The Winner of the October 2015 Call to Action!

The Winner of the October 2015 Call to Action!

Woman with brown hair and sunglassesLife on Mars. The secret to happiness. Whether work-life balance truly exists.

These are the concepts that continue to elude us, despite an endless pursuit to find out whether they can ever be achieved.

At least on the work-life balance front, some corporate progress has been made, with a few major companies recently revamping their paid parental leave policies.

But with those kinds of initiatives so recent, we figured there had to be a lot of individuals taking matters into their own hands when it comes to carving out family time.

That led us to pose our October Call to Action: Have you ever made a financial sacrifice for the sake of better family work-life balance?

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From the recent college grad delaying her professional career to care for sick grandparents, to the person who let go of a stressful side gig when the money wasn't worth it, our readers' experiences run the gamut of work-life balance woes.

Thanks to everyone who shared!

And congratulations to this month’s winner, who will receive $100 to help her achieve her financial goals: Tammy Soto, a radiation therapist from New York City.

Tammy started her demanding career with a toddler in tow, which meant she already had a stretched schedule. When she found she couldn't put her growing family first, she and her husband decided that a smaller paycheck was worth better work-life balance.

Here's her story.

"I began my career as a radiation therapist at a great hospital-based job about 15 years ago when my first son, Kai, was just 3 years old.

At that job, there were only three treatment machines and few staff members to handle the 120 patients that came through each day. That often meant grueling 10- to 12-hour days.

It took two long and hard years of not seeing my son before I made the decision to switch jobs. I faced a $10,000 pay cut by moving to a different location under the same hospital, but I knew it meant I could be more flexible with my time.

Prior to making the move, my husband, Michael, and I had sat down many times to discuss how beneficial the change would be: I would get to enjoy my baby boy and spend more time with my husband; I’d have a shorter and less stressful commute; and, best of all, I could come home in time to have dinner like a real family—just as I had always wanted.

I relished being more present in my son’s life. My new hours meant I was able to take him to school in the morning, pick him up in the afternoon, drive him to appointments as needed, and even see his school plays and performances.

Michael and I even went on to have two more children—Skylar, now 12; and Lenai, now 6.

To be sure, it definitely wasn’t easy adjusting to the pay cut—especially in an expensive city like New York.

In order to cut down on daycare costs—which would have run us about $12,000 a year per kid—my husband left his job as a maintenance worker to stay at home with the little ones. While at home, he studied to become a pesticide technician, for which he could set his own schedule to meet with clients. To this day, he continues his business from home and sets his schedule in a way that helps keep the household running.

It was hard, but once you have the essentials down and hash out a money plan of action, you learn to adjust to your income and make the best of it over time.

My oldest son is now 17, a graduating senior and the wide receiver of his high school football team. I've been able to see every game he’s played since he was 6 years old.

The decision we made so many years ago has helped me enjoy the moments in life that matter most. The bond with my children is immeasurable because they know I will always be there for what's important.

In the end, being there for my family meant so much more than having a bigger paycheck. After all, what good is the extra cash if you’re always too exhausted to enjoy it with the ones you love most?"

Thanks for sharing, Tammy!

RELATED: 7 Simple, 30-Second Habits That Can Help Boost Your Career and Finances

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