The one income project

by michelle on March 15, 2010 · 8 comments

Inspired by the giant life-change that happens when one becomes a parent, we decided at the start of this year to set aside my income and to learn to live on only Chris’ income.

This had basically always been the plan for when we decided to have children.  The plan was for me to stay home for a few years.  I have strong opinions about childcare and education (basically, I don’t trust the system.  I’ve worked in the systems, and I’m not a fan.), and I know that it’s a total luxury in this day and age for a parent to be able to stay at home with the children for any amount of time.  But we’ve chosen to live that way.  We chose a small house with a price tag lower than we needed.  We have chosen to live near work instead of having a long commute.  We chose to shop sales and use coupons and cut out unnecessary things out of our budget.

And we’ve found these things to be freeing.

The next step in this journey?  We’re moving to cut out cable.  We’re going to try an antennae.  We just don’t watch enough that’s not broadcast that justifies all of that.  We certainly have never been willing to pay for extended cable or digital cable.  And part of me is a little shocked that we’ve gotten to the point that we just don’t watch much TV.

This experiment with income has been both frustrating and liberating.  We have been able to save my income from the last 3 months without needing to touch it.  And the end goal for that sum of money is to pay off my student loan and pad the savings a little more.

But, what we have discovered is more valuable than anything we could have spent my income on.  We know we can exist even more simply than we are now.  We know that we can be perfectly happy and content without all of the “extras”, because there’s so much more we can do with our time.  And we know that we will be absolutely fine while I stay home with children for awhile.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

OurLittleAshley March 15, 2010 at 2:38 pm

I’d be lying if I said I weren’t COMPLETLEY jealous.

Mike makes less than $9,000 a year now and will make less than $13K next year. Such is life being married to someone pursuing a PhD.

I support our family, and will probably continue to do so. We live incredibly simply – as you probably know! But we just can’t live on $13K a year, you know? I’m really, really hoping I can work part-time, but then I’d lose health insurance. 🙁 I do think working part time will be good for me, though – to have a routine a few days a week and see adults aside from Mike. I might go crazy otherwise! I’m lucky enough to have a ton of family near by for affordable babysitting – because day care is SO EXPENSIVE. Oh man.

Chrissy March 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm

That’s truly incredible and I think most of us can learn a lesson from you two. I know you’ve both been an inspiration to me for a while on saving money. I do spend more than I should, but I have cut down tremendously after debt issues and now the wedding. It’s nice to know once the wedding is over that will be extra cash in my pocket. Congrat! You two work hard and deserve all you have!

Erin March 15, 2010 at 3:20 pm

We are really struggling with this right now. I make quite a bit more than Ted, so we rely on my income. At the same time, daycare for twins? EXPENSIVE. Plus, I’ll be taking a pay cut next year, but I don’t know yet how much of a cut it will be. It’s very frustrating. We are hoping that, since Ted has a flexible schedule, he can be home with the babies a couple of days a week, and that we can find a sitter to come to our home the other days. That way, at least the babies will be home with parents 4 days a weeks.

Her March 15, 2010 at 7:19 pm

It’s wonderful that you’ve planned this out so well. I quit my day job quite a while ago, planning for all of this. I started the photography business so that I can work on the weekends on my own terms in order to be there with kids when they decide to come around. We’re really lucky that my husband works from home too, and it has been a great experience paring down what we do to save up even more.

Becky March 15, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Just found your blog – I’m really impressed by this! However, cutting out TV may not be as hard as you think – my husband and I just pay for phone and internet because pretty much everything is available online!

Allie March 17, 2010 at 12:44 am

Good for you! That’s really exciting!

We gave up cable a really long time ago – and I am a TV junkie, but with Hulu, and Netflix and watching stuff online, we’re totally set. Whenever I stay in a hotel, I marvel at how there are so many channels and nothing on TV. I feel like we get the best of what there is to watch and don’t bother with many commercials or watching things when they are on instead of when we want them (we gave up cable before DVRs were common).

tootsiemom March 20, 2010 at 5:07 am

Your uncle Randy and I, a long time ago, decided that being home with the kiddies when they were young was important. So I did. We survived on one income (it was hard! but we did) and we still feel like this is one of the best things we’ve ever, or could’ve done for our kids. (How do you think they turned out?) Life was different then, life is more complicated now. But, if you can be with your children when they really, REALLY need for you to be there, then it’ll only be good for you (and them!) later.
Kudos for good planning!

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