We’re Now Living off ONE Paycheck! (Dun dun duuuun)

It’s crazy to say it out loud, but we’re officially living on one paycheck now! WOW.  The first time ever since meeting my wife a good 6+ years ago… and the funny part is I almost didn’t catch it!  (I would have at some point, of course, but it def. took me a few weeks for it to actually hit me ;))

Mrs. BudgetsAreSexy’s been in grad school for so long that I eventually got used to bringing a bulk of the money home myself this whole time.  For an entire four years, to be exact – which is pretty crazy considering I used to not even make enough to pay for my OWN stuff, let alone our entire house worth’s! Haha… but that’s what hardcore hustling does over time, eh? Gives you mad options to choose from later when things like this happen!

And now that she’s wrapped up with everything except her thesis (Yayyy!! Congrats honey!!! You’re almost a PHD!), it’s all about the baby and getting used to our new lifestyle – and what that means down the road too, in both the money department, as well as the “what I want to do in life” department, at least for the Mrs…

Will she fall in love staying at home? Will she get antsy and rush off to use her new diploma? Will she finally get her own blog up and running so the three of us can roam the world and live an adventurous life together?  These are all answers we won’t find until the next few months are over, but it’s all kinds of exciting ;) And I’ll totally support her with whichever route she’ll end up taking too – 100% – even if it means money stuff is jacked up for a bit!

(As of now, we’ll be out $1,300/mo – the stipend her teacher’s assistantship used to bring in)

I started making a list of all the pros and cons here too – pretty much cuz I’m a nerd like that, and I’m also starting to get a bit freaked out as it’s the first time EVER I’ve been in such a spot ;)  I know it’ll all work out as it always does (esp since I’ll be even more hypervigilant with our finances now!), but it still feels good to put it all out there to see what it actually means in the “real world”…

Here’s the list:

Pros of New Lifestyle

  • Mom will have more time to spend with new baby
  • Mom will (hopefully!) be able to work on her thesis with more focus!
  • Mom can regroup and figure out what mom wants to do down the road
  • Dad will feel like he’s providing more, just like HIS dad did growing up (awwww)
  • Mom and dad will save lots of money foregoing day care in the immediate future
  • Mom and dad will be able to see once and for all if the “one paycheck” method works!

Cons of New Lifestyle

  • Mom and dad lose $1,300 in cash EVERY month
  • Dad gets more pressure to keep up business and continue providing for his family (Which dad is very very nervous about!)
  • Dad gets more pressure to also make *more time* for new baby as well – not just business!
  • And lastly, potential new expenses in insurance department as new baby and stay-at-home mom may not be able to get it anymore through school (details currently pending)

So a lot of good pros here, as well as a few new concerns… but all I know is I’m ready to finally jump in and get to the challenge! :)  As long as mom and baby are happy and healthy, I know we can figure out the rest! Less than 3 weeks more to go too – we’re getting to the deadline… It really hit us HARD last week too when a couple in our baby class gave birth out of nowhere 5 weeks early!!  Which means there’s nothing stopping ours from coming out too – can you imagine?  If I come back to this post 2 hours later to show you a picture of the new babe? FREAKY!

But that’s enough baby talk for now, I’m sure we’ll all be tired of hearing about it soon ;)  In the meantime, I’m gonna go re-read my post earlier in the year about living on only one salary to give myself a pep talk, haha… remember that one?  Who woulda thunk 6 months later we’d be giving it a shot!  Wish us luck, everyone!

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  1. PB @ EconomicallyHumble.com June 11, 2012 at 7:09 AM

    This is so fantastically great! Congratulations for such a great outlook and great management. I too am a grad student (All But Dissertation… but soon) and we are living on one check. Keep up the good work!!!!!!

  2. Poor to Rich a Day at a Time June 11, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    sounds like exciting times for you, congrats! We have done one paycheck for a long long time , I love being home with the kids and homeschooling them and just having the time to Be. Have a fun and marvelous journey!

  3. Edward Antrobus III June 11, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    With your wife’s income so little, it may end up that you come out ahead by her staying at home instead of having to pay for day care. And a one-income family DOES work, although you may find yourself adjusting your lifestyle a little. But you’ll have a baby, so when your friends grumble about you not going out, you will have a ready-made excuse that’s untouchable. :D

  4. Michelle June 11, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    Congrats! I’m sure you two (well almost 3!) will do great.

  5. Brian June 11, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    You’ll be fine. As stated above with only $1300 a month not coming in you won’t really notice it much since a large chunk of that would have been going right back out as day care (it is retardedly expensive). Besides it will be good practice for when she does decide to work again (if she does) and then you’ll have all kinds of extra income to save!

