Calling All Penny Pinchers!

Updated on February 10, 2009
G.S. asks from San Diego, CA
108 answers

My husband and I are trying to cut down our spending significantly so that we can afford to have me be a stay at home mom. We have already cut out all the extra's in life (dining out, gym memberships etc.) but still find that we are about $300 over what we'd like to be at.

Do you have any penny pinching tips? I would love to hear how you are saving money! Any little tip would help (hey...it all adds up right?). My mom suggested not using papertowels any more and cutting dryer sheets in half. I would love to hear whatever you are doing that you think helps. Thanks in advance for your help!

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So What Happened?

I have been so overwhelmed at work the last couple of days...and when i got on the computer today I saw that I had 92 responses to my penny pinching question!! I feel so encouraged by everyone's responses! (I started crying when I was reading all the responses) I feel soooo blessed! I want to thank you all so much for your wonderful words of advice! I can't thank you enough!

G.

Featured Answers

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K.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

do home day care you will be able to stay home and still make some money, I did it for 1 year and my little girl will be two, I have been able to stay home with her the whole time. you dont have to watch 6 kids you can watch one a few months older, you would make like 500 a month for one kid full time. other than that bring cash to the grocery store and buy store brand instead of name brand and catorgrize want and need it hard but it can be done:)

1 mom found this helpful

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D.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

You might want to check out lowermybills.com. I haven't checked it out for a while, but it has a lot of helpful information.
I am also a stay at home mom for the most part, but I work a few hours on the weekend to give my husband daddy time. It has worked out really well. I know someone else who works a few hours at night for the same reason. It gives us a little extra money(about what you need) and my husband gets to see what it is like to be me during the week. It makes him appreciate me staying at home because he says that he couldn't do what I do. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful
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V.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

I know this sounds a bit extreme and I don't know if it will work for you but my husband and I went down to one car after our son was born. We make it work and it saves us a huge sum of money every month.

1 mom found this helpful
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C.D.

answers from San Diego on

hi there, I accidentally bought walgreens diapers and they worked out and are a lot cheaper than pampers. someone else mentioned vons online..yes, you spend way less money and aren't tempted with impulsive buys + they periodically send me promotions for free delivery...it also makes you meal plan which also saves money. I don't think cosco is such a great deal as someone mentioned...you can get stuff cheaper or just as cheap at Target...i think costco makes you over spend. goodluck! oh and when your baby gets bigger always bring your own lunch and snacks for outings.

1 mom found this helpful
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C.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

Two words... generic medicine! Especially now that you have a little one and she will no doubt get sick over the years. Next time you are in the grocery/drug store, compare ingredients of your favorite pain reliever with the generic. They are exactly the same! We tried this after I had my third son, and now he is 13 years old, and I am still buying generic because they work just the same! This could work well with some other generic items, and belive me I've tried most of them, but there are some hygiene & food items where nothing beats the national brand.

1 mom found this helpful
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N.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi G., I don't have time to read all the responses right now but have 2 quick things for you to think about -

* Check out the twice-a-year LA Kids Consignment Sale for tons of bargains and selling your gently-used baby items to make some of your money back - http://lakidsconsignment.com/

* I recently became an educational consultant for Discovery Toys - safe, super fun toys that everyone just loves. Let me know if you'd like to know more about it - it's very easy to get started and you can make money working from home.

~N.

Edited: I just thought of something else I started doing - cut up hubby's old t-shirts and use them as cleaning cloths instead of using paper towels. They work great. You know how shirts get all nice and soft when they are older? Well even if you can't wear them, just cut off the sleeves and collar, and then along the sides, and you have some great cleaning cloths!

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B.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

Here is a list of things I have personally done;

Stop going to get your hair and nails done.

Let the gardener/housekeeper go.

Stop drinking alcohol - it's expensive

Make your food from scratch - shop around the edges of the store and make lots of casseroles. This saves a LOT of money.

Eat your leftovers, don't throw them away.

Only buy the food on your grocery list. Make a meal plan before going to the store and stick to it. Do not take your child to the store, leave her at home with Daddy. When you are distracted you buy more.

Buy your clothes at the thrift store. Believe it or not, there are some real bargains there, even on designer clothes.

Sell your second car. I have five children. We went without a second car for 10 years and at the time we lived in the country 12 miles from the nearest grocery store. My husband worked 40 miles away and did some carpooling. This is VERY hard to do so you must be committed to being a stay at home Mom for it to work.

Have your husband take a lunch to work.

See if he can carpool.

Buy cheaper makeup.

If you are good with your hands start making crafts at home and selling them on the weekends at craft fairs.

Make dinners and/or lunches and sell them to your working friends.

Do NOT go shopping unless you NEED (not want) something and then only buy what you left the house looking for. This is the most important tip on the list.

Hang your laundry to dry.

Use bath towels for one week before washing.

Use coupons, but ONLY for things you would purchase anyway.

Consolidate your driving into as few trips of the least mileage as possible. You will be surprised at how much you save doing this.

Get rid of cable television. It is expensive to operate and tempts you to buy things you don't need. We went 10 years without it when our children were little. We rented movies for them to watch. I don't regret it.

DON'T be tempted to babysit (for$$) for working friends. It is not worth it. You are staying home to be with YOUR child.

DON'T go back to work when she goes to school. My husband once had a coworker that brought her 12 yr old son to work and left him in the car with a high temperature and a very bad cold because she "couldn't" miss work. They worked in a high security building so she could not bring him inside but what message did this send to him? I think it was, "Work is more important than you". Chose one, Work or Mom. I don't believe you can do both and do them both well. One or the other will always suffer and most often it is your children.

Trade babysitting with a friend one night a week and stay at home with your husband. Make a nice dinner, watch the "submarine races" or a movie. It's important to nurture your marriage. Staying home will not be worth it if you get divorced. I've been married to the same man for 29 years. It has not always been easy, especially when the children were little and there was no money.

Just my two cents.

PS - one of my children died at the age of twenty. I am so grateful I chose Mom and not Work... there are no "do-overs" raising children. Try to get it right the first time.

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C.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

Food bill is where you will save a lot. Coupons are a must, BUT only buy what you will need or something free. Just cuz its cheap doesn't mean you need it. Grocerygame.com is good, but couponmom.com has more stores to choose from and its free. Just start knowing your prices. Know what an individual item costs. 99c store can actually cost you more in the end. A pack of 10 baggies for a buck is not as good as a pack of 30 for 2.50, with a coupon and on club card. As you are learning cost per item - you'll have time now- carry around a little note book in your purse. Bulk can be good BUT sometimes not if you don't have a coupon. So I guess its just education. In no time you'll be a wiz.

Since you won't be driving to work- call your insurance company and have your policy reviewed. You are charged by your annual mileage and if its changing then there could be a potential savings. If you own other policy's, car, house, etc consider combining them. You're home know so you'll eventually have time to comparrison shop.

FREECYCLE.ORG this is an awesome site and I've gotten so much free stuff from it. Its a reuse- trading website. Our town just did an article which yielded us 125+ new members to give away their unwanted yet highly useable items, clothes, furniture, appliances, everything you name it. Just go on it and find your region and start checking out the goods.

Know where the clearnace racks are....Warning though- you must have self control. Let's face it. There are times when you need to buy something new (consignments and thrift stores are great, but take the plunge slowly or you will freak yourself out with your new lifestyle). In Target, Walmart, etc they all have areas where they put their clearance, know where they are and only visit if you feel you have self control that day. If you buy stuff take it home stare at it for a few days and decide if you really need it. I'm the queen of returning. I use clearnce to stock up on my kids clothes. I buy a season ahead and bigger. For food, especially meats, ask the butcher what days or times the meat is reduced for quick sale. Go on that day and buy only what you went for. I often get 1/2 priced marinated tri-tip at smart n final. I can get a whole one for $5 for my family. I buy all they have and throw it in my freezer.

Ditch call waiting, caller id, voice messaging, long distance etc on your home phone. I pay the bare minimum for house phone and DSL. I use a good ole fashion machine to screen my calls. If they hang up oh well, if it was important they will leave a message. My friends and family will call my cell if my house line is busy. Call waiting is kinda rude anyhow.

Shop around for intro rates on services, cable (bare min), phone, dsl, newspaper (for coupons), credit card balances. Most places have great intro rates. Once they expire call them to cancel. They want to keep you so they will extend it. I have been on my Sunday paper intro rate for 8 yrs now.

If you have questions please email me and I can explain more about freecycle and some other tips. There is so much more to write and I already wrote a novel.
C.
[email protected]____.com

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K.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

G.,

I can't wait to hear what everyone is doing to save a penny these days....

I have NO idea if this really helps, but I put some of the dish soap into an empty dish soap container and then some water. I realize that I don't need as many suds as I get from the thick soap and it seems to spread out a bit. That might be a bit crazy but.... just a thought!

Shope second hand! Try Children's Orchard (go online) and twice a year there is an INCREDIBLE "garage sale" with over 250 sellers- all kid's stuff... every piece of baby equipment imaginable and toys and clothes. The next one is coming up at the end of March. Check out www.lakidsconsignment.com. If you volunteer to help you get a good lay of the land before the sale starts and then you can come to the pre-public sale to shop. You could also print out a first time mom pass which would allow you early access as well. If gets pretty crazy because the deals are SO incredible (I bought our high-chair for $15)

When your daughter is a little older, you could do a toy swap with a friend. New toys for her at no cost and then when you swap the toys back, her old toys will seem new all over again!

Good luck and hang in there! You can do it!
K.

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D.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Potty train your little one now and save a ton on diapers. Most of the less-developed world potty trains their kids by 6 months - China, India, Africa, etc. After 6 months it gets significantly harder, as their attention turns from what's going on inside them to what's going on outside. Just google "elimination communication" - what people have taken to calling it here. There are tons of resources to help you get started, including a yahoo group for families working on it and a DVD you can buy, which we found really helpful. We started with my little guy at 4 months, after seeing a Chinese friend's 6-month-old completely diaper-free (even at night). We haven't been consistent enough to have that level of success, but we've saved a lot of diapers by using the potty several times a day. He's a year now.

