Make YOUR Decision – Experts Don’t Agree

Make YOUR Decision – Experts Don’t Agree

Disclosure: Some content includes links to sponsors or affiliates, which give me a small percentage of the sale. You are not obligated to use these links when you make a purchase, but when you do so it helps to support this site, so thank you!


I’m just about sick of all of us tearing each other down based on decisions that are INDIVIDUAL. When did we decide that chewing someone up and spitting them out was okay? What are we teaching our children about speaking to others in love? I’ll tell ya – jack squat if we continue on this path.

Nothing in life that you want to do is going to be agreeable to everyone. Nothing. Well, except you probably won’t find anyone saying that kale is bad for you. (Insert millions of links where random people say kale is bad.)

For every decision or topic that you find someone saying it’s “good” you’ll find equally as many saying it’s “bad.” So, what’s a feller to do? (more…)



Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

That Time I Freaked Out About Instagram – An Apology

That Time I Freaked Out About Instagram – An Apology

Disclosure: Some content includes links to sponsors or affiliates, which give me a small percentage of the sale. You are not obligated to use these links when you make a purchase, but when you do so it helps to support this site, so thank you!


I was never really a huge fan of social media…until I started using Instagram. And buddy, did I hop on that bandwagon like a bandit. I started asking everyone and their brother to follow me. I was posting every couple hours, talking to you guys, and loving every single minute.

Then I started talking with my BFF about it…and pondering and dwelling on it. Can I just tell you, when I think too hard about something, it usually gets me into trouble. I took a look at my follow list – because I was a public board and anyone could follow me.

I noticed that a bunch of “weirdos” were following me. Now, before you get offended, hear me out. I mean people with “fake” profiles…men who only posted “strange” photos. Wait, what? You mean it’s possible that some crazy person is seeing all these pictures I post of my KIDS?!

I freaked out.

Something you should note about me, I freak out FIRST and think LATER. Yeah, I know that’s a bad habit…but it’s something I just do – and Barry married me even though he knew that was my tendency.  (more…)



Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

The Cost of Being a Stay at Home Mom

The Cost of Being a Stay at Home Mom

Disclosure: Some content includes links to sponsors or affiliates, which give me a small percentage of the sale. You are not obligated to use these links when you make a purchase, but when you do so it helps to support this site, so thank you!


Post by Barry

Stacy has stayed at home since before we had children. We made the choice that her time and energy would be best spent taking care of our home and family. We have made sacrifices to do this, but it has been totally worth it.

I don’t make an exorbitant salary; we’re not trust fund babies. We don’t live up to our eyeballs in debt; we don’t live in squalor. We are a relatively normal-looking American family that decided we would be willing to live on a single income so Stacy could stay at home with our children.

Important Disclaimer: Before we get into the details, let me make clear I’m not out to hate on women in the workplace. I’ve worked with and for several women over my years in the workforce. I’m perfectly okay if you decide for your situation and for your family that wife/mom should work. Please don’t hate me for using our example and showing the math. I simply want to encourage those who are considering becoming a one-income household it can be done and point out that mom’s decision to go to work isn’t as simple as looking at the salary she will earn.

Important Disclaimer 2: I will use numbers below. They are simply a guideline based on national averages. Do the math for yourself and BE HONEST in your assessment.

With all that aside, let’s get into the discussion. What is the cost of being a Stay-at-Home Mom?


The Income Side

Let’s take a look first at what income we miss out on. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for full-time women in the workforce nationwide (2013 is the latest available data) is $36,712 ($3,059 monthly). That’s a lot higher than the average where we live, but for the sake of easy math, let’s go with an average of $3,000/monthly. So…we’re probably giving up the potential for my wife to earn as much as $3,000 per month (more maybe, but probably less where we live, especially to start out).