  6. ImpulseSave June 11, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Congratulations! There is so much to figure out right now but you still have some time to do all that. The important thing is that you are starting a wonderful family together and I think that’s amazing! Congrats!

  7. gerald June 11, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    you are not losing 1300 in cash every month you are losing 1300 minus day care, whatever tax would be payable on that, gas to get to work, clothes to dress at work, gifts for colleagues getting married or pregnant, pizza or take out when both of you are too tired to cook, ready-made baby food when wife doesn’t have time to prepare it, and the list goes on!!

  8. becca June 11, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    Wow, the idea of finishing a thesis *while* you have a new baby strikes me as a real challenge (I had my son about two years before I was intensively writing). TAing is a distraction, from all I’ve heard, but newborns kill your sleep. I don’t brain well with no sleep! Good luck to her! But be prepared to put in a lot more time at home.

    Daycare *is* expensive, but personal finance bloggers of all people should calculate ALL the costs of not working. Whether the SSI she’d get by working would be more than her spouse’s cut of yours, whether you’ve lost a great deal on healthcare, and most critically (although hardest to define for sure!) the odds of loosing a higher salary that resulted from more promotions spent during the time you were working. That is, you aren’t going to be turning down $1300/month…but more like twice that if she got work as a postdoc or the like (and considerably more as time goes on. Supposedly, median incomes for PhDs is up in the 80k/year range).
    (don’t get me wrong, she should definitely take some time to be with the baby, and having the freedom to decide how much is wonderful! but from a financial perspective “well with daycare we’d be breaking even” is poor logic)

  9. Financial Samurai June 11, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    Pretty awesome she’s getting her PhD! Ive looked into getting one after life in the private sector, and I’m on the fence, but maybe!

    It’ll be great for her to use her degree to good use given all that time studying. Time for you to take it down a notch and relax J!

  10. StackingCash June 11, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    I agree with Samurai. People get by with so much less, don’t worry so much. I’m sure there are many things you can do to cut expenses to the bone and hustle a little bit more. I know you are definately one resourceful dude :)

  11. Peter June 11, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    We’ve been living on one income for a couple of years now, since right before our first child was born. It was a bit of a switch to where my income(s) were the only ones supporting the family, but thankfully it hasn’t been as bad of a transition because we planned ahead, my online incomes have grown to replace her income and we just knew what we were facing from talking to others. Of course as soon as you have a child be prepared for all of your free time to go bye-bye unless you have family or close friends nearby to watch the little one.

    I hear you on the stressing out about having all the pressure on you now J, but you’ll do fine. Just take it one day at a time!

  12. 20's Finances June 11, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    I’m enjoying the two incomes right now. It’s easier to live on one income in certain regions of the U.S., and it would be tight if we were doing it again. I’m glad we aren’t planning on doing that anytime soon. Good luck making the adjustment. I’m sure you won’t have any trouble.

  13. Call Me What You Want Even Cheap June 11, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    That would be great if Mrs started blogging and you could live anywhere in the world. I am sure she would be a great blogger with all your tips.

    Congrats again on the baby!

  14. J. Money June 11, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Thanks guys! Appreciate the encouragement here as I do my best to pretend losing $1,300 every month won’t sting ;)

    @PB @ EconomicallyHumble.com – Oh cool, a fellow ABD! The awesome part about all this is that there will always be the *option* to go out and get a great job too down the road if everyone wants it :) Congrats on getting closer to that finish line!
    @Poor to Rich a Day at a Time – Thanks! Gonna go check out your blog here in a bit after posting up these responses too :)
    @Edward Antrobus III – Haha, true that. Although I barely go out now w/ friends anyways cuz they seem to be alergic to my home city, even though they’re literally only 20 mins away ;)
    @Michelle – Thanks Michelle! We’re excited!
    @Brian – Yeah, def. good to learn to live this way from the start, but it still sucks money-wise :( I don’t pay anything for childcare now anyways, so to me it’s still losing $1300 a month, ya know? I’m hoping one of my side projects jumps up magically and starts bringing in more income to replace it :) Never know ’till you try!
    @ImpulseSave – Aww, thx! That is the most important part for sure – having a family! :)
    @gerald – True true, but since we’re not paying for that now anyways, I still “lose” $1300 a month ;) But you’re right, once we get going we’d then be saving it instead of tacking on more expenses…
    @becca – Oh yeah, the career ladder part definitely comes into play here for sure – esp after the first few months of taking off 100% and figuring out what’s next. I know Mrs. BudgetsAreSexy IS interested in going back to work in the near future, but we have no idea what will happen once baby finally gets here :) We’ll be finding out REALLY soon though! Haha…
    @Financial Samurai – One of these days, my man, one of these days :) Though at this point I’d probably feel lazy even if I stopped just 25% of my hustling! Haha… I’ve been go-go-go for 4 years straight now… All good with you over there, bud? Anything exciting to report? :)
    @StackingCash – True true, as long as I don’t lose all motivation after hanging out with the wee one once he’s out! :)
    @Peter – Thanks man! And I hope your offer to call you at 3 a.m. is still open as I may just to do when I’m clueless and/or bored as everyone sleeps! Haha… or maybe I’ll just talk my blog posts out and pay someone to type them up, eh? :)
    @20’s Finances – I hear that! Looking back things were CRAZY good in the financial department when we had 2 full incomes going… and I’d imagine somewhere not too far off we’ll get there again and be even better! :) Glad y’all don’t have to do it since you like it so much too, that’s awesome.
    @Call Me What You Want Even Cheap – Yeah!! And if she ran with a baby/mom type blog, we’d then get some great free stuff and be a power blogger couple! Haha… that would be a dream indeed ;) (Though then her PHD would have all been for nothing too, haha… d’oh)

