(Closed) SAHM, how big is your family & whats your income?

posted 6 years ago in Babies
Post # 121
Member
2692 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

How big is your family? We are a family of 6

Did you struggle the first year?  We struggle occasionally but we always have everything that we need… so we just took a vacation this year so we still get to do that.  But right after we had our 4th, we had to seriously tighten our belts.  Also, we had to put our kids in public school, which I don’t like but hoping that is just temporary although that is not bad really.. they go to a good public school.  Also hubby had taken a new job making less and hen we had another mouth to feed so that added to things and factored in our finances… he got a promotion and a raise recently and so we are in a better place now, hence the vacation.  We just have to be a little patient.  But we are pretty comfortable where we are.

How much did you end up making on one salary?  We make more than the average (I guess) but less than some, way less than some.  Where we live (not in the states), we are living on a comfy salary BUT we also have 4 kids so it has to stretch that much farther than if someone makng hubby’s salary had no kids or 1 or 2.  So eventually I might work from home so that I can put the kids back in private school and so we can have more disposable income to have fun with (like it was before we had our 4th baby).  With all that said, we are still able to afford extras… like gymnastics for my daughter (she goes 1x a week on Saturdays).  Birthday parties for our kids (so far we’ve had a paintball/pizza party for my 14 year old, a gymnastics party for my 7 year old and a carnival theme party for the baby’s 1st.  And my we’re having my son’s 6th birthday at the movie theater).  We have fun, we get to go on outings to the mall and the movies, shopping trips on occasion and our kids have everything they need. Not bad for a family on a small income.

And even though my kids are in public, we still have expenses, although much less than private. There is a small fee very month, extras like activities and such, class trips, books and uniforms, and the like.. and we still manage.

What is your location? CR

Did you have to compromise on something you loved/loved doing?  We had to give up vacations. We hadn’t been on vacation since 2012, until recently (we finally went as a family in July).  Also, private schooling for the kids.  And we don’t eat out or order in as much anymore.  Maybe once every 2 weeks now instead of like 2-3 times a week before.

Post # 123
Member
229 posts
Helper bee

I am a Stay-At-Home Mom but I currently live with my parents. Within the next year I will hopefully be moving out with my SO. We plan on buying a home in/around the Baltimore, md area. When I move out I will be taking my 4 yo son with me. I have 0 income. I am unemployed and do not receive child support (even though it is court ordered). I am awaiting the decision on my disability claim. My SO is the soul provider. He has 2 of his own children to care for as well. A 19 year old that is unemployed and a9 year old that lives in another state with his mother. He pays child support for the youngest. We also plan on purchasing 2 vehicles this year as well as an engagement ring in addition to a home. I’m sure we will struggle for awhile at first as it will be a huge change for us all. We are a strong couple and have made it through a lot so I have no doubt we will be fine.

Post # 124
Member
5 posts
Newbee

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glamvicious: I dont post but I just wanted to say I agree w you. My parents were immigrants who traveled to America in search of the “American Dream”. All they had was the clothes in their luggage and two children below three years old. My brother and I grew up in a low socioeconomic area. My father worked  and my mom was a Stay-At-Home Mom. Within a few years they also became guardians to three other children…raising five kids w/out assistance on my fathers income. They eventually became homeowners and although they could not afford to put us through college, we put ourselves through college w financial aid, working part time ourselves and a great deal of encouragement and patience and love from my parents. We went to community college, then transferred to a university to complete our degrees. Out of the five of us only one has debt from a student loan. So is it doable w a salary of less than 50,000k….absolutely! 

Now I am curious…I wonder, are you 1st generation in the US, were your parents immigrants or perhaps classified as a minority race ? I have friends who are Stay-At-Home Mom    but they live in affluent areas, great schools, insist on paying of their childrens college and extra activities and their husbands make well over 100,000 a year. These friends, for the most part are third and fourth generation born and raised in the US. Then I have friends like myself, 1st generation…parents were immigrants. Studied hard in school, worked part time, some even full time while paying their own way through college. Some of these friends are Stay-At-Home Mom trying to raise their kids in a similar fashion as they were raised…and yes even in this economy are making it work w a household income of $50,000 convinced if their immigrant parents can do, they can just as well or even better for their kids. I guess it just depends on what youre willing to sacrifice to be a Stay-At-Home Mom.

