Why Families Should Live Off Only One Income Even If You Don’t Have To

In our culture, we have a culture of consumerism and spending. Too many people I know spend all or nearly all of their salaries. I find this to be the case regardless of how much money they make. I know people earning $100k a year who have no family obligations that easily spend every cent. This is also the case in many dual earning households as well.

So I’m going to propose something radical: split household spending in approximately half by only living off one person’s yearly salary in dual earning households. How to this is simple. If you are in a household where you have more than one breadwinner, simply pick one of your salaries, and then make your budget as if that’s the only money your household has. Save everything else. Let’s do an example.

Fancy drink at the bar I’m not having

Say that we have a couple, Sally and John. Both Sally and John make $50k a year for a household total of $100k gross income. Under this system, we take $50k as one of their salaries. Then shave about 20% off that for taxes (depending where you live) so we’re left with $40k of spending money per year for Sally and John. That leaves them with the other $50k salary to save. Between the 2 of them they can put $18,500 each in their 401(k)s tax free if their employers offer them. Then they can put the remaining $13,000 to building up emergency savings, putting it in their IRA, or some other savings vehicle.

One of the biggest advantages to being married is that you have not only one, but two money making machines in the family! Once you are married you can share everything, so why not share your financial security as well? Both me and my husband work, but my husband makes a little more than me. For that reason we make sure to keep our spending low enough so that everything could be covered by my salary alone. This means that we live far below our means and that we make sacrifices that aren’t typical for young working couples who don’t have children.

Fancy vacation I’m not taking this year

We kept this in mind when we applied for a mortgage, making sure to get a house that was smaller so that it was affordable on only one income. We also rarely go out to eat and never drink in bars. These sacrifices are well worth the mental well being and financial security that our lifestyle choices bring us.

Of course I realize that not everyone is married. To those single people, I encourage you to just concentrate on saving as much as you can. And for families that aren’t quite ready to live off just one salary, just saving more is a step in the right direction.


Advantages to Living Off One Salary Even If You Have Two Incomes

1. If One of You Loses a Job, You have a Built-in Safety Net

If you are in a two income earning household and one of you loses your job, it shouldn’t be a problem because you already are living off only one income. The only thing it should affect is your savings. For so many families, one breadwinner losing their jobs is enough to send the family into spiraling disaster and debt. Last year I lost my job and was out of work for several months. But we didn’t have to adjust our spending, because we were already accustomed to living off one income. We barely noticed the dip into our savings and before long I was back at work. Our lifestyle choices prevented my loss of job from being an emergency.


2. It prevents You From Working a Job You Hate

If we had not been able to live off one income, when I lost my job last year I would have been desperate to get back to work. Because when you have bills that need paying, finding a job becomes more urgent. Instead, I was able to leisurely look for another job and accept the right job when it came up instead of accepting the first thing I could get. I was able to hold out for job that was good fit the next step I was hoping to take in my career and in my life.


3. Enables You To Save More

By living off of only one income, we are able to save an amount equal to my husband’s salary in the last year. That’s significant savings!


4. Mental Well-being

By living off of only one salary, you have the mental well being of not ever having to worry about money really. You never have to live paycheck-to-paycheck because you always have one earners salary as savings. This gives you plenty of leeway if ever need more money.


Why Oral Contraceptives are Not a Magical Cure: Consequences and Ignoring the Proof

Why Oral Contraceptives are Not a Magical Cure: Consequences and Ignoring the Proof

While oral contraceptives were originally developed to be a method of birth control, they are now prescribed by doctors as a solution to almost every complaint a woman could possibly have. According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute done in 2011, 18% of women between the ages 18-44 take oral contraceptives. In the same study it was reported that 58% of women take oral contraceptives for reasons other than preventing pregnancy (That’s over half!), with women citing menstrual pain, irregular periods, heavy bleeding, and acne as the leading reasons for taking the pill.

I constantly see oral contraceptives being glorified in the media as the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to women. These portrayals worry me because women’s rights have come to be equated with the ­­­­right to oral contraceptives in many cases. However, I believe that women have the right to receive the best health care and have informed consent about what they are putting in their bodies. The decision to take oral contraceptives for birth control or for other reasons should be empowering to women so they can live their best lives. That’s why I have written this article, so you can know the truth about the dark side of oral contraceptives when you make the decision for your own body.

