Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Living on Less Than Two Incomes

Early on, my husband and I knew that once we had children, we wanted me to be able to stay home.  For this reason, we were very thankful that we didn't have children immediately since his income (though same job) has increased since he began his job.  However, from the beginning we tried to live on one income.   Much of my income, while I still worked, went to paying extra on the mortgage's principal when we bought our starter home.

We've always spent money carefully.  That is one of the reasons why I was so interested in reading the book Ditch the Joneses: Discover Your Family (How to Thrive on Less Than Two Incomes).  Written by Cathi Brese Doebler, it is a very easy to read book, while being informative. 

Ditch The Joneses, Discover Your Family: How to Thrive on Less Than Two Incomes!I would suggest that Ditch the Joneses is a book for those who are in a two-income marriage and hope to one day have one spouse stay home OR for those who know they don't live as frugally as they would like even though they already stay home.  Cathi offers MANY suggestions for spending less money, and she does it from the Christian perspective, which I appreciate, though anyone could enjoy and benefit from this book.

Cathi has great suggestions.  Personally, we implement most of them already, or have considered the option.  For example, a few years ago we chose to not have cable, but now we do.  It was a HUGE savings.  We rarely need an item dry cleaned, but when we do, we dry clean at home.  I love that she suggests getting AND using a library card.  I can support my local library (and actually use an out of state library, too) for the price of a couple of paperback books each year.  For myself, I tend to shop clearance racks.   One thing that Cathi didn't mention is choosing and using a cell phone carefully (though she did suggest that you may want to use only the cell).  Since we have a land line, we pay just $7 a month for our cell phones!  The only time we have run out of minutes is when we gave birth to our children because within the same month they were both hospitalized.  (All of our family is out of the area, so there was much to communicate.)

Ditch the Joneses is not just about cutting back on spending.  She discusses what to do with your money before you spend it.  Cathi has more than 20 pages devoted to defending your decision to leave work or change your hours.  It can be a life-changing decision, but that does not mean it needs to be a negative choice.

The very most valuable tool I found in this book is something that I think everyone who says they can't afford to stay home with their children should see.  It's a very detailed worksheet of work expenses.  It includes everything from taxes, car payments, and child care to optional things like dry cleaning, convenience foods, and ordering out related to work- or the stress of work.  In the example she shared, when all was said and done the person was actually making less than $2,000 a year and retirement and tithing were not even considered.

If you are considering trying to stay at home part time or full time, Ditch the Joneses is an excellent book for you.  It shares the reasons why it is beneficial to the family, how it may not impact your return later, and the reader may even take away some ideas of part-time work.    If you are already at home and already live pretty frugally, you may still benefit from this book, but it is likely that you do much of it already (based on myself and a few friends who are careful in spending, anyway).

Visit Cathi's website to learn more about her and her mission.  You might be interested to know that there is a workbook and CD available, too, with several special features.

Thank you, Cathi, for providing Ditch the Joneses for review purposes.  


Christy said...

Sounds interesting.

Dorie said...

What an important message and tool for those wanting to live off of one income.

Carrie said...

That sounds like a really great resource. I know the idea of living on one income and being a SAHM can be scary for some couples and so having a place to jump start your thinking on how that might look financially is a great idea. Glad to know of this book.

Carrie said...

p.s. Facebooked this.

Stephanie said...

I followed Carrie's FB link. :)

Sounds like a great book. We also started our marriage living on one income. It was one of our best decisions! Today I home school our 4 kids and my hubby supports us. We drive 6 and 15 year old vehicles, buy clearanced clothes, and use a prepaid cell phones. It's really all about making choices that support living on a single income. :)

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