SAHMs, I need your tips

cajuncurlscajuncurls Posts: 270Registered Users
I just found out we're having #2, (#4 for me), and working was hard enough with just Elli, so I'm putting in my notice and staying home with my babies.
No more paycheck, but I live in the country (300 acres of leased farmland, 2 barns but no animals), am good with a sewing machine and love to cook, so surely I should be able to make up for my lost income.
How do you stretch a buck to make the most of one paycheck?
Did you do it for love? Did you do it for money? Did you do it for spite? Did you think you had to, honey?
- Eagles

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Comments

  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I don't really stretch a buck, but when we did the math of how much it costs for both parents to work (daycare, commuting expenses, work clothes, lunches out, maximum social security taxes on both incomes, etc.), I found I hardly made anything at all, so there wasn't much to make up for. Really take a look at your taxes, because that's where you will find the most "savings". Tax laws are written to favor one parent staying home.
  • LilyWavesLilyWaves Posts: 224Registered Users
    I don't have children yet, but when I do, I would like to stay home with them...at least until they are in school. I have often wondered how well it would really work. I just read this article today and it discusses living on one income. http://finance.yahoo.com/expert/article/moneyhappy/81176
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  • beliciousbelicious Posts: 196Registered Users
    My best advice is to buy as much as possible used. I bought bags of baby clothes from craigslist. They are cute and I saved tons of money. And same goes for shoes! And toys! Make big meals ahead of time and freeze. Make baby food.

    I have to say though that I thought being a SAHM was gonna be easier than going to work. It's been the toughest job of all, but of course, I love it more than anything too....
    Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage. Anais Nin
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  • LilyWavesLilyWaves Posts: 224Registered Users
    Oh, here's another article I found on BabyCenter.com that you may find useful: "Nine Ways to Slash Your Family's Spending" http://www.babycenter.com/0_nine-ways-to-slash-your-familys-spending_1497557.bc
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  • subbrocksubbrock Posts: 8,212Registered Users
    I don't really stretch a buck, but when we did the math of how much it costs for both parents to work (daycare, commuting expenses, work clothes, lunches out, maximum social security taxes on both incomes, etc.), I found I hardly made anything at all, so there wasn't much to make up for. Really take a look at your taxes, because that's where you will find the most "savings". Tax laws are written to favor one parent staying home.

    i agree. it would actually cost us more for me to go back to work!
  • internetchickinternetchick Posts: 6,191Registered Users
    Clearance racks. Also, an upright freezer really helped me. I buy all our meats on sale, and this allows me to stock up. Discount shops like Ross are great for toys for birthdays, not so much clothes, but I get great deals on shoes. I can buy much better shoes there than what Payless or Target has to offer. Usually cheaper or sometimes the same price, and they last much longer.
  • curly_keltiecurly_keltie Posts: 791Registered Users
    belicious wrote: »
    I have to say though that I thought being a SAHM was gonna be easier than going to work. It's been the toughest job of all, but of course, I love it more than anything too....

    Sorry to guano this thread - but the above is totally true!

    I work full time and my job is no where near as difficult or draining (or rewarding) as being a SAHM (on the weekends and holidays)

    To the OP - congrats on your pregnancy!
    Long, blonde, 3a/mostly b hair.

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  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    belicious wrote: »
    I have to say though that I thought being a SAHM was gonna be easier than going to work. It's been the toughest job of all, but of course, I love it more than anything too....



    I disagree. I've worked while parenting, and also been a SAHM. Being a full-time SAHM is definitely easier, for me anyway. I found working, even part-time, while parenting to be really difficult.
  • Jenny CJenny C Posts: 1,195Registered Users
    I don't really stretch a buck, but when we did the math of how much it costs for both parents to work (daycare, commuting expenses, work clothes, lunches out, maximum social security taxes on both incomes, etc.), I found I hardly made anything at all, so there wasn't much to make up for. Really take a look at your taxes, because that's where you will find the most "savings". Tax laws are written to favor one parent staying home.

    This was us too.

    We both had long commutes into NYC so we would have had to have a nanny since we were both gone so long. My commute was crazy expensive too, around $600 a month so it didn't make sense for me to work.