Like many other women from my generation I have long been on oral contraceptives for reasons that are not related to “birth control”. I started my period pretty late at age 13 and from then on it was month after month of hell. As a teenager I suffered from debilitating cramps that had me missing school, irregular periods, heavy bleeding, cystic acne, and horrible mood swings. Of course my doctor put me on birth control to regulate my periods.

Over the years I had many strange symptoms including migraines, anxiety, fatigue, digestive issues, frequent urination, and weight gain. During this time I went to doctor after doctor trying to figure out what was going on. One after the other told me that there was nothing wrong with me and didn’t offer any solutions. I was put on antidepressants to deal with the anxiety. I tried and tried to lose weight. No one believed me that I hardly ate anything and kept gaining weight. I tried running, weight lifting, interval training, yoga, swimming and rock climbing for exercise. I tried diet plan after diet plan. I counted calories. All of this resulted in little success. Doctors continued to tell me to try to lose weight through diet and exercise. I could tell they didn’t believe me when I tried to tell them what I ate and how much I exercised. I felt pretty hopeless and didn’t know what to do.

Not once in those 10 years did a doctor ever suggest that the culprit behind all of these symptoms could be my oral contraceptive pill. I even asked doctors if birth control be contributing to these symptoms. They all dismissed my concerns. It wasn’t until I started doing my own research that I discovered the dark side of the pill. Oral contraceptives have serious side effects. An oral contraceptive pill is usually NOT a cure for hormonal issues or period problems. When I went into my doctor as a teenager with my heavy painful periods and acne I was put onto birth control to “regulate” my periods. Birth control does not “regulate” your hormones. It turns them off and replaces them with synthetic hormones. It turns off your cycle, it doesn’t regulate it. When you come off the pill chances are that the symptoms and porblems that you had before will come back. These symptoms are your body trying to tell you something is wrong. By taking birth control you are only masking these problems, not fixing them. Of course, this only applies to women who take oral contraceptives for reasons other than preventing pregnancy.

Cons to Taking Oral Contraceptives
1. Birth control contains synthetic hormones. Most people explain that birth control contains estrogen and progesterone. This is a lie! Birth control pills contain synthetic versions of estrogen and progesterone. These synthetic hormones are not the same as the ones your body makes. Some of the synthetic hormones in birth control are ethinylestradiol and progestin. The effects of many of these synthetic hormones are negative and can be dangerous. For instance, one of the side effects of the synthetic progestin drospirenone in the birth control Yaz is responsible for the increased risk of blood clots. Natural progesterone has no such risk.

2. Long term use of oral contraceptives leads to vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the body. This is a little known side effect of long term use of birth control pills that can take years for you to start noticing. It has been shown that oral contraceptives deplete your body of many vitamins:

In fact, many of the side effects of birth control come from this long term vitamin and mineral deficiency.

3. Oral contraceptives have small side effects that aren’t negligible. Birth control also has many other effects which are not considered to be “serious” by medical establishment. However, that doesn’t mean these side effects are negligible to the woman taking them. Many times when I would ask my doctor about the risks of birth control I was told that the only side effect I should worry about was blood clots and since I wasn’t a smoker I shouldn’t worry. But there are many side effects of birth control which are very real and affect women every day that doctors largely ignore and don’t tell women about. These include depression, anxiety, fatigue, hair loss, skin problems, weight gain, low libido, changes to your sense of smell, insomnia, trouble building muscle, digestive issues, reduced bone density, gum disease, and lower thyroid hormones. This article “How The Pill Can Seriously Affect A Woman’s Health ” has a nice breakdown of these side effects and studies that have proven the link between these side effects and oral birth control usage.
4. Oral contraceptive use has been linked to serious diseases such as cancer. There are studies that show elevated levels of estrogen (that you get when you take the pill) can lead to an increased risk for the development of breast cancer, cervical cancer, and thyroid cancer.
5. Development of hormonal imbalances and other diseases. Ironically, the oral contraceptives are often prescribed by doctors to treat hormonal balances can actually cause them or worsen symptoms of them. Long term use can cause
hormonal imbalances such as PCOS, estrogen dominance, hypothyroidism, and insulin resistance.

My intention with this article was not to condemn the use of birth control pills, but only to draw attention to very real effects. Many women these days that receive prescriptions for birth control aren’t really practicing informed consent as many of these effects are never mentioned. Some doctors may not even be aware of some of these problems as they do not cover women’s hormones in detail in medical school (I say this based on my own conversations with people who have gone through medical school). There has also been a recent political push to make oral contraceptives even more accessible to the public. I believe that this could lead to even more women being put on these pills without truly knowing the risks.

