I quit my job in 2006 to become a stay at home mom. This dropped our income by about 1/3 while also adding a new mouth to feed. For about 2.5 years after I quit I didn’t make any money. Not a bit. So I didn’t quit my job to start a business that went gangbusters.
What really benefitted my family financially was moving my attention from working to forming a financial plan for the future. Having a tight budget made my husband and I come together financially in a way we never had before. With the pressure on it really made us sit down and hammer out exactly where we were and where we wanted to go and how we wanted to get there.
We lived on a very tight budget for a few years. We got used to watching every dollar, something we didn’t do when I was working full time. When I was working I always had a nagging feeling that we could be doing better with our money, but really, I didn’t have the time or desire to sit down and work it out.
Eventually I did find ways to make money without a formal job. In 2008 I started my first personal finance blog which really got me thinking about how to maximize our finances. That really took our budget, and dreams, to a whole new level. The blog made a little money, but nothing near a full time income. More than anything it kept our finances in the forefront of my mind.
In 2009, I had an opportunity to make a lot of money, but over a short period of time. If I had been working I would have never taken this project on. I wouldn’t have had the time or even the ability to really see this opportunity for what it was. Because of all the time and effort we had put into developing a financial plan we really made the most of the money I was earning. We knew exactly what we wanted to do with it… and we did it. We became debt free and put a down payment on a rental property.
The only splurge was a trip to Disneyland. Other than that we lived in our normal budget.
From this project alone I made up for all my lost income over the previous 3 years. But it was more than a wash because we were able to use the money so much more effectively. If I had just been working all along, even though it would have been the same amount of money, we would have used it so much differently. Our tight budget forced us to work together and determine our priorities. We had also dreamed about the future and had a plan to get what we wanted. So when extra money came along we knew exactly what we wanted to do with it.
Now I have a job I love that allows me to work from home. For me, freedom has become the #1 most important factor in a job. I make slightly more than I was making before I quit my old job but it’s a much better job overall. I like this job so much I feel like I don’t work at all. Like the project above, I fell into this job by accident. I was helping out family to get some back taxes ready and one thing led to another. Before I knew it I had a full time job. If I had been working a “real job” I wouldn’t have been able to help out in the first place. I wouldn’t ever have landed this awesome job.
And that’s how quitting my job was the best financial move I ever made.
How has adversity helped you in your life? Ever do something that seemed like it was going to be a sacrifice but actually turned out to be awesome?