Seeing the Light at the End of the Tunnel {Finances Edition}

Before we decided to start a family, it was important for both my husband and I to own a house.  You see, both of us grew up with single moms and absent fathers.  We knew how  much our mom’s struggled to support us and as children we knew about it all too well.  And we both grew up without ever residing in a house.  We wanted our children to never know what it felt like to struggle.  And part of that was having a house.  One that we owned.  One that was ours.  I know that this isn’t as important to everyone, but for some reason, for us, this was the future we envisioned.  And because of this, we knew that our child would go to daycare because both of us need to work in order to afford said house.

During our first year of ownership, money was not a problem.  All the bills were paid.  We went on vacations.  There was never a stress or a worry.  And has the first year of marriage and home ownership came to an end, we found ourselves expecting Abby.  We crunched numbers.  We knew we could afford a child.  We knew we could afford childcare. And we knew we could still pay the bills.  But of course, our extra monies would be no longer.  We were OK with that, though.  Because having a family was a part of that dream we had for our future.

Nearly three and a half years later, we are still trudging along.  Daycare has turned into preschool, and the cost has gone down.  There are no more diapers to buy or formula to purchase.  We aren’t finding ourselves as regulars at the doctor’s office as Abby’s immune system has gotten way better.  And for those little health bumps in the road that occasionally surface, we have great health and dental insurance thanks to my job as a public school teacher. Abby’s growth spurts have slowed down so clothes are lasting longer.  As a result, we’ve begun to have a little bit more extra money for treats and fun and small vacation weekend getaways.

Nowhere along the way did we ever wish we didn’t have the house.  If unexpected costs came up, we just took it out of the small fun fund we each had.  Yeah it sucked, especially as Jason and I were used to buying all the concert tickets in the world whenever our favorite bands came near.  But in the grand scheme of things, having a family, and a house, were far more important to us.

But now, we are starting to see the light at the end of our financial tunnel.  Where monies won’t be so tight for that much longer.  You see, it all hinges on my mom.  She lives about 3,000 miles away in South Florida.  She’s retiring. Early. At 63.  She’ll be moving out here by the end of 2013, and will fill the role of childcare for us.  That an $820 a month preschool bill will no longer need to be paid.  And with summer approaching and Abby being home with me for two months, that just leaves about 6 more months of having to pay this bill.  SIX MORE MONTHS!!!!!  $820 a month saved.  $6,560 a year saved. {With my teacher breaks it comes out to about 8 months of needing childcare.}  Abby will have a year and a half at the end of 2013 left before she starts Kindergarten and we may enroll her in a part time half days Montessori school, but the cost of that is astronomically lower than the 5 days a week full time care we currently need.  {SIDENOTE:  We really wanted her in Montessori for preschool but none of those schools in our town were full time so we couldn’t do it. So having my mom around to help with getting her to Montessori will be another bonus.)

In addition to this, a few days ago, a guy came to our house and Jason and I signed a ton of papers, which allowed us to refinance our home.  So for the month of April, we don’t have a mortgage payment due, and starting in May, our bill will go down.  This is something we never dreamed would happen due to our house being underwater, but thanks to the HARP loan program, we were able to make this happen since it doesn’t require an appraisal.

My husband and I are starting to breathe more sighs of relief.  We are starting to not stress over all those unexpected costs that come with being parents and home owners.  But mostly, we find ourselves daydreaming about our future. For that family trip to Disneyland we can start saving for.  For Abby to get into a sport or activity when she’s older and for us to not worry about how we can afford to   support her.  {And of course there is the college funds that we hope to need in the future.} For our desires to be able to offer our house at a competitive rental rate so we can find our forever home. And most important, for our family to grow by one more.  Having another child just would never be feasible without my mom moving out.  There’s no way we can afford childcare for two.  No possible way.  But now we can.

This is all so very exciting for us.  It’s almost like our lives are starting all over again.  We wouldn’t change anything at all with our life choices thus far.  We are blessed with all we have. Jason and I have worked our butts off to be able to give this life to Abby. We are just now blessed to get to see what a bit more financial freedom will bless us with in the future.

Photo via 401 (K) 2012 on Flickr {homepage}

About the author

Tracy is the Creator and Managing Editor for LWM. She's a working teacher momma to Abigail, born 11/09 and Olive, born 12/13. By day she teaches middle school students all things related to reading and writing, and by night and weekend, she teaches her daughter all about life. You can find her tweeting as @wa_tracy.

7 Comments

  1. Shannon says:

    $820 MORE A MONTH?! WOOOOO! Shout it from the rooftops, girl! That is exciting stuff!!
    Shannon recently posted..Honestly, The Happiest Place on Earth?My Profile

    Reply
  2. Kat says:

    Yay! Exciting stuff happening for your family! I SO get the peace of mind that comes with a a refi FINALLY going through. :)
    Kat recently posted..Currently V.3My Profile
    Twitter: lilmissrysmama

    Reply
    • Tracy says:

      Our refi savings wasn’t as much as we hoped, but still, it’s a savings. A nice icing on the cake for us. Hoping to get rid of my piece of crap car sooner than later because of it :)
      Twitter: wa_tracy

      Reply
  3. Jenn says:

    Yahoooo! Man we dream of the day kindergarden starts… as we have a bargain daycare. The Montessori pre-school he is starting in the fall is FT, but is alomst $300 MORE a month than we pay now. Ouch. So very excited for your family and the sigh of relief you will get to breathe each moth!
    Jenn recently posted..PerfectMy Profile

    Reply
  4. Rachel @ The House of Burks says:

    Oh man, that has to feel so, well, liberating! ;)
    We just refinanced this year and our mortgage payment went down $500 a month. I nearly cried when I found out how much we would save. It has been do nice to put money in savings and not have to pull from our dependent care reimbursement account to make ends meet. My husband’s monthly bonuses can go into savings or toward large purchases without having to factor them into the budget. And when both our boys are in elementary school, we will be saving over $1700 a month. Then we can think about expanding our family or finding our forever home. Quite a turnaround from our lives just six months ago when my husband was unemployed!
    Twitter: houseofburks

    Reply

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