Is a combined income of 90k a year enough to raise a family?

posted 2 years ago in Money
Post # 31
115 posts
Blushing bee

Yes. My husband and I make about $72,000 a year combined and we have four kids. BUT

Our house is less than $100,000 

All are cars are old (we have three ranging from 6-13 years old). 

We shop thrift/clearance for clothes

i hang the laundry instead of using the dryer

I use coupons,



Post # 32
3228 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

View original reply
longatlast :  really just depends. We live in the southeast, comparatively low COL to many areas. We have one and #2 on the way. If I worked we would make just at 90k combined. We would also pay 30k yearly in childcare (for 2). I stay home because if I worked we’d also need a second car and I’d be putting money into my job (teacher), it just doesn’t make sense for me.

We definitely can’t travel on amazing vacations, wear designer clothing, or drive a luxury car. But we wouldn’t do those things anyway. We own a home, have a reliable car, can afford some activities for our son, etc. I do have to meal plan and budget for that, but we have zero debt besides a mortgage. We make it work. I would like #3 but we’d have to upgrade our car to do that so it will wait until my husband has a better paying job (he’s a postdoc researcher right now). Or maybe never. 

Post # 33
336 posts
Helper bee

Yes. We are in the midwest, about an hour from Chicago. I stopped working full-time when our daughter was born so our combined income dropped from about 95K to 70K (I still work part-time).  We live in a 3-bedroom 2000 SF house that we bought in September, have two cars (one is paid off), and have plenty of money for all of our needs and most of our wants. We have about 22K in savings + our retirement accounts. We pay for daycare 1-2 days/week when I have class.  That said, I am getting my DNP (nurse pracititioner) currently; when I graduate our income will take a huge leap but I will also have about 110K of student debt.  We know we will make it work because we are doing just fine right now.  It’s all up to you and the lifestyle you want.  

Post # 34
91 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: Chesapeake, VA

I believe you can. 🙂 You may want to consider graduate school too! It can really help you recieve a better job. I worry having two children, but I am VERY expensive. 

Post # 36
1615 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

Maybe start with 1 kid and see how finances look. Then decide on more from there. If you’re working, you may need daycare. Baby daycare is 800ish a month. 90k will give y’all 4-5k per month after tax (depending on retirement contributions etc). If housing is 1500, bills are 2000, daycare is 800, that would put you at 4300. 4 daycares at once may not be doable, and staying at home may also not be doable. Wait and see.


Post # 37
879 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Yes absolutely. But you will need to educate yourself about money and frugal living. To start, I recommend The Millionaire Next Door.

Post # 38
9953 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I live in the midwest. We make a little more than that and I wouldn’t be comfortable with more than 2 children personally. 

I mean if I spontaneously had twins we’d make it work (currently ttc a second), but daycare alone would be crushing for those 5 years. It’s about $1200/month for one infant here.

Our daughter is 3 and her swim lessons are $80/month, dance is $35/month, gymnastics $60/month. 

I’m sure you could make it work but you probably wouldn’t have any extras.

Post # 39
2636 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

I’d say yes.  I live in a CO mountain tourist town.  While it’s not Vail or Aspen, it’s still expensive.  My sister and her DH live here and have 4 kids.  At one point, he was only making $16/hr and she was a Stay-At-Home Mom and they made it work.  Granted, there wasn’t a lot of money for “extras”, but they were happy.  Thankfully he’s since gotten a new job and he’s now making considerably more.  

The amount of money all comes down to your must haves or can not live withouts.  My sister and her husband can’t take the kids to Disney Land or other exciting places, but they camp in the mountains and build forts on the weekends.  They can’t afford to eat out, but during Christmas my sister had a theme dinner each night of the week (Grinch night was roast beef, Elf night was spaghetti, etc).  For them it was just about adjusting the fun parts of life to fit their budget.

Post # 40
345 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

Do you want to own a home? If so, would you want every kid to have their own bedroom, or are you happy to do 2 to a room? Look at house listings to see what a house of the size you aspire to costs in the community where you want to live, then run that through a mortgage affordability calculator (banks have these on their websites) to see what income would be needed to support it.

We definitely can’t afford more than a 3-bedroom home in our city (with a higher income, but we’re somewhere with high COL) and that’s definitely informed our decision not to have more than two kids. Having my own room was really important to me as a kid and teen, and although i recognize it’s a luxury it’s important to me to be able to offer that to my own kids. 

Post # 41
1987 posts
Buzzing bee

For you? It could be. 

For me, no. I value travelling and it’s an important part of our life. We also live in a HCOL. 

Post # 42
8096 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

So, two things.

-You don’t currently have this job. You have no idea if you’ll be able to make $90k. 

-Once you have a child, you won’t be making $90k anyways. You’ll (I assume) take more than a day or two off to have a child, depending on the imaginary job you have, that could cut into your yearly income quite a bit. Times that be 3 or 4. 

Your way of planning just seems a bit backwards. Get the job, get some savings, and then take a look at your expenses. Plus, what if you only end up making $70k combined, but now you’ve planned everything based on $90k? 

Post # 43
9357 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

View original reply
jellybellynelly :  this. Even with some of my leave paid I still gave up $15k in earnings in order to extend my maternity leave beyond what my company paid. As a first time mom I needed that time. I know people take short leaves all the time and make due, but I didn’t want to just “make due”. I wanted to be happy and enjoy my kid for more than 2 minutes. 

Post # 44
2024 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

I think of course you can do this. My parents have similar income, and they put 4 kids through college without debt or loans. Did we go to Harvard? No. Did we wear Gucci when we were ten? No. 

My parents are VERY SMART with money. We never ate out as kids, we didn’t have the highest technology, but my parents built a house of their own and paid it off, and they’ll be able to retire in a couple years. I have not once in my entire life felt poor. They prioritized our education, housing, and cars above all else. We got our clothes from GAP and Old Navy lol

I agree with PP that your planning is backwards (you won’t HOPEFULLY have all four kids at once lol), but take my experience as somewhat of an assurance. 90k a year is a comfortable income for your typical non-metropolitan area. 

Post # 45
288 posts
Helper bee

Depends where you live. In our city – no – definitely not that many kids – one maybe. But you can always budget like crazy. 

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