How to Stay at Home

Updated on April 18, 2010
K.W. asks from Milton, VT
43 answers

I would love the oppertunity to stay home with my children. Its killing me having to be away from them all day long... Does anyone have any tips as to to do so without "living off the system"?

I love the responses that im getting from everyone. Keep them coming!

To answer a few questions, yes im happily married with 2 children. We both work full time so the kids are in daycare full time. Im willing to sacrerfice, just needs some ideas as to where to start. I really think we can make this work just need a little advice. Thanks to all of you!

Thanks to everyone that has responded. This has been great, its really given me a place to start. I love all the tips, book suggestion and stay at home jobs suggested. Keep them coming!

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So What Happened?

Thanks to everyone for their ideas/suggestions. My husband and i have gone over our budget and unfortunately right now its just to tight. We have tightened up on extras though and are now on the right track. I think with a little more time and determination we may be able to make this work. Thanks Again!!!

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answers from Minneapolis on

in case you want a book idea...

Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy
Strategies for Stay-at-Home Parents by Kristine Berggren

Looking forward to reading the answers. We can always use some new tips to save even more!

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answers from Philadelphia on

I have been a stay at home mom since my 3rd was born 8 years ago. I have watched other children here and there for extra money. We have never had to use any type of welfare. We do get reduced lunches at the school and are fortunate enough to have our softball fees waived.

What i can tell you is that we do not live as fancy as many do. Don't get me wrong, we still have an occasional filet mignon (bought on sale and cooked at home) and bottle of wine. We do not have flat screen tv's, fancy cars, new furniture....etc. These are things that my husband and i are willing to sacrafice for our kids. I have learned to make dinners that can stretch a couple of nights, like homemade meatballs, chilis, stews... and a night or two a week something as cheap as eggs or pancakes :)

I believe that it is possible. My husband does not make much money at all and there are 6 of us. It is not easy but it is absolutely worth it. I am starting back part time in sept (my youngest will be in first grade). I feel that i did the best thing i could do for my kids.

You really do have to be willing to sacrafice. (for lack of a better word) My husband and i realize that one day we will have the money for all of the extras. There are days though that we are scraping our change to get a soft pretzel... those days teach my kids precious lessons. I would love to give you more tips if you are interested.... just send me an email :)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I'm assuming your husband works? If so, you need to start by looking at your budget and seeing where you stand if you cut out your salary. At that point you start cutting where you can to get the numbers to work. You might have to cut out a lot of extras and you might even have to move (we had to downsize our house when I started staying at home). It just all depends on how important it is to both you and your husband and what you are willing to give up to make it work.

If staying at home full time won't cut it, you could consider part time work to make things a little better.

One suggestion I do have is if you decide that it is possible, try living on only your husband's salary for a few months before you actually quit your job. Just put your salary into savings and see what it's going to be like before you do anything drastic.

Good luck,

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Here are a few things my husband and I have done to make it possible for me to stay home with the kids:

1.) We shop almost exclusively at Aldi (and we love it), some at Costco and some at Walmart or Woodman's. We do not shop at other stores unless there is something stupid cheap listed in a flyer and we stock up.

2.) We buy our clothes on clearance and only what is necessary.

3.) We don't go to movies unless it's a matinee in Woodstock and that's about once a year. We normally rent from for $1. I also check things out of the library for entertainment. We look for free things to do at nature preserves or other area events. We spend much time with family cooking as well.

4.) The kids are not presently signed up for any activities such as ball or dance because we can't afford it.

5.) We visit family and split costs like beachhouses for vacation.

6.) We do visit thrift stores but the pickings are getting slim in this economy.

7.) We budget everything...we literally sat down and wrote out all our expenses for weeks and added when something came up...then decided how much we could spend in each area. We stick to our budget at all costs. Groceries can't go over $500 a month....I stay within that budget by writing out a menu for two weeks and then buying mostly just what I need to prepare those meals. I cook from scratch....boxed, frozen, and prepared are too expensive.

We also have two accounts in which to keep money for the bills...monthly bills we pay out of one account and then once a year or twice a year type items we save for in another account. We transfer money for the periodic bills first thing....that way we always know we have the money for insurance, property taxes, association dues, club fees, car stickers, college savings...when they come due. No scrambling to find the extra money.

8.) We do all our own maintenance on the,, and the internet (as well as family) are great resources when trying to figure out how to get something done in an inexpensive way.

9.) I buy store brands most of the time....not name brand anything. I even make my own kitchen cleanser with vinegar, lemon juice and water.

10.) I grow some vegatables in the summer to help out with groceries.

11.) The kids and I built a worm bed so that we will have bait this summer when we want to go fishing and that's a nice inexpensive thing to do with the kids as long as the adults don't mind not fishing. We pack a picnic and make a day of fishing and exploring.

12.) We don't eat out much at all...but we do eat in the Costco food court every two weeks when we go there for certain fruits and such.

13.) I pop my own popcorn for movie nights with the kids...old thin spaghetti pot makes the best popcorn.