The Expense Side

To earn that, we’re totally gonna need day care. We have three small kids. One of them is old enough to be in kindergarten at public school only needing after-school care; the other two need all day care. Asking around at my office, it seems most pay roughly $500 per month, per child, for day care. Since Annie would only require after-school care, that’s a lot less. So, let’s say goodbye to $1,200 of Stacy’s monthly pay. She now has $1,800 of income to bring to the table.

Next, she’s going to need a car. Right now, we have my 1997 Ford Ranger which we use to haul stuff and work with. It isn’t beautiful, but it works. Then we have our daily driver, a 2008 Ford Taurus. Hmm…my truck wouldn’t last me too long driving my 80-mile daily round trip so we’d have to buy her a reasonable used car, and then it needs gas and ongoing maintenance that we don’t have to pay for now. Since we wouldn’t buy new, annual cost of ownership wouldn’t be too terrible, but buying a reasonable, used, full-size car and keeping it for at least five years, KBB.com, Edmunds.com and others agree it will cost at least $3,000 per year ($250/month) to buy it, insure it, and keep it road-ready (probably more). That takes us to $1,550.

Then that car’s gonna need gas. Since where we live you have to drive quite a bit to get just about anywhere, we’d better set aside at least $200 a month for that. So Stacy’s down to earning $1,350 per month.

Assuming my beautiful bride doesn’t go to work as a stripper (…and she isn’t…no offense to strippers…I think), she’s gonna need some decent clothes, shoes and accessories. Could we grant $100/month to that cause? We’re down to $1,250.

Now let’s keep in mind she’s gotta eat. Chances are, the days of her cooking all our meals at home and packing my lunches for work would be mostly over (maybe not). But there would definitely have to be more convenience foods. Our grocery budget probably needs to go up by at least $100 per month, and our entertainment budget, which is where we include eating out, probably needs to go up by at least that much as well. Now we’re making $1,050 for Stacy’s efforts.

Oh yeah…our kids need clothes too! While they aren’t dressed in rags at home, I’m sure there would be necessary wardrobe upgrades for the kiddos + required snacks, etc. for all the school and daycare-related activities and so forth. Kid clothes are EXPENSIVE! We’d better put aside at least another $100/month for this stuff, so Stacy’s making $950 now.

Let’s see here – what are we missing? Oh yeah – the government. They want their tax dollars…and they usually don’t take kindly to being told ‘no.’ So, since we have to pay those off our gross earnings, we need to take 15% of her $3,000 per month (as a bare minimum), which is $450. Now she’s making an even $500.

I’m sure I’m leaving out a few other things that we’ll have to deal with, but I think you get the idea. Assuming my wife earns the median income as a full-time employee and I’ve accounted for all the big extra expenses, we’re talking about a $500/month decision for our family. This is how we decided our lifestyle could better fit a single income situation than having both of us take on full-time jobs. We sacrifice $500/month in income for my wife to stay home, take care of our children, homeschool them, cook, clean and do all the other things the hardcore feminist would chastise her for but is our daily norm. …And that’s the way we both like it.

Some Other Thoughts

My wife works a lot harder than I do. I have it EASY in comparison to my wife. Raising kids is extremely hard work, and there are no real breaks. If my wife has a tough day or feels like crap, she can’t call in and get a day off. If she just isn’t “feeling it”…too bad. Being a stay at home mom is probably the hardest job I can think of.

Some women don’t want to stay at home. That is okay! As I said early on, this isn’t about men dominating women or suppressing their rights or insulting their intelligence or anything else like that. This is purely a mathematical discussion. Women are smarter than men. I admit it. If you are called to the workforce, by all means, get out there and kick tail at the office. One of the best supervisors I ever had was a woman (and come to think of it, I’ve had more women supervisors than men). If being a stay at home mom isn’t for you, NO GUILT. Am I clear?

You have to choose. I can’t tell you that staying at home or being in the workforce is the right thing to do. All I can tell you is our experience and what the math tells me about how the choice for mom to go to work (especially when the kids are small) really does to her potential for adding income to the family budget.

