I feel very lucky to be able to stay at home with my children and while it sometimes takes a bit of budgeting to live comfortably, we always have enough money to pay our mortgage, pay our bills, buy our groceries and put a bit of money into savings when everything else is done. My husband made less than twenty dollars an hour at his last job and even though he was recently laid off when his company sold out so that we are now living on 55% of his previous wage, we still have money for all our basic necessities.
Because we made my staying at home with our children a priority, I never quite realized that many people might not even acknowledge this as an option. Yet I have some friends that are so in debt that they feel having two incomes is their only option and other friends that are convinced that working is the only possible way to pay all their bills every month. I know this can’t be true; after all, my family is doing fine on less than half of what some of my friends make. So I wasn’t quite sure why so many people seemed convinced that both parents working was so essential.
Then I got the chance to review an amazing book from a woman that specializes in helping families break out of the two-income trap. Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family is an innovative new how-to guide that uses faith-based views and values to finally dispel the all too prevalent myth that living with two incomes is the only way to live. I couldn’t wait to see what kind of information the book had to offer. Here’s a brief synopsis:
Thousands have done it, You can too!
We’ve all felt the pressure to “keep up with the Joneses”. Often it seems like it takes two incomes to survive in today’s economy. But what if that is not true for your family? What if your family can thrive on less than two full-time salaries and flourish by spending more time together?
Tackling these tough questions using faith-based views and values, this book gives parents encouraging and realistic ideas for a healthy and solid family.
In this book, Brese Doebler challenges the two income assumption, and takes you on a journey toward the joy of discovering your family.
The first thing that the book tried to do was convince struggling parents that there are other ways to live than with both parents working full-time. I noticed that one of the very prevalent thoughts in the early chapters was planning ahead. From planning for a house that can be paid for with one income to starting a savings account to practicing living on one income for three months before having children, there were lots of great ideas for making sure that when a couple does have children, they will be ready to live on only one income. I especially loved the worksheets in the book that let the reader calculate the extra costs of working like childcare, income tax and an additional vehicle to find out how much extra income working full time would really provide.
I think my favourite chapter in the book was Chapter 7: Ways to Save Money. All of these handy tips were collected from stay-at-home parents across the United States and while some of them were methods I already used, there were other ones that were brand new to me and that I couldn’t wait to put into practice! When you are raising a family with only one income, every penny that can be saved means an extra penny to spend on a special treat or event in the future!
I really liked the way that the book combined both personal experience from the author and answers and results taken from a survey created by the author for the purposes of the book to introduce readers to a broad range of opinions about cutting back on work hours to spend more time with family. I also liked the way that the later chapters of the book covered the flip side of the situation, namely, increasing work hours once children reach school age. I noticed that one of the things many survey respondents stated was the biggest help when facing the challenges of returning to work was a supportive spouse. I also noticed that technology had helped many parents feel much more comfortable about returning to work outside the home once their children were older!
Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family is a great way to start moving towards a lifestyle that will let you embrace togetherness as a family and let go of the pressure to spend more than you need to. Even if a one-income family isn’t for you, the book has lots of great information about saving money and enjoying quality time with your family that is appropriate for every household. If you’re planning your family or have been considering staying at home with your children, you will definitely want to read this book. You’ll be able to make your decision with plenty of information, great pre-planning and lots of support.
Buy It: To purchase Ditch the Jonses, Discover Your Family, shop online now
Win It: One lucky reader is going to win their own copy of Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family by Cathi Brese Doebler
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Giveaway ends 11:59 pm CST on July 21, 2011. Open to US and Canada