Part 8 - Q&A - Living On One Income

I have to apologize because one of the questions submitted was missing the last part, which contained more questions.  I missed this somehow and only found it when I went to delete the file from my documents.  So, I'm reposting the entire question here and my answer - sorry to whoever this was!

Q. Hello,

I have been following your blog for some time and had a few questions on one income.

My husband and I are both currently working full time high stress career fields, which has definitely taken a toll on our marriage. We have talked about me eventually quitting my job and either pursuing homemaking full time or an accounting/or bookkeeping job that is under 10 hours a week that I can work from home. I want out of corporate accounting.

The catch is like most Americans we are currently in debt. My husband currently has around six thousand in student loans. Thankfully, my husband paid for my college, so I don’t have any loans. We have three cars, two of which still have car payments, and I have $2,400 left on my credit card.

Our plan that we came up with a month ago was for me to continue working for the time being and to contribute a majority of my pay check to pay down the remaining of our debt before me quitting my job. This would allow us to see what it would be like on one income and to eliminate debt before our income gets cut in half. Last month I was able to pay off $3500 on my credit card and I made a double payment on my husband’s student loans and one of our car payments. I was able to do this by not eating out and by not spending money on frivolous work clothes, ect.

My first question is when you decided to be a homemaker, was money at all taken in consideration? Did you go into being a home keeper with ideal circumstance of not having debt and high savings or did you just do it and gradually pay off debt and build up savings?

The other issue that has arisen from talk of me staying home is all the negativity from friends and family on the issue. We are twenty-nine and thirty, and have been married for ten years. We are unable to have children, so everyone has expected me to work full time, since I’m still somewhat young. I don’t necessarily need validation, but it has been hard to receive so much criticism on the subject. Had we been able to have children, this would have not been an issue, since it is generally culturally acceptable to be a stay at home mom. I was wondering if you ever received such criticism from staying home before you had children and how did you deal with it?

I might also add that huge contributing factor of me wanting to be a home keeper is I am an insulin dependent diabetic since I was a small child as well as having an underactive thyroid which I take medication for, too. It is extremely hard to take care of myself when I work such long hours. Also, my coworkers are not excited by the fact that I give myself insulin shots at work when I eat lunch or snacks and several have complained. :(

A.  First of all - get out of debt and save an emergency fund and then destroy the credit cards.  You can do that on one income even, as many do.  Is the stress worth the money?  Can you even enjoy the money if you are working and stressed at that?  You didn't mention children, so I wonder why 3 cars - I would sell one at least.

I think your plan sounds good but it really isn't something you try out - to me, it is honoring God's Word for women.  You do have to learn to live on what he provides and look at it that he is being what a man should be and you be that woman and you will be amazed at the added peace to the home.

I honestly didn't even think of the money when I stopped working.  I let my husband think about that.  I felt like the burden of my life had been lifted off me and it was one the best feelings I've ever had to know that my husband was going to take care of me and I didn't need to anymore.  I felt like and still do feel like, I had/have a real-life Prince!  We had no debt as we were just in our lower 20's at that time but we did have to stop eating out all the time and budget our money.  There were some scary times that first year when we didn't know how to pay the rent - but God always provided and made the difference.

The second question about what others think is something you will have to deal with but you have to not care what they think.  I know that is easier said than done and I still get criticism even though I am a mom staying home, I've heard it all: "Quit making your husband do so much and get out and get a job."  The ironic thing is that these comments come from people where the wife works but they are STILL in debt up to their eyeballs and I don't work and we have no debt.  I think it isn't about the wife working, it is about our hearts and greed and covetousness.  Most men should feel like they are a man to take care of their wives and families, we shouldn't take that away from them.  Men that want their wives to work are lazy and/or covetous or maybe they just didn't know what God's Word said and just followed the culture.

You should be at home enjoying your life as a loving wife and taking care of your home, yourself and your husband!  I think you will find the greatest peace if you make the step.  Life isn't a bed of roses for anyone but it can be blessed by God if you trust Him, obey His Word and the roles He made us for and lean on Him!