Now I leave it to you:

  • If you’re a stay at home mom – why did you choose this path?
  • If you’re a working mom – why did you choose this path?
  • If you’re a husband – should your wife work outside the home? Why/why not?



Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

Why We Stopped Funding our Kids’ College Savings

Why We Stopped Funding our Kids’ College Savings

Disclosure: Some content includes links to sponsors or affiliates, which give me a small percentage of the sale. You are not obligated to use these links when you make a purchase, but when you do so it helps to support this site, so thank you!


Post by Barry

We’re huge Dave Ramsey fans used most of his principles to become completely debt free (including our home) a few years ago. One of his baby steps (baby step 5) is to handle college funding for children. When our first child was born, we started her college fund in a 529. With small, but consistent contributions, that fund is up to roughly $5,000 (she’s 5 now). When our next was born, we started him a college fund, too. He’s 2 now, and he has almost $2,000 in his fund. Along comes baby #3 and what do we do? Well…you’d think we’d just keep the 529 thing rolling, but we haven’t. Why did we stop funding our kids’ college savings? Read on.

Retirement is Inevitable; College is Not.

We are a single income family. While this blog does generate some income, we are not like most families where mom and dad both work, kids go to daycare and we have retirement savings from two working family members. We have a 401k through my current employer, as well as our Roth IRAs. Per Dave Ramsey’s baby steps, we’ve got the 15% of income going into retirement baby step covered. We decided committing to consistently and intensely saving for retirement now was more important than saving for college (at least for now).

Annie coloring

Our Kids May Not Choose College.

I used to think college was a requirement to get on in this world. After reading Cy Vanover’s book, Earn a Debt-Free College Degree, and then Steve and Teri Maxwell’s book, Buying a House Debt Free: Equipping Your Son, we started doing a lot of thinking, discussing and soul searching. Where did we land? College isn’t for everyone and for those who decide on college, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. While we want our kids to be well educated, intelligent and productive members of society, why does college have to be the answer to get them there? If they decide on college, Stacy and I are both living examples it is possible without debt or huge infusions of cash from Mom and Dad. Plus, spending 529 savings is pretty restrictive, and so what happens if one of the kids wants to pursue something that a 529 doesn’t cover? (Yes, we know you can transfer the monies to other kids; withdraw with penalty, etc., etc.)

Andy coloring


“Retirement” May Come Before Age 65

Stacy and I have talked for a few years now about the idea of me coming home. Monday-Friday, I’m up at 6:00 am and leave the house at 7:00. I get off at 5:00, get home about 6:00 and the kids are in bed around 8:00. Then we’re in bed around 10:00. Do that math: assuming I have no errands to run or other things that would keep me away, my kids see me for roughly 2 hours each weekday; Stacy and I have about 4 hours total. As the leader of our home, I want more time to be there. I’m not one of these dads/husbands who goes to work to escape. I go to work to provide for my family and I don’t want to be gone any longer than necessary to do an excellent job for my employer in return for my pay.

In mid-2014, Stacy and I committed to start a “pre-retirement” account to start saving in the hopes that I may be able to “retire” earlier than age 65. This doesn’t mean I’m not going to work when I “retire” – quite the opposite. We are just praying that one day I may be able to come home to work. That probably means doing our small business hustles full time instead of on the side. It probably means (at least at first) a pretty big cut in pay. It probably means we’ll be paying our own health insurance. It is a RISK. But even if I “retire” at 45, that will mean Annie (our oldest) will be 16. I will have SERIOUSLY missed out on a lot of things with her by that age, but I don’t want to do something rash that would jeopardize providing for my family in the name of being home. Anyway, I still bet she’d be tickled to have her Daddy home at 16 (or even later, although at that age she probably wouldn’t admit it).

Eli 4 months old

I Didn’t Say We Weren’t Saving.

