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Old 02-21-2007, 06:51 AM   #1
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Has your family ever done a SERIOUS downsize?

I'm really struggling with being happy in my career. I have a husband and a 2yo dd who will pay more and more for this, if things don't change.

DH served in the military, so he didn't finish college until '05. That put him 7 years behind me in "career". Thus, I'm bringing in a huge % of our family's income still. However I'm incredibly unhappy.

I made a huge change in November, leaving my employer of 9 years for a new employer. There were merger things, along with other issues, just time for me to leave. I went from bad to worse... I'm completely unhappy (I knew week 1 of the new job).

I'm seriously contemplating putting the house up for sale (new last March) and selling almost everything we own, getting a condo or apartment and just starting over. I want to do something different. The direction I took in my work life is just wrong and I won't be happy doing it.

Last night at our Bible study group (young families, we're studying Raising Great Kids) I shared (based on a question prompted) that I was raised to be successful. In my family, everything was about success, career, money.

I make too much money to just quit or even to make a career change without us taking drastic measures (due to pay cut I'd have to take). So I'm curious if anyone has gone through this and suggestions/advice. I have applied for a couple of jobs that maybe wouldn't require drastic change, but where we live it's hard to come by jobs in my field.

This is very serious, I feel like I'm at the end of my rope. I've already shared some concerns with my new manager, who is the worst manager I've ever seen or heard of in my entire life. She is unwilling to hear my concerns about the work environment here.
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Old 02-21-2007, 06:59 AM   #2
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There's a saying that comes to mind... "If momma ain't happy, then nobody's happy"

I honestly don't have any advice for you because I haven't been in your situation. Hugs to you though!

You have to do what's right for you and your family. Personally I don't think material things are as important as your love, family, etc. Sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders and need to talk this through with your husband and pray.

Good luck!
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Old 02-21-2007, 07:02 AM   #3
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before you do anything... weigh out all of your options and talk to you r hubby...
1) look at some other job opportunities out there that you are qualified for ( with better pay)
2) print some resumes, and carry at least one in a folder with you everywhere you go ( you never know when an opportunity might pop up)
3) before you put your house up on the market shop around - see what the house is worth first and what other houses have sold for in and around your neighborhood.
4) see what new homes are being built for
5) what the taxes are on new homes
6) shop around for condo's or resale homes
7) consider renting ( I know hard to think when you own something now.)
- the cost of apartments
- maintence is the landlords responsibility on most items/household problems

Just consider all of your options
as for selling all of your things Have a yard sale.... Take a vacation day or two go through everything you own... things you dont use, wear, play with, watch and completely do a spring cleaning.... get rid of anything that is not of use to you anymore. Dont let the " well I might need this someday" overshadow the " want" to start over aspect.
I mean You need a bed, a table , a couch , a fridge, but do you need a formal dining room if you eat in the kitchen nook ( get rid of a table set - keep the table that is ina dining room if you have it, and get rid of your nook table) ya knwo what I mean those kind of things...
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Old 02-21-2007, 07:08 AM   #4
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After I had my first child, we went from having $85k a year to $23k a year. OUCH. We had to do some serious downsizing. It was really hard. Things are better now, but I am so glad I was able to be a SAHM.
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Old 02-21-2007, 07:17 AM   #5
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I just feel something pulling me to make a change quickly, I just can't see it being possible. I don't want my dd growing up thinking this is how life has to be. I want to teach her to go after what she loves doing. I have her in a church daycare that is great and they have an elementary school that I'd love to keep her there for...

Our neighborhood is still being built. We have one of the smaller floorplans and there's an identical house (w/a few minor changes of course) to ours for $13K higher than ours was last spring. Our lot in some ways is more desired because of the wetlands/trees directly behind. But then there are downsides to our lot, too. The newer houses going up are much bigger looking and selling for much more, so the value has definitely increased. But we'd have to sell by owner b/c of fees. I suggested to dh renting it out but he doesn't think it's a good idea.

