Post # 91
I’m not sure where you live, and that will depend a lot
on what income you and your family would need to live comfortably (and depending on what you consider necessities).
We do not have children yet, but growing up I lived in a relatively small town in the middle of nowhere with an equal relative cost of living. My parents made roughly $70K combined by the time I was in high school, by then my older siblings were out of the house on their own, there were 3 of us.
My mom has often told me that until I was in high school there would have been no way financially that she could have stayed home.. she continues to work only part-time now just to keep herself busy and to have her own money for her wants, while my dad still works full-time.
We didn’t have the latest and greatest gadgets growing up (although there weren’t as many then as there are now), but my parents paid cash whenever one of them needed a new car, paid off their mortgage within 12 years and managed to save enough to help each of us out a little bit in college (we all still had ~$25K in student loans after college).
My siblings and I were all in sports and activities 9 months out of the year from the time we were 5 or 6 until we graduated high school, my mom says that our personal growth from activities was more important to them than our family having the biggest house or the expensive bags and lavish vacations. Most of our vacations were to state parks and museums, and usually somewhat educational, or to visit family.
That being said, you need to think about what you want for your children, what you think your necessities are and how much those things cost in your area. Income and cost of living vary so much region to region and city to city that Darling Husband and I would struggle right now if we had a child (with me working or being SAHM) with a combined income barely over $100K in a completely different part of the country than I grew up. We live in a very big city where even the cost of living in the suburbs has exploded over the past few years and is continuing to climb higher and higher.
Post # 92
Reading through these threads is a bit disheartening until I come back into reality. The lifestyle that most people are claiming to live on this board is unrealistic and not a all a true reflection of the majority of families living in the US. I grew up in metro areas most of my life Philadelphia lived in DE now I live in DC metro area and my parents have never made close to six figures and I was happy. Can you live in downtown DC of Philly for under 200k probably not but can you live 15-20mins outside of the city of less YES YOU CAN people are confusing necessities of life with luxuries. Clearly you can be a stay at home mom on any income it will just depend on the lifestyle you want to live like someone else stated most households will never see incomes in the six figures PERIOD. People have tricked themselves into believing that the more amenities you have the happier you will be, if your kids go to private school if you pay for they’re college out of your pocket that some how makes you a better individual it does not.
I plan on being a Stay-At-Home Mom for 2-3 years on an income of about 80k and i’m sure we’ll make do and live comfortably in the Tri State area. When I do eventually have two children they will either get scholarships to attend college or they’ll go to a community/junior college and transfer to a 4 years school. My goal is to raise healthy, well rounded responsible, contributing members to society without any debt and those are the only qualities that matter to me. People just shouldn’t get caught up in the hype of these boards because most post of not reminiscent of real life.
Post # 93
That is really encouraging to hear that someone can do it!!!!! sounds like something I want to do in the future when the time comes for kids. 🙂
Post # 94
It all depends on if you feel like you have to keep up with the Jones’s. If you don’t feel that drive, an income substantially less than 100k is probably easily doable for the vast majority of us.
Post # 95
I don’t think having a home, saving for retirement and college, letting your kids participate in extracurricular activities, providing financial stability, and going to a great school is keeping up with the Jone’s. My parents (who came from poverty and worked their asses off prior to having me and my siblings) always told me to always want better for your children.
Post # 96
I agree that a lot of people with solid incomes are tight on money, and it’s not due to “keeping up with the Joneses” or eating caviar on gold plates.
But I do think that the definition of “basic needs” has really expanded over the last 30 years. If a teen needed paper and a pencil for school before, there’s more pressure now to have a graphing calculator, a laptop, an e-reader for textbooks, a colour printer for assignments. It doesn’t seem fair to stick your kid with an SAT study guide from the library when all their classmates are taking prep classes. A child can’t play in the park with friends now because all those friends are enrolled in pricey arts/sports programs. A bachelor’s degree is almost a basic necessity today.
Kids can definitely be happy with less, I just find it sad that “less” has really spiralled out of our control.
Post # 97
Buying a house-not a necessity you can raise a family in an apartment if one choices which would exclude having to pay property taxes, maintenance etc.
Extracurricular- all do require a small fee but kids do not need to participate in sports or activities to have fun and become well rounded adults
Most people don’t grow up with two incomes over 100k that is a completely new ideology and you do not have to pay for your childrens college completely out of pocket these are new concepts to me. If your child is indeed serious about they’re education they will get scholarships regardless of their parents income.
