Saturday, September 20, 2008

Getting our ducks in a row (planning ahead to live on one income)

Columbia and I have always thought we would want me to stay at home when we had children. When we started planning for Pumpkin (we apparently are not very spontaneous) we made some preparations for how I might be able to stay at home.

1 - Maxxing that Salary Columbia went back to school a year ago to reach the highest pay possible for his years in the Dept of Ed. To finish by this fall he took 18 credits over the summer. Was it hard? On all of us? Yes, but this was the simplest way to bring in more money continually, even if it meant paying out some in the immediate.

2 - Nesting We built our nest egg. Columbia laughed when I used that term recently, but it's what we have saved. At it's most, it was nearly 6 months of basic expenses. It has dwindled now, but mostly because of Number 1 above.

3 - It Pays to be Healthy I didn't take any sick days last year. Instead I saved them and was able to use them after Pumpkin was born. This was a huge help during our adjustment phase to single income living. Until school started this year we had only had 2 months of single income life. This was due to planning... and Pumpkins timing. =)

4 - Deducting the Kid... and the Wife Columbia and I had both been losing a huge chunk of our paychecks to taxes. I knew that we should change Columbia's W-4, but I wasn't sure to what. Thankfully the IRS's W-4 form has basic directions on it (who've thunk it?). By using an online withholding calculator we were able to see what the change would look like in take home pay. We'll get less back in April but we'll have it now when we need it.

5 - It's All Mental Mentally preparing ourselves for this adjustment made it much easier. We both grew up with frugal parents and were relatively frugal in our lifestyles. We knew that adjustments would need to be made and that we would be sacrificing some (many?) of our creature comforts. It's worth it to us. We may not be able to live on one income forever. We may not be able to live in Manhattan forever, but we are committed to raising Pumpkin here for as long as we can. For the next year, at least, we'll give her the best life we can in our home in the city.

Picture by Columbia at the CP Model Boat Pond.

1 comment:

Free From Broke said...

Best of luck with one income. We recent;y switched to one income as my wife is staying home this year (works in Dept of Ed). Sounds like you're preparing well. We're still adjusting but we're pretty confident we can make it work. I'm sure you will too!