    Things are a little tight, but it's doable. The hardest part for me is that I really pay attention to every dollar I spend. I was never really a big spender, but I feel like I'm back in college where every dollar mattered. I hate feeling like that.
    If you got nothing to bring to the table - don't even bother sitting down.
  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Posts: 5,656Registered Users
    Some things that have helped us:
    • Membership to Sam's club. For us, the savings in gas and milk alone (or either by itself) pays for the cost of membership. We buy most of our groceries there, and produce and a couple other things at our local market.
    • A cash-paying PT job is awesome to keep the credit/debit card bill down. I coached cheerleading part-time for a short while (just 2 hours twice a week) and the money I earned there paid for all our groceries.
    • Finding fun free activities for me and the baby - library storytimes, classes at the YMCA (we have a family membership for only $20/month since I was/am an instructor there), MOMS club and other groups.
    • NOT getting into the mall trap. I know a few SAHMs who get into the habit of going to the mall all the time just to get themselves and the kids out of the house. I never go shopping unless I have to.
    • Always eating at home. It's enough of a pain to keep the baby happy long enough for a restaurant meal, so we just about never go out to eat anymore. To piggyback on this, we often have friends over for dinner on the weekends so we still have a social life. I can usually prepare a really nice meal for 4 people for under $20, and they usually bring wine and/or dessert. Again, we don't have to worry about the baby this way since we're in our own home.
    If I think of more later, I'll add to the list :)
    Faith, 3Aish redhead
    Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:
  • cajuncurlscajuncurls Posts: 270Registered Users
    I was a stay at home mom when my older girls were growing up and it was the best. I was their class mom and their troop leader and their team coach. I want to have the same experience with these two. And the way it is now, I'm getting up at 5, leaving the house at 7, and coming home at 6:30 to a tired grumpy baby, a dirty house and everyone asking what's for supper. Very rarely do I get into the shower before 11. All this for - after sitter, gas and expenses - about $200 a week.
    No more!!!
    Did you do it for love? Did you do it for money? Did you do it for spite? Did you think you had to, honey?
    - Eagles

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  • KaiaKaia Posts: 8,815Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Good tips! Hopefully, I'll be able to use them soon. I'm definitely going to reactivate our Sam's club account when I stop working. We just never find the time to go now.
    *Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

    Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin
  • webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
    cajuncurls wrote: »
    I just found out we're having #2, (#4 for me), and working was hard enough with just Elli, so I'm putting in my notice and staying home with my babies.
    No more paycheck, but I live in the country (300 acres of leased farmland, 2 barns but no animals), am good with a sewing machine and love to cook, so surely I should be able to make up for my lost income.
    How do you stretch a buck to make the most of one paycheck?

    Since you love to cook, maybe you can do a small catering service out of your home? Maybe focus on one type of thing like soups, or cookies.

    I prefer costco to sams. We've purchased quite a bit from them - including new bamboo flooring for our rental units to toilets, to office equipment. And with the 2% cash back on executive membership, it's well worth it.

    We don't shop at the mall at all unless it's absolutely necessary. We're big craigslist/ebay/ross/tjmax/neiman marcus last call/tuesday morning and other discount store shoppers.
    hello.world.
  • Brown_Eyed_GirlBrown_Eyed_Girl Posts: 1,353Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    PixieCurl wrote: »
    Always eating at home. It's enough of a pain to keep the baby happy long enough for a restaurant meal, so we just about never go out to eat anymore. To piggyback on this, we often have friends over for dinner on the weekends so we still have a social life. I can usually prepare a really nice meal for 4 people for under $20, and they usually bring wine and/or dessert. Again, we don't have to worry about the baby this way since we're in our own home.

    We've been living on basically one income most of the time we've been married. We do eat out some, but try to eat at home most of the time. Some things that help us accomplish that:
    • One day a week I plan menus for the next week and make a grocery list. Then I go grocery shopping the next day. I don't assign each meal to a particular day. I just put a list on the fridge of the meals that I shopped for, and each morning I decide what sounds good for that evening. Some weeks I try new recipes, but if I don't feel like it, I just plan basic meals that I've cooked often. I try to make some of them easy to prepare for the days when I come home extra tired, we have somewhere to go that evening, etc.
    • Keep some easy to prepare foods in the cupboard, such as mac 'n cheese, canned soups, spaghetti sauce and pasta, a pizza in the freezer, etc.. Even if these aren't the healthiest or cheapest, they are still cheaper than going out to eat and keep us from going out to eat on those nights that neither one of us feel like cooking.
    Also, you might check out flylady.net. This site has a great system for keeping you organized, from housecleaning to errands to planning meals. One thing I learned from this site is to have one day to run errands, which saves gas. It also emphasizes getting rid of clutter, and once you start doing that, you really think twice about shopping (i.e. Do I really need that?).
  • nynaeve77nynaeve77 Posts: 7,135Registered Users Curl Novice
    I second the menu planning! It saves money at the grocery store because I just buy what you need and it keeps me organized. Before we had our daughter, we went out to eat all the time. Now we just save that for special occasions. I was amazed at how much money we spent going out every month.