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D.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

I make my own coffee at home and stopped going to Starbucks this year.

I buy all of our wrapping paper and Christmas cards after Christmas. I also stock up on age appropriate toys post Christmas and store away to accomodate the birthday parties we have to attend all year.

We have a teenager, so we installed lighting sensors with timers for his bedroom and bathroom lights so that they go off after 5 minutes. We installed ceiling fans in every bedroom to reduce summer energy costs.

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M.E.

answers from Honolulu on

~Use cloth diapers
~Use cloth baby wipes
~Use cloth napkins and unpaper towels (a large pack of cheap white washcloths works great)
~Breastfeed (don't supplement w/formula)
~Make your own baby food and freeze it in ice cube trays
~Grow a vegetable garden (organics are expensive to buy but cheap to grow)
~Change the cell phone plan to a "go-phone"-type, so you can control how much each month (we pay $100/yr)
~Use cloth mama/moon pads and/or a diva cup (healthier for you, the envrionment, and your bank account)
~Go to garage sales for all your baby's clothes, toys, and necessities.

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L.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

for your grocery budget, check out the grocerygame.com. I save on average 50% on my weekly shopping trips, feeding a family of 6. I've been doing this for over 4 years, I know it works. You don't need to buy everything, be smart, buy what your family will use. You'll need to subscribe to the Sunday paper for coupons and there is a $1.25/week fee for the grocery list (billed every other month). I'll admit, it's strange at first to have a list to choose from, but as you start to stockpile the items that are on sale (and sometimes free with a coupon), your need to run out and purchase an item or two to make dinner decreases.

If you are close to making the SAHM work, and have some $$ in savings...consider this: We had a plan, I could stay home for 2 years based on our savings...guess what? 8 years later, I'm still at home. There are lots of ways to save $. Gas, dry cleaning, eating lunches from home, work clothes, learning to say no, just to name a few.

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E.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

G.,

I can't believe I am responding after you have had 45 responses but I had to put my 2 cents(ha,ha) in. Thank you for asking this question as all these responses will help all of us.

My 2 cents:

I shop at an Orowheat outlet store for my bread. It is a few days older but I freeze and refrigerate my bread items. Not only is it discounted but you also receive free items at checkout and get a stamped card for more free items. I figure that I save 20 to 30 dollars a month doing this.

I also shop at Costco and Trader Joe's. I love Trader Joe's for eggs (1.19) frozen veggies (they have organic for not much more) frozen fish (the only way I buy it these days, better than questionable "fresh" fish.

Try to compile your driving into as few trips as possible to conserve on gas.

I am a big fan of Craig's list for part-time work, free items, and things to do in the area.

I also recommend Freecycle.com. It is a world wide site that breaks down into your area like Craig's list but everything on the site has to be offered for free. You can request a specific item once a week but there is no limit to how many offered items you can take. I have picked up wonderful clothes for everyone in my family, new mattress, water purification unit, bicycle, books, toys, bed, bookcase and the list goes on. I have found that the quality of items on this site are better than most for sale elsewhere. Sign up for your area and it will open up a whole new sense of community as everyone gives and takes what they need. I have even seen a car (albeit very used) being given to a man so that he could drive his daughter to LA for dialysis. What was amazing with this incidence is that they were asked for and offered at the same time. They couldn't have known about the other beforehand. Miracles happen in the strangest places.

Know that you will never regret being a SAHM. It is not necessarily easy but the rewards outweigh any changes that you might need to make. You will always be able to go back to some work but you will never be able to go back to her childhood. Alway remember that there is always the possibility of part time, if necessary. Find the SAHM community in your area. They are out there and are a big help with ideas and encouragement: just seek and you will find.

Blessings,

Evelyn

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L.M.

answers from San Diego on

A few places to save money, grocery coupons. There is a website www.thegrocerygame.com. It cost $10/month (I think), but you save a ton at the store. Another way to save on food is buying organic produce through a place called www.bewiseranch.com. They have several drop off locations throughout San Diego County. You buy either a small or large box of fruits and veggies every week. For yourself, there are free parent participation classes through San Diego Community College District (adult education). These classes are a lot of fun, and you get to meet other moms with babies/kids the same age as yours. The website is: www.sdce.edu. It's great that you've made the commitment to stay at home. As some other people have said, make sure to still find time to have fun together. Find another friend you can trade babysitting services with, so you and your husband can still have some alone time together. There's plenty of free places to enjoy together, parks, beaches, even just walking around at the mall. Good Luck!

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M.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi G.,

If it is available utilize Vons.com. Instead of going to the grocery store and anticipating if you got even close to the amount you wanted to spend, Vons delivery service is a great savings. Even though there is a 7.95 delivery charge if you have a weekly amount you need to meet like let's say $100.00, you will be able to just spend $100.00. I know that when I use to go to the grocery store I always went over by $30.00 or so. With vons delivery service you just saved $120.00 by not spending that $30.00 extra a week. Also let's say you are having a bad week and only have $80.00 for groceries, you will be able to spend just that and probably get everything you wanted.

Here's how it works....Go to Vons.com and you will have to register. After that just start your shopping. Look up what you need and add it into your cart. Type in nonfat milk and it will search for all the milks. You scroll down to pick the brand you like and it has the price for you. Each time you add to your cart it shows you at the top your total. Now the great thing is lets say your total at the top is $125.00 and you really only wanted to spend $100.00. You can go back and view your cart. Look over items that you are willing to get in a differant brand or the grocery store brand which is usually cheaper. For example let's say you have 10 yoplait yogurts in different flavors and they are .60 cents each. Go back and do another search for yogurt. When the search is done you have a scroll down menu that will let you sort by alphabetical A-Z or Z-A and by Cost: high to low or low to high. Choose the Low to high and it will sort with the lowest items first. Scroll down and lets say you find that Lucerne had yogurt on sale for .30 cents each. If you add the lucerne to your cart and remove the yoplait you just saved $3.00.

Lastly the website has reciepts for you. If you find a receipt you like just add it to your cart and it will put all the items needed into your cart.

Good luck. Also make sure you apply for the Vons club card. That will always get some additional great deals.

M.

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A.M.

answers from Santa Barbara on

I have not read all the other responses so I may repeat.

I never buy paper towels, those are a luxury and terrible for the environment (so too are dryer sheets)! But...we use homemade napkins, and no need to wash them after one meal, you can usually get a day or more out of them. Recycle, save the money for a special treat or to pay more on a credit card. Buy in bulk, Costco. Buy generic, generic diapers work for me. They all leak so why spend the money, I love Walmarts white cloud brand. Cleaning products can virtually be eliminated. Water, vinegar and baking soda can clean just about anything. Plant a garden, tomatoes are so easy to grow! Do all your errands in one trip/day, save gas. Shop at used stores for clothes (especially baby you can get so much name brand stuff for cheap!) and craigslist for just about anything. Thats all I can remember at the moment, Im sure you have gotten a ton of other ideas. Good luck, I wish you well.

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R.L.

answers from San Diego on

If you are using disposable diapers, you can switch to cloth and save a fortune, and they are sooooo much nicer. It is so much better than it used to be and now they have really, really made cloth diapering user friendly. I would never, ever use a disposable diaper again, now that I have discovered cloth. Here is a good website:

http://www.wildflowerdiapers.com/

There is a hose you can buy ($30.00 or so)that attatches to the tank of your toilet and you just spray the poop into the toilet and flush. No soaking, totally easy, poop gone.
Here is a website that shows a good photo:

http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/mini-shower-diaper-spraye...

I no longer have to buy wipes or diapers!

You will need to make an initial investment in a few items, and then you will never have to buy another diaper or wipe.

IF you are overwhelmed by the wildflower website, contact me and I am happy to tell you what has worked for me. xo

and good for you for staying home with baby!

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N.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

I don't know where you live but if you can start your own veggie garden you will be amazed at how much you can save. And if you are staying at home you will have plenty of time to work the garden and even take up canning to save food for latter and your little girl will love helping you when she is old enough. Even if you don't have a big yard you can grow in pots on a patio.
Good luck with it,
N. :-)

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S.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

G.,
Several people suggested thegrocerygame.com, I wholeheartedly agree. In the few years I've been using the service I save a minimum of $50 a week on groceries. Last week I spent $125 but my total savings was $113! It's really fun when your receipt says you've saved more than you've spent! The grocery game is really well organized, so it doesn't take much more work than just coupon clipping. The list comes out in the same order as the grocery store aisles and is color coded so you can see at a glance which items are the best deals. I haven't paid for toothpaste or deoderant since I started playing because they come up as free items on the list fairly frequently (in fact I have so much free stuff in my toiletry cupboard I often donate it to charity causes, like care packages for military personel.)

Another good resource is the online newsletter cheapskate monthly. It's loaded with good financial advice. I don't remember the details, but the woman who started it was in an insane amount of debt, and dug herself out. She shares her tips in the newsletter... very useful info.

Hope that's helpful! Staying at home is worth every sacrifce you make!

S., 10 year SAHM

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T.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

I highly recommend The Grocery Game. It's a website that costs $10/month and they keep track of all the stores' sales and which coupons came out in Sunday's paper. They let you know when an item has hit its rock bottom price. That coupled with a coupon gets you stuff for mere pennies, if not free. We are a family of four and we easily save between $50-$100/week on groceries. No joke. This system lets you stock up when prices are low so that you hardly ever have to pay full price for anything. I haven't paid more than 50 cents for brand-name toothpaste in years! You only need to spend about 30 minutes a week clipping coupons and scanning the easy-to-read list they provide. Well worth the effort.

Congratulations on your little girl! I have two of my own, so I know how much joy they bring. Good luck!!

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D.N.

answers from Los Angeles on

Try couponmom.com. They have a database of the grocery store ads and match them up with coupons to help you save alot at the grocery store.

