Tuesday, October 1, 2013

How to Afford Another Baby

I case you were wondering, this is NOT an ad. I am NOT selling my precious baby. I'm just illustrating the fact that babies DO cost money. They aren't cheap. In fact, I think one of the biggest question people have when they see me carting around four kids is, how we can afford it? Especially after they learn that my husband is finishing the tail end of grad school. He's done, but hasn't officially finished or graduated. He started his five year PhD program when our first child was a baby. I'm sure many people would be floored if they were to find out that three of our four kids were born while my husband was in grad school, before he was working full time.

At this point most people automatically assume we must have been on medicaid. We never have used medicaid. We did use WIC after I had our first baby, and up until I got pregnant with our third child. While we still qualified for help, I didn't feel comfortable with the idea of using WIC anymore. I decided that it wasn't right to use the program and choose to keep getting pregnant. If we were supposed to have another baby, and decided to do so we should be able to take care of them ourselves. I know others may disagree, but I feel that was the right choice for us. I realized that even though we weren't rich, that somehow God would help us out. He has. Other than WIC, we haven't received any other government aid.

Because I know you're probably curious, I'll share what our finances were like... When my husband, Daniel, and I were first married, I was doing an internship where I was teaching world civilizations to middle school students. My husband had graduated with a psychology degree and started working at a lock-down facility with juvenile delinquents. I had no debt at all, but Daniel had student loans and we still had to pay off our wedding rings. I've never been a spender and had insisted that I didn't want a real diamond, so I opted to get a moissanite diamond instead. My husband was really surprised by my decision, but I was able to persuade him I really didn't need or even want a diamond. So, there wasn't much we owed on our rings. We used my salary as a teacher to pay off loans and the rings. Before I was done with my internship we were debt free and had a pretty decent amount of savings.

That summer I found out I was expecting our first child and I decided to give up a position I was offered to teach and instead opted to tutor foreign Korean students part time until our daughter arrived. We knew Daniel was planning on applying for a PhD/Masters psychology program, so we continued to live like poor college students and saved up.

After our daughter was born, Daniel applied to and was accepted in a PhD program. His first year he didn't work at all--he wasn't allowed to. The following three years he worked part time. He is now finishing up his fifth year and is finishing an internship where he is earning an officer's pay through the military.

So, the first year we lived off of savings. Then the next couple of years we lived off of savings and what Daniel earned from work until we had to take out our first student loan. Soon after, Daniel applied for and was accepted into the military med core where he got a scholarship. This extra bit of help allowed us to make it through the rest of Daniel's program without taking out another loan. Because we saved and pinched pennies (and have continued to do so despite having much more cash flowing into our bank account now), we now have enough in savings to pay back all of our student loans, and Daniel hasn't even graduated.

I'm not trying to sell our financial plan to anyone, or to prove everyone can or should try to have more children. I think different things work for different people. I just wanted to share how having more children has worked for us, and how it's been a really good choice for us and our family. I'll share some of the ways we saved in a future post for those interested.

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