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How hard is it, really?

My DH and I live w/ my parents - we got pregnant young and my parents are helping us out till we can get a place. We found houses for sale that are nice but cheap, making the payments for us only about 500/mo, including utilities and taxes and insurance. Its a screaming deal we don't want to pass up. But, we are barely making ends meet NOW, w/ DH's income of $12/hr and we aren't paying ANY rent to my parents. Just car payments, phone bills, groceries, etc. I'm just wondering how other families do it - how you pay rent or mortgages on a low-ish income, and avoid doing daycare? I just want to know what other families have done to avoid daycare, and how we can ever hope to buy a house, even though the mortgage payments are lower than rent would be ANYWHERE!

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Asked by Anonymous at 4:48 PM on Dec. 31, 2009 in Money & Work

Answers (25)
  • Also take into consideration that when you own a house, when something breaks, you have to pay to fix it. I would wait until you had a good chunk in savings for repairs, etc.. JMO

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:52 PM on Dec. 31, 2009

  • we were in the same exact boat as you are now !

    i stay home with the kids..and my husband makes $13/h ... we lived with my parents until this past september...then we found this nice house to rent for $350 about $400 for utlities and car payment and insurance...honestly the only way we are able to do it is by having food stamps... we pay our own insurance and everything...but we still qualify for food stamps we get like $230/ month..we also add some of our money with it to get more....but if it wasnt for that we would be struggling ! we are also saving up and I plan on going to school / getting a job when my youngest starts school...until then we are good living this way...

    also our water heater just busted the other day ...if we were not renting it would have cost us over $300 ..and we would have needed that at that time..just a few days after chrismas..but since we are renting our landlord payed. Just rent !!

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:03 PM on Dec. 31, 2009

  • Sometimes home ownership is a liability, if you think about it its not really an asset until your mortgage is paid, it only produces bills not income. Don't rush into a bad deal b/c you prefer to be in your own place. If this is the right thing it will just happen, it won't be stressful it will be a blessing.

    As far as paying bills, figure out what you are both really good at and what you like and do it on the side to make money. My husband fixes computers on the side and lends his music recording equipment to ppl.

    Answer by 1st_LadyD at 5:06 PM on Dec. 31, 2009

  • First.... pay everything off - cars, credit cards, etc. Then save your money. Then once you have about 3 months of expenses in savings.... (gas, electric, phone, TV, etc) then consider a nice, but not extravagant apartment. Maybe once your child is in school (I assume from your post that he/she isn't), you can get a job.

    I say stay with your parents for a while (unless they are pushing for you to move). You are looking at a while before moving - if you are wanting to do it at the right time. I have learned from experience that buying a home before you are financially ready can cost you everything and if you are not making ends meet now - it will be even harder once you are in your own place. There are so many expenses that you can't even think about right now. So take advantage of your NO rent and SAVE your money. Even if it's 10% for now. Income tax return.... SAVE it... anything extra.... SAVE. (con't)

    Answer by ratchetlee at 5:07 PM on Dec. 31, 2009

  • When my husband made that low of an income I worked too. We waited to have kids until he was making mid 6 figures. Why not work opposite shifts? My friend and her husband do that they never pay for daycare and can afford to live. Not always easy but you do what you have to so your self sufficient.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:09 PM on Dec. 31, 2009

  • If you want to work and avoid paying for child care, get a job working opposite hours as your husband does. If he works days, get a job working nights, or deliver papers in the morning before he has to go to work. Your car payments are probably one of the biggest things holding you back. Work extra hard and get at least one car paid off so that you will have the extra money every month. People that want homes badly enough sacrifice to get them. You don't NEED a new car, you WANT new cars. You can save a lot of money by getting rid of all of the things you really don't NEED, like phones and such. Can your parents help you out right now in the child care dept, so that you can start working now? That would be a great way to get started towards your goals.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:09 PM on Dec. 31, 2009

  • (con't) Trust me, living on credit is bad. A home can produce more bills than you realize. If the roof leaks - you have to pay for it. I think if you want to build a future financially - you are best to save. Time flies, so you are not stuck in this situation forever, although it may seem like it.

    Get Dave Ramsey's book from the library... it'll make you think about a lot of stuff you haven't before.

    Good luck! Don't be in a hurry... ok!

    Answer by ratchetlee at 5:10 PM on Dec. 31, 2009

  • OP - Renting just isn't an option. In our part of the country (NW), rent is sky-high (a 2 br with a yard for our dog would set us back 900 - 1000/mo if it wasn't a dump, a 3 br would run 1100 - 1300, and that rarely includes utilities). So, to find mortgage payments that are around 300, making our total payment of mortgage, insurance, and taxes and some utilites under 500/mo, it seems like to buy is the only option. And these houses are NICE - nice yards, 3 - 4 bedrooms, houses that we could conceivably stay in for 10 or 20 years, you know? We'd be making an investment that renting would never compare to.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:10 PM on Dec. 31, 2009

  • Get rid of all your other debt. You don't HAVE to have a car payment. And you don't HAVE to have credit card debt and student loans etc.

    I'd honestly wait until you can spare at least $500 a month before buying a house. That would be horrible if you guys got foreclosed on.

    Get on a written budget, pay off the debt that you do have. Maybe think about down grading your car(s). Cut up the credit cards etc. I wouldn't be surprised if you can cut your expenses down to where you have an extra $500 a month that you could use for a home or apartment.

    Check out for more info. And check out the Dave Ramsey Fans group on Cafemom.
    GOOD LUCK :)

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:23 PM on Dec. 31, 2009

  • OP--Do your parents help with child care, so that you can also get a job? If the two of you were working, and your parents helping with child care you would be able to save up. Would your parents help with a down payment or temporary loan that you could pay back over a set timeframe?

    While living with your parents, you could look into home-based businesses--if you have good phone and computer skills, you should look into home-based customer service jobs--which is great as you can set your hours around your child's schedule!

    Other ideas!


    Answer by LoriKeet at 5:25 PM on Dec. 31, 2009

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