The following is a guest post swap from Mom’s Plans. She has a wonderful blog that is a reflection of her current goals in life. Please see my article on what financially motivates me over at her site – What Motivates Me to be Financially Responsible
When my husband and I were first married, we were motivated to live frugally because we were living on my income while my husband attended graduate school, and I had $20,000 worth of student loans. Money was very tight for the first few years.
We began to get some breathing room about three years into our marriage, but soon after, our son was born. Any breathing room we had disappeared, forever. No, I jest, but we have certainly made many financial sacrifices to educate our son.
My husband was born in Japan, and his entire family still lives there, and they only speak Japanese. We knew we wanted to raise our children to be bilingual. We first found out there was a Japanese school in our area when our son was one. My husband always wanted him to attend the school, but we didn’t know how we would afford it.
Meanwhile, my husband bought Japanese kids’ books to read to him, and he tried to speak Japanese to him. However, because my husband never spoke any Japanese to anyone except our toddler who couldn’t yet speak, he began to lose some of his Japanese. Plus, it was hard for my son to pick up the language when he only learned it in bits and pieces when my husband spoke to him in Japanese.
At age 3, our son was eligible to enter Japanese school; tuition was $750 a month. It was a sacrifice to send him there, but we were both committed to it. I loved watching my son gain confidence as a Japanese speaker, and his obaachan (grandma) was delighted when he could speak to her on the phone in Japanese. In addition to the language skills, my husband also liked that my son was learning about the Japanese culture and the Japanese approach to education focusing on group activities and helping and cooperating with one another.
When our son graduated from Japanese school after kindergarten, my husband and I sat down and figured out how much we had invested in his Japanese education—the total was over $27,000! I was shocked; that could have been a good down payment on a house.
Yet, I am appreciative of the environment my son was educated in, and I am impressed with his Japanese skills. When we fly to Japan, he will be able to communicate with his relatives; it should increase his job prospects when he gets older.
We now also have two little girls who are nearly 1 and 2.5 years old. Japanese school is right around the corner for our oldest daughter. We are not sure how we are going to pay for it. It is something we discuss every few months. We feel additional pressure now because our last two children are so close in age; they will be attending Japanese school at the same time for about 2 years. That is A LOT of tuition.
If we can’t find the money, we won’t send them, but both my husband and I want to find a way to send them, even if it means not buying a house for a few more years or not going out to eat as often as our friends or driving a car that is 8 years old. Our children, and the desire to teach them to be fluent Japanese speakers, are our motivation to be financially responsible.
Melissa blogs at Mom’s Plans where she writes about learning to live a fulfilling life on less.