A little over two years ago, Rob and I decided that we needed to get our financial house in order. We started budgeting, and we discovered that we had plenty of cash flow, but I didn't feel satisfied with our financial life. What was wrong with me?
In time, I figured out that the problem wasn't our money, but the fact that I experienced big time loss aversion. I didn't want to lose time with our son.
Unfortunately, I didn't see a way around losing time with him because Rob was in school, and I needed to bring home the bacon. But over time, I started thinking about money more creatively. Could we save up enough for a long sabbatical? Could we reduce our expenses more? Could I earn some income without having to get a job?
Almost exactly 18 months ago, Rob and I came up with a plan that would allow me to quit my job by July of last year. We saved up a ton of money, but a few months later, I chickened out. I didn't trust that we could keep our expenses low enough. Then we came up with an alternative plan called the get mama home checklist, and we also decided to have another kid before I quit my job.
So, we marched our way down the list, and now I've officially (almost) achieved my goal. I submitted my letter of resignation to my full-time employer, and after my vacation time runs out in a few weeks. After that, I will be a stay at home mom.
We accomplished a big goal!
It's party time because Rob and I accomplished a big financial goal! Way to go us!
I'm going to walk through each step in my checklist, and tell you some of the lessons that I've learned.
Manage cashflow as a single income family
Rob's income is $22K, so for us to do this, we would need to spend less than $2K per month. Let me tell you, that's nearly impossible for us. However, these are a few big steps that will allow us to spend somewhere between $2K and $3K each month going forward.
Complete/Quit expensive projects
Okay, so we were supposed to complete our remodel before I quit my job, but we didn't. Why not? Because we decided to have a baby, so I couldn't help much for the last six months.
Though we didn't complete the renovation, we are on the home stretch, and we have money pre-allocated for finishing the renovation. We only need to complete the bathrooms, the floorboard, and the doors and then we're done. I'm not even going to give an estimate on how long those projects will take to complete because this is the unplanned finance blog, and I don't just give out plans.
Start a side income business and grow it to $1K per month
Starting in September 2015, I started writing for a few different clients, but I struggled to get my income past about $500 per month until I expanded my client base. I now earn around $2K per month writing around 2-3 hours per day. Given the flexibility and the fact that I rarely pay for childcare, I feel great about that right now.
I imagined that I might turn this blog into a legitimate business, and I have some clear monetization strategies. The problem is that I don't have time to devote to the site right now. I've decided to continue to maintain the site and my relationships in the personal finance sphere without much monetization effort until I can devote more time to my own work.
I'm eligible for COBRA, but I think that we will be better off choosing a high deductible plan through Healthcare.gov. I learned that if I never accept COBRA, we can sign up for ACA insurance plans without any issue.
I won't register for health insurance until my vacation time runs out, but if it's an adventure, it might be worth a post :)
Learn how to enjoy toddler (and baby) time all day long!
Toddler and baby time has both pros and cons. I love being with my kids, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be their primary caregiver during the day.
We go to the park or to a local kids museum most days, and I get to spend time with other stay at home moms.
However, being with little kids all day can be tedious, so I've also started to pay for 3-6 hours of childcare per week (one or two mornings). I use this time to write, so that I also have a little bit of time to clean the house, do laundry and prep dinner if both kids take an afternoon nap.
I think it's valuable for me to continue the part time work just so that my brain can be engaged. I love my kids, and I don't want them to be in an institutional setting all day, but I'm under no delusion that I need to be the only person giving them care. Kenny will be eligible for preschool next August, but I think I will delay enrolling him until January since he's going through a clingy stage these days.
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.