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M.Y.

answers from Boise on

HI, G., I have been using rags to clean with around the house instead of using paper towels. I just wash them in hot water and double rinse them when I am done using them. That alone saves a bundle. Having little ones in the house I still use paper towels, but I also buy napkins to use with meals, so that saves on using so many paper towels. Hope that helps. It is hard on the budget to not have the extra income, but somehow it always seems to work out. Also buying clothes at Children's Orchard, Ross or on sale at Kohl's really helps, too. I also use 3 cleaning supplies to clean the house with. Comet(for the toilets and bathtubs), Windex(for all the other cleaning), and a floor cleaner such as Lysol. I also try to plan meals that require leftovers, so I am not cooking every single night. That gets really expensive! I hope some of this helps. Have fun with your little one, she truly is a blessing.

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H.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi!
I found that using "The Coupon Mom" (www.thecouponmom.com) really helped. The website will tell you which grocery stores are having what items on sale (advertised and unadvertised). Then it tells you where to find coupons for the same items (online or from saved newspaper coupon packets from the Sun. papers). You can get many items for half price or less. I plan my weekly menu based on what things are super cheap that week.
I hope this helps and good on you for trying to stay home with your baby!

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M.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi G.!

I subscribe to "Everyday Cheapskate" by M. Hunt. She sends out great ideas to penny pinch and debt-proof living. Check it out!

Best Wishes,
M.

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J.R.

answers from San Diego on

Aside from dining out and gym memberships, are there other recurring expenses you can live without or downgrade? Cable, cell phone, Internet? Find ways to cut down on gas and electric use. Turn down the temp on your thermostat and water heater. Only run full dishwasher and laundry loads. Get higher deductibles on your insurance policies so that your premiums are lower.

Also, in response to your mom's suggestion, perhaps cut out dryer sheets altogether. I read they were bad for babies' skin, so we actually haven't used them since our baby was born.

Good luck! It's an absolute gift to be able to stay home with my baby, and I wish everyone who wants to could have the same opportunity.

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B.O.

answers from Los Angeles on

Something that cut a huge chunk out of our monthly expenses when we were trying to find ways to save money, was to get rid of our monthly cell phones. We bought the cheapest Trac Phone and bought like 200 minutes on each phone and we keep them only for emergencies. If you both have cell phones, that cuts out like 100 bucks a month! You may have all ready done that though. If you have any debt, get out of it, or sell stuff you own to get out of debt and that will free up some money. This is all stuff that my husband and I did when we were trying to figure out how to keep me at home. It worked for us. You just have to live like no one else. :) Hope this helps.

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B.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

I buy a lot of my kids clothes at gently used baby store's. There is one in the valley called Children’s Orchard. The clothes are in good condition and often times new. You can also sell your child’s clothes there!

www.childrensorchard.com

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E.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

I subscribe to this free newsletter. Each month I get great ideas on how to save $!

Subscription Information:
"The Dollar Stretcher for Parents" is a free newsletter.

To Subscribe: send e-mail to:[email protected]____.com
or visit http://www.stretcher.com/menu/subscrib.cfm

Good luck!

E. in LA

1 mom found this helpful
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L.C.

answers from San Diego on

I shop at Henry's, Food 4 Less and the 99 Cent Only stores- almost never any of the mainstream stores like Albertsons, etc. I actually get sticker shock when I do- they're so much higher!
I never buy meat that's over $2 a lb. Food 4 Less actually often has Foster Farms chicken for 99 cents a lb.
You can get brand-name food at the 99Cent Only stores that is perfectly good. I often find natural and organic items there- just today I bought Whole Foods Asiago Cheese Crackers, organic tetra-paks of diced tomatoes, Nature Valley granola bars, Healthy Valley graham crackers, organic black beans, no-sugar-added applesauce... you get the picture. I left with 6 bags of groceries and paid $31.
I buy bulk items like rice, pasta and flour at Smart & Final (no membership fee).
I use cloth napkins and rags instead of paper products.
I make jewelry for people's birthday presents when I can, instead of buying them something.
You could take a free class at the continuing education center (through the SD Community Colleges) on how to sew your own clothes. They also have free mommy and me classes for you and your baby.
You and/or your husband can sign up with the two market research firms in town- Luth Research and Plaza Research. You can participate in studies that last 1-2 hours and pay $75-$100 cash for your opinions. They have various day and evening hours for their studies.
I switched from my very nice, pricey hair stylist to Fantastic Sams, and get my hair cut for $16 instead of $45.
I borrow books and DVDs and CDs from the library instead of buying them or renting them.
Your husband could try to get a raise or a better paying job, or you could look at doing part-time work.
Good luck, and have fun with it!

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L.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi G.,

I can definitely relate to your situation. Five years ago, my goal was to stay home with my kids and find a way to make money. I have 3 beautiful boys, a 12 yr old in 7th grade, a five year old in Kindergarten and my soon to be 3 year old at home with me. I run a home based business so I can be home with them, but at the same time make the income our household needs. I never imagined being able to stay home, volunteer at my kid's school, take them to school and pick them up every day. I'm doing it all plus making a great income. I'm my own boss of a direct selling business and I love it! I would love to share it with you since I know it can make a difference. You can contact me at [email protected]____.com if you would like to learn more.

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H.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, I am a stay at home mom and we have a very limited income. We have 3 children so saving money any way I can is definitely a priority. Some of the things I do so save is I shop for my kids clothing at a consignment shop called Childrens Orchard. (You can often find these for women's clothes also.) They take my gently used kids clothes and give me cash or store credit. I also hit thrift shops a lot for just about anything. I try to use coupons at the grocery store as much as possible and I also belong to Costco. 99 cents stores are also a great way to save. I buy shampoo, toiletries, and sometimes canned goods from there. I try and group my errand together to save on gas, I use manufactures coupons with store coupons for extra savings when possible, I use old shirts for dust rags instead of buying the latest gadget, I cut old towels up also to make rags and wash cloths, I rent movies at the local library to save a few dollars. I am also part of a stay at home moms group and we have toy and clothing swaps.I also did not buy baby food, I just pureed fruits and veggies with a little water. (it only last a few days though) I have also found that now a days many of the generic diapers are just as good as the name brands. There are a lot of ideas online, just put money saving tips in the search engine and you will find tons of information. Also www.edison.com will give you tips on how to save on electric bills and I think some gas companies do the same. Hope this help. God Bless, H. A.

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M.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

My husband and I are now on a single income...what a shocker...so I can stay home with our first baby! I am constantly looking for ways to cut costs. One way is to buy children's clothes at thrift shops. I have found tons of barely worn clothing for $1.25- $3.00. Goodwill stores offer 1/2 off their low $1.25 certain tag colors depending on the week you go. I found Baby Gap, Gymboree, etc.

Also, Target baby has coupons you can sign up for and they arrive every month. Check the Target sale ads as well as cut manufacturer coupons from Sunday paper and you can save a ton!

I also shop at the 99 Cents only chain stores and they have brand name foods there for 99 cents...organic foods too. Yoplait yogurt 3 for 99, 3 lbs bananas...

hope this helps! M. B in Whittier

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K.L.

answers from San Diego on

Hey G., Hehehe! It's me! Here's my advice...you can do it. God always provides. Jeff and I can testify to that, and even though things are tight for us, I hardly worry anymore because God has never left us hanging.

And, I, of course really want you to stay home because it would be more fun for T and I!

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P.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am right there with you on the penny pinching thing. (I'm a SAHM so it's a necessity now) It's hard sometimes but it's kind of becoming a hobby to find ways to save. If you don't already, buy only used stuff- particularly by way of baby clothes and other miscellaneous for her. Other household items can fall in this category too. (craigslist is GREAT for this... also thrift stores)
I recently found some websites that will send you coupons from time to time as well.
(can't remember the site right now)

Hope this helps
Good luck on your money-saving endeavors.

P.

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C.O.

answers from Los Angeles on

coupons, when you cook, first check the ads to see what is on sale. good luck

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S.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

Look around your house and sell whatever is not bolted down that you don't need. Try craigslist to sell your items. Also, have a garage sale with a neighbor. If you have CDs or books, sell on amazon.com. Have you thought of a direct sales business... if you email me directly, I can give you the name of my friend who is a single mom and supports herself by earning commission. Email me at [email protected]____.com if you are interested.

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D.T.

answers from San Francisco on

G.,
I am so glad that you want to be a stay at home mom - it is so rewarding. My son is only 6 1/2 months and I am fortunate enough to stay at home. We are trying to save for a whole house water filtration system and I have done a few things to save $. For starters, can you have a yard sale? Sell some things that you don't need on craigslist or ebay. Order diapers and other baby essentials at diapers.com and send in your coupons. Are you still nursing? If you are supplementing with formula - stop and build up your milk supply and pump. Formula is expensive. Make your own baby food and freeze cubes of yams, peas, sweet potatoes, etc. Cancel your cable, if you have it. Cut down your cell phone minutes. Use white vinegar diluted with water to clean with instead of other expensive cleaners (less toxic for family too). I hope you can find a way. Maybe you could find some work to do from home to supplement your income. Good luck!
D.

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M.W.

answers from San Diego on

G.,

Have you thought about doing an independent consultant type job? Like PartyLite Candles, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, etc. There is a Independent @ Home Type job out there for all types of interests. I have done one before to make extra money and you work very little. You can totally be a stay at Home Mom and do this. (I worked no more than 7 hours a week, which included the shows.) You can plan any work around your time, very flexible. Just a thought.

Good Luck,
M.

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T.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Can you afford NOT to stay home?
Is it worth the $300 you are short?

Buy Target brand diapers and wipes (Target is the only one I recommend- You get a case for $13). You will cut your diaper bill to LESS than half.
Utility companies offer a low income price cut. You would be shocked to see what they consider low income- Check it out.
I watch a boy part time in the afternoon and earn $900 to $1000
every month.

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L.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

A few thoughts to add to the already great responses -

I don't know what your cell phone usage is, but some find it is better to use it exclusively for long distance and only have the basic land line. Others, like us, who don't make tons of long-distance calls anyway, and who don't need very many cell phone minutes, have found it cost-effective to go pre-paid. We use NET10 and it costs us each $15.00 a month to have the convenience and safety of cell phones. Granted, we only have 150 minutes with that $15.00, but it is more than WE need. We always have extra minutes to roll over.

Also, I think Costco is a good way to save money IF you use it carefully, ie. no impulse buying. Compare prices with Target, on-line etc. I have also found that their produce is of a high quality, and at a good price. You also can't beat their price for a cooked chicken, for helping with a quick meal prep.

