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Two Kids, A Dog, and a Teacher’s Salary

It was October, in the year 1999, and I had my first trimester of pregnancy under my belt. I had worked three part time jobs, while the hubby was in school, and now he was making the big bucks, as a teacher. I no longer HAD to work and put in my notice, at Costco, to become a stay at home mom! We felt like we were rolling in the dough and had more than enough. Living on one income seemed to be a breeze!

Fast forward 15 years and I’m still a stay at home mom. Steve taught for 12 years before he became an administrator, four years ago. I’m amused that, even though we are now in the six figure mark, the money struggles are real. How in the world did we ever do it on a teacher’s salary?

How We Thrived On A Teacher’s Salary

No Car Payments

That’s the kicker, right there. Steve purchased a new truck when he started working. It was the big well-deserved splurge. We had a huge down payment and paid it off within a year. My car was paid for. Car payments make a huge dent in your income.

Limited Vacations

Our vacations were few and far between. We took a road trip out to see Steve’s family but, other than that, we just didn’t go anywhere. In 2012, we took an awesome 21 day road trip, in celebration of Steve’s new job. Since then, we have had lots of daycations.

Rarely Ate Out

It’s just something we didn’t do often because it didn’t fit in the budget and I’m a vegetarian so eating out wasn’t too exciting anyway.

Lived Within Our Means

We didn’t spend more than we earned. Period.


Need something to do? Volunteer! I have always volunteered at church and the kids’ schools. I’m slowing down, in this department, but it was a lot of fun and kept my mind working.


We did everything we could, ourselves. No hiring out the yard work or moss removal or cleaning the house. After Steve’s big job change, we hired a lawn service but have since decided to mow our own lawn. After having our front hill landscaped, it is now much easier to mow.

Didn’t Hire Babysitters

Babysitters get paid a lot! Grandma and Grandpa made excellent sitters, when needed.

Used Hand Me Downs

We’ve never been big on thrift store shopping or purchasing used items but we were incredibly blessed with hand me downs from my sister’s kids. We rarely had to buy clothing for our kids which was a huge savings.

Sold Stuff We No Longer Used

Those GeoTrax, sitting in your son’s closet, might be worth a lot on eBay! We cleaned out our rooms twice a year and sold the items we no longer wanted on eBay, Craigslist, or at a yearly garage sale.

Lived Small

We lived in a 900 square foot duplex that I had purchased at the age of 21. The rent from the other side, of the duplex, covered most of the mortgage. Sure, the kids shared a room and our friends lived in nicer houses but it was perfect for us! When we were ready to move, we had a ton of equity built up in the duplex.

Living on one income was tough. I’m not gonna lie. Being a single income family takes hard work and sacrifice but it is so worth it! The cost of daycare would have significantly eaten into any paycheck I would have brought home and guess what? We survived! Living on a single income was possible with two kids, a dog, and a teacher’s salary!

Two kids, a dog, and a teacher's salary.
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