Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Thank You - And Details

First and foremost, thank  you ALL from the very bottom of my heart for the sweet comments you all took the time to leave on my last post.  Each one put a huge smile on my face, lifting up my courage and confidence.  I have to admit - I was a little shocked each time one of you used the word "brave."  I honestly never thought of it that way!  I don't feel very brave - it's a pretty scary thing for me to do, and I almost feel obliged to do it - to follow my heart in this way - and I never imagined you all would be kind enough to call me brave.  Thank You.


I didn't want to tarnish the spirit of the last post with concrete details.  But, I did want to share some of the behind the scenes details of how we are making this whole career change thing work.

Let me tell you, it's not an easy decision to come to, to decide to do something that will not only reduce you to one income, but put you in debt too.  

So, you might have noticed my endless posts on our plight to save money and reduce our spending.  Last summer, I posted about our savings plan.  Last May, we began the cash system.  What I didn't share at the time was that all this planning was for my big change.  

At first, when I reached the decision that I was definitely going to do this, and that full-time school was really the best way to do it, we were prepared for the worst.  We seriously thought we were going to need to sell our house (and probably have to pay money at closing, given the market), move into an inexpensive apartment, and somehow manage to scrape by.

I count my blessings every day for the amazing people we have in our lives.  Tony's dad sat down with us, notepad in hand, and helped us go through every.single.detail of our budget.  We cataloged every expense and every penny we had saved up.  Through his calm guidance and outside perspective, he helped us realize that we could indeed make it work - stay in our house - with just some editing down of expenses.  He had already written up about 30 things we could do to save money.  We moved forward with a fair amount of them - we cut our cable down to nearly nothing, we cancelled our gym membership, we went to the cash system, we stopped going to Target... Tony's parents even gave us one of their cars, reducing theirs down to just one, so that we could sell Tony's truck and not have that car payment!  [Luckily, just a few months after that, Tony got a work car and phone, so we were able to give their car back and my guilt was somewhat assuaged!]  Blessings, I tell you.

When we saw it on paper, saw that it really could work - that was an amazing feeling.  We moved forward with zeal, slowly bumping up the amount we were saving each month.  Cut $50 from the Entertainment fund so we can save more? Sure!   Soon we were saving my ENTIRE paycheck, living only off Tony's (something we will be doing for real here soon!).

Again, I cannot stress more the amount that the support (financial, emotional, etc) from friends and family have helped make this happen.  It never seems to fail that things fall into place when we need them to.  This is no accident.

So we have saved a ton of money.  The savings were supposed to be so we would have a fund to help pay our bills while I wasn't working, since we didn't think we could live off of Tony's salary alone.  We would take out student loans for tuition itself.  Turns out, we've whittled our budget down so much, that we ARE living off his salary - so we will be able to probably break even each month, pending no disasters.  We are even going to try to pay for school with our savings in an attempt to avoid loans.  It's all coming together beautifully.

So back to the school part - beyond just the logistics of making this all work, I couldn't help but be so absolutely excited about the prospect of the new life I will lead as first a student, then a teacher.  While my decision to become a teacher was rooted in the desire to do something meaningful with my life, once I really thought about it, the more day-to-day perks can't hurt.  First, I will have more time for the important things in life - blogging, duh!  I know I will have busy days as a student, and certainly busy days/weeks/years as a teacher, but the home/work balance will inevitably be better than what I'm doing now.  Even if I'm doing homework, or grading student projects, I will have the flexibility to be doing this at home, with my family.  When we have children, I will be able to spend time with them - maybe even be able to help them learn better as they grow up! :)  I will have the chance to be creative each and every day.  With the field I'm currently in, long hours and big cities are pretty much required. I will now have the flexibility to live anywhere, given that there are actually open jobs!  Now, I realize that there are PLENTY of other jobs out there that offer the same benefits, even advertising ones.  And I'm not knocking those who do choose that sort of life.  However, it just wasn't the right fit for me.  I'm so excited about the potential and possibilities of my new life.

I must, too, thank the most important person in this whole deal [am I giving an Oscar speech here, or what???].  Tony.  He was absolutely 100% supportive from day 1.  He pushed me to do this, knowing better than even I did what was best for me.  We've sacrificed many things over the past year to make this work - but he's sacrificing all so I can be happy.  He lost his sports channels!  He gave up vacations!  He gave up house projects!  He was the one to really sort out the budget, call all sorts of companies to try to get cheaper rates, stays on top of our savings, etc. 

All for me.  We reorganized our lives so I could be happy.  I hope to be able to return the favor one day.


  1. I'm so excited for you, Claire! Sounds like you did this right. While it's a big move, you are being realistic and practical. Yay!

  2. You're right, it takes someone special to put aside big and little luxuries in the name of making you happy. Tony sure is a keeper :) ANyway, it sounds like you guys really did plan this out and make a lot of smart decisions. You're (and I sound like a self help book here) only setting yourself up for success, ya know?

  3. Yay details! I'm sooo excited for you!!!! :) And I'm so impressed with your budgeting and saving! Congratulations!!!!! :)

  4. Claire, you are brave! We all know how when things are out of whack for you, you don't take that well, so doing this is totally couragous for you! Tony is an awesome person and we're so happy he is in the fam. You'll do great just like you always have and will be the best teacher ever. And selfishly... I am excited for you to start blogging again! Not liking these 2 posts a week deals!! Well I love you and am so proud of you. Your very inspiring and encouraging. See you next week! xoxox

  5. What?? Did I read 'more time to blog?' Well, now I'm REALLY happy for you!! (and I =)

    Seriously, the extra perks are what make this so incredibly exciting. So much wasted driving time out of the equation. My sister-in-law is a teacher and she loves the fact that she has breaks and summer off!

    Your words/details about family support and Tony gave me chills. Very, very sweet (and true!). And your method/approach/planning to make this happen is intelligent and inspiring.

  6. Wow, wow! What an exciting time for you and Tony. I just love that you are able to recognize how much of a blessing this will be amongst all the financial worries you were having earlier.

    I also can't believe that you have such amazing in-laws. I mean my in-laws would do anything for me and my husband Chad, but it's so remarkable to see how much love he has for the two of you!

    I'm so happy for your new adventure--I don't know if you already mentioned this in a previous post, but what grades are you going to teach?


Your comments make me happy!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...