Author Topic: Dual-income pretending to live on one  (Read 8805 times)

slackface

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Dual-income pretending to live on one
« on: September 21, 2013, 12:15:58 AM »
Hi all,

My DH and I are DINKs (dual income, no kids) both at age 30. I would say I am the frugal person in the relationship, and my DH, who happens to be a financial advisor, is definitely mindful of expenses, but is more lax on spending than I am. Next year, we plan on trying to conceive. We've always made the plan to start trying after I turn 30. And In preparation for that life-changing decision, I've proposed the idea of pretending to live on one income but continue to have two.

Here's why: 1) I haven't decided whether or not I want to take a break from work when I have a child, and I want to see what it's like to live on one income; 2) even if we don't decide to a single income family and I continue working, we have lots of financial goals that would benefit from aggressively saving with an extra paycheck, including ultimately FI, but in the short-term, moving from the suburbs and closer to the city to be closer to work and family, pay down car payment, etc.

I truly believe it's possible for us to move from a dual-income family to a single-income family because we're in pretty good financial shape. My husband, however, is hesitant to move to this model because he likes the comfort of splurging every now and then. Any tips on how convince your significant other to move to live off one income?

Below is some highlights to show why I think it's possible:
My takehome monthly income: $6,000
DH's takehome monthly income: $2,700
Our rental income: $875

My goal is to be extreme and start saving my income ($6000/month), and live off my DH's income as well as our rental income at a total of $3,575. This idea all started because I just got a 25% raise which gave me an extra $1,200 a month.

The thing is, with all of our bills and debt, it's totally possible to spend only $3,575 a month. I think because we have such little debt and so much income, we sometimes get lax on months and way overspend on dining out, entertainment, traveling. Although my original budget has always been around $3,600 a month, I actively manage our Mint.com and we sometimes spend up to $5,500 a month! It's easy to do with big events like friends' weddings, stress eating (all those pick-me-up coffees and too-lazy-to-cook-so-I'll-dine-out dinners), very occasional vacations to the beach, etc.

We realistically, without totally sacrificing our lifestyle, save $3,575, but my DH doesn't feel like we need to be "this extreme." How do I get him to agree that we really need to get our sh*t together and take the plunge to live off his income + our rental income? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

gooki

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2013, 12:57:11 AM »
Personal allowances work well for my wife and I. We each get a set amount every week, and are free to spend/save as we please, without judgement.

So take your $3750 budget, subtract your expected expenses (making sure you allow enough for annual expenses). Then half the remaining amount, and that is your personal spending budget for the month.

Just seeing how large this personal spending budget is might be enough to get agreement.

chasesfish

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2013, 06:53:54 AM »
You're enjoying the fun of being DINKs.   I'm in a similar position (age, income, ect) less wanting a child.

I think you can manage the "dine out" costs down pretty quickly.  My wife and I have found some great regulars where we're in and out for dinner at under $30 and cut it down to 3-4 times a month.  Our favorites are a locally owned Italian place and a   These expenses probably go away mostly when you have kids. 

What's driving the "entertainment" piece so high?

I understand the travel costs, that's a tough one depending on where you go.  I think these expenses also go down quickly when you have a child because you'll probably do a lot less flying.

What's your car situation?  Paid off?  That could be a huge chunk of your budget.


slackface

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2013, 07:37:26 AM »
Personal allowances work well for my wife and I. We each get a set amount every week, and are free to spend/save as we please, without judgement.

So take your $3750 budget, subtract your expected expenses (making sure you allow enough for annual expenses). Then half the remaining amount, and that is your personal spending budget for the month.

Just seeing how large this personal spending budget is might be enough to get agreement.

The allowance idea sounds interesting. He doesn't track expenses nearly as much as I do, but if I provide him a ballpark # to try to adhere to, he might be OK with that.

slackface

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2013, 08:05:37 AM »
Yep, the dining out hurts us the most. Some months we're really good and only end up going out once a week for a $27 dinner. However, because we both work 12 miles away from home and commuting can sometimes take us up to 2 hours a day, we get lazy and grab a small bite or coffee on the way to or from work, and it adds up. I'm pretty good about not doing that, but he is easily stressed, isn't as frugal as I am, and honestly, I don't dictate what he does because he's an adult and we're not in an emergency situation to pay off debt so he doesn't even know why I want to propose strict budgeting.

