start right now

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Lydia linked to a great article on her blog a few weeks ago. Heather Koerner writes on Boundless webzine an article entitled, “Ten Things Now to Stay at Home Later”. I thought what she had to say was really good. Here are the ten things (click here to read them in detail):

#1 Ask God
#2 Prepare to stay at home, even if you don’t think you will
#3 Beware the student loan
#4 Communicate with your future spouse
#5 Pay off debt
#6 Save for your wedding
#7 Live on one income once you are married
#8 Beware the mortgage monster
#9 Look for a side income
#10 Don’t give up!

I really appreciated this article because having one parent stay at home full-time is really important to both Paul and I. Neither of us want our kids raised by someone else – whether it be a relative or a daycare. Of course, there are instances where I might have to take a job because we have no other choice, but we hope that never happens.

I personally think that a lot of dual-income couples could afford for the wife to stay home full time if they had planned better financially in the beginning. When we got married, we spent a long time talking about our finances (as I hope every couple does!). We have heard so many stories of couples who intend to be stay-at-home but when the time comes they are too reliant on that second income. We didn’t want this to happen to us.

First, we put into practice #7 – and that’s the best thing I think we’ve ever done. Since I’m working right now because of our education debt, then it’s only fair that we put my entire paycheck towards those loans (after tithe, of course). We’re hoping that this way, when my paycheck DOES go away, we don’t miss it as much. We’re working on putting part of Paul’s paycheck towards loans, too. It’s hard, though, because it means living very simply and frugally. And let me tell you, when you’re used to NOT doing that it’s VERY hard to go the opposite way.

Another thing we’re doing is #9 – trying to put ourselves in a position where we can get extra income besides the typical 40-hr-week job. One great thing about being a graphic designer is that I can use my education and skills to do freelance work, and that can vary as much as I want it to (assuming, of course, that I’m able to successfully get work in when I’m wanting it). Paul has also been doing a lot of freelance recently, which is good. As I continue to polish my skills and build my portfolio, I can put myself in a position to be able to support us from home if times get lean – and I like that Paul can rely on me for that.

I might have more to say about this topic on a later date. I just can’t seem to get all my thoughts together right now.