Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Money vs. Time

Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Money Matters

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how finances affect their parenting choices. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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In the Summer of 2010, we made a big financial decision. I took on a Part Time job (in addition to my Full Time position) in order to help my mother and to afford an expensive (to us) condominium rental close to my family. The space was HUGE to us and we lived there for the tail end of my pregnancy, the birth of our child, and most of her first year.

Condo Living RoomNot our actual condo, but the same floor plan.

As the lease drew to a close, we knew that it was still a stretch to make all the bills and I was frustrated working the Part Time job. We moved into a much smaller two bedroom apartment and I quit working the extra job. Within a few months, I got bitten by the Minimalist Bug. I had suddenly realized that my dreams were NOT unattainable, regardless how big they seemed! I started getting rid of JUNK. Suddenly, a lot more stuff seemed like junk. We also minimized our bills. We started cutting out / down on things we "needed" and on entertainment expenses, too.

Boulder Ridge - 2 Bed / 2 BathOur 2 bedroom floor plan.

Within two months, we moved into an even smaller one bedroom apartment. We had been a bit tight on funds after missed work for my knee surgery, so this was a great way to cut back more on bills! Thankfully, the new apartment was right across the courtyard, so it was an easy move.

Boulder Ridge - 1 Bed / 1 BathOur 1 bedroom floor plan.

After cutting back SO much, we figured out that we could survive without my Full Time job if I went back to my Part Time job. I went for it. We both hated where we worked, so I was thrilled to leave! (My poor husband still works there Part Time.) As of March, we were surviving on two Part Time jobs.


Sometimes money is tight and that can be stressful. We both prefer this stress to the stress of less time together, though! Even when we're really scrimping, I prefer that stress. We're expecting our last child in January and I've had enough trouble with this pregnancy that I can *not* imagine working, especially not Full Time!

Things have gotten a bit out of our control since April, but we're managing. We'll be moving again soon, into even less space! This all works well into our plan of minimizing into a Travel Trailer, though. I do have a lot more minimizing of "stuff" to do in the next few weeks. The bills will minimize themselves in this move! This is a must, since we're now surviving on ONE Part Time job (plus my daughter's survivorship benefits).

How much financial sacrifice would you be willing to make to have more time with / for your family?

If you're already home full time, what sacrifices have you made to make that work?



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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon October 11 with all the carnival links.)