Regarding entertainment, that's probably our lowest cost. My DH had guys night once a month where he'll chip in $10 for takeout, and he also plays Magic to blow off some steam and spends about $30 every other month to play it online. My form of entertainment is doing an activity with my girlfriends once a month. It might be bouldering for $15, or a fun class for $10. If there is a movie we want to see, we go out maybe every two months and pay $18. It doesn't happen as often these days since we're busy working.

Traveling is really once every quarter. I live in Oregon, and my DH and I have gone to the Oregon coast for a weekend trip twice this year. Each trip ended up being around $200 with hotel, gas and food. In May I had to go to Hawaii to be the Maid of Honor at her wedding which was so costly I don't even want to talk about it (I might ask to never be in a wedding again, especially a destination wedding). I also went to SF with my DH when he went down for work, so my only cost was the flight and a few cheap meals. I would say the Hawaii trip and bridesmaid costs hurt me the most this year as far as extra spending.

Cars and transportation, ugh. This is probably the one area that is the most anti-Mustachian of us. As I mentioned above, we both work 12 miles away from our jobs. Because I work for a startup and he works at a stodgy financial institution, I can come in and out as I please depending on my meetings. I take public transportation on most days (I've budgeted $30 a month for train and bus tickets) and other days I carpool in with him because we work 1 mile away from each other. His job, however, requires him to drive sometimes up to 60 miles in one day for client meetings so it's not a super structured 8-5 job. It is some days, but some days he will be in the opposite side of town by the time I'm ready to go home. We only have one car now, and it is a really stupid purchase my DH fought his way to get. It's a Lexus hybrid that we got in late 2012 that still had $16K on less than 2% interest. I could pay it off because we have $65K in liquid savings. However, we are trying to move closer to work and are about 8 months away to hitting our goals to buy a house closer to town, which is when we plan to aggressively pay off our car. It also depends on how much we can sell our current house for.

You're enjoying the fun of being DINKs.   I'm in a similar position (age, income, ect) less wanting a child.

I think you can manage the "dine out" costs down pretty quickly.  My wife and I have found some great regulars where we're in and out for dinner at under $30 and cut it down to 3-4 times a month.  Our favorites are a locally owned Italian place and a   These expenses probably go away mostly when you have kids. 

What's driving the "entertainment" piece so high?

I understand the travel costs, that's a tough one depending on where you go.  I think these expenses also go down quickly when you have a child because you'll probably do a lot less flying.

What's your car situation?  Paid off?  That could be a huge chunk of your budget.

pumpkinlantern

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2013, 08:33:33 AM »
I think it's a great idea.  If you do get pregnant and if you decide to take any extra time off, having worked within a smaller budget will make it all that much more easy to transition to the one budget.  And if you decide to go back to work...well, you've got a little extra saved as a little cushion for unplanned baby-related or other expenses!

Frankies Girl

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2013, 08:41:33 AM »
You could pitch it to him as a short-term game/test just to see how well you could do. If he knows there's a definite end to it, it makes it easier to stick to a plan and the extra frugality isn't as distasteful for someone not used to it. Say something like 3 months, and then you can reassess the situation.

The nice thing is, once you've done it for a while, it sort of becomes a habit. It mostly stuck with my husband when I proposed the same "game"  a few years ago. He's actually pretty proud of himself when he cuts out expenses and will tell me that he hasn't eaten out for lunch for "X" of days or changed his mind about a purchase he was planning to make.

I'm sort of in the same situation as you - DINKs, husband not terrible with money but definitely not as frugal as myself and prone to spending on things he loves (music/movies in his case) that sometimes seem excessive to me. And as we're also not trying to reduce debt, just save for ER, he sometimes just doesn't see the point of going to an extreme savings ratio.

