A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how finances limit family size for some people. Finances aren’t limiting my family size (we could probably “afford” a couple more kids); instead, my family’s size is more about what we want from life, and how we want to spend our money.
While reflecting on this, I started thinking about other ways my family does things that aren’t exactly “normal” in our community.
What Works in My Family’s Finances
Since we live in a very traditional community, it comes as a surprise to many that I’m the primary breadwinner (not to mention that I work from home). It’s a little different than a traditional earning arrangement, but it makes it possible for my husband and I both to have careers we like. He enjoys teaching, and because my income covers our needs, he doesn’t feel pressured to get a higher-paying job.
We also find that, because we only have one child, it’s possible for him to have really rich experiences and education. We can pay for him to take music lessons and go to summer camp. And it doesn’t stretch our budget to spend money on his baseball team fees, uniform, and equipment. It’s a nice feeling, and it works for us.
Furthermore, we’ve made the decision to live in a modest home. In our community, someone with our income should be living in a bigger, more expensive home (even though we have a small family). I have relatives whose “starter” homes as childless newlyweds were bigger than ours. We prefer to use our money on other things, so we live in a modest house, in a community with a low cost of living. That way, we have the disposable income to enjoy the things we like best.
Other unique arrangements in our family? Among many other things, we pay for someone else to take care of our yard, and my husband does laundry while I take out the trash (reversals of what many view as “traditional” chores for our genders).
What Are Your Priorities?
The important thing is that we figured out what kind of lifestyle we wanted, and we decided to make it happen. We like that our son will be 18 well before we’re 50. We like that he’s old enough now for travel to be fairly easy. We like that we can do what we want with our money. Of course, there are plenty of others who disagree with our priorities — and that’s ok. They can do what they want with their own money and their own lifestyles.
The key is to decide what works for your family and your finances, then stick with it — no matter what those around you are doing.
What’s unique about your family’s finances? How’s it working for you?