14.) We don't buy the kids toys unless it's a birthday or Christmas. And we don't spend more than we have managed to save up for the events. If we only managed to save $200 then that's what we spend. Period! No exceptions. Believe me the kids are fine and have more toys than they know what to do long as you don't let them get caught up trying to keep up with friends or being jealous of what friends have, then they will be fine.

15.) If my kids do repeatedly comment about something they would like...then we make a chart so that they can keep track of the chores they do for 10 cents each...then they can buy whatever their little heart desires...if they work for it and save for it. They worked for the past six months to earn enough for a hamster. We colored in each square on the chart when the earned a dollar. Mind you they have to help around the house at will, but there are certain chores they can do that earn money.

16.) We shop around for the cheapest phone and internet rates. We don't pay for cable...the whole family has benefited from not having the time waster, brain mushing, moral declining, bad attitude teacher in the house. We had to cut it out when my husband was laid off about 8 years ago and we haven't had it since. We love not having that garbage in our house. But that's another discussion.

17.) My mother got me a cell phone and added me to her account for $10 a month. I just pay her. My husband's phone is paid for by work...otherwise we wouldn't have them.

That's about the basics I guess. Gotta go finish that lunch for the kids from scratch....some cut fruit, a little salad and some fish fillets. And they don't really like junk food...isn't that a nice result?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Rapids on

My husband works close to home so we decided to be a one car family. It actually works out good for us and saves us sooo much money! There are always little things that you can do to save money. It is so worth it to stay home with your babies. Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Mansfield on

alot of good responses her... just wanted to add a few things.
A L is right about cutting what you don't need... cable, cellphones, switching to lower minute plan or eliminate your house phone. Checking insurance and figuring out if it really is worth it to pay for full coverage on a 10 year old car,etc. It is pretty easy to learn to streamline bills. Start tracking your spending now... clothing, food, gas, misc. (all your expenses to keep you working like the gas to and from, childcare, money for lunch, clothing to wear... see if you can save by NOT working). Also I starting keeping track of how much I was spending on what grocery items (this took a while) but I realized that I bought so many pounds of beef each month so I started waiting for really good sales and stocked up as much as I could. Same with other things I bought regularly or alot of. We have also decided that we would be better off "buying a whole cow" to fill out freezer after 4H. It will be a large expense all at once but will keep us in meat for over a year.
Let me add- you do not want to go to a single car! My husband was in an accident that totalled his car so we were a single car family for alittle over a month- it was maddening! He worked so he took the car... I couldn't go to the store, church, run to the bank, take the kids to practice or school. If they missed the bus I had to scramble to make calls to find someone to get them to school on time. I was also constantly worrying what if they get hurt (i would have to call ambulance to go to ER) or really sick I couldn't get them to the doctor, etc. However you do not need 2 car payments, or even one if you can get away with it. We do not have a car payment at all. My husband bought a car with cash after his accident (the one he wrecked was too) and I paid off my truck years ago and still drive it. I want a new car soooo bad but it is not worth going back to work for as far as I am concerned.
Cut out any nasty (or not so nasty) habits that eat at your money. Eating out, smoking, alcohol, going out regularly, magazine subscriptions (saved a ton when stopped those), coffee shop visits (that was my sacrifice). Once you have made all the cuts you can... try to pay all expenses with just your husbands income. I put 3 months of my income in savings before I quit working just to have a nest egg and to make sure we would be ok. The only exception would be the childcare and your working expenses (since you will not have those if you stay at home). If your husbands income is just alittle short- see where else you can cut or ask for part time at your current job to make up the difference but be home more. Maybe instead of working 5 days a week you can only work 2.
Hope this helps :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

I agree - Dave Ramsey has a lot of great advice about money management and is a big proponent of SAHMs - I haven't read "Total Money Makeover" but I have read "Financial Peace" and it has the same basis. We have worked his plan for over a year now and it's made a big difference in our quality of life with me continuing to stay at home with our 3 kids.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fort Wayne on

I recently became a SAHM when we moved out of state, we went done to one car and have paid off most of our credit debt. we have watched our pennies and are doing very well. Like the other posts said plan ahead. Give yourself a target date and jump in with both feet the water is great!!! lol. good luck, we are talking about baby #2 possibly. remember GOD will provide what is needed.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Well, a couple of things have to be made clear first.
A. Are you a single mom? It is much harder if you are.
B. If you are married does your husband make enough to support all of you?
C. Are you willing to whittle down your lifestyle to fit a one income home?
D. Is your debt load such that it won't be a major strain on the family?

Just because you stay home doesn't necessarily mean you will live off the system. =) It can be done but it may take a lot of thought. I can honestly tell you that in the long run it is well worth it! Even if it means the adults eat hotdogs and mac for a while. My first husband and I had to do that so I could stay home with my two older children. I remember hating the limits set on us as adults but I also remember how wonderful it was to have my children hugging on me during the middle of the day, reading them a book, watching them play in a sprinkler. I may be selfish but I want to be the one to experience that with MY children, not a babysitter. I can't imagine how the moms feel that have the babysitter say, "Your daughter took her first step today! I wish you had been there....".