We also plan our outings carefully and are finding that we are able to save some money from our gasoline bill.

None of these may save you huge amounts, but hopefully you'll find some ways to help you with your wonderful goal of staying home.

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C.M.

answers from San Diego on

Get rid of your land line phone and use cell phone only. Also coupon shop you can find many extra coupons online and Sunday paper. some store double them.

Good Luck!

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D.D.

answers from San Diego on

Hi G.,
D. here!! I really use the grocery ads to decide what I will make for dinner for the week. I make a list of everything I need that is at a great price, and I even use coupons when they are useful. With my husband not being able to eat corn syrup or any corn product, it has reduced how much junk food we buy. The key is to get creative when you have 10 lbs of chicken in the freezer and don't want to eat the same thing every day!
I cook big meals and freeze so that I have ready meals in a bind. Saves us from eating out so much.
We are also getting rid of unnecessary things and selling them on craigslist, but I know you are not a pack rat and don't have lots of unused things lying around.
I also work from home and bring in money to help out with certain bills (which was extremely helpful these last couple of months when business was slow for my husband. Lots of options for moms out there.

And we are finding that those extras are really not as important as getting to be home with our son. We are okay with having the bare minimum and know we can even do with less when necessary.
I will let you know more as I think of them!
See you tonight!

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P.R.

answers from Santa Barbara on

Thanks for asking such a fantastic question. I am getting lots of great ideas from the responses. I just wanted to point out one thing someone posted that I thought was incorrect. Someone said to stop using the dishwasher because it uses more water. Actually, in most cases you use more water washing dishes by hand. It depends how you do it, but it usually works out better to use the dishwasher IF you do not pre-rinse everything! (If you have a large dishwasher that takes a couple of days to fill up, you can use the rinse cycle once a day or so...that uses only a couple of gallons, which you can easily use up by running the sink faucet for even less than a minute.) Do the homework before making any decisions on this. Also, check the websites for the various utilities, especially your electric utility, for tips on how to conserve. There are little things you can do that will make a big difference, like using thermal drapes to save on heating/cooling costs. Finally, I'm not sure if anyone else mentioned this, but keep your heat down to at least 68 in the winter (use blankets, socks, sweaters, etc. to stay warm...65 degrees is even better), and if you have AC, don't use it at all unless the temperature in your home gets above 80. (The past two summers I lived in an area where it gets up to 90+ regularly. I only used the AC when it got to about 97 or higher outside, because that's when it got too hot inside.) Learn to use your window coverings to your advantage: open them to let the warm sun in during the day in cold months, then close them at night so all the heat doesn't escape. In the summer, keep windows AND shades closed in the heat of the day, but open everything at night to let the air in. And so on. Kudos to you for trying to figure out how to make it work when you stay home. I took the plunge too, even though it was a real sacrifice for us, but I haven't looked back.

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C.A.

answers from San Diego on

Dear Ginnette,

I am a 51 yrs old grandmother now and a teacher, but I will tell you how I got to stay home until my youngest went to school. Provide child care for another mom. I know some mothers think this takes away from their own kids , but in reality it provides your children with playmates and lots of opportunities to learn about sharing and compassion. Also
*Cloth diapers and wash clothes
*buy and sell at resale shops
* sew for your kids and also sell to other moms
* use coupons and double them
And when its all over be grateful for the time you got to be with your kids.

Love and Highest Blessings to you

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L.E.

answers from Santa Barbara on

we also cut off cable TV, and scaled back our Netflix subscribtion from 5 to 3. a couple of months was really tight, almost cut back to 1 or none, but we pulled through.

We don't eat out. go to the movies now only 1 or twice a year.

look at where you spend money, and ask yourself-
1. Do I REALLY need this?
2. Can I do this cheaper? (for example, 3 netflix instead of 5. Or wash towels instead of paper towels. Subscribe to a magazine, not pick it up at the news stand.)

ALSO, if you are watching your kid, perhaps you can get paid to watch other kids. Turn this into a money making source- At Home Daycare. You already have your home turned into a childproof safety zone, and it doesn't take much more work or energy to watch more kids (say 5 max per person though). I know of a coworkers wife that quite her job to be a stay at home wife, then started daycare as a means to get by. Turned out that she made more money doing that, and after her kids got older, she never went back to her old job! Plus turning your home into an At-Home business, it gives you a tax break. Put a at home daycare sticker on your car, and you can write off a part of your vehicle expenses and payments also as a business expense. Plus write off a part of your utilities. Now kids are saving you some money!

-- If you got any others for me, let me know. I have a "displaced worker" stay at home wife now also. I also now work Overtime to make up for her lost income. But it is a good choice.
[email protected]____.com

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H.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi G.,
When I first wanted to stay home, we were in the same place. We cut the Cable TV out, it was almost $100 a month, stopped eating boxed foods that were quick prep, if I was staying home I had the time to put into healthy meals too. In the months when I can I hang dry my clothes instead of using the dryer to save on electricity and same with not using my dish washer if i can help it. It all amounts to a little more work on my part but hey it keeps me home.

I also started my own business, there was almost no investment, (they actually showed me more ways to save money) and I work about 10 hours a month and make an extra $300-500 a month. I'm not a millionaire but I'm home with my kids and I found that extra $400 a month we needed.

Good luck, you can do it.

H.

http://wisemommy.fourpointmoms.com

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D.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

All of the responses you have received so far a FABULOUS!!! I try to do the same things like turning off the light/tv when no one is home. I also unplug things if they arent being used. Lots of people dont know it, but it is still using power when it is plugged in but not in use. Also, have you switched out your light bulbs to cfl's? I am doing it now. Everyone says it saves a lot of money on the power bill. I shop at Costco for bulk items such as meats, toilet paper, eggs and cereal. If you have a vacuum packer, its really good to buy meat there and section it out into portions and then freeze the rest until you are ready for it. We do this a lot and it helps save on the meals. I too collect cans and bottles. Every penny counts right? I look at that just like your tax refund. Its your money being taken away at the beginning....so why not get it back? I have a friend who has a special deal on her landline where its very cheap. If she calls someone who is more than 13 miles away from her; she cant because its considered long distance. She said its the bare minimum package offered. They use their cell phones more than the landline.
You could also look into a Direct Sales business. I am with Southern Living at HOME and I make good money. I am not away from the family more than I want to be. I can also do my business online. Check out all of the options before you choose one. Lots of SAHM's have Direct Sales businesses to bring in a little extra income or "play money" as we call it. Save on the water bill by taking your shower/bath with the baby instead of seperately.
Ok so theres my 2 cents. Hope this helps. Good luck.

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N.S.

answers from San Diego on

Cable TV, cell phone plan, Starbucks (we actually bought an espresso machine and make our own lattes- much cheaper). I haven't been to a mall in ages. We found that gifts could really put us over budget - so be realistic. For family we usually do pictures, or something homemade. Food -- stick with the list when you go to the store, keep track and if you go over budget for the month, eat the can in the back of the cupboard. it is amazing what you can make with what is in the pantry when you have to. The other thing that I would say is to simply track your spending. Use a software like Quicken and look at where you are spending money, then see what you can squeeze.

Good Luck!
N. and Avery (16 months)

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C.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

As a stay at home mom of 3 kids who has been out of the traditional work force for 8 years, I know from experience that you cannot cut everything out. You have to leave a little wiggle room in your budget for savings, emergencies, gifts, and a little "fun" money for you and your family. It took my husband and I many years to work out all the kinks.

The best advise I can give you is to find an extra source of income that allows you to stay home with your baby, while providing some extra money for the suprises that you didn't expect. While there are many ways to do this, I chose a business that works through home parties. There are many direct selling companies out there that are respected, well run companies that provide quality and recognized products.

I personally signed up with Silpada Designs (sterling silver jewelry) and it's been better than I could have imagined. I work approximately 10 hours a week and earn enough money for our family to maintain our lifestyle. I also have a lot of fun doing it, too. There are other great companies, such as Once Upon a Family, Southern Living, Taste of Home, Pampered Chef, etc... The list is endless, you just have to choose the product line that "speaks" to you!

Good Luck to you and your family! I wouldn't have traded the past 8 years of my life for anything, and I know you will love staying home as much as I have.

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T.R.

answers from San Diego on

Recycle aluminum, plasic. It all adds up. Use newpaper for cleaning windows. Walk to places as often as possible to save gas also to keep up with good health. Don't buy bottled water in small bottles use gallon jugs or larger. Us leftovers for a meal as often as possible and make one dish meals.

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L.H.

answers from San Luis Obispo on

The more you want to be at home the more ideas will come to you. Everyday wastefulness becomes so apparent when your not rushing out the door to go to work. I use cloth napkins. I put them in my children's lunch box (three kids) and they bring them home everyday. I use them for all meals. You can get them at thrift stores brand new or hardly used. No paper waste. Use Hand towels, not paper towels. The environment will love you for that. They can go in the wash with anything. Your doing the laundry anyway right. No more paper waste. I also use just a small strip of dryer sheets. Do you have a food mill for your babies food? If not it will save you $. No more bought baby food. Grind up your real food and your child will benefit from it also. Good Luck. I gave up a good paying job to be with my children. It is sooooo worth it. "Things" aren't what make a family strong. You'll be glad you did. This time will go fast and soon you'll be wondering where the time went as it flies by quickly when your raising children. Breathe deep and be the blessing.

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E.S.

answers from San Luis Obispo on

Hi there,

We do a lot to penny pinch...
Electricity saving tips:
Keep heater setting at 68 deg and ac setting to 78
I do all my laundry in one day, once a week so once the dryer is heated up, it doesn't waste the energy to heat up again.
We are careful to keep only the lights we are using on.
Other things we do...we cancelled all magazines, and even the paper because we could get magazines free at the library, which I had time to visit when I stayed at home. We could read most news stories on-line.
We even cancelled our cable, and rented movies, also through the library.
We also had to give up on all the classes. like gymnastics, piano, etc for the kids. but with the extra time I had with them, we went to lots of parks, free concerts in town, and free programs at the library. (My kids are 9 and 10, and love reading with all the time we were at the library!)
One last thing, if we did splurge on a museum, or amusement park, we would pick only one nearby and get a season pass. We would go to the same place often through the year and really get our money's worth out of it.