But we've been living on one salary for a while now with a few little blips here and there, and for the most part we've been more on than off our plan.


chasesfish

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2013, 09:00:56 AM »
I read your reply regarding entertainment, meals, ect, and I still can't figure out where $8500/mo in takehome pay is going?

What are your housing costs currently?  How much is the Lexus payment?

If I'm reading correctly, is it his job as a Lexus driving financial advisor that's only bringing in $2700/mo in take home pay?  How long as he been doing this, is the income accelerating?  That and commercial insurance are both jobs with lots of potential income, but take 4-5 years to build a good book with a livable income.  Does he also have to wear suits for his job?  That hurts too in that profession.  I'm in financial services and it took six years before I was making what I considered a good income for the work.   Does he get reimbursed milage?

Whats driving you to live that far away from work?  That commute would drive me nuts.  Mine is 20-40 minutes depending on traffic and I have to make it most days, and its driving me nuts.  Similar distance. 

Thanks for any information you can provide, this is an interesting situation.

Kristin

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2013, 09:07:03 AM »
Personal allowances work well for my wife and I. We each get a set amount every week, and are free to spend/save as we please, without judgement.


I completely agree with personal allowances.  My wife and I each get equal allowances monthly to cover nonessential items such as lunch, coffee, clothes, etc.  We also have separate personal savings accounts, so whatever we don't spend each month of our allowance we save for bigger purchases we want to make later on or to do something fun together.
For us, it gives us a little bit of freedom to occasionally buy that cup of coffee or lunch with coworkers without the guilt.

RootofGood

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2013, 09:25:42 AM »
I would encourage the idea of living off 1 paycheck plus rental income.  Bank your paycheck and you'll be growing your wealth rapidly. 

Other side benefits as you are probably aware are
1. Freedom to stay at home with the kid for you or your spouse
2. Freedom to cut back hours or reduce focus on work
3. If one of you gets laid off or the job situation becomes untenable and you quit, you don't bat an eye because you have a huge amount of money saved up, and you only need one income to live on.  What would suck is having to deal with a sharp reduction in spending due to one of these events (on top of the normal "losing a job" type stresses).

Good luck in getting your spending down to 1 income.  We made that choice early on in our marriage and it has paid off ridiculously. 

slackface

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2013, 09:29:12 AM »
Up until a few days ago we had a takehome of $8375. It's now $9500 with my raise. So let's pretend I am still on my old income, and our collective takehome is $8375.

We never use up all of our money. On good months we save $5000 that we're saving toward a house. However on months we travel and or eat out a lot we're only saving $3000. My goal is to sock away at least $6000/mo now that I got my raise. We have never in our 7-8 years of working spent more than we make. Not even close. Even when I was making significantly less I always socked away at least 20% of my takehome, and now it's much more. Let me be clear about that!

Our mortgage (P&I), home insurance, escrow and HOA is $1150 a month. Our goal is to move closer to the city but houses are much more expensive, and we're looking for the same square footage or slightly more with children on the way.  We live far away because up until two years ago we both worked in the suburbs. We wanted to make sure we were both at our jobs (now downtown) for two years before we took the plunge to buy a house closer to the city. We've seen couples jump the gun and buy a house right after they get a new job only to find out they're getting laid off so we were just being cautious.

My DH has only been a Financial Advisor for 2.5 years and is salaried with bonuses. I want to call out that he automatically has his parking and 401K contributions pulled out of his paychecks. Because it's automatic I just know his takehome is $2700. It should be $3300 but $150 is for his parking (yet another car cost) and the rest is his 401k contribution. And yes he buy suits. He probably spends $600 a year on clothing, which is not bad considering he's supposed to wear suits every day.

I read your reply regarding entertainment, meals, ect, and I still can't figure out where $8500/mo in takehome pay is going?

What are your housing costs currently?  How much is the Lexus payment?

If I'm reading correctly, is it his job as a Lexus driving financial advisor that's only bringing in $2700/mo in take home pay?  How long as he been doing this, is the income accelerating?  That and commercial insurance are both jobs with lots of potential income, but take 4-5 years to build a good book with a livable income.  Does he also have to wear suits for his job?  That hurts too in that profession.  I'm in financial services and it took six years before I was making what I considered a good income for the work.   Does he get reimbursed milage?

