Interview with a Mom: Carla (My Half Dozen Daily)

Happy Friday, everyone! And welcome to another edition of “Interview with a Mom”. If you are new here, I’d love to be a stay-at-home mom, but our debt is so high that we cannot afford it. I’ve done tons of Google searches, trying to figure out how other moms made it work out for them and those searches are not very fruitful. You’ll find lots of silly advice like “just cut out work lunches”. Um, ok.

Give Your Debt to God?

give your debt to GodGive Your Debt to God?

I contacted a talented friend from Texas, asking for some professional help on this here ole blog. Of course, that meant outing myself to her (eek) and she was very gracious about it. She said she would keep my secret but she was interested in reading my blog because she felt like she was drowning in debt and needed a reminder to give it to God.

Interview with a Mom: Holly (Club Thrifty)

Been under a rock? New here? I’m on a quest to figure out how to pay off our student loan debt so that I can spend more time with my two young girls. I’ve found that the internet doesn’t offer a lot of specific guidance on how moms came to afford to stay home, and even less specific guidance on how to become a work at home mom – so I started my own interview series. I’m going straight to the source and asking moms (and dads) who’ve made the leap.

Depressed and Suicidal Over Student Loans: A Letter To My Search Traffic

depressed and suicidal over student loans

I’m suicidal about my student loans

That is, sadly, a search term that leads people here, along with “depressed over student loans”. And I know the posts (here and here) they land on and those are not necessarily the words I want these souls to find. So I’m writing this to the people who found me, suicidal over student loan debt….
I don’t even know you, but I’m saddened and scared for you. Your loved ones, if they knew, would be even more sad and scared. You can deny that, and I know you do deny it, but you are mistaken.
I know that you feel helpless. You feel like you are drowning. It’s hard to breathe. Getting out of bed each day is terrifying, exhausting, and dreadful. But to end your life … It’s final. It’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem – that does have other solutions. Hear that. There are other solutions. I don’t know your exact situation but I still know there are other ways to fix it. You do not have to die to get out of debt.
First – get professional mental health help. Right now – don’t wait. Visit http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-273-TALK.
Second, after you start treatment, examine your life for some sort of goal that can be done without a lot of money. Maybe you have to think back to goals you had years before and maybe they don’t sound to interesting right now, but you need a goal. So maybe you’ve wanted to learn French for years. I bet your library has books and videos. Maybe when you were 8, you wanted to learn to sew and you have a family member who can teach you. Maybe you want to loose 20 lbs and get back into your skinny jeans.
Whatever that goal is, go after it. And if you reach it, set another goal and another and another. It’s one step in front of the other – and you need something out in front of you to take your mind off your loans and to get you out of bed each morning. Keep getting out of bed each morning!
Because the despair is so heavy, and it tries to weigh you down. But keep getting out of bed. Keep moving. Keep fighting. And one day you’ll break free. Free is beautiful. Life is beautiful.
You are beautiful; God made you and even if you feel unlovable because of your debt – He loves you. He loves you so much, He numbers the hairs on your head (Luke 12:7). He’s waiting to be leaned on and He is ready to handle the load of your burdens (1st Peter 5:7). God never tires of hearing from you. He’s available at 2 am and you don’t even have to make a lot of sense (Romans 8:26). Just talk.
Promise yourself you’ll do these things. You’ll get help. You’ll set goals. You’ll get out of bed. And you’ll turn to Him.
I could write for days on the mechanics of improving your situation: student loan consolidation, income based repayment, student loan forgiveness, deferments, forbearance, budgets, and side hustles. But until you promise yourself to keep going, it doesn’t matter what I tell you.
But you make a difference. You matter. You are loved. You are special. You are valuable. You are needed. I don’t have to know you to know these things are true and they are true. Hang on. One day at a time, dear friend.
For my regular readers: I know this is not the “normal” kind of post to comment on, and that’s fine. This post probably wasn’t really for you. But perhaps you’ll still consider sharing this – maybe even on your personal Facebook page, because this is very personal and very scary. If you know very many people with student loans, then you probably know someone who has felt this way, though they’ll never share that openly. 
 

Interview with a Mom: Robin (The Thrifty Peach)

Hey guys! In case you are new here, every Friday (for as long as there is interest), I will be running an interview series, where I check in with moms (and dads) who left the traditional workforce and became stay-at-home or work-at-home parents. Since my ultimate goal is to become a stay at home mom, I’m hoping to glean more information about the things that scared them, what didn’t work out, and what things have gone super well.