  15. Yana June 11, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Good luck! :) Life is an adventure…

  16. Matthew Doyle June 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    These last three weeks are going to fly by, but the anticipation will make it seem like forever. My wife is going part time in August so she can finish up her last year of graduate school. I am a little nervous, but I am sure it is just like anything else. It is a shock at first then it gets easier with time. Good luck with everything.

  17. Stephanie June 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    WHOO!! 3-5 weeks until baby day!!

    I’m in the same boat, too! As of Friday I will be staying at home with our little girl. We’ll have a loss of $1200/mo in income and an excess of $700/mo to pay in insurance (unless we can find private insurnance for less), but daycare expense will be down $550-650, too!

    It’s a trip, for sure!

  18. Alice @ EarningMyTwoCents June 11, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    My husband and I have been living on a single income for the past two years what with him being a full time student. It’s quite an adjustment and tough to make ends meet but it’s definetely doable. We just have to communicate about money more and make sure that we are keeping the checkbook balanced and work within our budget. As I always say, the less money you have, the more you have to pay attention to it. Counting pennies adds up.

  19. Emily @ evolvingPF June 11, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    I’m a bit confused but also interested so I hope you will help me understand…

    How long does your wife project it will take her to finish her thesis – weeks, months, a year or more? And if she is considering working again in a few months, will that be back at grad school or in a post-PhD job? Like becca, I’m having a hard time picturing her being able to get any real writing done with a newborn – you guys may need to hire a babysitter so she can have some uninterrupted time! I’ve heard of other work-at-home new moms doing that. Is your wife not being paid any longer because she’s taking a leave of absence or because she’s not TAing?

  20. Craig June 11, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    You will quickly find out that having the wife stay there with your baby is worth its weight in GOLD. Nothing beats it..


    Trying to finish a thesis will be very difficult with a baby, let alone a newborn. Your time for things that you can do will fall by the wayside. Trust me…

  21. Shannon-ReadyForZero June 11, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    You guys are going to do great! Honestly, with the rising cost in childcare, that $1,300 per month you’re losing is probably only around $500 that you’re losing at the end of the day. And you’ll know your little one is in good hands. I’m sure both of you are feeling a lot of pressure right now but it sounds like you’ve been well prepared and you’re super supportive of each other! I look forward to hearing how this adventure goes for you all!

  22. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager June 11, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    I think Dad will do a great job providing for his family. Don’t worry too much!

    And Mom will rock at being a PHD mom!

  23. Lance@MoneyLife&More June 11, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Congrats that is a big milestone! I’m sure it’ll all work out as you seem to do some major hustling on Saturday and Sunday nights :) So is this picture going to be a highly decorated 50 cent piece? :-P

  24. AverageJoe June 11, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    Awesome! The health care part is scary, dude….but you’ll clear that hurdle!

  25. spendbrite June 11, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    Great post and Congratulations! We’ve lived on one salary before and are about to do it again with me staying home with the kids. After the 2nd came we just found that having both of us working makes life even more crazy (if that is possible). There’s extra income but everything else falls to ruin; the kids, the dogs the house-eek the laundry.

    Best of luck to the three of you!

  26. Edward Antrobus III June 11, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    20 minutes? Back in South Jersey, we called that next door!

  27. SavvyFinancialLatina June 11, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    Good luck!
    I have been babysitting the last couple of days for some side income, and realized I don’t want any babies any time soon! LOL Hats off to you.
    I will be starting work soon! So excited!