We are setting aside money for our family’s future – our entire family’s future. If you don’t know us, we’re natural savers. We currently have my 401k, our Roth IRAs, an emergency fund, a car savings fund, a pre-retirement fund and a general savings fund. Why? We aren’t big spenders and we want to save for tomorrow. We don’t do debt.

How SPECIFICALLY are we saving for our kids’ future? I don’t know. Right now, we have their Christmas money in cash envelopes with their names on them while we pray through and ponder the best course of action. We will possibly (probably) put that money in their 529s, along with at least some of all future gift money. We may put it in something else designated for them that isn’t education-bound. We’re still figuring that out (and we’re open to ideas, if you have any). But we have stopped putting money in their 529s from our income – all that extra is going toward retirement and “pre-retirement” savings. We have consciously stopped funding our kids’ college savings. I think it is the right decision for our family. What do you think?



Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

Would You Read My Diary?

Would You Read My Diary?

Disclosure: Some content includes links to sponsors or affiliates, which give me a small percentage of the sale. You are not obligated to use these links when you make a purchase, but when you do so it helps to support this site, so thank you!


Would you pick up someone’s diary and read it? Would you want someone to read YOUR diary? Your innermost thoughts? Probably not – but if you’ve been around my blog long enough or if you follow my personal account on Instagram, you’ve been reading my diary for years.

I don’t have an actual diary – I don’t write down my thoughts on a normal basis in a book and hide it under my bed. Nope, instead I have my verbal vomit HERE ON THE INTERNET for all the world to see. What kind of raving lunatic does that? Well…me.

Any time you read someone’s blog, you’re reading where they are right now on their lifetime journey – so for me, this blog has become a timeline of my life. I first started almost 5 years ago, and I am not the same person as I was then. Are you?

Sit down and think: How was I 5 years ago? What did I believe? What did I do? Am I the same person right now?

There are certain CORE VALUES that shouldn’t change:

  • Your faith
  • Your values
  • Your cell phone and computer (I hate change)

Aside from that, you change on a regular basis. I do, at least. If I could see myself now, 5 years ago, I would say “That girl is a nut job.”

diary-empty


I change on a daily basis – the things I do, the things I think, the things I want…they are all adapted based on where I am in life at present. So, when you read my blog (my diary), you need to know that, like you, I change with the passing wind (and I don’t mean gas).

You’ve been with me all this time, and you’ve learned along with me. But for the most part, the reason I stopped writing very much is because I don’t feel like I have much to contribute to you all. I’m on the same road as you – we are walking side-by-side…how I can tell you what to do when I’m learning the same thing? I can’t. Instead, we should be walking together and encouraging each other.

So, my blog has recently become more of a satire mommy opinion blog…and I like that. Because I’m learning too, don’t ya know.

Things you might have seen me write in the past, I might not still hold to. When it comes right down to it, I don’t know as much as I should…and my best answer for most things in life is: I don’t know.

Is a microwave bad? I don’t know. I used to think so, but when I was sick and pregnant with Eli, I used it a lot. And it’s still hanging around. Try and pry it from my crazed mommy fingers.

Is soda awful? I don’t know – probably. But even though I gave it up, I find myself reaching for one occasionally. I just make sure and lean more heavily on the water. I like the bubbly. And hey, it could be worse. I could be downing a daily scotch on the rocks.

Is sugar gonna kill us all? I don’t know…but my guess is a big fat NO. At this point in life, I’m waffling back and forth and wondering if there is any reason to use sucanat or why not just use unbleached sugar. SUGAR IS SUGAR. You can dress a cat like a dog, but it’s still gonna shed.

Is wheat the devil? Is butter gonna make me fat? Is coconut oil the fountain of youth? Are vaccinations a government conspiracy?

I. Don’t. Know. :-) Guess what? It’s okay to say that.

So anyway, welcome to my diary. You can see where I’ve been and were I am now…and we’ll just go together forward. I don’t know where we’ll end up.

Stacy loves y’all. Forever. Xoxo.

diary-write



Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.