While there continue to be more women writing about personal finance, the mainstream narrative is still that it is mostly men pursuing financial independence. I have a group of more than 10,000 women actively talking about money together on Facebook though, so I know well that that isn’t the case.

In order to continue one of my main goals of this site – to lift up and amplify women’s money stories – I decided to ask the group if there were more women who wanted to share a bit about their lives and their money. This is one of those stories.

Nadia is a stay at home mom of three girls and blogger over at Speaking of Cents. She and her husband began their marriage with the typical consumerist lifestyle, but pivoted early on and are well on their way to financial independence, currently debt free, including their mortgage.

Hers is another in the series I am working on growing in this blog about women who are pursuing financial independence, have reached financial freedom, or are already retired. Some are bloggers, some are not, but all are inspiring ladies who are taking control of their finances and their lives. Here is Nadia’s story.

Financial Independence as a Single Income Family of Five

Financial Independence is a term more and more people are becoming aware of. Not too many people actually believe in it as they think that it is impossible to achieve in this age of consumerism. People relate their personal well-being with the material things. It is pretty natural as a young adult, but a right shift in your mindset can make you successful in attaining the financial independence and early retirement.

How did the journey to financial independence begin for us?

I have been a personal finance blogger for about a year, but I have been good at money management for many years now. My husband and I are both on the same page when it comes to money management. We had financial some ups and downs in the beginning years of our marriage, but we recovered from them pretty quickly and made sure that we didn’t repeat the mistakes and have been debt free from them on.

We both were working full time when we got married, and like the average American, we were not very worried about our finances as we had decent money from both incomes and did not have big debt. The day-to-day was never a problem and that made us a bit careless in early years of marriage.

We had a sudden reality check when I had my car totaled and I was in the market for a new vehicle right away. I had to have a decent car, and I never would have imagined that we had maxed out all of our credit cards and did not have anything to pay towards the down payment of a new car. The feeling of helplessness that I felt at that time still haunts me.

So we did what we needed to do.

I still remember how upset it made me going through all the numbers. We had used up all our resources on the “wants” and we had no funds available for something that I really “needed” at that time. After recovering from the shock, my husband and I sat down and devised a plan. We decided to pay off our debt as soon as possible and we did everything that we needed to do in order to achieve it.

We worked extra hours, cut down all the unnecessary activities, created a tight budget for food, and after eight grueling months, we paid off our $50,000 credit card debt.

We got hooked!

It is a funny term, but after becoming debt free, we got hooked to the concept of financial independence. There was no stopping after that. We then started a family and I decided to stay home after my first born. We have managed a household on a single income for more than twelve years now. We have three kids and our family of five is living very comfortably on a single income. It has been so long that everything feels like normal to me now.

Most of my friends and family wonder how we have managed our finances with our traveling and a single income. This is the biggest reason why I started blogging. I had a strong feeling that if I have been able to learn and implement these money management strategies, others can do it too.

My aim from my blog is to make people aware that living debt free is an option and with a little bit of upfront work and a lot of dedication, they can do it too.

FIRE was with us even before we knew it

The more I wrote, the more I understood the concept of FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early). I know FIRE is becoming a popular phenomenon and millennials are also getting behind this idea, but if I look back on the last ten years of my life, I feel like I have been working on it already.

We successfully paid off our first house in three years and have been living debt free for more than seven now. We have been traveling and enjoying life with our kids more often and this is all happening solely on my husband’s income.

How do we plan to achieve financial independence?

The plan for getting to FIRE is the same that we have been following for several years now:

• Living with minimal things

• Cooking and prepping food at home

• Opting for budget friendly vacations where we pay more attention to making memories and less to spending money

• Never buy anything unless it is on sale or any kind of discount on it

• Never shop without coupons/money saving apps

• Growing my blog into an online business

• Investing money in real estate

If life does not throw us a curve ball, all these things are doable, and I believe we can reach financial independence and retire at much faster pace.

Teaching our children about money

The bigger goal with this lifestyle is to make our kids understand how they can manage their lives better by adopting these smart money moves. As parents, we want our kids to be proud of how we are living and why we have adopted this lifestyle. They are too young to understand, but I am sure they are catching on to these tiny mindful things they see on daily basis and will take these lessons with them as they grow.