Hope this helps.

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Y.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have been in this situation, in fact, we are still in it. I decided not to return to work as well. What makes a huge dent in our monthly budget is food. So I find ways to keep a balance diet for the whole family on a budget. Think about ways that you can make your meals stretch. For example, if you make chicken soup, take out some of the chicken for dinner the next night and you can make chicken tacos or chicken salad. Pack lunches for your husband. Try different salads with lots of protein. I guess what I'm saying is revisit your menu and see where you can trim and what you can make last longer. Also, cut down on utilities, turn off lights, use less water, less of every product in the house, especially household cleaners. Get online and look for home cleaning tips without having to buy a product for everything. Call your insurance and see if you increase your deductible, how much you can save -- this is what they call self-insurance. The idea is that you increase a deductible from say $250 to $500 and you can save maybe $200 on your annual policy. Minimize dry cleaner use. And last but not least, if you are missing one item for dinner or just a household item, try your hardest to avoid going to Target, Wal-mart or grocery store, you'll always spend more then you need too.

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C.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Like you, I'm always looking for a bargain...I found a wonderful way to save money (and MAKE $!) is to shop at those childrens "resale" shops. I frequent a couple called "Inch by Inch" in Cerritos ###-###-####) and Los Alamitos ###-###-####). Not only do they have great prices on gently used clothes & baby gear, but they BUY those same things from you! They have new things too...great for gifts! And have you thought of being a stay-at-home-mom with a FUN JOB? I could give you some insight into The Pampered Chef, which is VERY flexible while raising a family! I'd love to show you how you can enjoy get-togethers and make money during the hours YOU want to! You can email me at [email protected]____.com.

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C.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi

We have been trying 2 things to help us save money.

First of all, we went to an "all cash" approach where we take out a certain amount each week and thats our spendig money.
I find that it really makes you think about all the little things you buy that you dont really need.
The second this that I read about that we are trying is to pick your meals at the beginning of the week so that you can go to the grocery store 1 time a week with a set list of what you are going to buy.
Good Luck

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S.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

It's fun trying to find ways to stop wasting money, isn't it?
I am with a company that encourages financial responsibility and I help moms earn from home and save money as well.
If you are interested, check out the mission I am on to help moms earn from home and have the freedom and flexibility in life and finances!
:)
www.MomsOnAMission.US

I love a lot of these responses, but I would caution people about shopping at the 99 cent store and getting lower quality products. That could actually lead to a HUGE expense of asthma and excema and all sorts of health care issues. "Saving" a few bucks could actually wind up COSTING thousands, so be careful about where you choose to shop and what you choose to bring into your homes!!
Poison Control hotlines are jammed with accidental poisonings!
:(

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D.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi G.

Both Vons, and Ralphs double coupons...it saves a bundle. plus what someone else taught me to do is even if I don't need something yet ie shampoo if it's on sale and I have a coupon I buy it then instead of paying full price when i need it and it's not on sale anymore and the coupon has expired..I haven't paid for toothpaste, shampoo, soap and lots of other things in a couple of years...

D.

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K.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hello,
I see you have tons of responses so this may be double. I hate buying wrapping paper or gift bags and cards, they all go in the trash. I keep a large white roll of buthcer paper and red, blue, pink, yellow ribbon. I use the appropriate color for the occasion. Then I use black finger pant and hand print my daughters hands all over the paper and then we just make a tag. That is a savings of $5-$8 in unnecessary packaging and cards for each occasion. During Christmas we did red and green hand prints, I wrapped tons of stuff for about $8. Plus my 3 year old daughter loves it and the receiptant feels I added a personal touch.
Thanks and good luck, just know you are not alone. I made the decison to stay at home when my little one turned 1 and have no regrets. My husband says we have the rest of our lives to make money but our daughter will only be young once.
K.

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S.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

You have so many good responses. Recycling is a good one!

Several people were telling you about where to shop. Target has the worst return policy! Walmart is great for smaller items. I know that Smart and Final doesn't have a membership, but buying in bulk at Costco is still cheaper most of the time (I've done my compare shopping homework). We got the executive membership so we get 2% of every dollar back and that pays for next year's membership. (Gas is also less there too!) Then if you get their Amex card you get another 2% back - not too bad! I hate to sound like a commercial, but their Kirkland diapers and wipes really are great and you can get individually packaged meat cheep if you look in the freezer section-since you're buying in bulk chances are you'll freeze most of it anyway.

We aren't big newspaper readers, but the Sunday paper always has good restaurant coupons.

There was also a response that talked about refinancing and some other tricky things. My husband is a financial planner and he does free consultations if you (or anyone) is interested. It's probably the most informative hour and Q&A that you could ever get. He helps put together comprehensive plans that really can make your spending simplified in all areas. his email is [email protected]____.com (Please do not send spam to this address. I am only leaving it as a courtesy to you all). I hope this helps!!!

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D.V.

answers from Los Angeles on

I dont really have anymore tips then what you are already doing. I just want to say, just quit your job and do it. You will be surprised how everything comes into line. My DH was making little money and we took the leap. Everything worked out fine (after a couple months adjusting). I make my own baby food which saves me a ton.
Good luck to you and I really think it is worth it.

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H.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear G.,

You already have so many responses so far I'm not sure if I can add much. Since you live in San Diego all the fun free things to do in LA won't help much! However...

I don't think anyone added this to your list. Fresh produce is almost always inexpensive in comparison to meat or frozen convenience products, but have you tried shopping at your local farmers market? My local market isn't even as inexpensive as some, but the produce is excellent, especially if you compare it to what's available at most grocery stores. Everything is seasonal, so don't expect to find red peppers in January. If you like buying your produce in season you can save some money. Once I found organic heirloom tomatoes for $2.50 a pound. Not cheap, but less expensive than the regular tomatoes at Ralphs which were $3 a pound. The regular organic tomatoes at the market were only $1 a pound!

Also, keep a notebook with you when you shop. Write down the price per pound or ounce of the things you buy regularily. Pretty soon you will start to memorize prices, so you can know a bargain when you see one. In general, anything under $1 a pound is a bargain.

Generic store brands are almost always less expensive than brand name products. I do much of my shopping at whole foods but manage to keep the cost down by only buying "365", the Whole foods line of products.

It's hard being a stay at home mom but it's very worthwhile. After a while you will get used to not buying as much. Thats the key really, shop less, buy less.

One more thing - go to your local public library for free books!

H.

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J.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

I would l love to speak with you and share with you how you can be a stay at home Mom and still contribute to the family financial status.
Email me @ [email protected]____.com so we can schedule a time to speak

J. B

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S.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

You can watch another child for $300 a month or more. You could raise the deductibles on your auto insurance policies so you pay out less per month (but more IF there's an accident that's your fault). You can stop smoking (if you even do). You can use coupons at the grocery store, have your husband carpool if he works outside the home, cancel extra cable channels, use your cell phones instead of your house phone, etc. You can also find a job like I did, where you work at home in your spare time. I do medical transcription. If you want more information, let me know.

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K.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

my girlfriend helped my family do it, so i asked her for some advice and this is what she said:
Well, we don’t have cable, so that cuts out quite a bit. We just have an antenna, which helps us not watch as much TV. We shop at Trader Joes and Costco for the big items. Trader Joes is way cheaper than Whole Foods or even Vons. Costco saves you money for items that you use a lot. We buy all our toilet paper and paper towels from there. I buy all generic diapers, formula and baby wipes from there—it saves a ton and Josiah doesn’t mind at all. Don’t use the heater if you don’t have to. Snuggle up with blankets. Don’t drive if you don’t have to. Gas is ridiculously expensive. Other than that, I would have to talk with her personally and figure out her spending habits. Those are just some things that anyone can do. Oh, and don’t have a home phone. Just a cell phone on a shared plan is plenty.

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S.C.

answers from Honolulu on

Hi G.,

What a wonderful thing that you want to stay at home with your little girl.

Here are some suggestions:
1. Get a notebook for both you and your husband and every time you buy something, write it down. You will be amazed at what you are buying and really are not aware of it.
2. Make lunches for your husband's work whenever possible.
3. Buy in bulk.
4. When considering any purchase, ask yourself, do you need it or want it. If the answer is want, wait 30 days before purchasing it. Chances are you could do easily do without it.
5. Make your own coffees/lattes. Very easy to do without a coffee machine.
6. Hang clothes on the line to dry whenever possible. (depends on where you live!)
7. Shower together (it's fun and saves water)
8. ALWAYS turn the lights off when leaving a room.
9. Walk instead of using the car if you can.
10. If you like going to the movie, get 2 movies through Netflix for $5.00 a month.
11. Sounds boring, but buy cloth diapers instead of the store bought ones. May have to do a cost comparison to see what is cheaper - the electricity and water usage or buying them.

That's all I can think of for the moment. Hope this helps!

S.
www.mannaworld.com.au

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A.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

Well, if you use a dishwasher, stop. It saves on water, soap, and electricity. Instead of using a dryer, stop, and put up a clothes line. You will see a huge difference in your bills by doing this and you will probably save more than $300, I did. It really made a big difference for me. I have a helpful hints list if you like, alabamalady813.yahoo.com

Good Luck!

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B.T.

answers from Honolulu on

Hi there,
I am a stay at home mom of 2 boys. My husband and I live way below the poverty level, but we do not get any aide. Here are a few of the things that we do to ensure that we both get lots of time with our boys...
hang dry your clothes
do not buy cleaning products, make your own with simple ingredients like vinegar, backing soda, lemon, orange and salt
buy in bulk
walk and ride bikes whenever you can
rent movies from the library ( much less expensive then a store )
replace your incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent or LED's, LED being better
put your appliances on power strips then turn off the strips at night at bed time
buy your clothes from a used clothing store like Savers or Salvation army
recycle your cans and bottles for money
consolidate debts to a low interest/no interest credit card
use cloth diapers/wipes
go to your local farmers market for fruit and veggies
eat less animal products, its healthier anyways
enjoy all the free things in life that you can... beach, fresh air, library, walks in nature, playgrounds and parks
Good luck, it is so wonderful and important to spend time with your kids, especially when they are young! If you must get a little more money every now and then find a job, like cleaning or answering phones, that you can do with your child in tow.
Aloha,
B.

