Making it work. While staying at home. [pt. 1]

Recently I got a comment asking for some tips/ideas for how you can be a stay at home Mom and "make it work" financially.

I know its not the situation for everyone, but for us, its hard work, lots of creativity, and sticking to a budget (and the truth is, sometimes we are better at it than other times).

This article had some great ideas for saving money and trimming your budget. I will say this...I don't advocate every idea they suggest, but, if it works for your family, go for it. (I'm all for trying the no buying clothes for a year challenge and 2011 is right around the corner. Anyone else in on that with me?)

Losing my income was tough, but it wasn't impossible. And in so many ways I realized how much we used my salary for all the frivolous extras that we didn't really need in the first place. If you are still working and thinking about starting a family, I only have three suggestions:

1-try and live off of one income now. (if you can). its good practice and it can't hurt.
2-save save save.
3-pay off debt. aggressively. if you dont have any, thank Jesus and save more.

There are a few things that we still enjoy that we haven't changed:

-my iPhone, it serves too many purposes and I feel like its worth every dollar.

-date nights. every Monday night without fail, Seth and I go out. we have managed to use gift cards, finding deals from time to time on restaurant.com, and also finding local restaurant deals (major plug for Mama Lucia's who do pasta night on our date night)

I don't coupon for groceries. We eat organic/local food. I still love expensive things and I'm a huge shopper, but it can be done. At the end of the day, I am cheap and I love a challenge.

Other stay at home Moms, please weigh in, I would love to hear other's thoughts and ideas.


Andrea said...

i'm not a stay-at-home mom, but my husband and i are currently in a season of living off my income only - and it's quite a meager one, let me tell ya (praise the Lord this season is almost over!). money is super tight, but we make it work too. i grew up in a family where money was always tight, so i had years of learning from my mom's frugality and creativity that has served me so well in this season. a few things i've learned that can help:

1. self control. buy what you truly need, not what you want. aaand you might need to reevaluate your definition of "need." :) you'd be surprised at how much of a difference this makes.

2. plan. this helps guard against impulsive purchasing decisions and can save you money if you are strategic with sales and specials. (i'm not a big coupon-er, but the wal*mart near my house will match any current sale price from other major stores. if i plan out my grocery list based on everything that's on sale everywhere, it cuts the bill down tremendously.)

3. on the grocery note - as my cousins jokingly put it, "buy ingredients, not food." almost every time, purchasing the components of a meal/food item is much cheaper than buying it ready made.

4. another grocery tip - this might be a bit of a sacrifice for some, especially if you're a "foodie" like Janet :-) - but choose to make simple and inexpensive meals. my husband is super easy going when it comes to meals so we regularly have pasta and sauce with salad and toast, black beans heated over white rice with steamed broccoli, or potato/cheese/broccoli soup with bread and butter.

5. make your own cleaning products. equal parts rubbing alcohol and water makes for a great universal surface and floor cleaner, for example. i also just recently made approx 1-2 months worth of dishwashing detergent and laundry detergent for less than $10. and it's natural!

6. some electric/water companies have special rate plans that charge you more/less during certain times of the day. strategizing within a savings plan made a huge difference for my parents.

7. like i mentioned above, i'm not a mom yet, but i have a couple friends who have recently begun using cloth diapers for their kids. the diapers are definitely "new and improved" from what my parents used on me, and they are definitely a financial investment up front, but the long-term savings is pretty crazy-good. yes, they require more time than the 2 seconds it takes to wrap up a soiled diaper and toss it in the trash. but for some people, paying in time is worth it/needed to not having to pay in money. i'm very seriously considering looking into this when i have kids.

jan, thanks for the link and for your thoughts. hope mine are helpful as well. :)

kelly c said...

great post, friend! i have changed things over the years (i just thought about it and wow, almost 5 years i have been a s.a.h.m.- such a blessing!) anyway, we eat WAY differently, we do not eat out (or it is major , major limited), no nickel and dime stuff as hubby calls it (like no 7-11 runs, no $15 shirt here & there, no random starbucks or grabbing a bite when out), use cloth napkins rather than paper, etc... love chatting about this & learning what other people are doing - maybe chat next time i see or talk to you? again, great post. may God give you creativity to serve your fam as you stay at home & "tighten the belt." you are an amazing momma & wifey. love you!

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