Whats driving you to live that far away from work?  That commute would drive me nuts.  Mine is 20-40 minutes depending on traffic and I have to make it most days, and its driving me nuts.  Similar distance. 

Thanks for any information you can provide, this is an interesting situation.

slackface

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2013, 09:32:39 AM »

Awesome! It's really validating that I'm not crazy. That other people do this and it's totally doable. If anything it just forces us to really live within our means and not spend extravagantly. I keep telling my DH that this is doable. Lots of couples live on my less. It just requires conscious spending.

I would encourage the idea of living off 1 paycheck plus rental income.  Bank your paycheck and you'll be growing your wealth rapidly. 

Other side benefits as you are probably aware are
1. Freedom to stay at home with the kid for you or your spouse
2. Freedom to cut back hours or reduce focus on work
3. If one of you gets laid off or the job situation becomes untenable and you quit, you don't bat an eye because you have a huge amount of money saved up, and you only need one income to live on.  What would suck is having to deal with a sharp reduction in spending due to one of these events (on top of the normal "losing a job" type stresses).

Good luck in getting your spending down to 1 income.  We made that choice early on in our marriage and it has paid off ridiculously.

chasesfish

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2013, 09:58:44 AM »
Thanks for the clarifications.

I would highly recommend moving closer to work and then see how low you can cut it a month.  It is more costly, but your quality of life should improve dramatically. He's doing pretty well 2.5 years and his income is hopefully growing every month.  I'm in a different side of financial services, but it took me six years to first break 100/yr.  There are some annoying but required expenses that come with his job, but they get a lot easier as income improves.

That's not bad for clothing, I'd highly recommend the costco dress shirts they're half the cost of anything else and the most durable shirts I've ever found.

I think you really know what can and can't be cut, but are doing a really good job saving.  That commute is nuts and I would move as soon as you can.

kkbmustang

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2013, 10:50:14 AM »
I'd really recommend that you try to live on one income since you have no idea how you are going to feel about working after baby. Really, you want to be in a financial situation where you have a choice as to what to do. Want to stay home? Great. Not a financial problem. Want to go back to work full time? Awesome. Keep saving more. Want to work part time? That's great too.

If you live on one income for a period of time, then you'll know that it can be done. Because you have done it! Just don't forget to take into account that if you don't work outside the home, you won't have some work-related expenses for yourself (dry cleaning, fuel for the car, parking, etc.). You'll also need to look at healthcare changes if you aren't currently taking advantage of health insurance through your husband's employer.  If you do decide to work, you will need to factor in costs of childcare, etc.

Congratulations for thinking about this BEFORE you are pregnant.

SwordGuy

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2013, 11:32:08 AM »
Sorry, but it makes no financial sense for you to quit your job and have your DH continue to work.  You make WAY more than he does.

If you want to have a stay at home parent, the numbers say that your husband should be the at-home parent.


slackface

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2013, 02:02:17 PM »
Sorry, but it makes no financial sense for you to quit your job and have your DH continue to work.  You make WAY more than he does.

If you want to have a stay at home parent, the numbers say that your husband should be the at-home parent.

I can see why you would think that. However, I really see income these days fluctuating. I may be bringing in the bacon now, but my husband in a few years, as evidenced by other financial advisors, could be making more than I do now. Also I could be laid off tomorrow and never make as much money as I do now. I've seen all sorts of scenarios like this: it's called life. All I do know is we're bringing in almost $115,000 net income now, so let's take advantage of the good times and save aggressively, and not fall prey to lifestyle inflation or the crazy notion that our income will only go up from here.

Honestly, more money is nice, but if we're aggressively saving now, and we can realistically live off one income, why does it have to be off mine? Yes it's more, a lot more, but I would rather us have a discussion and make a decision on who should really stay at home (if we decide to actually go to a single income). I really think we could be living on less. If I can prove we can live off his, I don't see why I couldn't take a break.