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D.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have been blessed to stay at home with my six month old little girl and here are some of my tips. I grocery shop by looking at the adds. I try to buy all my meat on sale, and then I stock up, basically I shope the adds and go where things are on sale, keeping tabs of the prices. I do not buy starbucks,and I limit my eating out as much as possible too. But if I do go out, we try to use coupons. Hay, 10% can add up especially Sushi! I limit Birthday partys, because of the gift factor, and I have not taken on any household projects. I have also not bought anything new for the house except a tablecloth for the holidays, at Marshalls.I am constantly trying to keep lights off during the, and at night when not in use.gosh,I could go on and on.Good luck to you. There is nothing more rewarding than being at home with my Daughter.

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M.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am not sure if any of this will help, but I save hundreds just by organizing and reusing. I cut coupons and make my grocery list after looking at the weekly ads. Stock up when it is on sale. I refill water bottles and buy water out of the water machine for 25cents a gallon. Also, make coffee at home, not Starbucks, and bring snacks and drinks from home so you aren't tempted to stop and over pay. I have three girls and I stay at home working a home based business. It allows me to work around the girls schedule and still bring home money. Also, a job at the gym doing daycare could give you a bit more money and a free membership!! Good luck,
www.MrTeaTravel.com

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S.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

Call your phone, cable, and other service companys asking for a better price. You will be surprised, but in today's economy many businesses are willing to discount their prices in order to retain customers. After making all of my calls, I lowered our monthly bills by over $100! Good luck

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D.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

Have you thought about maybe doing in home day care, taking in perhaps just a couple of children? That way you would have a income coming in and you could stay home with your daughter. Just a thought.

I am a licensed day care provider, and have been doing this for years.
I enjoy it.

Oh well, it was just a thought.
God bless..... D. wagoner-stewart

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N.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

G. have you considered taking care of someone elses child during the day. The benefits are great. You get to stay home with your daughter and you also give your daughter a playmate. And you are bringing in a little money every month. I know it seems that your daughter is a little young for a playmate but it really will benefit both you and your daughter. Hope it all works out and you get to stay home.
N.

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A.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hey G., I know its hard when you are used to the 2nd income. What about your cars? My hubby drives a car thats great for getting to and from work, not much else... Eating out is a big one, I know you said you dont eat out much anymore. I know I spend a lot less when I make a menu and the beginning of the week and only buy the items you need, that way you don't have to go back and forth to stores throughout the week... I will keep thinking and let you know if I can come up with anything else. God Bless!
~A.

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S.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

Try the dollar store. I don't ever buy the food there but it is great for household cleaners and all of your paper goods.

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D.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Gosh, there's so many great tips but maybe I can add something that isn't already there. I have two things that might help:

1) No more long distance on the land line. There was a monthly fee and 10 cents/minute on our long distance, I didn't even realize it. And having any service at all, you don't even know if you're making a local-long-distance call because it might be within the same area code. This is what we do. Have all long distance coverage cancelled. Then you can't call any number that would charge you anything (phone companies may try to tell you that you can't do it, but they're sneaky!); it will give you an error message. Then you can use your cell phone or dial a 10-10 number. We use 10-10-565, which will charge $2 for the month but is only 4.9 cents a minute. Good if you make lots of calls.

As for 9-1-1, you can still have basic service for local calls so you don't use all your cell phone minutes. Also, as far as I know, 9-1-1 works even if the phone is not in service, just plugged into a working jack. I would research that first.

2) Ditch the cable/satellite! That is an amazing drain on resources. Now you can just use Netflix to get DVD's of the shows you like to watch. Gosh, you could possibly save like $60 bucks a month judging from how much satellite usually costs.

Hope that helps, every sacrifice is worth it to stay home with that little girl.

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E.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hey G.,

I would suggest writing down all of your expenses and then finding a few things that add up to $300. I have to say that not buying paper towels or cutting dryer sheets in half is not going to save you a large amount of money. Maybe cancel cable tv, cell phones, and long distance service ( I know you can buy phone cards that are much cheaper than the monthly service charge the phone company charges you). I know it's hard, but if you're committed to staying home then I know you can find a way. Good luck!

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J.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi G.,

All of these money saving suggestions sound great. A couple of responses encouraged you to work from home w/ a Network marketing co. I started building a business with an amazing company called Arbonne 1 year ago this month. It has changed my life. The products are all pure, safe and benefical for you. It's a great way to stay at home, not miss the important stuff and also bring in a nice income. I'd love to share some info w/ you w/ no obligation if you are intersted. You can email me at [email protected]____.com.

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H.G.

answers from San Diego on

G.,

I founded a non-profit many years ago (when my boys were young) that coached parents in how to cut down and /or start home businesses to supplement their spouse’s income so one parent could stay home. We worked with single parents too and encouraged any parent that had the desire and motivation to be at home to follow their dream.

I no longer have the non-profit (HIPP, Home Income Producing Parents) I dissolved it when my family grew older and we moved to Switzerland for 2 years. We have been home for 4 years now and I am now coaching women to follow their dreams and am an Independent Consultant for Arbonne International. Due to my experience with all the different "Pre-Made" home businesses I found Arbonne to be the most supportive and lucrative, with motivation and dedication you can literally get a pay check the first month you start with only a $29 start up. It is really all you care to make it. That being said if you are interested and want more information I would be happy to get you information or chat with you any time.

Another wonderful way to save (we did it for years) is clip coupons. We would save $30 to $70 a grocery trip. I also want to warn you not to cut too much from your life too fast. If you make your lifestyle change too bleak or drastic it will be hard to stick to and also could get very depressing. Make sure you find time to still have fun with your husband and child. There are a lot of fun "free" things you can do; picnic in the park, walk on the beach, watch the sunset, go to the library to get a good book that both of you can read together (read outloud, take turns), join mom groups...

I hope this helps and remember if you want any more information or support please feel free to send me a note.

H.

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L.L.

answers from San Diego on

Hi G.!
I totally understand your situation. I was in the same boat. What I found helpful is using coupons at the grocery store, turning off any lights around the house that don't "need" to be on, and now that gas is so high I drive only when I have to. I'm trying to walk a lot:)
I also took a stay at home job with Mary Kay. It's nice because I get to make my own schedule and I can contribute to the household income. I have to say that Mary Kay has saved our family. And to be able to stay at home with my son, Sean, is priceless:)
Let me know if you would like to hear more.
Smiles,
L.

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M.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, I’m also a stay at home mom, of 4 (15, 13 (these two are step children but also live with us) 8 & 2 1/2). I have always worked up until my now 2 ½ year old was born. My husband and I always thought a double income would allow us the lifestyle we love. We enjoy going to nice dinners and having Starbucks daily and buying nice things without feeling the guild. We have discovered that my income was paying for daycare and paying for gas in our second car for commuting. After our youngest was born we decided that I would stay home. We’re still able to have nice dinners and Starbucks frequently as long as we watch where our money goes. I can assure you, cutting down on drying sheets and paper towel will not save too much, maybe only pennies per month. Instead, don’t be afraid to buy in bulk at Costco. We buy our paper towel there and it lasts forever. Also, I have discovered a new love for the 99cent store. Find one in your area and explore it (my favorite is in Redondo Beach, the corner of 190th & Anza). I always manage to find great buys, fruit roll ups that normally are up to $3-4/box at the grocery store for only $.99 each, of course check the dates and and things change all the time there, we ususally go weekly. You can buy sandwich bags, batteries, water, spices, etc at a fraction of the cost, just make sure you check the dates. Some $.99 Stores have grocery sections, my kids love Gogurts and sometimes have them there so we will buy 4-5 packs of them for the cost of only one at the grocery store. I have also started recycling, which I think is a pain, and also listing some of my childrens gently used clothes on Ebay, that is my extra spending money or I’ll take the money and buy clothes for my kids online. I get nice name brands that are gently used or even new (Gap, Old Navy, Gymboree, etc). I think if you try some of these things you will see how easy it is to make up that $300 and even have extra each month to play with. Also, don’t be afraid to buy store brand items sometimes, especially on things that don’t matter, like pasta noodles, canned fruit and veggies. Oh, I just thought of another place, Trader Joe’s, produce is so much cheaper, and better tasting than the grocery store! I hope my suggestions help and allow you to feel better about staying at home and still enjoying the things you love!

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M.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dont penny pinch anymore. Work from Home. I have been working from home for 15 years and have raised 3 children with plenty of money. There are tons of opportunities out there to help you create a generous income, have the feeling of contribution and give your child the luxury of having a stay at home happy mom.

Research the internet for business opportunities and go with what feels good to you.

Check out www.bankonchocolate.com and if you have any questions email me at: [email protected]____.com

Go for it! Staying home with your kids is fabulous but you don't have to penny pinch anymore.
Blessings
M. R.

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C.S.

answers from San Diego on

Hi G.,
I'm pretty darn frugal myself so I can relate. One resource you might appreciate is www.sandiegobargainmama.com. They find all the deals and steals in San Diego for you and send you a weekly newsletter. I think they even go through all the circulars for you to save you the time. I hope that helps. All the best,
C.

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L.S.

answers from Honolulu on

1st of all -- you ABSOLUTELY do not need dryer sheets!! If you use them for towels the towels do not absorb well because they've absorbed all the gunk in the sheets and there's no room for water!! The dryer softens your clothes!! Or put tennis balls in the dryer. Also-- If you need it buy it-- if you want it -- don't buy it!!! P S: dryer sheets have been known to cause fires in dryers. The gunk gets stuck in back exhaust and catches fire. check it out! also-- dryer sheets contain CHEMICALS!! The skin (your children's) absorb those chemicals through their skin! GET IT?

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L.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Have you taken a look at your utilities and speak with someone from water/power/gas companies for ways to cut back?

Eliminate/reduce cable tv expense.

Believe or not, it is so worth looking into cutting back on car insurance. We research every six months when we are due to renew and have been successfully cutting back on this expense.

