The following blog post is part of The Road to Financial Wellness blog tour. The Road to Financial Wellness is a three-month, grassroots campaign promoting financial empowerment on a national level and encourages people to pursue their dream lifestyle. Find out more about local events near you.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a thousand things and a mom. It always came back to that. I dreamed of being the next great novelist, astronaut, Miss Frizzle, actress, figure skater, and softball major leaguer.
But at the end of it all, even when I was grinding my teeth as a high school senior overwhelmed by the choices of college degrees, I still wanted to be one thing: a mom.
In 2013, my dream came true and my husband and I became parents to a beautiful baby girl.
Eighteen months later, her linebacker brother with a head full of dark curls showed up on the scene.
We were head over heels.
My husband and I both really wanted me to stay at home with the children. I was working at a bank making $11.20 per hour and dreaming of the day I could stay home with my babies.
It took more than dreaming, but in the summer of 2014, it happened. Through planning, changing our behavior, and pursuing financial wellness, we became a single-income family of four, and I got to become a stay-at-home mom.
How did it happen? Here is a step-by-step explanation of our transition that all began the week after our engagement in 2011 – or as they say in the story books – many moons ago:
- We learned about financial wellness. One week after our engagement, we stumbled upon a class at our church called “Financial Peace University.” After attending, we made some radical changes in our thinking out debt, budgeting, long-term saving, and how to communicate with one another.
- We attacked debt. During the first couple years of our marriage, we chopped away at our $22,000 debt load with an income of $48,000 between the two of us.
- We practiced living on one income. The fastest way we paid off debt was to live off of my husband’s income and pour every cent from my paychecks onto debt. It was painful but extremely effective. Not only did our debt melt away, but it taught us to live on one income before we had to.
- We said “No” to buying big and buying new. During the first three years of our marriage, we rented, bought older cars, and said “No” to a lot of purchases like furniture, new clothes, restaurants, gadgets, etc. Sure, we still splurged, but it was a radical shift from our carefree, single years.
- We made a cash flow plan together each month. Working together each month helped keep our plans on track. I wouldn’t be at home with my kids if we hadn’t figured out how to live intentionally and within our means.
- We made decisions together. The reason Dave Ramsey’s class is called “Financial Peace University” is because that’s exactly what it offers. It’s not “Financial Success University.” When my husband and I sat down together to decide if we should pay off our last debt or buy a house (that we couldn’t afford) right before our daughter was born, that decision to become debt-free meant the world to me. It brought us closer together than ever before. Our decision for me to stay home with the children had a similar effect on me. It meant so much that he valued my being at home more than us getting “financially ahead.”
The Exciting Aftermath
One year after becoming a stay-at-home mom, I launched my freelance writing business. Our financial wellness journey gave me the freedom I wouldn’t have had to pursue this dream. I started my personal finance/mom blog in 2013 then studied freelance writing in 2015.
I’ve since been featured on The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Penny Hoarder, Rockstar Finance, and more, and get paid anywhere from $40 to $100 per article to do what I love.
Soon, I’ll be restructuring my blog to help other work-at-home moms juggle raising kids and building an online business. It all stems from my journey toward financial wellness that began just a few short years ago.
Are you a work-at-home mom? I’d love to connect with you on Facebook where I share tips, resources, and updates about this crazy, funny, awesome thing called motherhood.
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