from a very long, very tight family and it broke my heart not being with them. But looking back, I have very fond memories of Spring and Tomball and Houston because that's where our marriage started! So, it sure is neat to read about things you do and to be able to picture kinda where you're at! Reading about your life brings back some wonderful memories for me!! (When we first married we lived in some apartments on Kuykendahl - I loved the apartment, but some pretty freaky things went on there!)

9:13 AM, October 14, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Erin and all the people on one income like my family.
My name is Maritena,I am 50,a Sicilian just returned to my island after 30 years spent in different parts of the world.With my husband and a 14 years old daughter, I am now living with 1,500.00 euros a month.It was our choice to live in Sicily where opportunities to find a job are rare.Luckly I have a government job as a teacher which is not well paid but secure.We cannot afford expensive trips or eating at elegant restaurants, but our life is not sad or dull at all.We have plenty of friends we often invite to share simple homemade food.
Despite the little money we have now, we feel our life has something special because we live in a fantastic hamlet in the countryside in a green valley not far from the Ionian sea. The friends who live around are always ready to get together or to help whenever someone needs help.
Money is not really important to have the best things in our life!.
Love to all,Maritena

2:07 PM, October 21, 2005  

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