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I took a class on book keeping/quick books. I now work from home two days a week and off set our income. If you are good with budgeting/numbers check it out. I have been doing it for 2 years. Book keepers are always in demand, you can charge a great hourly rate and do most from your home during naps- depending on your clientele. Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

I here you! I have threr kids ages 6,3,2. I have been home for six years but it took a while to find a real company that offers work from home. I have done many things but nothing worked.
I love my company they have been in business for 25 years! They are awarded by the BBB! I would look into any company that you choose and so your research.

Here is my website for more details.
We'll talk soon!


My position is a real work from home opportunity- Beth M. is incorrect. My business name is not FreedomUnitedTeam! It is our training team not our company! Teams cannot be rated by the BBB! Only companies! Our company is rated an A!! People should research any company including MINE!!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

here are a few things that i do!

1) we do as much food shopping as physically possible at aldi, that saves us a LOT.

2) we buy all of our clothes on sale, second hand, or at outlet stores!

3) we very very rarely eat out (like literally only 3-4 times a YEAR)

4) buy all of my cleaning stuff, body care, vitamins, etc online from a whole-sale club. it is awesome! the same company actually gives an option to work from home, which i also do and is AMAZING! i actually work with Moriah (she is awesome too) and she is right. The freedom united team is just the name of our non-profit training and support group, its the company that we work WITH that is awarded by the better business bureau with the A rating. Say what you will, but i have brought in well over $1000 in the 8 months ive been a team member and i really enjoy it, which is even better!

5) walk, walk, walk! if at all possible, we walk!

6) we keep out AC at 75 during the summer. the only time we turn it down is to sleep if it is feeling muggy, and we never turn it below 72. During the winter, we keep the heat at 68. the only time it gets turned up is if it is hitting single digits or below outside, and never above 70.

7) reuse! if at all possible, we reuse everything. If i have a shirt that doesnt fit well, it goes to my daughter for a sleep shirt. if the kids gets a stain on a shirt, then i get a fabric marker and make a design on the shirt to hide it! i also crochet us blankets for around the house, i am finishing up a large one for my daughters bed spread!

8) craigslist! if at all possible, sell what you can on craigslist and buy what you can on craigslist! you can also get a lot of great deals. Do you need family photos? look on craigslist for a photographer who is looking to update or build their portfolio. they will likely do it free!

9) cut down your cable. We have NO movie channels or anything like that. Invest in netflix if you like movies. 15 bucks a month, you can check out 2 movies at a time and return them as soon as you are done. We watch a lot of tv shows through them too so we dont have to deal with commercials or waiting until next week for the next episode.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Here's my advice that does not involve taking a part-time job:

Calculate the difference between your job and your daycare expenses. Clearly that is the amount you will have to shave off. To that you should add a bit because your utilities will go up just a bit from being at home during the weekdays.

- Cut back your TV cable bill where you can.
- Use Netflix and hulu online for watching TV/movies.
- Take advantage of the passes offered at your local library as well as free rentals of movies and books. Anything you can rent instead of buy, do.
- If you have cell phones, get rid of your landline; Alternatively, reduce your cell plans.
- Join free playgroups.
- Attend free read-alongs and similar at the local library or at bookstores. (But don't buy books after!)
-Instead of meeting friends for drinks or coffee, take turns hosting.

- Clip coupons or start buying food in bulk.
- Plan a weekly menu and make your shopping list around that. Include one or two freezer or "wing it" meals for nights that things didn't go as planned and you don't have time to cook, so that you can whip a meal together and don't have to resort to ordering in.
- For larger fruits (mellons, etc), if your supermarket offers half of it, buy that and buy a variety so you can make a fruit salad and keep it in the fridge. It ends up being cheaper than buying the ready-made fruit salad and you'll be inclined to eat fruit.

- Run the dishwasher and washer/dryer at night. Water and electricity are cheaper then.
- Use cold water for all your laundry.
- Line-dry your clothes when the weather permits it.
- Put timers on your lights if you are the types that are used to leaving them on/forgetting to turn them off.

That's all I can think of now. I hope you find these tips practical and that they help get you closer to your goal. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

Start an in home daycare???

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I am a full time stay at home mom. Before my son was born I made excellent money where I supported myself, my lavish toys (expense truck/horse/outtings,etc) and supported my ex-husband. The moment I knew I was pregnant with my son, I was going to do everything in my power to be able to stay home with my son for at least 4yrs.

Since I have been a nanny off and on for over 15yrs, I swore I'd never have my child raised by someone else. The things you miss that you never get to experience again with that child is just hard to miss. If i had it my way, parents wouldnt have to work and can raise their children until their in school. At least give them 5years of full time parents. In a perfect world, that would be my dream.

