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Dr. Laura Blog
Problems With Two-Income Marriages
11/10/2010
IconMany of you in two-income families don't have to be living on two incomes - you are choosing to do so. According to the New York-based Families and Work Institute, 79% of today's married couples have both people in the workforce.  In 1977, that percentage was 66%. There are problems with two-income marriages and families: Where children are involved, it's a given that there's a certain amount of neglect, lack of bonding time, and lack of energy. A couple's sex life often suffers because both "gave at the office" (and I don't mean sex).  I mean energy. Getting home ends up as a frenetic dash to do grocery shopping, make dinner, deal with children and pets, and very little family time. No one is at home setting the atmosphere and transforming a house into a home. A tremendous amount of income is spent on the "mechanics" of having a second job in the family, such as gasoline, food, and clothing. Job requirements of both partners very often get in the way of relationship necessities and family togetherness. And there's always precious little time for yourself. I remember many years ago, when I briefly had a television program, I did a piece on a couple (both of whom were mail deliverers) who found the motivation to become a one-income family, because they wanted to plan for children.  There was no "cold turkey" behavior here - they both continued to work for a year, putting her salary in the bank.  They lived on one income while both were working!  This served as a test, and it also gave them a chance to build up their savings. They budgeted, and then they budgeted some more.  It's amazing how much money goes out the window on things that either aren't truly necessary or are desired, but not more desired than a mom wanting to stay home with the kids. This couple discovered how little they really needed.  They made adjustments and pulled back on some things, while they kept the things that were most important to them.  Here are some ideas you can use: Ride a bicycle to most places close to home.  That gives you needed exercise that two jobs doesn't permit and it saves money on gas. Rent from Netflix instead of spending ridiculous amounts going to local movie theaters and wasting money on sodas and popcorn. Shop discount stores for clothes, and don't buy new wardrobes each season. Take vacations close to home that are filled with togetherness rather than filled with expenses. Plan meals and plan your grocery shopping so you aren't paying extra for  last-minute purchases. Don't buy sugary, fatty, unhealthy foods.  That saves a LOT of money! Sit down with your checkbook for a month and see where the money is going.  You'll realize quickly where you can cut back that might even improve the quality of life in your home. I really do believe that marriages and families do better with a division of labor, unification of purpose, priority on attitude and atmosphere, and a joint effort to make "money in/money out" be more sensible and marriage/family-friendly.
Tags: Budget, Children, Finances, Marriage, Parenting
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