Post # 125
Member
402 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: Royal Park Hotel

Am I crazy?  Are kids really as expensive as everyone says or are they just expensive because they’re paying for their kids cars and college education?

I plan to have a healthy retirement fund which will probably mean I won’t be paying for my kids cars and college educations.  They can go to trade school or take out loans to pay for school along with a part time job.  They won’t break.  Someone said that they couldn’t imagine raising 1-2 kids on an income of less than 100K?

Uhhhh.  You’re doing it wrong.  

Post # 126
Member
385 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

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Derp:  i couldn’t agree with you more. In India where a significant percentage of the population lives in less than $1 a day, they somehow still make it work and pop out tons of kids (although they live a pretty impoverished existence). But if people can raise 5 kids on $1 a day, then it boggles my mind that people on here are saying $100 000 isn’t enough. The vast majority of humans on planet earth will never see anything close to that kind of money.

Post # 127
Member
233 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: Banquet hall

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JiminyCricket:  
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Mrs.Sawyertobe:  I’ve found housing prices in Kentucky to be quite high. Most suburban houses seem to sit around $200k (maybe it’s all the brick?). Where I’m from in Upstate New York, I could buy a three bedroom house with full appliances, wood floors, and a 1/4 acre for less than 70k, in one of the best local school districts. 

One of my best friends once remarked that our college student newspaper budget was higher than the income he was raised on. Our budget was $30k per year. His family owned land and built a house. His father hunted/fished/did handy work and his mother worked as a teacher’s assistant. They raised two college-bound students on scholarship and an army officer.

My family was “well off” for our community-we took vacations every-other year or so with help from my grandmother and got new school clothes every year. My dad bought us instruments to learn music at school. My sister played soccer. Our income fluctuated between $35k and $60k while I was growing up. Interestingly, my mom was a Stay-At-Home Mom while I was younger. She and my father took a bet on getting a better education and she went back to work after her studies; he worked throughout his. Since they graduated ten years ago, and got jobs in their fields, my father has worked two jobs and my mother’s worked too to offset the student loan debt.

Here in KY, though, my Fiance makes more than either of us was raised on. I hope to add to that when we settle permanently. It all comes down to cost of living and location, I guess.

Post # 128
Member
1727 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

foreverlovex:  I agree with a lot of what has been said in this thread. Keep in mind also that many Americans tend to live beyond their means when you factor in what people say is reasonable for their lifestyles – just thought I’d point that out. Like others have mentioned, i think it is very doable depending on what you consider *your* basics in life and what you would like for *your* family. I live and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so our little bubble is highly unrealistic price-wise compared to much of the country, but I have two examples for you to compare, lol. [EDIT: This is really long, I apologize!] 

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1. DH’s mom was a Stay-At-Home Mom for the majority of his life, with his dad earning less than $100k the majority of that time (from my understanding). DH’s parents made the decision to pay off all of their debts and have his mom stay home with the kids when they were still in preschool (and forego about $55k salary). They owned their home and two cars, but when things broke down they barely managed to fix it. They went camping for ‘vacations,’ which the boys loved (my Mother-In-Law not so much, haha). They always ate at home. His parents paid for extracurriculars like soccer, track and band. They saved like CRAZY and lived far more modestly than most of the families I know. From my understanding, the first few years were extremely difficult and frustrating, but they truly got used to living a highly modest lifestyle. However, DH’s dad’s income continued to grow as his career excelled (well over $200k) and while they continued their mostly modest lifestyle elsewhere, they were able to buy a boat when the boys were in high school and provide expensive hobbies like wakeboarding and snowboarding.. They were able to “match” their son’s contributions toward their college education (could’ve paid in full, but they are firm believers in working for things) and they have the most sound retirement savings I know of (I say that as someone who has audited pensions as an accountant). Wow, I rambled a lot about them yet still left out quite a few things, but my point is that while they lived modestly and struggled for a long time, they were able to succeed in providing the things that mattered most to them for *their* family, lived within their means and quickly became comfortable with *their* lifestyle choices.  

