For the first five years of our marriage, my husband and I were DINKs (Dual Income No Kids). Life was pretty simple back then. Without kids, we both worked full time and didn't mind working extra jobs or early morning hours. We traveled, we saved and we went out to dinner whenever we wanted. Indeed, budgeting was easy when I was a DINK.
Money In Savings
Although we have always been middle class, two teaching salaries allowed us to put a little bit of money away each month. Little by little, we saved about $20,000. This money saved us when we had emergencies. While most of our savings is now gone, we are working at rebuilding our emergency fund. When you are a DINK, it's a lot easier to save.
After having kids, I stopped working at my day job. Learning to live on one income has been difficult. We have eliminated luxuries like cable and our gardener. I seldom get my hair and nails done. We have grown accustomed to living a simpler life. It's easy to spend an extra $500 to $1000 a month on things you really don't need.
Before we had children, we lived in a two bedroom condo without a backyard. That was all of the room we needed. A few years before having our first child, we moved into a three bedroom house with a backyard. Our mortgage is about $900 more than it used to be. In addition, we now have a yard that needs to be maintained and there are more repairs. Still, with two kids and four animals, it's nice to have the extra room.
When I was a DINK, I didn't worry about my food and gas budget much. We always had enough money to go out to eat, to the movies and on vacations. After our second year of marriage, we took a two week trip to Italy. Now, we still have fun but we have to make a budget when planning family outings. I know we won't be going on any international trips for about ten years. It's just not in our budget anymore.
Kids are Priceless
You really can't put a price on your children. No matter how tough our finances get, we will always put our family first. Being a DINK may have been easier on my budget. However, being a parent is priceless.
*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.
More from this Contributor:
- Family & Relationships
- Banking & Budgeting