When my son was born and while i was on maternity leave, I really enjoyed the time I got watching my son grow up to be a little toddler. By 3 months I knew going back to work wasn't what I wanted. Forgot to mention, I started my own business while I was pregnant that allowed me to stay home. It was a business that didnt require a lot to start up.

With my sons dad working in construction, he made excellent money when he was working. And he made 2x more a month then I did, when the jobs came in. So if you saved and planned differently, me not working full time wouldn't of been an issue financially. I was willing to make some drastic changes to have my dream of being a full time mom.

So i told my employer to lay me off. He did with no problem. My business i started was put on hold as I went back to watching children again. This way my son has a playmate 10+hrs a day. Pay sucked, but the benefits outweight what I would be saving in commuting expenses, gas, daycare and unlimited time with my son. Money cant buy that....

If you want to stay home, make it happen. Get ride of things that are not important to you and you can live without for a few years. Until your child is in kindergarden. Heck I eventually had to sell my horse after two years, as my time with my son was more important to me and my horse was just being a horse. It was a great financial decision on my part. When my son is old enough, we will be back into horses, TOGETHER!!!

So all in all...make major cut backs. Stop the little pleasures for a while, like starbucks, gym memberships, extra un-needed stuff at the grocery store, buy in bulk like diaper wipes, baby shampoo, buy cheap shampoo is great (like sauve, it works better then high priced shampoo), go longer without hair cuts, no more getting your nails done for a while, drive a little slower to save gas, dont splurge on stuff u typically do, be frugal at holidays, cut back as much as u can without sacraficing who you are as an individual. Go to a park for a walk, go to the library to read a book u dont have to buy, watch dvds, (so cut back on cable), get less expensive internet, use less lights at home - candle light, take short showers with your child, wash your clothes in cold water to save on water and gas bills.

Recycle stuff that you dont have to buy again, like soap dispensers, just refill them, ummm share shaving cream, deodrant (ya seems gross but it saves $, just wipe it off), ummm...use baby wipes instead of toliet paper (but dont flush it down the toliet bowl - throw it away with the baby diapers), buy cheapier diapers, use garbage bags instead of the bags u get for the diaper pails, use vasline for boo boo butts, instead of diaper cream (if its not a major fungs rash), used furniture, go to discount stores for used clothes...

I can go on and just have to be willing to make drastic living changes. Do a spending report through your online banking. It will give you a VERY clear idea of where your money goes. That will help alot. I learned i spend hundreds of dollars on eating out (500+) in month. It gives you a realty check to. Its amazing where your money goes if you truly dont see what your spending it on. I was so shocked that I couldnt believe how much money actually came in and how much more it went out, ha!

Good luck. You can do it. Especially with support of your hubby! You both can if you work hard to make it happen. See if your husband can telecommute a few days a week...anything helps!


answers from Dallas on

We are big planners and that is how we started before our daughter, now 15, was born. It was decided from the get go that I would stay home with her.

I am fortunate to have a hubby with a great job and it really was not an issue, however, planning was/is still involved in an ongoing basis. We now own our company which is the same industry he has been in for years but we are responsible for all the expenses and insurance. There is a lot to look at.

The main thing we do is be DEBT free. Our monthly obligation is our mortgage which has been paid way down and refinanced wisely. We have a mortgage rate around 5% which is hardly found now adays. MAINTAIN perfect credit.....that will help you SO much.

If you use a credit card (we use 1 card) and it is paid in full, sometimes overpaid monthly. We have a lot of expenses related to our business. ANY time an expense is reimbursed the funds are immediaely sent to the credit card company. Like I said we have 1 card we use regularly. We actually have 2 cards and we trade off the use...for instance, the driver edge card gives us "points" toward a new car...we can only accumalate up to $500 per year. Once we hit the $500, we switch to the Airline mile card and accumalate air miles which pays for all ouf our personal air travel (and we travel a lot). On the driver edge card....the deal is you accumalate points and whenever you buy a car, make your best deal, buy the car THEN send in a form to the credit card company and they issue you a check in the amount you have accumulated. We buy new cars but we pay for them outright and we do not trade often. For instance, I have an 07 paid for very nice sporty Mercedes that will be our daughter's in December when she gets her license ( I know, I know,...BUT it is a SAFE car and we believe in safe cars for all of us). When we got this car, we got an automatic $2000 back from the saved points we had. Nice little perk, huh!

You must believe in delayed gratification. A number 1 priority was to fully fund our IRA's and daughter's college fund. After all this is now done, we can look at some "fun" things to do and it just so happens that some of the "fun" things go away when there is an unexpected repair around the house, etc.

We do not go cheap on things. We buy quality one time and then we are not nickel and dimed to death on repairs.

A great way to "try it" for a while is to bank your entire salary and live off your husband's salary while you are both still working. This will help you see what is coming in and going out monthly and where you might need to cut back.

I'm in the Dallas area so i sometimes do focus groups and get paid cash for my opinion. Granted, it is not a ton of money and when I do it I know it cost me to drive to the location, etc but I use the money for play money and shop when I am done. I also substitute teach on occasion. One way to be successfull is to have multiple streams of income....don't rely on just 1. The little things can add up.

