Investing in Myself: What Does it Look Like While Having Kids?

As we enter the land of having two munchkins, our expenses and budget are becoming tighter than ever. Consequently, it seems like an odd time to invest in myself.

Having been frugal for a long time mostly out of choice, this life change is going to feel different. Daycare alone could be $17,000 a year for the next two years. Of course, once munchkin 1 goes to Kindergarten, things will change a bit. 

But not really. And I’m not sure what to make of it.

  • Do we create a bigger cushion (aka - emergency fund)?
  • Do we keep investing at the same rate?
  • Do we funnel our savings into college funds?
  • Do we decide to never have pets again once our old buddies pass away (booo)
  • Do we eat only rice and beans?

Or do I spend money on myself as I never have before?!

Cha-ching! Let me explain.

Good Life vs. Great Life

I have to face some brutally honest things about myself.

I’m not very motivated to make money. I never have been. (Look at my career choices - musician and teacher.)

Even when I make money, I spend it in ways that don’t really motivate me to make more. I aim for responsibility, and I’m pretty simple. Freedom with my time is about the only thing that motivates me. And now - MY KIDS.

Some of you might be thinking - what’s the problem lady? Well...

Is there such a thing as being too responsible? Could this be a habit that doubles down once you have children? To the point you limit yourself and take care of basic needs but never reach your creative potential

  • What would be out of my comfort zone at this point? Spending money on myself related to my business.
  • What would be really out of my comfort zone? Spending money on myself for no reason whatsoever.

A thought came to me the other day…

"If you play it safe, you are probably going to have a really good life. No regrets. But if you take some risks at the right time and in the right places, you are going to have a great life.”

Two Savings Paths Diverged in the Woods

While there are plenty of free ways to invest in yourself, I’m thinking about pursuing paths that will cost money. I’ve finally clarified a PhD is out of the question. (As time goes on, I feel great about this decision). 

However, now the ways I want to invest in myself feel a little untraditional. I like to make albums, write, and indulge in completely random ideas. My critical voice sometimes says these are for someone in their 20s (not their 30s). I’m trying to tell that voice to bug off. Of course, I’m trying to do it “responsibly.”

How? Extra Savings

  • Selling items
  • Creating low-risk online adventures
  • Freelance writing
  • Opening up myself to monetizing the blog (Amazon affiliates and maybe even Patreon)

Then? Spending

  • Buying tech items (such as another computer, software, hoop light, etc.)
  • Buying well-researched courses
  • Buying time (daycare in the summer 3 days a week)
  • Paying to have the songs mastered (if I don’t feel confident doing it myself by then)
  • Buying vinyl and CD versions of the album (but not as many as last time)
  • Trying out paid advertising
  • Launching my physical products/merch (mentioned in a previous post)

Basically, I’m keeping track of every penny I make outside of my traditional employment and giving myself permission to spend it on the above. 

This is money I would have otherwise invested (we sure don’t max out all of our tax-advantaged accounts at this point). Also, we don’t max out the 529 plans yet, so if my head really wants to be brutal on myself, investing in me means “taking” from them.

But what if I can get something off the ground that eventually makes money on the side in an enjoyable way?

Happy mom = happy family. 

What do you think of this logic? Do you think I will be motivated to make anything on the side if I only put it back into myself?

How have you justified spending money on risky business endeavors?

DISCLAIMER: AS ALWAYS, IF YOU NEED PSYCHOLOGICAL OR FINANCIAL ADVICE PLEASE SEEK A PROFESSIONAL FOR YOUR SPECIFIC SITUATION

 

6 Replies to “Investing in Myself: What Does it Look Like While Having Kids?”

  1. This is a great post! I was just going through my old posts about the cost of daycare and found a prescient comment from you where you were talking about calculating how your own daycare costs might affect your finances. (Congrats on kid2 by the way!!)

    I have been dabbling with investing in myself in 2020. I think the most difficult resource for me to come up with is time. And sometimes setting aside time for my various interests fills me up and sometimes it just makes me frustrated. Your mileage may vary I guess.

    I also took on a freelancing project side hustle and have been pouring that money into my own blog to help it grow. Investing actual dollars in it made me take it a lot more seriously, but also I’m not sure I want it to be serious.

    I think you’re asking the right questions though!

    1. I think it would be interesting to have a record of comments I’ve left on other sites (like yours – who knows what I was thinking or what life was like then!) So much changes!

      Time is my biggest battle too… mostly because I value downtime and know daydreaming keeps me healthy and happy. As far as the blog goes, I think it’s a little remnant of the self I knew when I was younger, so I keep it around as a testament to the fact that me as a sole artistic entity still exists… somewhere. Best wishes to you with the blog and deciding how seriously to take it. Thanks for the comment!

  2. it’s funny how priorities change. i was flying seat of the pants until i had to figure out how to invest mrs. smidlap’s retirement savings. we don’t have kids but it sure was different from when it was just me. once we were married we paid all the bills together and had similar paying jobs. my overtime (blood money) was mine to keep/spend/invest how i wanted and her painting money was all hers. that being said we didn’t waste it but she plows most of painting sales back into materials and such. i think you’re on the right track with happy mom=happy family. i hope you don’t forget that.

    1. Thanks for sharing Freddy. I think most of us fly by the seat of our pants for a long time until we are faced with a big challenge. Looks like you figured out how to help her with investing:) I will probably operate like your wife… pouring money back into myself. In general, we (my husband and I) have similar paying jobs and similar values so it’s no problem to blend it and then use our side money here and there on ourselves for projects Money we earn ourselves on the side is sure empowering for a variety of reasons. Nice to see this is a common approach!

  3. Wow! Childcare is certainly spendy! I had no idea. Anywho, I love the idea of using the non-traditional income to exclusively support your ‘investing in me’ endeavors like time, music, etc. Definitely an awesome idea.

    I am much the same in that I attempt to fund my unnecessary ‘wants’ like board games, books, music equipment, etc. by generating income in other ways. Generally, it means selling something or a quick professional project. My commitment to myself is that any of that $ can only be spent on things that bring me joy, so I can’t use it to buy socks or stuff like that. Anyway, I find it motivating and think you will as well!

    1. Thanks Mr. Fate for validating the “invest in me” approach. “Unnecessary wants” is a good way to put it. Selling other things has been my favorite way to fund “the unnecessary” so far. “Money only spent to bring joy” is a category to add to our budget for sure! Otherwise our house eats our money up! While having a nice house is fun, I sure hope we make more time for experiences in the future (especially unique experiences with our sons). Best wishes navigating your fun money! Booo to socks!

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