This really sucks b/c we feel like we finally got the house we love, are comfortable living in, it's modest but has so many great things about it. But what's the point if I'm miserable the majority of my waking hours?
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Old 02-21-2007, 07:25 AM   #6
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in the end just do what makes you and your family happy... thats all that matters... whatever decision you make will be the right one.
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Old 02-21-2007, 07:37 AM   #7
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If homes in your neighborhood are still being built, I think you will have a hard time selling by owner. Also, sometimes it's hard to 'downsize' in jobs because prospective employers will feel you are overqualified for jobs they have to offer. God might be telling you to make a drastic change but that could be as simple as just going to work elsewhere, in a less toxic environment, as well as just doing some less drastic 'downsizing' in your home (like getting rid of stuff you don't need or use). I think before I considered about downsizing to a condo or apt, I would rent to see if it's really an option that works out for your lifestyle. Just really take the time to think your options through. Make a list of pros and cons if you have to, with your spouse.
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Old 02-21-2007, 07:41 AM   #8
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I became a SAHM 9 years ago when my oldest was 5 and my middle was just a few months old! I made as much as my dh at the time, so we lost half of our income. It took several years of renting a small place and never spending any frivelous money, but those were very happy years! He has since gotten promoted and with raises, etc. is up to more than what our combined income was back then. You have to weigh everything out and come to an agreement together on what's best for you and your family. I would also consider the message that will be sent to your dd in that equation. It sounded as if you didn't like being raised thinking success and money were so important? Money does make life easier, but really won't make you happy. Best of luck in your decision making!
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Old 02-21-2007, 07:43 AM   #9
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My husband changed jobs, so now our income has been cut in half of what it used to be. We got rid of satellite TV. That was $200 a month. We stopped contributing to our IRAs. I stopped visiting friends (saved on gasoline). Nephews and nieces only got $20 each for their birthdays. No Christmas presents (for anyone; not even each other). I shaved my head (saved on shampoo and shower time - less water). We switched to cheap powder detergent, instead of designer liquid detergent. Over the winter, we wore up to 7 layers of clothing in the house so we saved on the heating bill. No long distance. We did however, keep our house and high speed internet. But, no more restaurants; not even fast food. No junk food. We changed our diet to mostly potatoes ($2 for 10 pounds).

It helped that I was able to keep more from my paycheck because of less taxes.

We are happy. My husband is healthier now - more time to sleep and exercise, and less junk food (ok, we have a scoop of ice cream once in a while). I have SOOO much more free time to stamp and make cards now also. Before, I watched hours and hours of tivo'ed programming.

Once in a while I worry about retirement, but I figure that once our house is paid off, we can start contributing to our IRAs again.

Happiness is the most important thing. The only thing money is good for is to help you get closer to happiness. Good luck and best wishes.
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Old 02-21-2007, 08:01 AM   #10
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I know how you feel ... kind of. I do actually like my job and it offers me a lot of flexibility (I'm working from home right now withy my DS cuddled up next to me) but I often dream of moving ... like to the midwest somewhere. Living in a house in the country, leading the "simple life". Being home with my boys EVERY day and DH working a job that provides for us but is not terribly demanding and keeps him close to home.

It's a pipe dream though ... and it's my dream. I don't know that my boys would be very happy being so remote. They like their friends and video games and their school, etc... it would be a tough adjustment for them. That usually snaps me back to reality! So, for now, we save what we can so hopefully we can retire and live in a little house in the country or near a beach or lake or something where we can slow down and grow old together and perhaps offer a quiet place for our children and their children to visit to escape the "real world" for a while when they need to.

Good luck with your decision ... I hope everything works out for the best!
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Old 02-21-2007, 09:22 AM   #11
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We just recently downsized and it was a huge adjustment for me. We sold our beautiful house and moved into a much smaller home in not as nice of a neighborhood. The money we are saving in taxes alone is such a help, not to mention the much smaller house payment. The 1000 sq. ft. reduction was kind of difficult getting used to, but we are adapting.

When we bought the original house, we were making a lot more money and had no plans on having children. Then we had the baby and I quit work. Not only did we lose my $43K salary, but we also lost my insurance benefits. So we really lost more since we now pay over $700 for insurance per month. We could have stayed in the big house, but we would not be saving appropriately for retirement, emergencies, college, etc. We are big fans of Dave Ramsey (host of a financial radio talk show). His motto is "Live Like Nobody Else Today, So You Can Live Like Nobody Else Tomorrow."