I stock up my pantry with about 6 months worth of staples. My freezer is filled with high end beef we buy from our local butcher shop. I shop Costco and the local grocery Market Street.

When I see a deal....I stock up. For instance, I use All HE laundry detergent. I think I have 10 backup bottles now. I do the same tith toilet tissue, paper towels and baby wipes.

Good luck to you and I hope you will be able to be home with your children. It is a very rewarding experience. It is not for everone for that is ok too.



answers from Denver on

You are the first Vermonter I have seen on here! I grew up there and go back every summer to visit my parents. Just had to give a shout out to VT!!

Ok, so one thing I have done is to watch another child in our home. I have done this full time and part-time. You just kind of make the other child part of your family. It's always been great for us and other families like having their baby/child in someone's home as opposed to daycare all day. :)



answers from Pittsburgh on

Since having my child 7 years ago, I have worked FT for GREAT money, been laid off, collected unemployment, worked PT for not-so-great money, and been rehired PT for GREAT money. Guess what? We lived through all of it.

I think it's all about number crunching.

Figure how much you bring home per year. Figure how much you pay for 2 kids on FT daycare. If the difference is really significant, you need to figure out if you can live on less.

It's amazing the money you SAVE by staying home: gas, wardrobe, child care, etc, etc.

I'm a huge Dave Ramsay fan and I would suggest his books to help you figure out if you can do it. Most people can. You just need to step off of the hamster wheel and live on less than you make.



answers from Springfield on

When we made the decision to have me stay home, we sat down and figured out exactly what we needed my income for. Neither of our kids had been in daycare but our youngest was in preschool 3 days/week. I had my own home based business at the time, and although I wasn't doing much with it, it was actually providing us with more than what we needed my income for so the choice was simple for us. If I worked my business a little more we could have the extras and I would still be able to volunteer at school, go on field trips, be at soccer and baseball games and really be the mom I wanted to be while contributing to our family financially.
There are so many wonderful home based businesses. There are ways to review your budget and see if you need to work at all. If you would like to discuss how we made our decision, feel free to reply.
PS - Staying home made an incredible difference in my children. They are polite, responsible and wonderful boys. I know it is difficult for many moms to stay home and I applaude the working moms herculean efforts to keep everything going they way they do. For us, staying at home was the best decision.



answers from Wichita Falls on

I think you should "go for it." Time goes so quickly and your children are grown up and gone before you know it

Yes, I think it does take great sacrifice, however the rewards are beyond measure.

A home business that I have been a part of for the past 7 years is CReative Memories. We teach people "how" to preserve their family photos in scrapbook albums, digital or traditional. It is the "helping" business, because you help people do great things for their families. You really do. And, you keep up with your own children's albums. Go to: and you can look around and see if it peaks your interest.

Best of luck to you. You have your priorities right!
Fondly, M.



answers from Boston on

I'm curious what advice other Mom's give because I have thought about this myself!



answers from Las Vegas on

Hi there
my first bit of advice would be to CLEAR the house of items you really don't need .. example, two cars... too many appliances, too many t.v.s etc.. have a garage sale, then.... Clean up ALL EXTRAs in terms of bills, credit cards, etc... stop buying (if you do) meals outside the home, this includes coffee and or other beverages. NOW.. see if once you truly scale ALL things back.. does this feel comfortable and that said, can you now manage to stay at home with a single income. I say try all the above first... see if it feels good and actually works monetarily.... if it does.. then yeah, go for it..
sometimes, people quit their jobs FIRST and then figure out their budget LAST... I say, do the budget first, see what life is realistically like once you have cut back.. then .... follow up and leave and your job..


answers from Birmingham on

Well, I feel for you! You could try only working part-time or finding a way to work from home. You'd still be working but would have more time with your kids. Good luck, I hope you can find something that works for you and your kids!!!!



answers from Boston on

I haven't read the other responses yet, so this may be redundant, but here's my take on the situation.

We are managing to have me stay home and raise our child (soon to be children). No, it's not easy. At all. We do not have enough money to rely jut on my husband's salary, and life is not at all what it used to be. But I wouldn't trade this time for the world. Here's a breakdown of what we do.

1. Stop buying stuff. All of it. I am a huge fan of and they have communities all over the world. Almost all of my baby stuff has come from there and it is well worth it. This means that I don't have "sets" of anything. Most of my stuff looks used, because it is. Most of the baby's clothes have a stain somewhere or worn out knees, or something. As it turns out, it really doesn't matter. There's no way I'll ever rationalize spending $15 on an outfit that might last three months again. I will, however, make an exception for a special event. But only if I REALLY need to. Also, there's no shame in shopping at consignment and thrift shops. They smell a little weird and you have to wash (maybe twice) the clothes that you get, but paying $0.75 for a pair of shoes for a toddler is well worth that sacrifice.

