APPLICANT #5: Sunni Bannon

Sunni Bannon is a mother of two from Bothell, Washington.

Here is Sunni's video application:

Here is Sunni's current situation:

"A few years ago I was a busy professional. I was pregnant with my firstborn and my midwife asked me about our progress finding daycare. I told her I was going to stay-at-home and she replied with surprise, "But you love your job!" And I realized she was right. Plus when I wrote down my husband's take-home salary and subtracted our fixed expenses I came up with a pretty tiny number. So I threw myself into the childcare search, found a place that provided exceptional care for my baby boy and went back to work when he was three months old. With supportive colleagues and an understanding boss I balanced pumping with team projects, diapers with deadlines, and international travel with ear infections. I felt like I was able to hold it all together, but barely.

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I knew I would make a change. So I left my friends, colleagues and projects to be at home with my babies. I still work just as hard! I've learned a lot about myself being at home, including a self-awareness that I love being around people that inspire me and that external deadlines motivate me. So now I am looking for part-time work so I can fulfill my needs while still being able to spend lots of time with my kids. 

Most of all, everyday I find something to celebrate — a comical comment by my 4-year old son, my 1-year old daughter doing a silly wiggle dance, or the sound of the two of them having a giggle fest — because I know this season is precious and it won't last long."

Here is Sunni's blog post:

"Before I stopped "working for money" (my previous career) to "work for love" (become a stay-at-home-mom,) I saved a little chunk of change for use in case of emergency as we transitioned to living on one salary. Every month I would find myself writing a check from savings to cover any number of "emergencies"—from date nights (cheaper than marriage counseling, I told myself) to new shoes (on SALE) and car repairs (okay, that truly is an emergency). And yet I was surprised when I realized the fund was nearly depleted. How did that happen?! Wouldn't I have noticed the rapid decline? Well… the truth is, I didn't. Two young kids kept both my husband and me very busy and our finances were not getting the attention they deserved. We had made a few spending changes and I was proud that we weren't using our credit cards, but for the most part we were living like we did when we both drew a salary.

After a brief period of panic and worry, I reminded myself that living within our means is a choice. I knuckled down and went carefully over our fixed expenses and bank records and made a budget. Candidly, it was EYE-OPENING! We are fortunate to have enough money coming in to cover our daily needs, but we don't have a lot of wiggle room. A couple of expensive dinners out, a few thoughtless purchases and one of those ever-present unanticipated expenses and wham-o, we are over budget!  No wonder the emergency fund evaporated.

So now we pay fixed expenses with our online banking and liquid expenses with cash that comes out of an old-school envelope system. In our family are certainly still learning how to use our budget muscles — we've been out of shape for a while. It isn't easy, but the challenge is balanced with a great feeling of satisfaction. I know I am making good choices for my family and our future which brings me more pleasure than the convenience purchases I was making before.

So today, instead of buying a treat from a Starbucks drive-thru (a too-busy mom's snack salvation), we are having fresh baked cookies. The grocery store had Marie Callender's Chocolate Chip Cookie mix on sale for $1.79 so even when I add the butter and eggs, I'm getting a dozen cookies for less than I would have spent on two cookies a few short months ago. And a mix is still manageable for a too-busy mom. 

It isn't true every minute, but right now, living on a budget smells pretty sweet.


The Verity Mom Team