I think it just depends on how important it is for you to stay home and quit work. I am always hearing how people can't afford to do it. Well, I know several people who live happily on one teacher's income. How do they do it? They don't go out to eat, they drive old cars (have no car payments), they are budget shoppers, don't go on lavish vacations, spend all their money on new stamps etc. It can be done!
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Old 02-21-2007, 10:45 AM   #12
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Yes it can be done...but please don't shave your head and eat only potatoes.

I think you might be making a mistake to sell the house so soon....where if you wait a year or two you might be albe to make money off of it rather than brake even or lose money. I think you should consider changing jobs again. As a recruiter I often see people make a change after being with one employeer and then it doesn't work out. It's like a rebound job. I would give that a shot before selling and all of that. However....I think your goal of staying home or changing careers is fine...just don't make bad decisions in a rush to get there. There are a few women who hand in CE who were the main bread winners and when they became SAHM's their dh's careers did much better. I think many people really have the same struggle as you do...you are not alone! Good luck.
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Old 02-21-2007, 11:14 AM   #13
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Been there, done that. Four years ago when we adopted our son, my husband was finishing his master's degree and working as a Sheriff's deputy. I had been working for the state for eight years and made more than him. In those eight years, I had a lot of success and had recently been elected president of my statewide professional organization. But the job required me to be on call 1-2 weekends a month and my husband was working weekends and after being away from my ds all week, I couldn't stand to do it on weekends too. Besides the fact that I didn't have anyone who I could call at the last minute to watch him if I got called out on the weekends.

So to make a long story a bit shorter, I quit about four months after I came back from maternity leave. We took a long hard look at what the worse case scenario was, (selling our home and moving into a condo or a serious fixer upper) and decided that the worse case scenario was better than what we were living with. Yes, it was really hard to have our income drop by more than half and we had to make some serious sacrifices to our life style, but four years later, I wouldn't change that decision for anything.

And things worked out quite well for us actually. We ended up not needing to sell our home because my husband was hired by a federal law enforcement agency a few months after I quit when we were still living off of savings. Then we drained our savings to refinance our home and pay off our car so we could afford to live on his starting salary (slightly more than he was making at the county.) I did some consulting/contract work to bring in a little money here and there. And now, financially we are almost back to where we were before I quit. I look back now and I don't know how we paid all our bills every months, but we somehow did it.

This is too long already but some things you won't have to pay for as a SAHM:
Daycare
Dry cleaning and a professional wardrobe
Lunch out every day
Take out as frequently for dinner when you are just too tired to cook after working all day.
Gas and additional wear and tear on your car for commuting

I also had more time to shop the ads for groceries to get the most for my dollar there.

Just wanted you to know that it can be done if that is what you decide to do. I have no regrets.
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Old 02-21-2007, 11:37 AM   #14
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You need to follow your heart...if Mommy & Daddy are not happy, or are stressed out, you can bet that that is taking a toll on your DD, whether the signs are obvious or not.

Downsizing is not a bad thing and can definitely be done!

After our DD #2 was born, I really struggled with going back to my job in a medical laboratory. I loved the work, hated the atmosphere. But DH was insistent that I return to work, because we thought we needed the income. After several months, I finally convinced him that it was far better off, for all of us, for me stay home with our children. To supplement some of the income that we would be losing, I started an in-home day care. And then a month after that, DH went away to school for 4 months. So there we were, me - self-employed with next to nothing for an income and DH - making less than 50% of his regular income. The next 6 months were horrible - financially. But we adjusted and prioritized our earnings. We learned to live with the little things and not all of the luxuries. A good friend told me "It's not the house, but the love inside that makes a home" and I will never forget that.

2 1/2 years later, we wouldn't change a thing! We have our 3rd child, DH is in a great position with his career, my day care is absolutely amazing and yes, we still enjoy the little things - like going on a family vacation every summer, like getting my nails done in spring/summer (I let them go in the fall) and of course, Stampin' Up!

Sit down with your DH and put everything on paper - income, expenses and talk about possible scenarios. In the end, follow your heart. You need to do what is best for your family and that includes YOU.
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