Friday, January 28, 2011

One income, lots of expenses

Three children with one income in one horrible economy sounds like an equation for disaster! How does anyone do it? Many mommas like myself often ask ourselves the same question! How will we do it this month? But, often by strategic planning, and the grace of God, we pull through. Mouths get fed, mortgages get paid and the electricity stays on!

Here's a glimpse at changes we considered so that I could become a stay at home mom:

opted for a pay-as-you-go cell phone plan instead of a contract
saving $30/month
will rarely buy convenience foods
saving $25/month
begin shopping grocery sales and couponing
saving $80/month
drop cable service, keep Netflix subscription
saving $25/month
drop long distance phone service, use Google Voice
saving $10/month
will use about half as much gas for car
saving $50/month
will handle beauty care (dying hair, eyebrows)
saving $20/month
will not need to pay full-time childcare
saving $650/month
Total savings of $890/month or $10,680/year

Some of these considerations were made out of personal preference (cable) and others out of necessity (groceries). And all estimates are quite conservative!

Let's not forget that working families often incur extra expenses on things like doctor's bills (for sick kids & mommas), a professional wardrobe or uniforms and business lunches. And so much more.

In Mary Hunt's book "How to Debt Proof Your Marriage", which I highly recommend by the way (see "my recommendations" at the bottom of the page), chapter 19 offers "forty ways to live beneath your means".

Beneath your means. I hate the way that sounds. It sounds so sacrificial, so unfulfilling, so boring. But, really, it doesn't have to be. If living beneath my means equates to more hours spent with my pajama-wearing, pb&j-eating, growing-up-too-fast rascals, then so be it! Hunt's suggestions include clean it yourself; dump PMI; buy used, late model, domestic; make one big, bold move; and more.

Speaking of beneath your means... can you imagine driving your family of five around in a compact car that's covered in hail dents and is approaching seven years old? I can (and do)! Sure, we could upgrade to the swaggerwagon-- the marketing alone is brilliant!-- but we just don't absolutely need it yet so we just aren't buying it yet! Besides, a new vehicle might be more convenient but it's not going to make me any happier. Baking cookies with my kids or watching my son learn to crawl, now that will bring me great joy!

It is my wish that as this blog continues, so will my offering of real-life solutions for real-life families like you who want to do it yourself!


  1. I have been stressing about how we will be able to afford the increase in child care costs as we expect our second baby and have been really wanting to find ways to make it possible to stay home...THANK YOU for this! You are reassuring me that it is a possibility!

  2. @Jessica- I really hope that you will find this blog to offer you practical advice on the topic! Thank you for your kind words. You've inspired me to write a post specific to the idea of saving money when expecting a baby. It's in the works!

  3. The reality of being a SAHM does require sacrifices financially, but the reward of raising our own child(ren) far surpasses the "little" things we give up. My mom stayed home from the moment my older sister was born...she still is a "keeper of the home"...I can not express enough just how much of a blessing it was to be raised by a mother who stayed home, especially when the idea of it was becoming very unpopular. My father worked so hard so ensure my moms position in the home - he also had the hard-earned satisfaction that he was providing for his family according to the Bible, as the "Bread Winner". Thanks so much for sharing your views of moms who stay at home in such a positive light. It can be done! The proof is, some of us are living it!