It's official - Mike and I have come to a long-term decision in regards to me being a SAHM.
These past two months have been a trial run of sorts to determine if my staying home to raise Abigail would be financially feasible and we also felt that we needed a period of time in which to assess our level of comfortability with the overall situation. After applying to some odd jobs here and there and receiving many "thanks, but no thanks" letters, we both feel that this is some sort of innate sign that our current situation is meant to be - ultimate kismet. After all, I've been attempting to secure a new job for the past (almost) 2 years now without any success. Although I feel somewhat dismayed to have worked so hard to earn my degree only to find myself not using it, I have made peace with being a SAHM for the forseeable future. Knowing that Mike now feels the same, too, after his initial apprehension back in May, makes me feel even more assured that we are making the right choice for our family.
Once we had discussed our long-term plans for our family, it was then time to review our budget to see where we stood in terms of meeting our financial goals for the year. Although we had planned them around my unpaid maternity leave earlier in the year, we had not forseen that we would lose my income only a few short months later. As a result, it's fair to say that we will fall significantly short of meeting each of these goals. Almost halfway through the year, the only two goals that we have successfully completed are opening a 529 Plan for Abbey and increasing our life insurance policies. Saving for Christmas, retirement, our next home downpayment, and rebuilding our e-fund from the portion used on maternity leave will all fall short of our projected goals. Our debt repayment plan has also suffered.
It's time to get serious if we want this to work for the long run. Again, the last two months were a trial run in every sense of the word. While we cut our budget slightly, we didn't make any drastic changes in order to see exactly how our finances would be impacted and how much of a sacrifice my staying home would actually be. It's certainly been a learning process for the two of us. Starting today, we've entirely revamped the old budget and we've decided to enact a "spending freeze" of sorts. If a purchase can't be worked into the budget - like the new tires for my Explorer that we so desperately needed - then we can't (and won't) buy it.
I'm interested to see how it will go for the first few months. I am convinced, however, that this will pay off (pardon the pun) in more ways than we can imagine. If we want to continue to add to our family soon, it's going to become a necessity that we stash away as much cash as possible.
It's our family's own version of the Great Recession of 2010!
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