Post # 98
For me personally, if I wanted to settle, then yes, those are viable options. But my husband and I didn’t work our asses off for nothing. Those things are important to us and we won’t settle for anything less. We don’t drive fancy cars or live a luxurious lifestyle otherwise.
I was one of those kids who had to get scholarships to go to college and work to help my parents cover books, etc. And yet, I still have loans. My husband, even though he’s from one of the poorest counties in Utah, hardly received any help to go to college but he and his parents made it happen. You sacrifice for what is important to you, and for us, it’s to give our future children a great education because we feel that will set them up for success later on in life to become a self-sufficient, contributing member of society.
With that being said, I probably won’t ever be a Stay-At-Home Mom unless my husband makes around 300K or so, which for us, will be feasible considering his profession. Until then, it’s work, work, work!
Post # 99
To your “great school-Subjective” I agree 100%. I grew up and attended school k-12 in a school district that ranked in the bottom 10% of the state. At my HS only 15% of students were proficient in math. It is where my parents grew up and could afford to live. I graduated, went to a top 10 Engineering school, and got a job, and have since joined the 6 figure club (at age 25). Both of my siblings have advanced degrees, and attended the same schools growing up. You can definitely sacrifice your school district to balance the budget, without hurting your children.
Post # 100
glamvicious: You’re right, these things are not necessities in life and basic needs do not have to cost a lot, but what is so wrong with wanting more and wanting to be able to provide more. We could all just easily just scrape by and survive, but people generally strive for more, and I don’t understand why you seem to be so against wanting more.
MakingHerWait: Honest question, now that you are succesful and pull 6 figures, would you choose to live in a neigborhood that ranks bottom 10%?
I think it’s great that you and your siblings were able to excel and come out doing so well. There are always examples of kids that make something of themselves in a seemingly impossible situation, but for every wonderful outcome like yours, there are dozens more that are not so successful. How many of the children there succumbed to the environment who otherwise my have thirved else where? You hope as a parent to have the strongest influence on your kids, but peer pressure is real and I’m sure many kids at some point stop listening to their parents and start siding with bad influences from peers. I’m not willing to gamble with my childrens lives like that if I can at all help it.
Post # 101
60k puts you in a project in NYC?! I made 45k when I got my first apartment, alone, in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city and I could have easily afforded a larger place in a slightly less glamorous neighborhood if I needed more room. Having a kid on 45k would be tough, but having a kid on 60k would be totally doable- I know quite a few single moms who make around that, or potentially less, and are not living in “the projects.”
Post # 102
I don’t either. I think keeping up with the Jones’s is wanting a Lexus because they drive a Lexus and wanting designer clothes because Mrs. Jones has them. Or taking a vacation you can’t afford becasue the Joneses take them.
I think wanting a good school district (and let’s face it, there is a much bigger gap between good and bad schools now than when I was a kid…bullying and drug problems were much less…), wanting to help your kids in college (and again, let’s face it, this has sky rocketed), wanting a decent retirement, and wanting your kids to participate in activities are actually pretty admirable goals. My kids don’t go to private school. They don’t wear designer brands. My daughter goes the less expensive gymnastics gym. I drive a paid off Honda Accord. I think my life is pretty darn basic. It still takes a lot.
Post # 103
Teh schools in the bottom 10% where I am have violence problems and much more drug and bullying issues. Why on earth would I want to subject my kids to that if I don’t have to? Why on earth would anyone?
Post # 104
I am fortunate that I don’t have to make a choice to live in an area in the bottom 10%, even if my Fiance chose to be a Stay-At-Home Mom (she does not want to be) it would not be an issue, my income is high enough without hers. If however I was in my parent’s shoes, and we each made the same amount (lets say 60k) and she wanted to stay at home to raise the kids, I would be willing to live in the same type of neighborhood I grew up in. Having my mother home, and living the life I lived outside of school had far more impact on my life, than my parent’s choice of school systems did. I have no issues with posters who make 100k combined (or even far more than that) and say the would not give that up for the ability to stay home, I have an issue with posters who say it would be a struggle to live on less than 80k.
I understand that I am likely the exception, not the rule. But the people I am trying to stick up for here, are the people who are looking to be a SAHP so they can raise their child, and are willing to make a sacrafice for that. I think it is at the very least debatable which is better for a child’s future, having a parent home full time, or growing up in an environment that can be provided by the extra income of a second working parent.
Post # 105
When you rent, you are not building up to anything. I don’t know about you, but when I am retired, I would like to live in something that is paid off. I guess it is all perspective, but I think you have to be a little forward looking and not just live in the here and now.