It’s no secret that we’ve been on a crazy mission to pay off all of our consumer debt. It’s been a wild journey and at numerous times during this course, I’ve wanted to speed it up and go back to work outside of the home. That would be the quickest way to get this all out of the way, right? Not necessarily so.
Let me back up here to give a little background. I worked for a major cell phone company, and was paid very well, especially in this area. As the senior sales representative and Store Manager, I worked long hours. At this point we also lived in a neighboring town, and my home was literally 22 miles from my office, making my hours even longer. I was exhausted when I came home and had very little gumption left to tend to my children or my house. On top of that, after my father’s passing, we decided to finally get married and buy a house in another town. Stress was at it’s maximum. I was planning my wedding back in my hometown (2 hours away) and trying to close on our new home and move out of the current one. That was when we decided that enough was enough. We came to the conclusion that after the closing was final, I wouldn’t be returning to the work force. On paper we knew we could do it financially, and that was all that mattered. I just knew that everything from that point on would be easy sailing.
When we made the decision for me to stay home, we had no credit card debt, just vehicle loans. By the end of 2007, we found ourselves fully reliant on credit cards for our everyday purchases such as gas and groceries. Quite honestly, I’m not fully sure exactly how we got to this point, which makes it even more embarrassing. We constantly toyed with the idea of me going back to work at the cell phone company, but quickly remembered how much stress it brought with it. Finally we decided to enroll in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, which was being offered by our church.
This was the best decision we’ve ever made financially. While many of his teachings are “common sense” ideas, the way it was delivered and all of the ideas combined is just amazing! Continually through this course Dave mentions taking on extra jobs to help pay the debt down quicker. While I can see where this would be of great benefit, we decided completely against this approach , although it has been very tempting!
First off, if I were to go back to work next week, everything as we now know it would change. For instance, to beef up our debt snowball, I lowered our grocery budget and started making everything from scratch. If I were to go back to work, this would be no more, and our grocery budget would feel the effects of it, as well as our waistlines. In addition to the added grocery costs, I would also have to add in additional fuel costs for me to be able to drive to town everyday, as well as day care fees. Roughly all this adds up to about $900/month or roughly $225/wk! So, while off the bat going back to work may seem like a good idea, the very paper that told me I could stay home, is telling me that should stay home.
If that wasn’t enough reason to firmly ground us in our decision, the relationship that I have built with my children is. When I was working they spent roughly10-11 hours a day in day care. I didn’t know them then, but I do now! I’m now in a position where I am able to be the mother and wife my family deserves. The decision to stay home was a hard one, but we are financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually better off because of it.
**While I know that staying home was the best decision for my family, I also know that it isn’t for everyone. I say these things from our experience, and not out of judgment. :)**