I am about $500 Short Each Month From Staying Home

This is an old post that had quite a few comments. I thought it was worth posting again. We are all looking for ways to cut back. Hopefully this will help....

I had a reader mention recently that she was about $500 short per month from being able to balance the budget and stay home. I hope that this post will somehow help others see that you can make this work. 

How much are you willing to sacrifice to stay home with your children? This is a question that I often have to ask woman when they ask me how I manage to be a SAHM on my husband's teaching salary. The other statement that I often get from people is "Oh, you are so lucky to be able to stay home with your children. Your husband must have a good job." I have to make sure that I am polite and say thank you I know I am lucky, but what I want to say to them is luck has nothing to do with it. I stay home by choice and I make choices daily that keep me there. 

What are some of the luxuries or so called "needs" that you may have to sacrifice to stay home? I have decided to put together a list of things that my family felt we did not need and truly have not really missed. I realize that some of these things we may be able to have again in the future, but for this season of our lives they are not necessities.

I am going to put an approximate dollar amount to the things on this list so you can see how quickly you can "find" that extra $500 in the budget. It may not seem that you will have any material comforts left at first, but I think you will soon realize, just how little you really need to be happy. The Lord said that he will make sure that we have food to eat, clothes on our back, and a roof over our head. This is the ultimate picture of true contentment. To be happy with the simple things in life. I will not say that I am not still struggling daily with contentment, but I am trying. 

  • Cable tv Total we saved $100/month going with minimal cable, phone and internet.
  • High speed internet (We do have DSL, but a slower version)
  • Call waiting
  • Caller ID (Ok this one I miss)
  • Long distance telephone service
  • Cut Blow money $50/month
  • NO eating out except special occasions $50-$100/month
  • Gym membership $50/month
  • OnStar $15/month
  • Budget groceries Depending on your family $100-$200/month
  • Try to get your electric and gas on an average payment plan For us this saved about $50/ month
  • Use less water, shower every other day. $5-10/month
  • Eliminate trash bill (A little radical, but it can be done.) $30/month
  • Cut back on your driving to save on gas (If you don't work this should be easier)$50-$100
  • Cut family clothing budget. Try garage sales and thrift stores. $25-50/month
  • Coupon shop or make your own cleaning supplies $10-15/month
  • Put a $5 limit on gifts. This can force you to be creative. With coupons I still am able to come up with some nice gifts. $25-$50/month
  • Cancel magazine subscriptions. $10/month
  • Come up with free or cheap entertainment. Keep an eye out for coupons or free events, or try having a family night at home. $25/month
  • Possibly sell one car $300/month
  • Before quitting your job eliminate debt. $100-$300/month
As you can see these numbers can very quickly add up.

Realize that some of these changes will not be permanent. They are just some things you may have to sacrifice for a season to make your dreams come true. You can eventually start adding some small things back in. See Crystal's post here about living on a very bare bones budget of $1000 a month. It is amazing.

Think of saving money as your new "job." You are not technically being paid for it, but you are sort of making money. Remember all the expenses you will no longer have by not working out of the home. The average mom only makes a couple of dollars an hour after all the expense are paid so she can work, unless you have a very high paying job. That hardly seems worth it to me. 
  • Work Clothes $25-50/month
  • Dry Cleaning $25/month
  • Work Lunches $50/month
  • Daycare! $400-500 per child per month
  • Gas $100/month
Things you will gain as a SAHM...
  • Seeing all your child's firsts and not hearing about it from the sitter
  • Being able to go to all school events and field trips
  • Showing your children by example how to live a Godly life
  • Seeing those beautiful smiles first thing in the morning and knowing you will not have to leave them with someone else.
  • Being able to stay home with a sick child and not miss work
  • Home cooked meals
  • A happier family because mom is not stressed out
  • Time to plan a menu, shop, and save money
  • Quality time with your husband
  • This list could go on forever. You can add some of your own perks.

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Jenn said...

Hi! I'm so happy I discovered your blog. I do not have kids yet, but hope to in a few years. By that time my husband and I will have been married for about 8-9 years.
We currently live in St. Louis. My husband is about to finish up his 2nd year of Medical School and I'm back in school because I didn't land a teaching job this year and I was told by several staffing agencies that I'm "overqualified" for most other jobs.
With both of us in school we have an income of Zero dollars. Yes, zero. Everything we buy will end up costing about 3 times as much by the time we actually pay it off.
I'm always looking for ways to cut back, reduce, reuse, and save a buck. We live very well for our limited budget and I really have no room to complain. We are so blessed! Like you, I was also raised in Kansas. I lived there until about 7th grade and then moved to Oklahoma and lived there until we started this whole Med School adventure.
I'm really looking forward to reading your blog and trying new things. Be Blessed!

PS. I'm praying I land a teaching job this fall.

Gismos-a-Plenty said...

Thanks for your blog post! I have been staying at home with my son for several years and have found ways to help pay the bills! Please check out my blog! I am here to help ANY mom stay at home with her kids if she wants to! It can be done! God Bless!

~MariLee http://gismos-a-plenty.blogspot.com/

Sarah Dawn said...

Such great ideas ... thanks for sharing with all of us.

Delighted to meet you! Just found your site via CSAHM. I just started this blogging adventure a few months ago, but continue to be amazed at the joy, encouragement, and faith that I find.

Keep writing, the world is reading.

Hugs from this missionary mommy,
Sarah Dawn

Chrissy said...

My husband is a teacher, too, and I am a stay-at-home mom. This is a great post. I also believe in being debt free, and living without "payments" definitely frees up money! :o) I wrote about our budget back in June: http://chrissyrenee79.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-budget-challenge.html