Going with hand-me-downs, also means that my clothes are mostly ugly and worn. My maternity wardrobe in particular is dreadful. BUT... I cling to those clothes that do look nice and save them for when I need to look presentable. Then I wear the gross clothes at other times. Like when I'm changing diapers and doing laundry all day. The kids don't really care what you're wearing. They'll love that you're around to play "build a fort" in the living room.

This also means no retail-therapy. No "shopping as recreation". No impulse buys. It's actually really hard at first, but the longer you go without, the less you feel like you need stuff. It's actually hard for me to buy things now. I need a new pair of sandals since my pregnant feet won't fit into any of my old ones. I haven't bought shoes in two years (except one pair from Target that I bought for a wedding) and I really have to force myself to spend the money. I also haven't had a haircut in two years, but if I just keep trimming the ends myself, I think I can manage. I've mastered the ponytail! Ha!

USE THE LIBRARY. It's so often overlooked and underused. Even when your books are late, the fines are miniscule. Be careful with the dvds and videos, though. Those fines can be pretty hefty. Still cheaper than renting, though! And certainly don't buy these things. I have a book shelf from my old life full of books that I thought were OK. I'm not going to read them again, so now they're just taking up space. Drat!

2. Don't eat out. Unless my parents are treating, we stay home. Occasionally we'll order take-out, but that's less than 3 times per month. And when we do, we find a "deal" somewhere. Learn a few easy, delicious recipes that your family will eat anytime. When you are tempted, look at the price of a meal at the place you want to go. Add tip. Then think about how you could make the same thing at home and save yourself SO much money. And, trust me, when you're home instead of working all day and then bringing the kids home to do the whirlwind of getting ready for the NEXT day, you'll be much more likely to want to cook things.

3. Get extra work where you can. My husband does freelance computer work. I don't know what you and your husband can do, but babysit for someone else, odd jobs, overtime, whatever. Eventually you're going to need a plumber or a car repair and you'll be glad to have a little extra cash.

4. Use coupons. I was a much bigger fan of this a couple of months ago. The more nutritiously you try to eat, the fewer coupons are available to you. I've been trying to use "whole ingredients" more and there are very few coupons for those. It's a toss-up. Worth checking them out, and if you like the processed stuff, you'll find no shortage in ways to save money there. Also good for paper products and things like that.

5. Become part-vegetarian. I'm always vegetarian and, since I don't want to make two meals, my family is vegetarian at home. Vegetables are expensive, but regardless of your protein choice, vegetables and fruits should be the bulk of what you see on your plate. It's easy to add carbs. Meat, especially the grass-fed, humanely slaughtered, no-antibiotic kind is very expensive. Try beans (burritos, bean soups, as part of a veg mix over pasta, chili, etc.), tofu (if done right, it's actually very tasty, despite all the "ew" factor people give it), quinoa (looks like a grain, contains protein), or nuts (chop them and add them to veggie dishes or on rice or in pasta). It's healthier, cheaper, and better for the planet.

6. Remind yourself that it's worth it. You won't always be able to join friends for dinner or buy that cute thing that you want. But you WILL know what your kids are doing all day. You, with all your love for your kids, will be responsible for how they are growing. You cannot pay someone else to love them like you do. You cannot pay someone to be invested in how they turn out in the end. That's all on you and it's TOTALLY worth it.

Good luck!



answers from Colorado Springs on

I am waiting on my first child (due on the 18th) and so I started working at home with Work At Home United, who is a group of moms working together who provide free training and wonderful support as we partner with a 25 year old company that is registerd with the Better Buisness Bureau. It has been a great expeirence for me, and I would love to be able to share all about it with you. Basically we are customers, using every day household products, who refer other customers. The company pays us for referals (becuase we are their only form of advertisement) and also gives us other bonuses as well. They even eventually give you a car allowance. I love the products and I love what I am doing, so if you have any questions or if I can give you more information either check out my website (which was free) or send me an email luck in your search, and I hope you find a way to stay home!


answers from Washington DC on

Does part time work for you? A few hours a day instead of 8 or 9 is a big difference.



answers from Boston on

Try a direct sales company.



answers from Boston on

What great ideas everyone has!!!
I am an independent jeweler for Premier Designs Jewelry - I do home parties (like Pampered Chef). If you consider going into the direct selling business to make some extra cash, please keep us in mind - we make 50% profit and great commissions. AND we have the best hostess program which helps keep your business rolling!!
Please let me know if you'd like to know more about Premier - I'd love to share it with you. And I'd give you $50 free jewelry just for listening to the opportunity.



answers from Albuquerque on

I stay home with my babies and wouldn't have it any other way. I haven't worked since I was married (before we had kids) so I never had to adjust from two incomes to one. I'm sure you've considered the cost you will save on daycare. Other than that, here are a few things we do to save $ without sacraficing getting out. You can't just stay cooped up in the house all day afterall, you would go crazy! Oh and I do not work part time or sell anything from home. I am strictly a SAHM.