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2. This is a slighty different scenario, but the budget and childcare are comparable-ish to a Stay-At-Home Mom. I grew up in a single parent household and my mother made it work. She was a part-time secretary (earned less than $50k) and a homeowner (a small condo in a good suburb). She saved a healthy retirement and still provided me with the things I needed (food, healthcare, school supplies & a few new pairs of clothes at the beginning of each school year, etc.). She struggled to pay for my private soccer club fees and all of the tournament costs, but she made it work. My grandma was a piano instructor, so I was able to get free lessons from her. We took cruises to Mexico twice and visited some of the nearby states for vacations. She drove the same car for nearly 20 years until I purchased it from her for $500 as my first vehicle. She did the best she could and I had a wonderful childhood with everything I truly needed. Did I want more than what I had at the time? A lot of the time. Did I have the oldest, sh*ttiest car at my school? Yup, but I had a car! Did I wish I didn’t *have* to work part-time in high school to pay for things that were easily provided for my friends? Yup. All of those snotty, ungrateful things and more. That being said, it turned me into a highly responsible, understanding and motivated young woman and I am truly grateful for both the things she sacreficed for me to have what I had and the experiences and character my upbringing provided me with.

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I have seen both sides of things and struggle with what would be best for our family.

Because DH’s parents preferred only to match his college contributions, he had to work full time during college, his grades suffered slightly, and he now has a *lot* of student loans to pay off (well over $30k). Financially-speaking, I didn’t have any other option than to go to a community college and work full time to pay my bills/save for the rest of my college career. I wasn’t able to get the classes I needed due to impaction and it took me much longer to transfer to get where I needed to be to finally graduat (forgoing a significant amount of income over those years), but I was able to earn my degree. While we each had frustrations with our college experiences, our biggest issue is our student loan amounts we now owe. Our student loans are actually more than some of the mortgages mentioned in this particular thread (over $700/month and more than $85,000 by the time we’re finished paying them off). Because of this, some of our own savings and budget goals have to be put on the back burner and we have decided that we would not wish this financial burden upon our kids: we want to pay for their education in full so long as they are responsible/dedicated to their studies by that age. 

Unfortunately, my mother lost her job when I was a freshman in high school (well before the recession, surprisingly), hasn’t been able to find a long-term job since and her *healthy* retirement savings is now gone. She now largely relies on DH and I for support. We knew that we would be financially responsible for her at some point our lives (like in 10-15 years, maybe), but we did not expect it to occur in our third year of marriage. We do not own a house and will not be able to purchase one in this area for a long time, so we do not have the space for her to live with us (also keep in mind that 2-bedroom apartments in our area are well over $2200/month, so that is not a financially viable option either momentarily). While my mother’s situation is extreme, we know for a fact that we never want our children to have the burden of taking care of us one day and have already adjusted our budget and savings goals accordingly. We already lived modestly and saved significantly, but we have cut back even more and continue to max out savings where possible. 

Because we both grew up with extracurriculars, we would love for our children to play sports, instruments, etc. – all of which are expensive. Because DH has a medical condition that requires expensive treatment, we want to have enough saved to ensure a safety net should we ever lose insurance or experience other medical bills. My “because” list goes on and on, so I’ll stop. 

For DH and I, there is no way I could be a Stay-At-Home Mom in the SF Bay Area unless he earned *at least* $200k. [Keep in mind that California income tax and cost of living is pretty outrageous, so that amount isn’t nearly what it might seem to some people.] Other people have been SAHM’s for far less, but that amount *for us* would provide the basics and a little extra, but still not enough of the things that we deem to be necessities (paying for our kids full tuition, living in a school district that will provide an excellent public education, etc.). DH can support the two of us (he did this while I finished my degree), my mom, and our very expensive dog (medical condition) on his six figure salary, but we already live very modestly and would not have the potential to provide the things we deem necessary for our family for that amount. That being said, we are actively discussing moving out of state so that we can improve our quality of life and still support my mom (DH’s salary is fairly comparable in other states). 