    I also work a part-time job grading papers for a Christian school (my mom is the administrator). They like it because the kids get consistent feedback and the writing is improving, and I get paid pretty well. The bummer is that there isn't any work during the summer months, but we manage.

    Oh, and if you have any sort of credit card debt, pay off as much of that as you can before the baby comes along. It's just one less thing to have to worry about. We've been on a debt repayment program (it's over in a couple months...whoo hoo!) but I wish we'd had it paid off before the baby was born because we haven't had much of a cushion due to paying off those stupid credit cards!
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  • deezee02deezee02 Posts: 1,509Registered Users
    Pixie--do you know if Sam's accepts coupons? we have just started going back there and I was not sure.

    I buy all of DS's and DH's clothes on sale at the end of the season for the next year. We do a lot of Tee shirts/polos with long sleeve tees in the winter. That way, all I have to buy each season is shorts/pants and shoes. I got a TON of shirts and fleece pull overs and PJ's at old navy last January for about $75. Yes, it is a lot to pay for baby clothes, but those will last us all next year. I did the same thing last year and it worked great. It takes some digging and planing but is over all fun (yes I know!) I found old navy/GAP clothes last longer than other brands, many still look brand new after having DS wear them all season.
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  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Posts: 5,656Registered Users
    deezee02 wrote: »
    Pixie--do you know if Sam's accepts coupons? we have just started going back there and I was not sure.

    I don't know, unfortunately. If I remember though I will find out the next time I'm there, and report back :)
    Faith, 3Aish redhead
    Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:
  • KaiaKaia Posts: 8,815Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Sam's does not accept coupons.
    *Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

    Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I don't think any of the "club" stores accept coupons.
  • webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
    costco has its own coupons. I don't think they accept generic coupons you get in the newspaper.
    hello.world.
  • marielle448marielle448 Posts: 1,823Registered Users
    BJs accepts coupons.
  • imagenimagen Posts: 343Registered Users
    I've stayed home since Laura was born, and although it was easier 13 months ago, and looks like it's going to get tougher and tougher to stretch our one measly income. This is what helped us:

    -We eliminated all unnecessary and extravagant expenses. We really cut down and got rid of our home landline and the internet, we sold one car, we cut our cable down to the bare minimum. Of course you may noy have to or want to cut back this extremely, but whatever is "cutting back" for you.

    -I avoid pretty much all stores unless I absolutely have to go. This means grocery stores, which I would go to multiple times a week. I only go to the grocery store once every two weeks. I don't go to the mall, target or walmart because they are traps.

    -I don't spend anything on myself unless it is necessary. I used to be a product junkie, but now I find myself going through and using the tons of things I put aside every time I bought a new product. I used to get pedicures..no more. If I have to buy myself clothes, I shop smart and don't buy things on impulse or if they aren't on sale.

    -As hard as it is, I don't overspend on the kids. Not going to the above mentioned stores helps. I also try to find things on sale or buy at the end of seasons for next year. Do I wish I had a cute new outfit to put Laura in every day, sure, but I know she won't remember anyways. And Aidan has too many things to begin with. He enjoys going outside and getting dirty more than buying a new toy he's going to forget about next week.

    With the ever increasing cost of living, it is getting tough. IMO You must figure that things are going to get worse before they get better, so make sure that you will not just scape by.
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  • MagooMagoo Posts: 2,173Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I decided to work only part time after my son was born so we had to cut back in some areas.
    I agree with the pp who suggested paying off as much debt as possible, especially credit cards. Credit card debt is like a big black hole that just sucks up so much money that could go to other things. Costco or another warehouse membership is good too. We only go about once every couple of months but we stock up on things like meat, detergent and things that would cost more at the supermarket. Just don't get pulled into buying all the other stuff they have.
    Coupon clipping saves us at least $10-15 everytime we food shop. I will usually sit down with the supermarket circulars, see what's on sale and see if I have a coupon to use to save even more.
    I also menu plan to avoid eating out. We do treat ourselves to one meal out a week, but most of the time we'll do takeout to save on tipping, etc. Re-using leftovers in other meals is a good way to avoid wasting food. I love Crockpot cooking. There are a lot of great recipes that use less expensive cuts of meat.
    We also cut back on things like cable (just basic, we don't need 5 zillion channels, since we don't have time to watch that much tv anyway), extra phone services (we got rid of call waiting, caller ID, three way calling and all that extra stuff we don't really use).
    With the price of gas, I've also been trying not to take so many needless trips on the days I'm home.
    This is also a good website for money saving tips:
    www.thedollarstretcher.com
    HTH!
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