1. We buy an annual pass to our local zoo, which also includes the local aquarium and bio parks. HUGE savings.
2. We use coupons and buy in bulk.
3. If I want to take the kids to McDonalds or some where to play, we eat first (they don't really care about eating there anyway) and we just get a drink and ice cream.
4. Community centers are a great place to look for cheap or even free activities.
5. We go to story time at a local book store once a week.
6. We eat at home. Make meals fun and there is no need to go out. (muffin tin Monday, pizza party Friday, kids choice...)
7. Plant a garden. Not only will you save $$$ on produce it will be hours of fun for the kids.
8. We wash our car at home
9. Give yourself a weekly allowance. That way you have cash to do things during the week but won't be using your debit card. I only get $60 a month. Sounds like very little but I usually have $$$ left over. It really helps me decide what to buy and what we can live wihout. The extra $$$ goes in a jar.
10. Most importantly, sit down with your hubby and work out a budget. If you are both involved with the budget and know what it is, it is much easier to stick with it.

Oh and I just traded my Durango for a Rondo. HUGE savings... I drive over 350 miles a week, it used to cost $80-100 a week, now it costs $30-40. Yes once #3 is born in july they will have to share one seat and will probably bug eachother but such is life!

Good luck and I hope you find a way to stay at home with your kiddos.



answers from Minneapolis on

Instead of a SAHM would you settle for WAHM to bring in some extra cash? I found the perfect work from home job a couple of months ago. I am still working full-time, but hope to be working exclusively from home some day. For now, I’m able to get some extra money by putting in a couple hours a week. Let me know if you want more information. Send me a private message or call me at ###-###-#### and ask for K..


answers from Dallas on

I am not sure you if you are looking for a way to earn money while at home. If you are, here are a couple of 3 minute messages you can listen to: Roger Barnett, Chairman & CEO - ###-###-#### and Project MAHMA™ - ###-###-####. If the info interests you, let me know.
If this isn't the kind of info you were asking for, please disregard. In that case, I would go with the advice of living on one salary for awhile. You might also benefit from some of the information in Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace seminars.
Hope this is helpful. Good luck!



answers from Boston on

I am or was in the same boat! I have two children and worked at the daycare that they went to once they were was terrible but we needed the benefits so it worked and at least I knew who was with my kids all day and could check in on them if necessary...that was an option for us. Then I went back to work for two years, we buckled down, stayed on a strick budget and got our finances in good shape, and I will be able to stay home with them starting in June! Although I feel as though I've "lost" two years because I was at work, it was a long term goal, we needed time to work out a plan and it was a process. Patience... if you want it to work, start now planning for next year... that is what we did and it is going to work for us, maybe only for a year or two but I will take that over none! good luck!


answers from Hartford on

I'm interested to see your responses. I'm interested in staying at home with my 5 month old. There seem to be a lot of "work at home opportunities" but it's hard to navigate through them. Good luck!



answers from Cincinnati on

You probably have gotten a lot of business opportunties responses and all have their merits. I wanted the same thing - to stay at home with my kids. I work full time and feel like I don't get to spend much time with my boys. I stumbled upon Scentsy - Wickless Candles. I love this job. I know people say ugh direct selling - but honestly this product is a very simple sell. Also, your customers come back for more wax. So it is a consumable product. The basket parties are the way to go - not much work from you but still making you $. They are like little employees. You can have as many of them going at once and they are all work for you while you are hanging out with your kids. There are some consultants for Scentsy in Vt but not a lot. The East Coast is still in the early stages, which makes this a great time to get in. I am not a pushy person so don't feel obligated, but visit my website for more information.
Good Luck to you in whatever you decide to do!



answers from Eugene on

Some things that we did in order to make it so that I could stay at home was move into a cheaper rental, we sold my husband's truck and he uses a work truck, we canceled stuff like HBO, we do little tricks to make our home more energy efficient to lower bills, etc. We basically lowered all of our bills and stick to a pretty strict budget when it comes to groceries etc. I am so happy that we did it. It was definately the right choice for us. Hope everything works out great for you!



answers from Lexington on

I work with the same company as Joy G(we are with different Internet Teams- I am with the CEO Moms) it is an absolute blessing, I have been a SAHM for 9 years and I looked for something to do that not only was legit, but that I did not have to bug my family to buy things that they didn't need. With this great health and wellness company you don't. Not only that, but the start up cost is very low under $30 and the tax advantages are amazing. I have been with them now for over 2 years, my family is healthier and happier. The support of my team has been refreshing, they have been there every step of the way no matter what I have needed and with the free website it has been great. I still can call my mentor and ask for help and they help me- I started this business to make money, but I found great friendships too, SO awesome. I will tell you no matter what you decide, when you find the right business for you- YOU will find peace.




answers from Oklahoma City on

I work part time and stay at home with my son 4 days a week. I also have a hobby on the side that makes money. I enter car tags into a database. Then I tell others to enter them in. That's it. No products, no services to sell. I can write them down with my 15 month old in the car. This completely legit company has created a way to store information to help find missing children and those who have stolen cars or failed to make their payments. I have already received multiple checks. I told 3 friends, then they told and so on. Yes, like multi-level or Arbonne, only no products or services. Just 10 tags a month. I'm almost to my 4th level of people. Once you reach 5 levels, it is $4,500 a month. Please feel free to call me on my cell, you can sign up from anywhere around the country. All done online. Easy. Call me, A., at ###-###-####. My Web site is Talk soon!



answers from Boston on

Staying home has been the best decision for me and my family so I'm happy you can consider it. So far you've gotten great advice on where to cut costs and how to make the most of your days for little money. Here are a few resources that were helpful to me when I got started.