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 9 months ago by  indyJEEP.
Post # 129
Member
1727 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Rachel631:  Just thought I’d also add an example of US health insurance being expensive here… We are lucky to have insurance through DH’s employer (around $450/month for the two of us – which isn’t bad), but if we lost our employer-sponsored plan, we would be facing nearly $900/month for the two of us for the same exact plan through the health care exchanges). The same exact plan we have with DH’s employer would be over $1,100/month through my employer – which is absolutely nuts! Our current co-pays are fairly reasonable and our maximum out of pocket is just under $5,000, but DH has a medical condition that causes us to max out his portion within the first few months of each year. If we ever lose insurance all together, DH’s medical treatment costs roughly $26,000 every other month (over $150,000 per year) – it would quite literally bankrupt us. The healthcare system here is great in that we generally have immediate access to the care we need, but it is so unreasonably expensive! 

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bitsybee:  Bay Area bee here (I’m guessing same area-ish as your friend, too) and I can only imagine her struggles as a Stay-At-Home Mom. DH was able to support both of us comfortably on his 6 figure salary, but we can’t fathom having kids even with my added income. Rent in our area is around $2k for a 1-bedroom apartment and the least expensive home in our city right now is $700k… it’s insane. If we move further out, we lose tons of time and money commute-wise (like she is considering), which would also negatively affect our family. If we move to a less expensive (aka: slightly sketchy) area, our kids will go to TERRIBLE schools (and I mean terrible!). While we have different circumstances, we are also actively talking about moving out of state for quality of life purposes. California is wonderful and we loved growing up here, but I don’t know that we want to raise our own family here. 

Post # 130
Member
2873 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

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indyJEEP: she’s 45 min from downtown SF by Bart, in the East Bay. They both feel her husband’s commute is too long. I have a 1hr commute, so I understand. It would be very difficult to pick up a child after work when I get home by 7pm at the earliest. 

We are in the same boat — we both make “average” Bay Area tech salaries (but the startup kind, not the bus riding kind) and we cannot have child(ren) unless something changes, like an IPO or significant sale (hahahahaha). 

We have a 8 year old car between the two of us. Rent a one bedroom. Ride public transit or walk before we drive. We are lucky to have employer sponsored lunches and I buy things on sale in bulk. 

We will probably not leave because we both love what we do and there’s no better place. Our contacts are all in the Bay Area so when we must make job changes, we can find another job relatively quickly — Fiance has never been unemployed, and I’ve only been unemployed for a few weeks in between jobs.

Seattle and Austin are cheaper, but they aren’t that much cheaper any more to be worth the change for us. I lived in Seattle and found fewer tech jobs that I would have enjoyed (tough because I’m not one to work for MSFT or AMZN) and the pay scale is more modest than the Bay. Unless you own in Seattle, there’s no rent control so you are at the whim of the rental market. I briefly entertained moving to Austin. It would have meant a 50% paycut when the cost of living is not 50% cheaper. Just not worth it In My Humble Opinion. 

My parents left CA for TX to raise 6 kids. My mom was a sahm and my dad definitely felt the pressure of being one layoff away for his entire career. I’m glad my parents made the choices they made but we don’t want to live that way. So we may or may not have kids. We will have to see.  

Post # 131
Member
353 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

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Rachel631:  one quick correction – retirement age is current between 61 and 68 in the uk (depending on factors for individuals).

I think a lot in the UK comes down to childcare costs – I have friends making nearly 40k each, and they would only aactually have around 1k extra if they worked and paid for childcare than if one partner stayed home! So they figured they would rather be there for their kid and raise them themselves than put them into a nursery. 

Also, I want to havr a mortgage and know I’m able to pay off more than the interest each month so I have a home for when I retire. I also put 5% of my salary into my company pension each month, £200 into general savings and 1% of my salary goes to buying shares of the company I work for. I’m a big believer of being able to get myself as set up as I can before having kids. 