For the record, I've been working 60-70 hours a week for 7 years. I'm burning out fast. He hasn't been working nearly as many hours as I have all these years :)

slackface

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2013, 02:05:49 PM »
Thank you! I love the encouragement. I figure while we're both young and healthy and hardworking, why not try this as an experiment for at least 8 months? I think it would be life changing to really see if we can make this work. It will also help guide us on how we want to tackle the job situation after kids. Plus saving a bunch of money will only help us pursue our other financial goals.

I'd really recommend that you try to live on one income since you have no idea how you are going to feel about working after baby. Really, you want to be in a financial situation where you have a choice as to what to do. Want to stay home? Great. Not a financial problem. Want to go back to work full time? Awesome. Keep saving more. Want to work part time? That's great too.

If you live on one income for a period of time, then you'll know that it can be done. Because you have done it! Just don't forget to take into account that if you don't work outside the home, you won't have some work-related expenses for yourself (dry cleaning, fuel for the car, parking, etc.). You'll also need to look at healthcare changes if you aren't currently taking advantage of health insurance through your husband's employer.  If you do decide to work, you will need to factor in costs of childcare, etc.

Congratulations for thinking about this BEFORE you are pregnant.

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2013, 02:46:17 PM »
Quote
so he doesn't even know why I want to propose strict budgeting.

This!!

What are his goals? What does he get for saving a ton?


slackface

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2013, 03:03:19 PM »
Quote
so he doesn't even know why I want to propose strict budgeting.

This!!

What are his goals? What does he get for saving a ton?

He ultimately wants to retire before 55. I tell him the only way we can get there is save aggressively and invest wisely. He gets it, he just doesn't think I need to be so strict.

kkbmustang

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2013, 03:19:55 PM »
Thank you! I love the encouragement. I figure while we're both young and healthy and hardworking, why not try this as an experiment for at least 8 months? I think it would be life changing to really see if we can make this work. It will also help guide us on how we want to tackle the job situation after kids. Plus saving a bunch of money will only help us pursue our other financial goals.

I'd really recommend that you try to live on one income since you have no idea how you are going to feel about working after baby. Really, you want to be in a financial situation where you have a choice as to what to do. Want to stay home? Great. Not a financial problem. Want to go back to work full time? Awesome. Keep saving more. Want to work part time? That's great too.

If you live on one income for a period of time, then you'll know that it can be done. Because you have done it! Just don't forget to take into account that if you don't work outside the home, you won't have some work-related expenses for yourself (dry cleaning, fuel for the car, parking, etc.). You'll also need to look at healthcare changes if you aren't currently taking advantage of health insurance through your husband's employer.  If you do decide to work, you will need to factor in costs of childcare, etc.

Congratulations for thinking about this BEFORE you are pregnant.

And I totally get where you are coming from. I've always out-earned my husband three to one, but that didn't necessarily translate to him being the one who stayed home and I was the one who worked. In fact, there was a period of time where I did stay home. (I was working 70 hour weeks and never saw my infant and toddler.) And then there was the period of time where I went back to working those crazy hours so my husband could go back to grad school and get his masters in accounting. So, it all works out in the end. Could we have been FI by now had I not stopped working? Maybe. But that was a trade off we were happy to make.

Sorry, but it makes no financial sense for you to quit your job and have your DH continue to work.  You make WAY more than he does.

If you want to have a stay at home parent, the numbers say that your husband should be the at-home parent.

I can see why you would think that. However, I really see income these days fluctuating. I may be bringing in the bacon now, but my husband in a few years, as evidenced by other financial advisors, could be making more than I do now. Also I could be laid off tomorrow and never make as much money as I do now. I've seen all sorts of scenarios like this: it's called life. All I do know is we're bringing in almost $115,000 net income now, so let's take advantage of the good times and save aggressively, and not fall prey to lifestyle inflation or the crazy notion that our income will only go up from here.

Honestly, more money is nice, but if we're aggressively saving now, and we can realistically live off one income, why does it have to be off mine? Yes it's more, a lot more, but I would rather us have a discussion and make a decision on who should really stay at home (if we decide to actually go to a single income). I really think we could be living on less. If I can prove we can live off his, I don't see why I couldn't take a break.

