Can You Afford to Do This?

While I was messaging with a friend recently, I told her about our decision to commit to homeschooling for the next year and the first thing she asked was “Can y’all afford to do this on one income?”

I laughed to myself and then typed “LOL. No, we can’t.”

And that is the main thing I’m processing today. 

What a scary place to be; to know that the safe and logical thing is to keep working and to pay extra for all of the therapy it is going to take your family to get through ignoring your daughter’s needs…oh, wait. That’s not a real solution, is it?

I keep coming back to the idea that if a doctor told us that our daughter was sick and needed constant medical care for a year, would we balk at the idea that we would need to drastically adjust our lifestyles to find the time, resources and money to make her whole? 

So what would give me pause now? Why have I been fighting so hard against this? I think that it comes down to money. It is scary to lose over 1/2 of your income and know that you won’t have it for a year. We live in Los Angeles and our combined incomes don’t even hit 6-figures, so we’re really talking about a family of four (two of whom have special needs) existing on a small budget. 

So, we’re:

  • REALLY reducing our spending. Some of this will be inherent, as I won’t be driving to/from work and we’ll save a lot on food costs, because we’ll be eating from home almost all of the time,
  • Reducing some of our stuff. No more storage unit! Let’s save $100+/month and worry less about having to keep track of things.
  • Grow some food. I’m going to try and cut a deal with the landlord to get some of the land for a garden. It will be a natural science lesson for our Butterfly, and will defray at least a little bit of our produce bill. 
  • Burn through my stash. If you are a crafter, you know about THE STASH. Some are big, some are small, and I have three of them. Yarn, fabric and memorykeeping. This is the year of “use what you got (or ask a friend for some of theirs).” 
  • Find the free kid stuff. Our girls arrived with no swimming skills, so we’ve been paying for lessons for about a year. Now, physical activity like that is highly therapeutic, and we’re not going to lose that angle, but we are going to look for other opportunities that may not cost as much to participate and make sure we are rounding it out with dance and sports when we are able to. But, we live in LA and, well, there’s this rumor that we have a beach somewhere…
  • Fundraise. Ugh. I hate asking people for money, but you know what? I’ve been donating to my friend’s efforts for years and this is really important, not just a whim or a decision that we came to lightly and, well, we need help. So we signed up for one of these http://www.gofundme.com/blossomingbutterfly and we’ll see what we can do!

So there are some of our initial efforts to try and make it a little less painful. 

If you know of any other viable sources of income that won’t interfere with the main focus of my being at home, please feel free to share!

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9 thoughts on “Can You Afford to Do This?

  1. When you get yourself involved (look for homeschooling groups in your area) you will find LoAdS of free curriculum, supplies, resources, etc…I was actually shocked at how much less money we spend now that we are homeschooling. You no longer have all the millions of pressures you didn’t even know existed when you were enrolled in school. You don’t need to donate to all the fund raisers for school, you don’t need to go clothes shopping for the greatest latest duds, you don’t need as many birthday party presents, you don’t have as many extra curricular pricy expenditures anymore….things pop up that you don’t realize and you will actually spend less money than you think homeschooling…best of luck…your children are worth it and LOVE is free….so just give those kiddos love and all will be well! 🙂

    • Thanks for your advice and feedback! Looking forward to finding all those pockets of money I didn’t even know I had 😉

      • I was surprised to realize I spent money where I did. I hope you find lots of pockets!!! 🙂 and I hope you enjoy homeschooling…the first year is the hardest, because its generally the year when you have trial and error and find your groove. Best of luck. PS willing to drive? Ventura has a fabulous homeschool community.

  2. Pingback: Butterfly Garden | Blossoming Butterflies

  3. I have been at home for almost all of the past 5 1/2 years. Even when I worked I sometimes did not make more than we had to spend on preschool tuition so that I could try to go back to work. What I have learned is that of course it is important to understand where the money goes. For us it is not so much about the control of our finances, there is really not enough to “manage”, but just the honesty about where we spend it. I am our CFO & CEO. I am also in charge of the education, technology and social media departments. About once a week, or as needed, I have budget meetings. Sometimes they are only a few minutes long after dinner. I bring our budget desk calendar [bought for $1 at Target] that shows on each day what bills will be paid. I show clearly how much money we have and where it is going to go. So when requests are made for fun things/necessary things / golf stuff / dog treats / food – I can say without stress, judgment or emotion that we have the money or we don’t. Because sometimes a sandwich is actually not more important than a tee time. Little did I know. I would prefer the sandwich.

    • Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts. I think my husband is already feeling the tension of me saying “sorry, not in the budget” when it comes to the things for which he so easily pulled out the debit card. It’s been interesting with the girls, too. My eldest has struggled with not “blaming” her sister for us not having as much in the budget; I’ve heard her say, “If Butterfly didn’t have to be homeschooled, and you could work, we’d have enough money to ______.” We’ve had to address that is isn’t Butterfly’s fault, and that if she was the one who needed it, we’d do it for her, as well. When she matures, perhaps she’ll get it, but right now, it sort of puts her back in the scarcity mindset that was developed when she was in the system.

      • It takes time to adjust…not an over night thing…but in time she will be saying its butterflies fault we are having so much fun at the park today instead of sitting in a stuffy classroom! 😉

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