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He says, She says

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I loved when Adam and Emily did the “he says, she says” post. So fun to see their different personalities and spending-styles emerge. And like most couples, my husband and I don’t always agree on where to put our money (which currently is being thrown toward debt hand-over-fist).

Now, don’t get me wrong – husband is 100% committed to eliminating our debt. Most of it is mine and he agrees that it has to go (and he’s been involved in creating our budget and debt-reduction goals, so even though I’m primarily the one who writes out the checks and pays the bills, he’s totally involved in the process). However…..sometimes I find that even though he wants to be debt-free, he would perhaps prefer to do so at a slower pace that allows us more “free” money for spending, or adding money to our savings instead of putting so much directly toward debt each month (we put nearly $1700 per month toward debt when our bring-home is about $5,000 per month; so about 34% of our income goes straight to debt).

Side Note: You can see our full budget here, and our debts here.

Although I typed this up (husband isn’t much into blogging), this is almost verbatim transcript of a conversation we had the other day, so I think I’m representing him and his thoughts fairly:

Our Thoughts On Spending…

 

He Says:

Imagine going to the gym for months and months. You’re killing yourself by waking up early to hit the gym, eating clean, and passing by lots of opportunities for “fun” that could side-track your health and fitness goals. But then you step on the scale (or have your BMI checked) and you’re still in the exact same position you were in before starting your exercise regiment. Would you continue it? No way! You need to see results in order to be motivated.

It’s the same thing with money and paying down debt. Especially since my job is a very physical one. I go to work everyday and kill my body. I do it to provide for my family and improve our quality of life. If our quality of life isn’t going to improve for 5-10 years, then what’s the motivation? I need to see something that shows me my work is getting me somewhere. Be it a nice home, a new shirt, or a little family vacation. Those are the rewards that make killing myself at work worthwhile.

 

She Says:

I definitely see the analogy, but at the same time – the only way to true wealth is through being debt-free. Rewards aren’t on the short-term; they’re on the long-term. I never should have accrued so much debt, but it’s done now. And I think our focus should be on paying it back as opposed to continuing to spend money elsewhere.

 

So, what to do? The conversation had no real resolution. Just him stating his feelings, which I think is fair to do. He works very hard and his job truly is a physically exhausting one. It can be difficult to do that type of work and not see the fruits of one’s labor, since we continue to cut back more and more instead of gaining…I don’t know…wealth???

I listen to the Dave Ramsey radio show and LOVE the segments with REAL PEOPLE telling their debt stories and doing their “debt-free screams.” Dave always asks the same questions (what made you start this journey? what was the hardest? what was the secret to getting out of debt?) One thing I hear over and over is people say that it was absolutely crucial to be on the same page with their spouse.

I wouldn’t say my husband and I aren’t on the same page (at the end of the day, we both want to be debt-free), but maybe I’m one chapter ahead? Or I’m just reading the book at a faster pace???

 

What’s your money-relationship like with your spouse? Are you on the same page? What do you do to help motivate and encourage your partner?


Updates

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I owe you guys some updates on a couple of topics that I have hinted about and mentioned in passing a few times.

Today I’m going to talk about:

  1. The daycare situation.
  2. The financial relationship between my husband and me.

This morning’s post will focus on the daycare situation. Check back this afternoon for more about the interesting financial relationship my husband and I have worked out.

Childcare Costs

Childcare is an exorbitant cost, any way you look at it. We have been lucky that someone I know has been watching the girls in an at-home daycare for a fraction of the cost of traditional daycare facilities. For comparison, when the girls were 6 months old I was dissertating and had to put them in a “traditional” daycare 2 days per week. Our rent at the time was $595/month (granted, we lived in the ghetto, but still…) Our daycare for TWO days per week = $1200/month. Yes. Literally double our rent!

Currently we pay $600/month for 3 days per week of care ($50/day). I’ve mentioned several times how I’ve been thinking about cutting our childcare back to two days per week to try to save some money.

But in discussing with my husband, he’s raised some concerns and wants to consider other options. I’d love to hear any suggestions or advice that you have.

Here’s the deal…..

We’re trying to decide if we want to keep the girls in daycare at all (versus just being home with me) and, if they stay in daycare, if we should reduce our number of days at our current place, or if we should look into other options elsewhere.

I’ve made a table below with the Pros and Cons that we have been considering…

At Home With Ashley

In-Home Daycare (Current Provider)

Traditional Daycare

Pros I get to be with the girls all the time! I’m 100% in control of what they do, what they learn, what they eat, when they nap, etc. It’s free! Lots of extra money toward debt-reduction! Lots of individual attention; Only 4 children (socialization, but not a ton of germ exposure); Children have a strong bond with provider (not a different teacher everyday); Relatively inexpensive. Everything is documented (food eaten, diaper changes, activities the kids did, etc.); Lots of structured activities in addition to free time; Educational enrichment is provided; Stability (substitutes in case of teacher illness); Extra opportunities for socialization (more kids)
Cons Very challenging to get work done; Never have a “break” (working during naps, and in morning/night); difficult to accomplish some things with girls home; Really sucks when we’re sick (we have no family here so no “social support” to help out if we need it.) Less structure (e.g., music time, story time, art time, etc); No documentation (e.g., writing how much kids ate, at what time; when their diapers were changed, if it was “dirty” or “wet”, when they napped and how long, etc.); Requires flexible schedule (if provider is sick, there’s no substitute). More children (somewhat less individual attention); More chance of illness (more kids = more/varied germs); More teachers (instead of 1 caregiver that we all “know” there could be random substitutes, etc.); Very expensive!

 

I’m leaning toward keeping our current daycare provider and reducing to 2 days per week. However, if I’m really serious about debt-reduction (and I am!!!), then I should really be considering removing the girls from daycare entirely and keeping them at home with me. Even if I got a babysitter for 1 day per week (in case I need to go to campus), it’d still be cheaper. I am VERY nervous about how this would go with my work. I’ve read a couple library books on work-from-home Moms and many of the strategies do not sound like they would work for me (e.g., “Wake up a couple hours before the kids to do work.”……ummmmm, my kids wake up at 5:30am a lot of the time. If you think I’m waking up at 3:30am, you’re out of your mind!). I already work in the evening many times as it is, so I don’t see how I could possibly get everything done. But…people do it all the time. There are LOTS of work-from-home Moms (shout-out, Hope!!!). If there’s a will, there’s a way, right?? Right??? : /

Meanwhile, Chris is leaning toward option 3 (traditional daycare facility). We love our current provider, but Chris really liked the documentation, structured activities, and educational enrichment the traditional daycare provided. Plus, he really thinks the girls would benefit from additional socialization (being around more kids). But it’s literally twice as expensive as our current costs, for less overall care (2 days versus 3 days). And it definitely runs counter to our debt-reduction goals. However, it’s hard with kids because you can’t always just pick the cheapest option. There are some definite “positives” of the most expensive option.

So this is why I haven’t made a change yet. I guess I’ve just been mulling it all over waiting for the “right” choice to knock me upside the head.

What do you all think? Should I bite the bullet and become a work-from-home Mom full time (the quickest route to debt eradication)?? Should we stay with our current daycare provider and reduce the number of days? Or should we go with Chris’ wishes of moving our kids back to a larger and more traditional (and costly) facility?

Stay tuned….I’ll peep back in mid-day with another of my Money-Saving Tricks series, then later this afternoon I’ll post about the interesting financial relationship situation between my husband and me.


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