For the record, I've been working 60-70 hours a week for 7 years. I'm burning out fast. He hasn't been working nearly as many hours as I have all these years :)

I don't think it's necessarily a black and white answer. The math might tell you one thing, but everything else tells you something entirely different. And if you understand the financial ramifications of those decisions and you're good with it, then that's up to you both to decide. Not someone else on the internet.

But, by making good financial choices NOW, you'll be able to make those decisions LATER.

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2013, 05:09:25 PM »
I highly recommend that you try to live off one salary, or as close to it as possible.  DH and I didn't officially do this when we started our professional lives, but it more or less turned out that way.  The place where it counted most was in our choice of housing.  When we first started looking we had an agent who kept pushing us to up our price limit once he learned what our salaries were.  We stuck to our guns, shifted to another neighborhood, and ended up with a place that we loved that we could have afforded on one salary ($1200 monthly costs for a nice 2+ br in a lovely historic building).  That was one of the best decisions we ever made, as it appreciated nicely but we were also stashing cash on the side (and this was in 2000-2003, so we were getting 5% interest on that stash). 

As an ease in strategy, could you agree with DH to set aside some money each month in a "fun money" kind of account?  You don't necessarily have to touch it (and hopefully his urges to do so will lessen with time), but having it there if you want to take a weekend trip or buy something fun once a year or so may help keep him from feeling deprived.


slackface

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2013, 05:18:59 PM »
I highly recommend that you try to live off one salary, or as close to it as possible.  DH and I didn't officially do this when we started our professional lives, but it more or less turned out that way.  The place where it counted most was in our choice of housing.  When we first started looking we had an agent who kept pushing us to up our price limit once he learned what our salaries were.  We stuck to our guns, shifted to another neighborhood, and ended up with a place that we loved that we could have afforded on one salary ($1200 monthly costs for a nice 2+ br in a lovely historic building).  That was one of the best decisions we ever made, as it appreciated nicely but we were also stashing cash on the side (and this was in 2000-2003, so we were getting 5% interest on that stash). 

As an ease in strategy, could you agree with DH to set aside some money each month in a "fun money" kind of account?  You don't necessarily have to touch it (and hopefully his urges to do so will lessen with time), but having it there if you want to take a weekend trip or buy something fun once a year or so may help keep him from feeling deprived.

I love the fun money idea. He wants to be able to get the occasional coffee with coworkers or splurge on a video game twice a year. I don't want him to think I will just say no to everything!

MrsPete

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Re: Dual-income pretending to live on one
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2013, 05:40:09 PM »
Can you live on one income?  This is an easy question.  Just stop spending your income -- put it all in the bank -- and see whether you're able to make ends meet.  At the worst, you discover that you can't do it . . . but it isn't a problem because the money is right there in the bank. 

Actually, I would say put away your entire paycheck MINUS any costs that are currently required by your work.  After all, if you stop working, your commuting costs, etc. will disappear as well.  Don't fall for the "you can afford to stay home!" articles in women's magazines that point out that you'll no longer need work clothes, lunches out, hair care, etc.  You're still going to need clothing and hair cuts whether you work or stay home.  Do calculate any expenses that might change:  For example, if you'd get rid of one car, etc. once you were at home, include that in your numbers.  And consider what the loss of one income would do to your taxes.  Be realistic in your calculations.  You could but your budget to the bone for a few months, if you had a crisis, but you're talking about doing this for YEARS.   

My suspicion:  If you want to stay home with your baby, you can do it.  But you and your husband will have to be on the same page, or else it will never work.

I also agree with the poster who says that it might make more sense for your husband to stay home.  His job would have to change pretty significantly for him to "catch you up" financially.

Finally, could you change your job to the point that you wouldn't be working so many hours?  Could you negotiate to work perhaps two days a week for the first years of your child's life?  If you're working so many hours, you must be considered valuable in your workplace, and the boss might prefer keeping you in a limited capacity to losing you altogether.