That's all I can think of right now.

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S.M.

answers from San Diego on

Are you $300 over where you'd *like* to be at or where you *have* to be at?

Here's a story.
I was nervous when I went part-time from a full time 50K per year job. Then when my son was 5 mos. I went back to work part-time. 5 months later I quit altogether and over 4 years later we're still doing fine on a single income.

At the time it was stressful. Should we, shouldn't we? Can we survive and still be happy and take care of bills?

Crunch the numbers realistically. Don't forget to budget for a savings. I save a huge amount of money when I pay attention to our food bill. Grocery shopping. Eat leftovers and don't waste. Cook only what you need or put it in the freezer for later.
Visit the thrift shops often and pick up super cheap clothes for your little one. You may have to visit often to find good stuff.
Water bill...don't let water run during brushing teeth or washing dishes. Quick showers.
Cut cable out. You don't need all those channels anyway.
If you stay at home, you may not be driving as much so you'll be automatically saving gas.

Good luck!

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S.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

HI,,I am a stay at home mom to 3 kids 2,6 & 8.I will give you a few examples as to how we save some money! I make a menu (however I cook for 5)after I have my menu,,then I shop , so that I am buying what I need & not what looks good at the time!For my 6year old daughter & my 2 year old son,,I buy alot of there clothes & snow boots & stuff on ebay.Some (alot) of it is used,,but trust me,,my kids look great you can never tell.I find buying slightly used I can buy nicer brands.I also use half the laundry soap they say to use & TRUST me,,,our clothes are perfectly clean! & if you use softener,,cut out the drier sheets.Use a damp wash rag,,add a little softener to the wash rag & put that in the dryer with your clothes,,works better I think.I have soooo many more little corners I cut, I cant add them all,,,,but let me know ,,I would be happy to share them all! Good luck & God bless!

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A.D.

answers from San Diego on

In my case, it was making a big change from shopping at the big chain grocery stores, to shopping at our local 99cent stores. Cut the grocery bills nearly in half. I dont know what your budget is, or how much money you have coming in, so it is hard to give advice. I use coupons whenever i can, reuse items whenever i can. I have learned to cook in bulk and then freeze the leftovers...really does help the budget stretch. Another key is learn to cook from scratch and not rely on box food...it will keep you healthier and reduce your spending as well. learn to make your own baby food...that is also a big help...baby food is expensive... I was a stay at home mom till my son was old enough to start school. Then I started volunteering at school and that worked into me working part time at the school. But I havent changed...I grew up poor, so I have learned how to cut corners and make the budget stretch. Even tho I am back to work, somewhat, I still use those tips, to make the budget stretch. My husband had open heart surgery and was off work for nearly 3 months...someone in his payroll office messed up his paycheck so we had $40 to last most of the month...trust me, I did not think twice...I had not gone shopping since before Christmas. Only had a few items in my freezer, and from that, well, lets say, I am still making due...we dont get paid until this friday, and I am making every bit of that food stretch. And I still have food left. It is just a matter of retraining yourself and rethinking your spending habits. Dont neglect yourselves. Go out to that movie, or go out to dinner on occasion, i mean not all the time, but once per month or whatever. But that little outfit you might like, but you will have to cut corners elsewhere...it will work out. I can help you more if you want to email me privately.

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L.A.

answers from San Diego on

Been there and done that. Believe me, your standard of living can always be lowered. When we cut back so I could stay home with my first two, I had friends who would say, oh, I wish I could do that! And I would look at their standard of living and know darn well that they would never REALLY consider staying home because they wouldn't want their standard of living to go down. What they didn't realize was that, although they had more "stuff", my standard of living was higher in the ways that really mattered.
These days, cutting down on driving is a great way to cut back. Get organized and shop once a month instead of once a week or more. We save a lot of money doing this. We supplement at the neighborhood store when we run out of eggs or milk, etc, but buying monthly can save a lot. I also bake my own bread!!! Me! And I am not a Suzie Homemaker type! We bought an inexpensive Bread Man breadmaker, and I use that for the dough cycle, then I bake it in the real oven. My family LOVES it! Find more economical dishes that you and your husband enjoy. More pasta, less meat. I've also started making my own tortillas. Taco's burritos, etc are a very inexpensive dinner. My husband and I actually cut our grocery bill to $100 a week when my first two were small. That was 15-20 years ago, but the principles are the same. Buy your daughter's clothes at a second-hand or thrift store. Do not worry about what other people think. Do not worry about what the neighbors have. The important thing is the time with your daughter. No amount of money, no standard of living is worth losing these years with her. I grew up in a very upper class neighborhood. Believe me, stuff doesn't matter. Being a real, "there" mom to your daughter is valuable beyond all else. You CAN do it if you really want to. Don't think you have to plan it all out first or you may never take the plunge. Just do it, and then you will have to make it work. You will find the money-savers. And your daughter will thank you forever after.

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C.W.

answers from San Diego on

I just glanced through many of the responses you got and there are some good ones. May I suggest a book called 'The total money makeover'? I have just started it and it is great. The company I represent is going through it. It teaches the truth about money. I would also suggest checking out the consumer direct marketing company I work with, Melaleuca. We manufacture all natural products that are used in every home. You can stay at home, refer customers and create a safer healthier home for your family and help the environment. Call or email me for more information. ###-###-#### or [email protected]____.com My perk is the second Melaleuca listed.

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S.R.

answers from San Diego on

Hey G.

I just got done reading a great book called, The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. It's a no none sense guide to getting rid of debt and making the most of your life. It's been a great help.

Good Luck!

S.
http://www.workathomeunited.com/betterforyou

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M.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi G.: Do whatever it takes to be home with your precious girl Now! They grow too fast and moments are too easily lost. There is a great book called Million Dollar Mom No Sweepstakes Necessary to Be a Stay At Home Mom by Andrea English and Elaine Shepherd with a lot of tips on saving money.

I line dryed all my laundry until we moved into a city that criminalized clothes lines! It saved electricity and wear and tear on the clothes. My kids were raised on garage sale clothes. You can get wonderful gently worn outfits, toys and baby needs from garage sales at a fraction of retail. I also would pass on clothes my kids had outgrown to other moms and they would do the same for me. My mother and mother in law attended rummage/garage sales regularly and would pick up things for my kids.

For several years we got along with one car. The kids weren't in school yet so I didn't really need it. We did errands with the stroller and took lots of walks together. If I really needed the car for dr. appts, etc, I drove my husband to work. Either he did the shopping or I did it in the evening.

My husband also did work on the side to bring in extra when it was needed.

I didn't always appreciate how blessed I was to be at home with the kids. It was during a time when stay at home moms were ridiculed. I was even called lazy! But I could never bring myself to leave my babies no matter what anyone said. I have wonderful memories of seeing them grow up. I wouldn't trade that time for anything.

Do whatever it takes ASAP to spend everyday with your baby. You will never regret it.

Mary

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T.N.

answers from Los Angeles on

It was only 7 months ago that I quit my joob and walked away from a wonderful career and came home full time. It is scary and sometimes really hard. I have gotten very creative with my cooking and I am very careful where I shop and how much I pay for things. Since I made alot more than my husband we kind of had to take things to the extreme to make it all work. We now have one car, turned off the cell phones and cable. The hardest part was that we sold our home and moved into an apartment so that we could live strictly on his salary. It has been one of the hardest things I've ever done, but it has been worth every bit of it and I would do it again in a heart beat. Part of me wishes we hadn't waited as long as we did. I missed out on alot working fulltime (including my daughter's kindergarten graduation) and now I get to talk to my sister almost every day (even though its long distance) and spend time in my kids' class rooms, scrapbooking all the wonderful pictures I get to take now that I'm home, sewing cute clothes that the other girls at school are jealous of, and actually enjoying my kids.
I buy 99 minutes calling cards at the 99 cents only stores, it is only one penny a minute. Sometimes it is a hassle but it is alot cheaper than any long distance plan I have found and I get to talk to my sister ALOT!

It will be hard at first but there will be nothing better than to be there for all the wonderful and important parts of your little girl's life. Your are a wonderful mom. Take a deep breath, trust in your abilities and don't look back! I wish you the best!

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M.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I didn't see this suggestion yet - shop at the dollar store or 99 cent store, whichever you have! I can't believe the items they get in stock there; toothpaste, baby wipes, cereal, even dryer sheets! I buy business supplies there, too. It's so cool to have a basket full of stuff & your total is only $18. Enjoy that baby! -M.

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L.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

how about babysitting an older child after school, or a toddler who will be able to stimulate your child to play, talk earlier, etc...

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S.B.

answers from San Diego on

Hi G.!

My name is S.. I have 3 sons that are grown up. It happens! I think it's great that you are wanting to actually raise your own children. Even though I do not have young children I am a stay-at-home woman. I love not having to go outside of my home to work. When I taught in the public education system I was teaching other people's children and leaving my own 'home alone' every afternoon. Now I get to enjoy life and have a production career. I finally figured it out!

I'm a Sales Director for Mary Kay Cosmetics and would love to share with you how to stay home yet earn extra income. It is possible. You may not have to keep on cutting down, down, down. You could just raise your standard of income and not sacrifice the time you spend with your baby daughter.

Penny-pinching Tip: Eat fresh vegetables and fruits (if you're not already doing that). At my neighborhood produce stand I can get a significant amount of fresh food for $10-$12. It's amazing to me how shopping at smaller food/produce stores has cut our food budget way down. The grocery stores are expensive and most of the foods are processed. I hope this tip helps you in your pursuit to do the right things in your life.

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D.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Well you don't even need to use dryer sheets. I bought the reusable dryer sheets and balls from Gaiam and they work beautifully. Here is the link below. I have not purchased dryer sheets in over a year. You have to make the initial purchase but that's it. They will last for years. You can probably find them at Bed Bath and Beyond also.

http://www.gaiam.com/p2p/searchResults.do?method=view&amp...

Another thing that I did to save money is on diapers. This isn't for all but it worked for us and since I am a SAHM I could do it. I used cloth diapers and washed them myself. It all depends on what kind of washer you have. If it is a newer one with a sanitary wash then you are all set. If you are interested in hearing more about cloth just shoot me an e-mail and I will give you all the info on which diapers I used, how I washed them and what kind of pail I used.