Nadia

 

45 thoughts on “Chasing Financial Independence as a Single Income Family of 5

  1. Thank you for reaching out and allowing women to share their stories here. It benefits all of us. Congratulations to Nadia for learning, and sharing, her experiences with the rest of us.

    Debbie

  2. Sadly, my parents taught me nothing about money and financial independence. I’m trying to learn it all little by little. Finally out of bad debt!

  3. It makes me happy that this article is about a family with a single income like ours – I feel like too many FIRE articles are about DINKS.

    I do wish, however, that there was more detail. I do think the backstory is valuable in helping illustrate the motivation to become financially independent, but wanted to read more. I guess I’ll have to check out Nadia’s blog. 🙂

    1. Totally agree – but hard to tell a full story in a single post! Good thing she has a blog too 🙂

    2. Thank you for your kind words. I do have detailed posts about my journey and you are most welcome to visit my site.

  4. Your husband is blessed with a great life partner, as am I. We’ve had a single income for over thirty years and achieved financial independence long ago. Having a frugal, brilliant, stay at home spouse is a superpower none of my competition in the corporate arena could counter. I was good, but she was the key to our success. It can be either spouse, but an equal partnership between a stay at home manager and a high earner can be a winning combination. Great post!

    1. Thank you for your kind words Steve. We have seen some ups and downs but I am thankful for all the great experiences that we have achieved together. He is definitely my ROCK.

    2. Thanks Steve. I truly believe it is only possible with the teamwork. My husband has helped me and motivated throughout the process and has always kept his sanity through the difficult times. He definitely is our rock and I am blessed to have him by my side.

  5. Thanks for highlighting Nadia, Angela! Nadia, do you have any intentional things you are doing with your kids to help them on the road to financial literacy and independence? I was also a FIRE person before I knew what FIRE was but discovered the online community through a Google search of how to teach my kid about money. So I’m super curious about your thoughts.

    1. We sure are. I am pretty sure my kids have picked up a few of my frugal habits over the years. They know their mama will not go shopping unless she has coupons :). We have decided not to do gifts this Christmas and we are planning to donate that money to charity. My older ones are okay with that but my 5 year old is not taking it so well. She is too young to understand but they all know how life can be spent with minimalism.

    2. Thanks Liz. I definitely am living a life that is impacting the spending habits of my kids, intentionally or unintentionally. My oldest one knows and actually thinks it’s pretty exciting that Mama would not buy anything without a coupon or promotion. We are also planning on donating the Christmas spending towards local church this year and thankfully my older kids are perfectly fine with it. My 5 year old, however is not very happy that she is not getting any gifts this year.

  6. Nice work! I appreciate more the stories of others who started the journey with a conversion of sorts. Having to overcome a mountain of debt and bad spending habits to becoming a disciple of FIRE – that’s compelling. Thanks for sharing — seems more and more people are getting the message!

    1. The concept of FIRE is becoming a phenomenon and I am pretty excited about it. I am waiting for a term for FIRE community something along the lines of “keeping up with jones’s”

  7. The title of this post instantly caught my eye, being a single income family of 5 ourselves here.
    Our make-up is different, however, as I have 4 kids.
    The thing that really jumped out at me was how quickly and ruthlessly you jumped onto the problem of debt once it was staring you in the face – well done!

    1. For my husband and I, it was a no-brainer. I am glad we did it when we did it. Keeping up with it is also not easy but we are committed.

  8. Such an inspirational story! I too am a blogger working to create financial independence for my family. Thanks for sharing this and showing what is possible.

    1. Thank you for showing love to my story. I am a firm believer that you will achieve the goals if you put your mind to it and give it your 100 percent. For some it happens quicker than others depending on their circumstances. We were lucky enough to achieve it earlier than later.

    1. Thank you Rachel. It is the biggest goal right now and with my middle schooler it becomes hard at times but I am a stubborn mama 😉

  9. One of our goals these days is to work on teaching the kids how to manage their money and stay financially smart, mindful, and careful. Great post, Nadia. Always love to read your words of wisdom.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Jenny. It becomes tough with older ones and I know because I am dealing with a middle schooler but I am not giving up because I am a STUBBORN mama 😉

  10. This is such a heartening read. We realised a few years ago that it’s not about money and having things but about making memories and we make similar savings in our lives.

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