I also was very privileged to go to a private school, and that my parents put a lot towards sport and music classes for us. Becausr I enjoyed my childhood so much I want to be able to offer as much of the same as I can to any kids I might have. I think for my fi to stay home, and for me to live just outside but commute into London (as I’m the main earner) I’m looking at around 70-80k as my earnings goal. I’m about halfway there so far but working as hard as I can for every possible raise or promotion!

Post # 132
Member
7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

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Kellym84:  It won’t be 61-68 for long! There’s talk of raising it to 75, and I think it will be at least 70 in 10 years’ time. I don’t think I have any family members younger than about 75 who are completely retired.

Totally agree about childcare costs. It’s 17K a year locally.

I still think 70-80K is a heck of a lot of money though. But then, what do I know… I’ve never earned more than 14K a year my whole life, after tax.

Post # 133
Member
15021 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

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Vitana:  The comparisons to other countries is even more of a ridiculous than comparing just with in the US.  Even with in the US there is a huge difference in cost of living. 
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Alyx19 says that 200k is “high”?  1500 sf fixers in the best neighborhoods sell for over 500k.  But then to say that people in India can live on the equivalent of a dollar a day?  They can probably buy bread and milk for 10c.   Can you buy your groceries for pennies?

Post # 134
Member
1727 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

bitsybee:  Oh yeah! I forgot that you and I had discussed the housing market previously – for whatever reason, I was thinking that just your Stay-At-Home Mom friend lived here, haha.

DH’s job recently took us further away from the city (I have a 45min BART commute – 1:15 driving for DH) so I’m guessing your friend is either where we are or possibly near where I grew up because that makes sense BART-wise (sorry, not trying to be a creeper by any means lol). Luckily, that means rent has decreased a lot for us, but it is still nuts – we moved into the area just before a big up-swing in rent prices and I’m not sure what we’ll be doing when our lease comes up for renewal (unfortunately, having a large breed dog is very limiting). If we moved further out, the housing would be much more affordable, but then I would have a driving commute in addition to BART and it’s a miserable traffic area, so at least 1.5hr commute. If we moved back to where I grew up, we could probably purchase a fixer home in an okay area, but then DH would have a 2+ hour commute each way. We can’t even afford a condo where we are. Like you said, daycare would be ridiculous time-wise and probably very expensive as most of our friends pay over $1k/mo. just for part-time childcare. I just don’t know how we could make being a Stay-At-Home Mom here work if we wanted to be home owners or rent a comfortable apartment in a safe area with good schools.

That’s great that you two are able to share a car – are you two in the city or peninsula areas by chance? I require a car for work so we can’t share even though I BART the majority of the time, but my car is paid off at the end of this year so we’re looking forward to that savings moving forward. Have you two discussed an income figure that you would require here to be a SAHM?

We are actually strongly considering moving to the Austin area. The lower housing costs and lack of income taxes would fully makeup for any income changes in our current situation and then some (I would lose about $10k salary-wise, DH’s is pretty comparable). We would have a nicer, larger apartment in Austin proper for *at least* $500 less/mo. from what I’ve found or we could purchase a home *tomorrow* about 30min. outside of central Austin that would literally be a dream home compared to anything we could ever have here (though getting into Austin is supposed to be bad traffic-wise… nothing we wouldn’t be used to here, however lol). Also, the public schools I’ve seen are all infinitely better on the side of Austin we would be interested in compared to the schools in the areas we’ve lived in. We could likely afford for me to be a Stay-At-Home Mom there and still support my mom, so it is something we have been tossing around. There are other places we’re considering too, but Austin seems the most appealing aside from the crazy hot summers. 

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 9 months ago by  indyJEEP.
Post # 135
Member
11736 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think the biggest factor you need to consider when deciding to be a Stay-At-Home Mom (at least while your kids are young) or not is the cost of daycare. If daycare will cost you as much of or more than your monthly income, it probably makes sense for you to stay home. (Unless your family relies on your health insurance benefits, then it might not make sense.) 

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