  28. Squeezer June 11, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    i guess i am confused. was she working while she was in grad school?

  29. J. Money June 12, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    @Yana – Thanks, I’ll take all the luck I can get! :)
    @Matthew Doyle – Yup, you got that right. It’s amazing what we can get used to over time.
    @Stephanie – Ooooh cool!!! Congrats on your new lifestyle too – you’ll have to tell me how you like it over time :)
    @Alice @ EarningMyTwoCents – EXCELLENT line! “The less money you have, the more you have to pay attention to it” – I’m totally going to Tweet that right now, then put it on Facebook ;)
    @Emily @ evolvingPF – Yup! Exactly. She’s no longer TA’ing, or taking on any other side projects, so the income in that department is zilch. It’ll probably take her a year or two to finish up her dissertation (we’re not sure how she’s gonna do it yet), and then in the meantime either stay at home w/ baby, or get another job or two to stay active and bring in some more money… we’re playing it all by ear at the moment, but for the next 3 months she’ll def. not be working.
    @Craig – I know, that’s the scary part. We’re hoping once we get a good rythm down, that I can do my work for the first half of the day, and then she can do hers for the 2nd half and we take turns watching the babe. But it’s always better in theory, eh? ;)
    @Shannon-ReadyForZero – Thanks Shannon! We can’t wait! :)
    @Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – Haha, thanks. I hope so!
    @Lance@MoneyLife&More – Hah! Maybe a silver dollar, ya never know ;) And I LOVE working on the weekend! So much more relaxing!
    @AverageJoe – Yeah man, I hate that stuff but it’s gotta be done!
    @spendbrite – Thanks so much! And congrats to you all too with your family additions :)
    @Edward Antrobus III – I know, something is wrong with their heads :)
    @SavvyFinancialLatina – Haha, I get the same way around *other* people’s kids ;) From what I hear though, having your own is MUCH different. And in the “better” department too. CONGRATS on your new work!!! That’s wonderful!
    @Squeezer – Yup, she was a TA for 4 years helping teach classes. And then worked on paid projects in the summers.

  30. From Shopping to Saving June 12, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    This is so exciting J$! I love how you are so supportive of your wife, no matter what decision she chooses. She is so lucky to have you!

    I like that most of the cons are pressure on dad :P But you still are so positive about it. My BF and I are always thinking like this and I adore the fact that he is so supportive of me and always willing to make things work, no matter what my decision is and even if it means we’re strapped for cash. Btw, I LOVE lists!

  31. Monica C. June 12, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    The unknown is always scary, but with all the personal finance knowledge you have, I’m positive that you will not only adjust but prosper! I think it’s wonderful that she can stay home with the baby because I worked in a private daycare for 4 years and the costs to parents is enormous, and not just in terms of money:

    It cost $1000-1300 per month for an infant up to 12 months old; There is a lot of time and extra expense involved in increased doctor’s visits for a sick baby, because they will get every cold and virus that comes around, and one parent has to take the time off of work to take the baby to the doctor and care for them at home until they can return to daycare; As wonderful and caring as the teachers are, there is so much development that occurs in the first year and a stay at home parent knows what works best for their child;There’s nothing like being able to experience your baby’s milestones in person. (smiling, rolling over, crawling)

    “Mom groups” are great ways to socialize with other parents, and often members swap babysitting for each other’s children, which would allow your wife quiet time to work on her thesis. I’m sure that everything will work out beautifully and best wishes to both of you as the adventure begins!

  32. Early Financial Freedom June 13, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    We are a family of 3: mom, dad and a son. We are a fairly young family too; I am in my mid-30s, my wife is in her early-30s and our son will be 8 in July. My wife and I were both career focused with our outside jobs. We were living in a rental house in the city when we got married. Within 2 years of our marriage, our bundle of joy joined us

    Our son is one of the main driving forces for our financial success. As a matter of fact, I recently blogged about it at http://earlyfinancialfreedom.com/our-familys-financial-practices/

  33. J. Money June 14, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    @From Shopping to Saving – We gotta be supportive, you ladies are our world! :) You know we can’t last without ya, haha… (and I love lists too! so much easier to put things in perspective :))
    @Monica C. – Wow, didn’t even THINK about all that code stuff w/ daycare – ack! Def. something to consider for sure, esp those mom groups! I wonder if there are any Dad groups for those who stay or work at home?? Mixed in with a little poker, perhaps? ;) Thx for the insight!
    @Early Financial Freedom – Cool! Going over now to check it out – congrats on the new site btw, you’re gonna love it! And everything that comes out of it too that you can’t even suspect yet :)