If you're new here, I'll fill you in a bit. I stay home with our three children (and home school them) while my husband goes to school full time for pharmacy. In an effort to chronicle this period of our lives, I've decided to write about it here.
Jamey majored in biology in college. I studied social work. We married right after school and lived in a teeny little apartment for almost four years.
Our first apartment, part of a large, old house.
We could have afforded a better place a year after graduation when Jamey got a job in a lab and I was working as a clinical social worker at a psychiatric hospital for children. But, we didn't. We decided to stay put and pour our extra income into paying down school debt and (used) car loans.
After a few years of living in an apartment where mushrooms (literally, see above) grew out of the bathroom ceiling and where we had about 2 feet of changing space in our only bedroom (the bed took up almost the entire room), we had paid down our debts and set some money aside for a down payment on a house. We chose a new (surprise, surprise) townhouse.
Our first house
Prior to Sam coming along, we were living off of Jamey's salary and my (measly) social work salary was going into the bank. We lived this way for two reasons. One, we wanted me to be able to stay home with our future children, so we thought it smart to do a test run. (I was going to stay home regardless. Even if it meant selling our house and living in an apartment.) Also, we were saving. We didn't really know what we were saving for, but we were careful with our money (no cable, a 14-inch TV, rarely ate out, etc.) Soon, Sam came along and I stopped working to stay home with him. As we looked forward to child number two, we decided we wanted to live where our kids could play in a yard and where we could grow a few (ha!) vegetables. We found and moved into the old house we're in now, having a nice down payment at the ready.
Sam and baby Sadie
Sadie came along. I remained at home and Jamey continued at the lab. We kept saving. We fixed up our house, with Jamey doing the majority of the work himself even though we could have afforded to hire someone else to do all of it. We were saving. Even though we didn't know what for.
Then, Jamey had a revelation.
He didn't want to work in a lab, alone, for the rest of his working life. He wanted to go back to school. Full time. For pharmacy. For four unpaid years. There was only one pharmacy program within driving distance of our house. It was the only school he applied to. Even though each year this school can only admit 85 students out of it's 1200+ yearly applicants, Jamey was accepted. I knew he would be. I'm supportive that way.
Just before he was about to give his notice at work, he was told his lab would be closed. He was given a choice to relocate or to accept termination with a severance package including six months of paid health insurance. The decision was easy in light of his school plans. Boy, did we thank the Lord for that one. It was just one year between when he decided to pursue pharmacy school and when he started.
So, with our savings, applications in for student loans and a home equity line of credit (we applied for this prior to his job ending to use as a back up if student loans and our savings didn't cover all our expenses), Jamey started school.
We started growing much of our own food before he went back to school, but the budget crunch has shown us how valuable this option is. Each semester his student loan pays for his classes and enough living expenses for three months out of that four month semester (We're a family of five with no job- we think they feel sorry for us). Every fourth month, we pull money from savings to live on.
We still have no cable. Our 14-inch TV died a couple years ago and we decided not to replace it, but my sister and her husband kindly gave us one they were not using. We spend between $200-$250 on groceries each month. We don't go out to eat but maybe once every other month. Our only budget for entertainment is our monthly Netflix subscription. We generally do not take vacations, mostly day trips.
I just figured out our budget for the next year, the last one without a job. We're going to make it. This did not happen by chance. When we sat down and figured all the numbers out before he applied to school, we knew we could make it/cut it close if we budgeted, which we did. The home equity loan? It looks like we won't have to touch it.
Were the past three years miserable? Certainly not. To be honest, I don't think we've lived that much differently than we had before and that is the lesson here for us. If we had stretched ourselves thinner financially earlier on, we wouldn't have had enough in savings to do this. Then where would Jamey be?
Still in the lab.
One day, I just know we are going to look back and wonder how we did it. We will be comfortable with a salary again and it will be hard to imagine. But I hope that when that time comes, we'll look back, read this post and be reminded that we were very happy. And instead of getting too comfortable will busy ourselves by putting up or giving our extra money away. Pin It