T.W. asks from Blue Springs, MO on May 08, 2010
New Stay at Home Mom - Blue Springs,MO
How do I be a stay at home mom? I quit my job and will be staying home with two small children. We are having to down size and really reduce our expenses. It was not cost effective for us for me to continue to commute 2 1/2 hr per day and pay child care too. I need advise on how to really cut the grocercy bills, structure my day, and make things easier for my husband. I have a part time job where I take the kids with me but the income from that is not dependable. General house bills are covered and are very low. We have no home phone but cell phones and they are not cheap. What should I be doing and how can I cut our food and necessity bills down?
So What Happened?™
Thank you! Wow, there was a lot of good advise. This is my first week home with my kids. We don't have cable, gave it up over a year ago. I called my cell phone company and cut out the internet which saved about $20.00 a month. We don't have a home phone so it is my only link to the outside world besides the computer. We are going down to one vehicle until we can find a cheap get around town car. That will cut about $600 a month out of our budget. I am investing in a double jogging stroller so I can walk where I need to go during the day. I don't live in a small town but things are in walking distant and it will be great exercise and I still have 50 lbs to get off from my last child. On days I need the car I will drive the husband to work and pick him up. I am usually up before him and it will not be an issue. I am a pretty fruggle shopper and have recently started using coupons. My husband on the other hand is not. (He thinks he is.) He has this idea since he earns the money he is the one to do the food shopping. I sent him an inventory list of all the food we had in the house Monday. He was a little suprised at we did and did not have. I also went to receipes sites on the web, put in the kind of meat I had, and pulled up tons of receipes. I was able tofind ones where I had all or almost all the ingreidients for. Last night I made a very good Rosemary Herb chicken, potatoes, and carrots. It was very easy and I did not have to spend any money out of my pocket. I think once he realizes what I can cook with what we have he will let me do the shopping. If not he will get very hungry. We are on level pay on the electric and gas bills and we are very conserative and those bills have gone down over the past year because of it. I usually make things homemade but when I was working we did eat out a lot. That will change. I planned out the menu this week and all but one day stuck to it. My husband came home Monday and cooked which changed the menu for the day. Not complaining but was not prepared for that. We have a bed time routine going on and have been following it for three weeks which is very nice. I have set out a cleaning schedule and hope to get into the routine of following it once this week is over. Running lots of errands getting things settled with our changes.
D.P. answers from Pittsburgh on May 08, 2010
Get one of Dave Ramsay's Books, either Financial Peace or Total Money Makeover for a good, common-sense approach to living on what you make ans spending less than you make. Get rid of any credit cards and become a cash-only family!
You'll be amazed on the money you DON'T spend when you're not working.
Do you have an ALDI grocery store near you? They have unbeatable prices on produce and staples. Sometimes you can save 50% by shopping there.
Meal plans are essential. Spend less on groceries by planning your menu for the week. Eat a vegetarian meal once or twice per week.
Cook from scratch--no pre-packaged convenience foods--too expensive and less healthy.
Look for an Angel Food Ministries near you. There is NO minimum income requirement and it's cheap!
Check out www.couponmom.com to find the best deals in your specific grocery store. It's free!
Stay out of stores & malls so you're not tempted to spend money unless it's planned.
Cut back or eliminate your cable bill/services.
Get prepaid cells so you can budget for the usage.
Go to the websites of your local utility companies for money saving tips.
Cancel newspaper subscriptions.
Shop at thrift stores. You'll be amazed at what you can find there!
Find free things to do with your kids in your area: library, parks, etc.
As for time management, check out www.flylady.net for some great time strategies.
Good luck and welcome to the hardest job you'll ever have! But also the most rewarding!
2 moms found this helpful
H.H. answers from Louisville on May 08, 2010
i know how you feel. my yongest is 6mths so i quite my job of 7years to be a sahm. it is a big adjustment not only for the kids but for you too. cut our grocery bill by planning meals weekly and by what on sale and my biggest advice is use coupons go to this link couponmom.com it a great site. also you the sunday paper and stay cards like kroger i have gotten 300.00 groceries for 150.00 go luck in you want more info let me know
1 mom found this helpful
M.W. answers from Boise on May 08, 2010
Have you considered getting rid of cable and using netflix for movies and tv shows? That would be like 12 dollars a month, I think. Do you need your current cell service or can you get by with a pay as you go phone, like a trac phone? They are cheap with no frills, but are good for emergencies. What about car payments. If you are not driving so much, can you sell your car and buy something with cash that is used but not a piece of junk? Cooking from scratch is really, really cheap and not that difficult. The library is great for outings to get books, movies, go to story time, and some libraries have free crafts, too. Local wildlife refuges are free and fun to go to. The internet has tons of websites with worksheets and cheap craft ideas to do with your kids. As far as babysitting, doing a babysitting coop is easy and free. You go out one weekend and your friends babysit your kids for free, then they go out the next weekend and you babysit their kids for free.
