I completely forgot to take pictures of my food yesterday. There were bagels, eggs, avocados, broccoli, a dark chocolate ice cream bar (not a typo), oh, and dinner! I did take a picture of dinner.
So since I have no content for a WIAW post, I decided to tackle a reader question instead. I love getting questions from you guys, so keep sending them!
Question: How have you handled things financially and emotionally, as well as roles in the household, since becoming a stay-at-home mom (SAHM)?
Answer: Is going to be a bit more wordy…
To give a brief synopsis of my job/financial background: I graduated college and worked at an advertising agency in Atlanta, a typical 9-5. I moved to Charlotte and got a job in advertising with CBS radio. This was close to a 8:30-5, but with more flexibility since it was sales and I was out on the road. When I decided to transition to a health-focused career, I quit. I signed up to go back to school and started working at Bally Total Fitness part time. Around this time David and I got married. A few months later, I found the job I was after- a health coach with a local nutrition company. I started working on nutrition/health certifications, began being trained under great people and decided to not go back to school. This job was exciting because I was passionate about it. It also allowed me complete freedom over my schedule. I booked my own appointments with clients at the office, otherwise I worked from home. I loved this set up.
Finally, when David and I moved to the outskirts of Charlotte (ok, the suburbs) in 2010. I moved away from my job, started this blog and decided to start my own health coaching/nutrition business. With a new house and trying to start a business, I was busy, but I enjoyed it. I filed paperwork to form a LLC, I found office space, I went searching for clients. Eventually things got a place where I hired someone to do sales so I could focus on the business. Around this time, we found out we were pregnant with Hailey.
A few months later I realized the sales person I hired wasn’t pulling in the number of clients I needed and I had to do more of the door to door/health fairs/gym visits myself. It was time consuming. Thus began the discussion of whether or not I’d continue with the business or transition into a SAHM. I loved helping people. The fact that I’d still hear from some clients months or years later made me feel like I was really doing something beneficial. However, behind the scenes, there was a lot of work and it took up a lot of time. I contemplated transitioning to do web-based coaching only and working while at home, or if it would be worth it to find childcare and let me put my focus back into the business.
However, when Hailey was born, there was no doubt, I really felt like I was meant to be a mom. It never took much discussion. David and I agreed that home with Hailey was the right place for me to be for the time being.
*Hardly a brief background, huh? OK, to get to the questions!*
How we have handled the transition financially: From day one of saying I do, David and I joined our lives. We are in this life together and combining our dreams, goals and finances just made sense. Because of this, there was never any difficult “my money” or “your money” topics to discuss when I transitioned to staying home. This really made things go smoothly.
David had always made more than I did, so from the beginning we mostly lived off his paychecks and banked mine. When mine disappeared, it didn’t feel like a big impact. Also, I’ve picked up some at-home side gigs (the blog, social media management, etc) that have helped me make a little extra money while staying at home. This money largely goes into buying Hailey’s clothes, diapers, etc, so thank you guys for supporting me by visiting here!
It also helps that we are both savers, not spenders. (I know my dad still can’t probably believe that one!). We don’t spend money frivolously. We aren’t big on clothes, video games or home décor. We prefer to spend money on experiences and investing in our future. I don’t think it’s so much what we focus on, but that our priorities align. We never fight about money. Truly. Never. If one of us needs/wants something, we discuss it and budget it into our next month.
We do our best (though sometimes we fall off the bandwagon for a month or two) to budget each month before the month begins. Groceries, gas, bills, upcoming events, Hailey’s need, etc. Dave Ramsey would be proud. This works for us because it gives us an idea of what to expect for the month. If David needs new tires (which he does and those are so dang pricey!!), then we know to eat a few more meals at home and skip buying a hobby-item that month.
Honesty, transparency and communication ensure that we are on (and stay on) the same page. We are both involved with finances. We both know how much we bring home. We both know what are bills are each month. We both know how much we have in retirement and in savings. I think the fact that we are both involved and aware of our finances forces us both to take responsibility in how we handle them and pay attention to how often we swipe the plastic.
We also both know if the other one spends money. It’s not obsessive; David can buy a cup of coffee without having to immediately text me to report it. However, we are completely upfront with each other, even if it means David must admit he bought the super fancy beers or if I have to confess to getting over-excited at Whole Foods. We’ve never hidden purchases from each other, which allows us to trust each other with money without feeling like we need to check in or ask permission from each other.
Whew- this is getting incredibly wordy. Overall, I’m really proud of the way we handle our home finances. It’s actually been a seamless transition, largely because we didn’t have to change the way we spent money when I switched to staying at home. We had always (since marriage) handled money the way I outlined above. I’ll be back another day to discuss the emotional and home-roles transitions, which haven’t always been so smooth.
Are there any specific financial SAHM questions that I forgot to touch on?
How do you and your significant other handle finances?