After learning this information about oral contraceptives, I have made the informed choice to not put these compounds into my body. Someone else may make a different decision based on the information. What is important is that you know the real risks and benefits before making that choice.


Nutrients. 2013 Sep 16;5(9):3634-45. doi: 10.3390/nu5093634.
Biological variability and impact of oral contraceptives on vitamins B(6), B(12)
and folate status in women of reproductive age.
McArthur JO1, Tang H, Petocz P, Samman S.

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Jul;17(13):1804-13.
Oral contraceptives and changes in nutritional requirements.
Palmery M1, Saraceno A, Vaiarelli A, Carlomagno G.

Oral Contraceptives Increase Risk For Breast Cancer In Some Women, Meta-analysis Finds
October 31, 2006
Mayo Clinic

Contraception. 1974 Mar;9(3):305-14.
Thyroid functions of women taking oral contraceptives.
Barsivala V, Virkar K.

Obstet Gynecol Int. 2010;2010. pii: 925635. doi: 10.1155/2010/925635. Epub 2010 Aug 9.
Effects of oral, vaginal, and transdermal hormonal contraception on serum levels of coenzyme q(10), vitamin e, and total antioxidant activity.
Palan PR1, Strube F, Letko J, Sadikovic A, Mikhail MS.

You’re Married? But You’re So Young

“Wait, you’re married? But you’re so young!”

This is a phrase I hear all the time. I’m actually quite tired of it, though I imagine that it will decrease with time (Because I will be getting older). The answer is yes. Yes, indeed, I am married. But I don’t feel that young. To everyone’s credit, I do look several years younger than I actually am, so the people saying this to me probably think I’m in my early 20s when in reality I’m in my mid twenties.

Men and women are waiting longer than ever to get married in America today. This is all over headlines all the time these days. Marketing firms and old people are freaking out about it. The average age of marriage in America for the year 2017 was 27.4 years old for women and 29.5 for men. To give that context I made this graph of ages since 1970. In 1970 the average age of marriage was about 20 for a woman and 23 for man. Since then it has seemed to go have gone up roughly a year each decade. I found it interesting that in 1890 the average age was actually higher than in 1970 at 26 for men and 22 for women so this trend does go away if you go far enough back.

Marriage graph
Look I made a graph!

But anyway, this graph clearly shows that the age has been going up for around 50 years. But why? Why is it going up and what has led the world to asking me questions, demanding to know how I could possibly be married at the ripe old age of 25? I mostly get this reaction from Generation X and Millennials. If I talk to Boomers or even the Silent Generation (my Grandma) they seem to think that it was about time for me to get married at 25. In fact, my grandmother has been busy fretting about me not being married since I turned 21. When I turned 25 she called me an old maid even though I was engaged and was getting married in just a few months! (Thanks for the delightful compliment Grandma!)

When I was a teenager I noticed a strange trend in people getting married. I have no data to back this up but it seemed to me that everyone just serially dated and then married whoever they were with at age 28. They married whoever they were with at 28 even if they had in the past dated someone else who they were better suited for. I watched my older brother go through this, I watched my cousins go through this, I watched friends and friends of friends all do this. I decided I didn’t want to be like them. I wanted to marry the right person whenever they came along, if that meant getting married at 20 or never getting married. I kept that bit of information in the back of my mind as I went to college and encountered a culture that seemed simultaneously terrified and fascinated with marriage. Everyone seemed so worried about marriage as if it was some big scary topic. I noticed the same trend that I had noticed when I was younger, but it seemed like the age was creeping up towards 30 instead of 28 like I remembered when I was younger. I was taught not to talk about it. It was in the future, it wasn’t something to worry about right then.

And then I met my future husband and everything changed. I had been in relationships before but it was different with him. I instantly felt as if he had been what I was missing, like he was a home I had never had. I didn’t feel like I ever chose to marry him, I just knew I had met my future husband. It wasn’t scary, it just felt like it was the way it was supposed to be. I knew he was the one so I wasn’t going to wait around for years and years to be some “appropriate” age in order for people to approve of me putting on a white dress and saying “I do”.

I feel like people equate marriage these days with “settling down”. Our generation is bombarded by articles documenting how your 20s are supposed to be full of adventures and indecision. There are long lists of things you have to do before you’re married. But I don’t see it that way. To those lists I call BS. Marrying my husband was not the end of something. It was simply me meeting my life partner and wanting to start living my life with him at my side. And I would have done that, regardless of what age I met him.