The Grocery Game: Helps you connect the dots on what's on sale plus what has a coupon to optimize saving. There is a fee, so once you get the hang of it you can cancel your subscription at any time.

Your utility's website: following their tips on saving electricity and gas we save over $600/yr with no notable impact on lifestyle (eg we didn't stop using the dryer or anything drastic like that)

Freebies4Mom Good advice on special offers from a variety of sources

Best of luck! When I was working I used to cry every night about missing my kids. I have never once cried about our old crappy TV!


answers from Houston on

I am probably a repeat, but I didn't check the responses first, sorry!! The way I got to stay home was finding out about Dave Ramsey and his book "The Total Money Makeover". It is so awesome. My husband and I have paid about 40k off in two and a half years including our vehicles. We are now just working to pay our house off. When we started, we had just bought a home and had about 60k per year! We did not make it on paper at all. But after making a commitment to get out of debt, we began to follow the steps in the book and were amazed that we actually had more money to do things with and were never trying to squeeze out groceries for the family on $50. (I actually had to get groceries on $20 once, thank God for Wal-Mart!) Now we live on a budget and set realistic goals for what we give, spend and save. Because I was at home, my husband got even more focused on his job and now makes significantly more than that. Plus we had goals and goals make everyone work together and try really hard. The best thing is that we never fight about money because we are both committed to the budget we have in place and we now have money to reward ourselves. We have done more stuff, enjoyed more nice dinners, had cooler parties for our kids all with me at home and living on a budget. So I know I am just going on and on, I just want to encourage you that with just some planning and self discipline, you can totally do it!! It isn't about not getting your hair done, it's about saving consistently so that when you need it done, the money is there. We are not rice and beans people, but we don't eat steak every night either, but we eat it sometimes!! So check it out and see what you think, and I wish you the best bc getting to stay home with babies is so challenging but so totally rewarding. Good luck!


answers from Boston on

Hi, I understand where you are coming from and deeply feel for you. May I ask a couple of questions? Are you interested in keeping yourself and your family healthy more naturally as opposed to frequent medications? Have you thought about going "Green" with respect to your cleaning products? If so, do you have concerns that they are too expensive and/or that they won't clean as well as what we have all been using for years? Do you appreciate good skin care & cosmetics but are now wondering what toxins might be in your chosen brand after seeing the media hype about it? If you have answered "yes" to any or all of these questions, I would love for us to simply chat for a few minutes about a way that you could earn $500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000 a month by having your own home business with Shaklee, a Green company that has been in business for over 50 years. I just love working with Moms to help them achieve their goals around their current schedule. Shaklee has instituted a Fast Track Plan; if you follow it, you can earn up to $100,000 in 15 months by following it. Even if you don't earn all that, there is plenty of $$$ just a little less than the $100,000. If you are interested in at least checking it out (how could that hurt??), drop me a note at and I will send you to a website to hear more of the details and find out a little more about Shaklee. Then we can follow up on the phone so you can get your questions answered and just see how you feel about it then. I look forward to hearing from you soon. By the way, Shaklee has been the exclusive nutritional sponsor of our USA Ski & Snow-boarding Teams, and many of our other USA Olympic athletes use it as well and have given testimonials. Also, the White House uses Shaklee's non-toxic cleaning products now. Take care. E. Taft



answers from Boston on

Really, you need to look at the big picture items... house/rent, car payment, and insurance coverages.... you can live with out the super cool cell phone, or cut the cable, and grocery bills- use coupons, ect.... but the big items are what you need to look at... it is totally doable. I have been home now for 4.5 years with my 3 kids and we travel and the kids do a lot of activities..the hardest part was mentally being home taking care of kids all day instead of working, making an income, going to lunch, being in charge of a larger and older staff...but I LOVE it and would not change a minute of it... I love watching my kids grow and learn and experince new things...good luck



answers from Reno on

I started working at home with Scentsy wickless candles. Between that income and saving on daycare and traveling to work, it has all worked out. It is wonderful to have my own schedule! I started a little over a year ago, and all ready I have 13 people on my team. Scentsy has had a 600% growth rate, even in this economy. I would be happy to send you more info about Scentsy, and some samples. Here is a you tube vidio about it, and my website. Thanks, Dana



answers from Boston on

Avon? Pampered Chef? one of those companies where you can work your schedule around your kids?

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