We also turn off lights as soon as we walk out of a room. It is a habit for us.

When your baby starts eating baby foods do not buy jar foods. Make your own. I have a book here that you can have on making your own baby food. You can make it right in your blender, use ice trays and freeze the food. When it is frozen empty the tray of frozen food and store in a container in the freezer. When ready to eat warm them in a pan or sit out to defrost before you are ready to feed your baby. It is so easy and healthier for your little one.

Try not to use ziplocks. Use containers to store food instead.

Good Luck. Those are my tips. Feel free to ask me any questions.

D.

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C.P.

answers from Honolulu on

Have you looked at how much you spend at work for breakfast, coffee, sodas, snacks and lunch? The amount may surprise you. You said you have stopped dining out..Have you stopped take out food (fast food) and pizza deliveries?

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C.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

This is what I do...
I only wash my clothes in cold water. It works real good as long as you use the cold water detergent. And my clothes don't shrink as much! I am always turning off lights and the TV when no one is here. I also recycle cans and plastic bottles. Every couple months my daughter and I go and recycle them and can buy a game or a CD. I never buy stuff on line. If I cant go buy it I dont get it. It saves in shipping costs. Plus it is too easy to shop on line.
Thats my 2 cents! ;)

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C.K.

answers from San Diego on

Dear G.,

Continue to breastfeed; it will save you a couple of thousands of dollars in the first year and beyond on formula, bottles etc. Use cloth diapers and wash them every other day instead of expensive disposables. After month 6 to 12, make your own baby food from scratch (there are a number of baby food books out there). Commercial small baby jars add up to quite a bit. Use a small soft wash cloth instead of baby wipes and wash them with the cloth diapers. Have only one car in the family, and carpool/walk/take buses. Shop at Costco. I have more ideas (I do all of the above myself), but that is what I have to say for now. Love, C., Mama to Alexander, born 3-Sept-2006

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A.L.

answers from San Diego on

Vegetarian meals are generally less expensive than meals which use animal protein. When I became a vegetarian I saw my grocery bills go down significantly. You don't even have to become a vegetarian; just have a couple of meat-free meals each week. Also, buying food in bulk from a store like Henry's market is less expensive than buying prepared food. Brown rice is a staple of my family's diet and it is really inexpensive and healthy! Eating less animal food keeps the weight off too...so you don't even need the gym membership. I wish you the best of luck!

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E.H.

answers from San Diego on

Why use anything but a clothes line? Plunk the kid into the wash basket, carry it outside and hang the clothes up, lots of visual stimulation for her and exercise for you! In an apartment? No hanging space available, hand the laundry inside with a retractable line from Ace Hardware. Save the $ from the dryer costs. Got a patch of land, plant seeds, get her in the dirt, raise the veggies yourself.

You could also take on another child as in child care, yours would get companionship and theirs wouldn't have to go to a child mill.

Regards, E Hill

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V.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

Besides all the obvious things to cut out...have you ever shopped at Winco? I am telling you they have great prices. It is like I have $1 off coupon plus+ for everything. Also they have the bulk bins for pasta, seasonings, cereals, etc. Ex: I was going to buy chili powder in the seasoning isle for $4, but instead I bought it in the bulk bins for 15 cents. I can get away with a week's worth of groceries for $70-90. Also, stay away from all of the pre-made meals, frozen etc. That stuff isn't healthy anyways. Somethings I buy in bulk at Costco as well. Bring your calculator to compare prices if the store for some reason doesn't have it broken down for you. And if you get that shopping urge just remember, the best things in life aren't things.

One more thing, if you aren't already crafty, you should learn. I started making jewelry, bibbs, sock monkeys, blankets, quilts for birthdays and showers.

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J.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

First, let me tell you my story. I had just had my second child and my husband decided to change careers from being an IT manager to being a police officer. Since the academy required a lot of spousal support, and he was taking a paycut to be an officer, we decided it was best that I leave my job since basically, I would be taking home $600/month with a full-time job after just paying daycare. So, we took a $55,000 year paycut from me leaving my job and with him taking a paycut.

Talk about a challenge.

Here is everything that we did to save money, and we NEVER went into debt, never had a balance on our credit cards and still managed to have a happy life without worry.

1. Refinanced our mortgage to purchase both of our cars. We were able to get a lower interest rate, able to write off the interest for taxes and not worry about having to pay a car payment. Since we planned to live in our house for several years, it made sense, plus when we did sell our home 5 years later, we made a huge profit, still had the cars, so it offset the difference anyway.
2. Cut our cable to only the basic channels.
3. Cut off long distance calling on our landline and told the entire family (which all live in Florida and parts of the east coast) that we would be using email to communicate, unless they wanted to call us. Which they happily did.
4. Combined our cell phone plans to get a family discount and took down our minutes. We saved $40 by just doing this alone
5. Called every company we had to lower interest rates on our credit cards (just in case we needed to use them)
6. Since we lost so much income, we qualified for several discounted programs for the electric company, gas company and telephone lines. Contact each utility to see if you qualify.
7. Go online and sign up at all the websites of the products and restaurants that you regularly use or go to. They will routinely send you coupons in the mail or email which can save you a lot of cash! (also refer to the post regarding www.couponmom.com; that site was great too for coupons and info).
8. Figure how much money you're saving too from not working: dry cleaning, eating out for lunch, buying new clothes for work, gas and the tax relief that you'll be receiving. Add that money back into your budget.
9. Get in touch with friends and family, or friends-of-friends to see if you can do clothes exchanges. I had several friends that would give me hand-me-down clothes in excellent condition and that easily saved me hundreds of dollars a year. I would hand them back down to other people and the circle of giving kept going. Some of the clothes went through 3-4 kids and are still holding up as if they are close to brand new.
10. Talk to neighbors and friends to do babysitting exchanges. That saved a lot of money for babysitting if we had to go out.
11. If you can't find anyone for a hand-me-down exchange, try hitting up the second hand clothing, but make sure you find coupons in the paper before going or wait for the sales. You can find a ton of great deals that way
12. Scour the Pennysaver or subscribe to cox.net weekend reports on their website to find a ton of free events that will keep the kids happy. We were always going some place and rarely, if ever, paid for anything because we went to so many free events. Also, the OC Fair and LA Fair both have days that you can get in free if you take canned goods or used children books, so look for those dates.
13. Call your newspaper and see if you can broker a cheaper deal to get it only on Sunday or Sat/Sun. I pay $78 a year for my newpaper ($1.50/week) for Sat/Sun delivery and save 5x that amount by using grocery coupons.
14. Comparison shop with all the grocery stores in the area. If you have a coupon that can be doubled at on place and it's on sale for the same price at a place that does not double coupons, go to the double coupon place. Coupon doubling adds up. I can't tell you how many times I've rang up my groceries at $150 and walked out of there for $35.
15. Pay attention to the "kids eat free" places, dates, times and restrictions. I have an entire list of places in south OC that have free meals for kids or places you can sign up for free birthday meals, etc. (message me if you want the list)
16. Shop the ends of the aisles at Target. All of their clearance stuff is there. With a coupon, you can get a ton of stuff, usually in larger sizes or with samples of other items, for mega cheap.
17. Keep things bared down to the "needs" instead of "wants". We saved up for anything big that we needed. Insist on saving some money...it can be done, even if it's $10/month. You gotta keep some sort of nest egg. If you have the chance to go out to eat or save $10, save $10 and splurge on sale items at the grocery store! LOL I know it sucks the first few months, but it's worth it in the end.
18. Keep everything in perspective...look for things you can do at home like consulting with a home sales company that can bring in extra income if needed. I am a Tastefully Simple consultant and I can't tell you how many times that extra hundred (most of the time more) came in handy with very little effort on my part to do it.
19. Get rid of your Costco membership or any other membership that isn't necessary. I had several friends and family members that would just take me to Costco and I would buy under their account with them and paid them the cash for stuff. I only shopped at Costco when they had their manufacturer coupons as well.
20. Drop the gym membership and gather friends and neighbors to walk in the mornings, afternoons or evenings. That alone had me dropping more weight than I ever did in the gym (40 pounds!!!)and saved me a ton of cash each month.
21. Carpool ,carpool, carpool and walk if you don't have to drive. That saved me at least $30-$40 a month in gas bills and I got fit at the same time. Carpooling is fun because the kids loved hanging with their buddies and I got my girlfriend time in

Message me any time if you want to ask me about other options. Believe me, I went through it all. Tons of people come to me when they do this and I've walked several couples through the process and they are very grateful. Think about it...doing this alone will help you financially manage money differently, change your priorities and make you a better person all the way around. I am not going to lie, there were some very stressful times, but it is SO worth it..AND it gets better. There are raises to look forward to! LOL

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L.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

G. ~ I really don't have any suggestions that have not already been mentioned but . . . I did read that someone suggested using only your cell phone and cutting out your land line. I would not suggest this at all. You need your land line in the event of a 9 1 1 call. Your cell phone does not give your location and if for some reason you are unable to give your location, your cell phone 9 1 1 call will not cut it. If you even accidentially dial 9 1 1 from home, they have to send someone out to the house. So say you dial 911 but hang up, they 911 operator will call back and send someone out to your home. For this reason alone, I suggest do not cut your land line.
Good luck

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L.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

Start a babysitting co op with neighbors or friends with kids around the same age. You can do it at night so you and your hubby get to go out and not spend $10/hr or more for a babysitter.
L.

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F.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

How would you like to work from home around your husband's and daughter's schedule and any future children you may have? I am sure you have been approached by many on working from home. My approach is completely different and I have a step-by-step method that will make this dream of yours a reality for you. You can quit and return the things you got from my company for a total refund within 60 days of joining. That is a 100% satisfaction guarentee. Please call 866-673-8803 and listen to a 3 minute toll free recorded message on why the way we go about things are so total different from what you've been approached about in the past. If you like what you hear, leave your name and number and the code# MS0208 and I'll get back to you ASAP. This is A Working Mother's Dream. Good Luck ~ F. :^D I live in the north end of San Bernardino.

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