  • Money Matter$ — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy shares her experiences on several ways to save money as a parent.
  • A different kind of life... — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one!
  • Show Me The Money! — Arpita of Up, Down & Natural shares her experience of planning for parenting costs while also balancing the financial aspect of infertility treatments.
  • Material v Spiritual Wealth - Living a Very Frugal Life with Kids — Amy at Peace 4 Parents shares her family's realizations about the differences between material and spiritual wealth.
  • If I Had a Money Tree — Sheila at A Gift Universe lists the things she would buy for her children if money were no object.
  • Financial Sacrifices, Budgets, and the Single Income Family — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the importance of living within your means, the basics of crafting a budget, and the "real cost" of working outside of the home.
  • Overcoming My Fear of All Things Financial — Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares how she is currently overcoming her fear of money and trying to rectify her ignorance of all things financial.
  • Confessions of a Cheapskate — Adrienne at Mommying My Way admits that her cheapskate tendencies that were present pre-motherhood only compounded post-baby.
  • Money MattersWitch Mom hates money; here's why.
  • Money? What Money?! — Alicia C. at McCrenshaw's Newest Thoughts describes how decisions she's made have resulted in little income, yet a green lifestyle for her and her family.
  • What matters. — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life might worry about spending too much money on the grocery budget, but she will not sacrifice quality to save a dollar.
  • Making Ends Meet — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares about being a working mom and natural parent.
  • Poor People, Wealthy Ways — Sylvia at MaMammalia discusses how existing on very little money allows her to set an example of how to live conscientiously and with love.
  • The Green Stuff — Amyables at Toddler In Tow shares how natural parenting has bettered her budget - and her perspective on creating and mothering.
  • Jemma's Money — Take a sneak peek at That Mama Gretchen's monthly budget and how Jemma fits into it.
  • 5 Tips for How to Save Time and Money by Eating Healthier — Family meal prep can be expensive and time-consuming without a plan! Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares five easy tips for how to make your cooking life (and budget) easier.
  • Belonging in the Countryside — Lack of money led Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales towards natural parenting, but it also hinders her from realizing her dream.
  • Total Disclosure and Total Reform — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl gets down to the nitty gritty of her money problems with hopes that you all can help her get her budget under control.
  • Save Money by Using What You Have — Gaby at Tmuffin is only good with money because she's lazy, has trouble throwing things away, and is indecisive. Here are some money-saving tips that helped her manage to quit her job and save enough money to become a WAHM.
  • Two Hippos & Ten Euros: A Lesson in BudgetingMudpieMama shares all about how her boys managed a tight budget at a recent zoo outing.
  • ABBA said it — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen ponders where her family has come from, where they are now and her hopes for her children's financial future.
  • Money vs. TimeMomma Jorje writes about cutting back on junk, bills, and then ultimately on income as well ~ to gain something of greater value: Time.
  • An Unexpected Cost of Parenting — Moorea at MamaLady shares how medical crises changed how she feels about planning for parenthood.
  • 5 Ways This Stay at Home Mom Saves Money — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares 5 self-imposed guidelines that help her spend as little money as possible.
  • Frugal Parenting — Lisa at My World Edenwild shares 8 ways she saves money and enriches her family's lives at the same time.
  • Conscious Cash Conscious — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares her 5 money-conscious considerations that balance her family’s joy with their eco-friendly ideals.
  • Money, Sex and Having it All — Patti at Jazzy Mama explains how she's willing to give up one thing to get another. (And just for fun, she pretends to give advice on how to build capital in the bedroom.)
  • Money could buy me ... a clone? — With no local family to help out, Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wants childcare so she can take care of her health.
  • Spending IntentionallyCatholicMommy loves to budget! Join her to learn what to buy, what not to buy, and, most importantly, where to buy.
  • New lessons from an allowance — Lauren at Hobo Mama welcomes a follow-up guest post from Sam about the latest lessons their four-year-old's learned from having his own spending money.
  • How to Homeschool without Spending a Fortune — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares tips and links to many resources for saving money while homeschooling from preschool through high school.
  • It's Not a Baby Crisis. It's Not Even a Professional Crisis. — Why paid maternity leave, you may ask? Rachael at The Variegated Life has some answers.
  • "Making" Money — Do you like to do-it-yourself? Amy at Anktangle uses her crafty skills to save her family money and live a little greener.
  • Money On My Mind — Luschka at Diary of a First Child has been thinking about money and her relationship with it, specifically how it impacts on her parenting, her parenting choices, and ultimately her lifestyle.
  • Spending, Saving, and Finding a Balance — Melissa at The New Mommy Files discusses the various choices she and her family have made that affect their finances, and finds it all to be worth it in the end.
  • Accounting for Taste — Cassie at There's a Pickle in My Life shares their budget and talks about how they decided food is the most important item to budget for.
  • Money Matters... But Not Too Much — Mamapoekie at Authentic Parenting shares how her family approaches money without putting too much of a focus onto it.
  • Parenting While Owning a Home Business — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Lauren at Hobo Mama lays out the pros and cons of balancing parenting with working from home.
  • Crunchy Living is SO Expensive...Or Is It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about her biggest objection to natural living - and her surprise at what she learned.
  • Mo' Money, Mo' Problems — Sarah at Parenting God's Children shares how a financial accountability partner changed her family's finances.
  • The Importance of Food Planning — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro discusses how food budgeting and planning has helped her, even if she doesn't always do it.
  • Kids & Money: Starting an Allowance for Preschoolers — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses her family's approach and experiences with starting an allowance for preschoolers.

12 comments:

  1. Oh yes, we cut WAY back b/c I quit my job as a lawyer after Kieran was born. That was a significant income chunk. Right now we're fortunate enough to live in a house with no mortgage, and our lives would vastly change if we were forced to switch homes. I would definitely follow your lead though in order to stay at home - it's entirely too important to me!

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  2. With priorities and work, I'm always thinking about this joy to stress ratio...how to have more joy and less stress though each decision has some stress, will there be a little more joy? It sounds like you said YES to joy with this plan!

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  3. Minimalism is one of the keys to happiness, I think. It's amazing how having too much stuff can rob us of peace.