As far as structuring your days, I have laundry day, floors day, grocery shopping day, etc. to break up the housework and try to have my kids help even a little bit with chores. We have computer time, story time, play time, homework time. We try to go on walks every day unless the weather is terrible. Play dates are good to keep your kids occupied. I am not that organized, but sort of. I try to have my kids relax and unwind in late afternoon so by the time hubby is home, they are not super tired and grumpy. You will probably get lots of responses to this with great ideas.
K.L. answers from Cleveland on May 08, 2010
Plan out your recipes for the week. Sometimes I check out epicurious they offer great recipes. I like it because of the views. Clip coupons. Also join a playgroup for the social interation. I would check meetup. Go to meetup.com then go type in your county and see want comes up. Or join the MOMS club which is across the usa broken down into towns.
L.C. answers from Kansas City on May 09, 2010
boy do i know how you feel! lol. here are some of the things that i do to help pinch our pennies.
1) we buy as much food as we possible at ALDI. which is a vast majority! doing that cut our grocery bill for a week from about 130 to about 80. We get our specialty foods or foods for our allergies at hy-vee.
2) do not put your ac lower the 74 and do not put your heater above 68. i know that sounds crazy, but it makes a big difference.
3) we buy all of our clothes second-hand, from outlet stores, on sale, or online.
4) i dont know if you are comfortable working on your phone or computer at all, but i started working from home. It isnt a get rich quick thing by any means, but the chunk that i bring in definitely helps offset the cost of some of our expenses. ( http://www.PerfectWorkForMoms.com if you want to check it out at all)
5) clip coupons and make as much as you can! i make my own baby wipes, and that saves me a good 20 bucks a month. I also make my kids hats for the winter, or make blankets for them to sleep with or for around the house.
6) do not get anything extended for cable! no movie channels or anything like that! if you really like movies invest in netflix.
7) we pay ALL of our bills that are due within the next week on fridays when my husband gets paid. ANYTHING that is due before the following friday gets paid. that gives us a better idea of what we "have" in the bank.
8) pack your husbands lunches! it is a LOT cheaper to pack them and a lot healthier then him buying them out!
9) make a meal plan. i know that is kind of boring, but it really helps! plan out exactly what you are going to eat each day of the week. this ensures that you are only buying the food that you NEED and nothing is going to waste.
S.H. answers from Los Angeles on May 08, 2010
Take a look at your bills and see where you can cut. if you aren't going to be using the phone as much, maybe buy less minutes or nix the internet. If you call your cable company you can see if they have any deals going on where you can cut expenses or take out some pay channels. You might want to call your car insurance company and see what they can do if you aren't driving as much anymore.
You can look in the grocery circulars to find the deals and you can still use a store coupon and/or manufactures coupon with the sales to save. It adds up since Costco is not always cheeper. We only get the sunday paper delivered because of the ads. When we go out to eat, we only go places where there is a coupon or deal. You can sign up online at a lot of franchise restaurants and they will email you coupons. You can cut costs on cleaning supplies by using vinegar.
Time management is something you need to figure out what works for you. Cleaning one room a day, laundry once/twice a week, planning meals ahead of time and preparing them during nap time (this one is difficult for me)? I also try to make extra that will work with another meal... like extra meat to make burritos to freeze (quick meals) or more mashed potatoes for a Shepard's pie or potato pancakes.
A.M. answers from Chicago on May 08, 2010
Take an inventory of your kitchen. What meals can you put together this week with what you've already got? Do this once a week & plan (on paper) your meals, particularly lunch & dinner. Make your shopping list for only what you need & stick to it. With the kids, visit the library, parks, free stuff. Structure your day in whatever way works best for you. It is hard work staying home, and in my opinion, your day shouldn't have anything to do with making things easier for your husband. He'll handle his day, you work with the budget & your day. Call your cell phone providers and ask them to look at your bills & find a lower cost plan. I call every year to get "re-rated" and every year I save a few bucks. Ask when your contract ends, and shop around if you don't get any breaks. Tell them you're shopping around. Or shop around and ask specifically for a more competitive price. As for grocery & household items...don't stockpile. Buy what you need. Buy what's on sale. Check your sale ads for groceries & regular household items. Eat out as a family a couple of times a month, but limit it to that. I leave room for one "out" lunch for the kids each week for my convenience when we're really busy. The biggest cost cutter for me is groceries and planning meals. I mentally ask myself "do we need this?" for everything I buy. These are just some of the things I do. I stay home with my 3 kids. My company closed, and I lost a senior level professional position when I was pregnant with my first. I chose not to go back to work, and at that time, it literally cut our income in half. We do alright and don't feel we're really lacking anything. Staying home is hard, though. Make friends. Work with friends to give yourself a break. You will need it.
C.D. answers from La Crosse on May 08, 2010
Eat whole foods, make your own laundry soap (Google "Amish laundry soap+fels-naptha, it's all over the web...like here: http://www.homesteadgarden.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5390 you shouldn't pay more than $1 per bar of fels-naptha soap...people will try to charge more and when they do, they're ripping you off), get used to never taking vacations or dates with your husband, try growing your own food, and let yourself rely more on your friends and relatives if yours are the kind that recognize how hard a stay-at-home mom actually works. Also try to keep in mind the fact that many people do not understand how much work this job involves and life can be extremely frustrating at times when you work where you live and vice versa.