The Financially Submissive Wife

 financially submissive wife

 The Financially Submissive Wife

I believe wives should be submissive to their husbands. There, I said it. I am not good at doing it, but as a Christian who believes in the Bible, I have to follow its teachings. And it clearly says to submit (Ephesians 5:22). And that even means being a financially submissive wife.
Now, if you aren’t a terribly religious person, this sounds horribly backwards and outdated, but before you get too worked up, the Bible also tells husbands to love their wives just as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25), and Christ died for the church. The husband should be the head of the household, but he should be doing it from the perspective of always seeking what is right for the family (hopefully, not to the point of a sacrificial death, but…)
When the man takes charge and makes really good, well-thought out (and prayed for) decisions, it’s pretty easy for wives to submit. Why not? He’s made the right call, all you have to do is go along with it.
Nowhere in Scripture does it say that the woman should not or cannot make her thoughts known. Nowhere does it say the man should never ask her what she thinks. Even when the wife is submissive, there is still room for discussion and debate. It’s just that, when the man makes a decision, it’s made. The wife should react with respect and trust, not passive aggressiveness or tantrums. Ahem.

In the Good Ole Days

75 years ago, our society was set up to allow this type of husband-wife dynamic to work seamlessly. In general, the man earned the paycheck and the woman was the keeper of the home. Credit cards weren’t a “thing” yet – you only spent what you had. With the man earning the money, but generally the wife in charge of many expenditures (ex: groceries), there was room for discussion about money and how it should be spent. A man could say “we will spend no more than $5 a week on groceries”, but if that was an impossible task, there would have to be a discussion on how to balance other areas in order to feed the family.

But What About Now

That dynamic seems to be falling by the wayside. More and more women work outside the home. Sometimes they do it because they want more material things – and maybe that’s not a great reason, but working outside the home is not a sin. The Proverbs 31 “model wife” made and sold goods and used her earnings to invest in a vineyard.
So working is not wrong, but the dynamic it creates is challenging. Look at me, I married in to significant student loan debt (though I had my own, too) and I am working just to be able to pay that debt. On top of that, I earn the larger paycheck. How are these money discussions supposed to go? I get input, but do I really not get to decide how money is spent? Wow. Talk about unfair.
Maybe this is a good reason why I shouldn’t work. Earning the larger check allows me to feel like I have a right to call the shots (buddy, stand back, I got this) and even though that’s how the world might see it, Heaven doesn’t.

Suggestions

Here are a few thoughts on how this could work out:
- have an agreed upon budget, where you must consult the other for expenditures that are not specifically in that budget. This works especially well if you can allocate a small amount of “allowance” money that you can just spend without checking in – because no one wants to have to reveal a special surprise gift purchase during a weekly budget review. Unexpected income would be planned for as a team, with the man making the final call.
- manage finances separately. I’ve heard of spouses who keep separate bank accounts and they divvy up the bills based on the percentage of the household income they each bring in. This seems complicated to me and can breed resentment. If my paycheck foots the bills for groceries, then we are eating Ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If hubs is paying for electricity, he might decide he won’t install our AC units when summer comes, all the while I’m up all night sweating or stuffing ice cubes into my pajamas. However, this may be the way to go if one spouse refuses to reign in spending or keep to a budget. 
- eschew all planning and hope that you all are staying within your means (spoiler: one of you probably won’t and it’s especially bad if neither of you do). While this works for those self-proclaimed frugal weirdos, the Frugalwoods, it’s probably not the best idea for most.

How About Me

I prefer the budget, not so much as a strict set of rules, but as a guideline for spending. I like the thought of checking in weekly to see where money was spent and how that affects the bottom line. I like the idea that the budget becomes a communication tool. You use it to check in on priorities and to make sure you are still working to the same ones. If one person thinks saving up for a new house is top priority, while the other thinks tossing every spare dime at debt is key, that isn’t alignment. This disconnect can come out in those weekly review sessions.
Do we do that? No. I suggested it about a year ago and I didn’t get met with a lot of any enthusiasm. Hubs and I have some very different ideas on money and we need to work on resolving them, getting on the same page, and functioning as a Godly team (with him as the leader). I’ll leave some of those issues to be addressed in other posts, always with an eye toward “how should this be resolved Biblically”. However, if things continue as they are, I see us moving toward separated finances.
How do you practice submission in your household? And if you don’t, please share how you work through issues!