    One thing I have found that helps simplify and save money is getting rid of all the extra toiletries. I used to have a whole counter-full. Now I realize simple, inexpensive items from the kitchen (coconut oil, baking soda, cider vinegar) have multiple personal care uses. Just this little switch has meant buying so much less "stuff" for me.

    I really want to start getting rid of all the junk now. Every time I read on someone's blog that they are doing this, makes me want to do it too (but then I never find the time, somehow).

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  4. Your family is such an inspiration! I love that you prioritize time together over everything. I agree that there's nothing more important.

    You'll have to make your way out to New England when you get that travel trailer!

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  5. That's why we've had our own business, and why we chose that uncertainty over getting "real" jobs after we lost our former telecommuting jobs. Sam & I both just really wanted to prioritize spending time together and raising our kids. We've had to make some compromises with how much time we spend with each other as we have more kids, but I can't imagine a different life for us right now. I'm really looking forward to see how your continued minimizing goes!

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  6. Oh, I am working so hard toward the minimalism stuff. I, personally, have very few things anymore. I've managed to cut my clothing down to enough clothes for one week, plus a nice outfit and the outer stuff. I have two pairs of shoes and a pair of sandals. I do have to say that I have had a hard time getting rid of some of my kitchen stuff, though. You know, those little doodads that just make life a little easier? Oh, and I have a huge washed-out can/jar/container collection - I just *know* that I can use them for something... someday.

    My husband, on the other hand, can't pass up anything that someone's thrown out and is still usable. Someone in our little collection of duplexes just came into some money and moved out. They left practically everything except clothes and personal items. Hubby volunteered to "help" the landlord clear the place out - and right into ours! Ugh!

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  7. we ended up moving to switzerland so hubby could persue a job he was very very passionate about and lucky for me it means being full time mama and being able to work on writing when i have free time.
    I admire you living is a small space and being minimalists - If it were up to me I would get rid of so much but the rest of the family is not ready for such a radical change after our radical move!
    thanks for sharing!!

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  8. So encouraging and inspiring! When we had Burkley, we had recently moved. Neither of us had jobs. My husband has now had a minimum-wage paying job for about six months, and I've been blessed to get to stay home. Our income is about a third of what it was before we moved and had Burkley, and we've had to make many sacrifices, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

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  9. I so agree with what you say about not-enough-money stress being better than not-enough-time stress! We also live in a small 1-bedroom apt and it's much better than I think many people realize. It's amazing what you can do without!

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  10. I'm still working out how to survive on one income, but I don't think it was as big of a step for me as it was for other families that have gone from two full-time workers to one. I've never worked full-time because of school and up until my husband graduated, neither had he. Now that he works full-time with a degree, it's actually a step up from where we were in the past. I think that part of what makes it work is deciding what's important to your family. Other "fun" things that our single friends do without a second thought don't come so easily to us. We think about it and decide if it's worth it for us and in most cases, it's not.

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  11. Thank you, everyone, for commenting! I will say it again (as you said it so well), definitely choosing JOY over MONEY should be an easy decision, right?

    And our stuff can definitely wind up ruling us. If you have a large space, you just have that much more to clean. That much more space to fill with... crap, really. When we moved into that condo, it seemed so empty. I was amazed how quickly we filled it!

    You can bet I'll make my way Northeast once we hit the road! I'll actually plan to take a list of people that would like us to visit... especially folks that wouldn't mind us parking in their drive or in front of their house for a few days. :-D

    Jars are, for some reason, hard to let go. I mean, they're perfectly good and usable! I like donating because then I can imagine someone who can and will actually use an item might wind up with it!

    Other than living on the road, I would LOVE to move out of the US. There are some things that are pretty screwy here and I appreciate the differences in other countries.

    This will be the 2nd time we've moved while I am very pregnant. Yes, people don't understand how this many people could live in such a small space. We have our issues (namely, bathroom placement), but we get by just fine!

    You definitely find you have to weigh out the real value of things before committing any money to them. Very often, things (or events) aren't really worth it.

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  12. Today I just a told a friend that even though because I don't work many hours week, we are technically considered within the poverty guidelines for our state. But, because I've downsized so much with possessions and priorities and our life is what it is, I don't feel like we suffer at all. Quitting my full-time job has made me richer in my life.

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