Just Lost My job.....pregnant W/two Kids - NEED BUDGET CUTTING IDEAS!

Updated on May 05, 2010
S.J. asks from Cherryville, MO
51 answers

I just lost my job, so our household income is now about half what it was. I am 5 months pregnant, so finding another job right now might prove challenging to say the least. I am considering staying home, but I need ideas to cut our budget DRAMATICALLY. Some of the things we cannot cut, such as school loan repayments, etc. Luckily, we do not live on more than we earn, so we will be able to make it on my hubby's income for a while, I hope. But, we are losing 50k a year, so we need to make some drastic changes in our lifetstyle.

Our money each month goes to the following:
- School loan (about 1100/mo - refinancing is NOT an option, as we already have a ridiculously low rate on each loan (about 2.5%), and we would lose the graduated repayment plan and the low low interest rate if we refinanced. Both my hubby and I have professional degrees, so the loan repayment includes college and MBAs for both of us)
- Day care 500/mo - (I am considering pulling the kids out - my fear is that if I do and then get a job, I have lost their spots, and spots are hard to come by at good day cares in town - the wait list at my center is 100 + people)
- School (200/mo - this is not for the kids' lunches....just the cost for two to attend the school, no other cheaper options)The $200/mo is a public school, but because of the kids' ages, we are required to pay $100/mo per kid until the child reaches the age of 5. Then the school will be free.
- Groceries/personal items (800/mo)- I do not buy pre-packaged meals....fresh fruits, veggies, pastas, etc. I plan meals for the week and snack for the week and buy only that.
- Mortgage (800/mo)
- Phones (75/mo)
- Cable/Internet (50/mo)
- 2 Cars (500/mo) both my hubby and I travel extensively (work and non work) and getting lesser expensive, less reliable vehicles is not really a doable option. We have a 2005 and 2006 Honda Pilot and Honda Accord hybrid, so they are not gas guzzlers and not luxury vehicles by any means. They are exactly what we need, reliable, affordable, practical vehicles.
- Fuel (approx 375/mo - mandatory travel, non negotiable)

Our travel cannot be cut down at all. I am court ordered (and I believe it is in my son's best interest) to meet my ex half-way to see his son three times a month. That constitutes 3 hours of travel friday, and 3 hours sunday. This is non negotiable.

My hubby travels for work, and it is not a negotiable travel. He goes where his boss tells him to go.

Already we do the following:

- we are credit card debt free and will NOT use them
- no eating out
- make my own cleaners with vinegar, water and lemon juice
- kids get clothes at consignment shops
- sell stuff on ebay
- run dishwasher only in middle of night when electricity is cheaper
- switched to money saving light bulbs
- very conscious about our light usage

I need some more money saving ideas moms!!!

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So What Happened?


Thank you so much for all of your suggestions. I have cut my grocery bill in half and still am able to buy organic items where I deem necessary. I also put my school loans on hold, but my hubby's we are still paying on. I am hoping to continue with all of your great ideas and be able to enjoy this pregnancy without all of the worry! Keep the ideas coming!

More Answers



answers from St. Louis on

You are like millions of other people in this economy. It is hard. There is no nice way of saying it. We all live the lifestyle our income allows. Very few of us have half our money going into savings/ methods we can easily give up, so there is no question that cutting your lifestyle in half, even for a little while, is going to be hard.

I read through your list and I heard all your reasons for NOT wanting to get rid of things/NOT being able to give things up. No one here is going to be able to look at your budget and say the best thing for you. Or that one or the other is an irresponsible choice. You weren't buying diamonds and luxury items you were providing a nice life for your children. And although the income wont be there for the $ things, you will be there for them (it isn't an all bad thing happening).

You and your husband are going to have to really sit and think about what matters. Somethings will have to go, but your guys are taking the mature proactive step in setting a budget and trying to chose what you lose, instead of letting life chose for you. People here can say 'oh for me the grocery bill is the first place I would cut', or maybe the car or maybe the security of knowing you have affordable quality childcare when you do go back to you current income level.... but ultimately we are all speculating. You don't have to give up everything, I bet the house and the student loans are 2 things on the can not give up list.

It is good to get ideas of how to save a dollar here and there with food and cleaning products or energy bills, but ultimately you guys dont need to cut a dollar here and there; you guys need to cut major expenses and then dollars here and there to fit it all in. Create a list and number the things in the order of importance. You will have to chose which lifestyle habits you want the most/you can't change. The tuition for the kids, your student loan contract, ect and number them. After you have numbered everything then go down the list and where the money runs out look and see what you would lose, if it is all groceries then maybe re-evaluate the list as you need some food to keep the kids alive. But after doing that until your are sick of the list you will see the most important things will remain.

Good luck! I am sure plenty of families here would love to hear what you did do. You aren't alone too many families in this economy are faced with the same impossible decisions and would love your support of hearing how you made it/are making it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

There are lots of ways to save money. It just takes imagination and the willingness to try something new.

Find out which grocery stores in your area have a discount bin where they put the dented cans or cans or bottles where something has spilled on them and they sell at a discount. Shop where the stores discount their day-old bread or meat that is going out of date and buy that. Get the sale ads every week and see who has on sale what you need. If it is a really good sale, buy more than what you need so you will have the sale priced goods to use when there isn't a sale on. (Example: I like two ply bath tissue. I know that some store will put two ply bath tissue on sale for a really good price [12 double rolls for $2.99] twice per year.) I usuallly buy enough to last until it goes on sale again. The same with cans of corn, cream of mushroom soup, etc. My wife and I spend about $25 per week per person on food and essentials (toilet paper, shampoo, dish soap, detergent, etc.). When you go to the grocery store, always, ALWAYS, A L W A Y S (!!!) weigh the produce you get in a bag. Lots of produce now is put in bags by computer so weights are pretty accurate, but I've found 10 lb bag of potatoes to weigh 9.5 pounds or less and others to weigh 11 pounds. Someone has to buy the bigger bag, why not you? I saw a store employee putting grapefruit in bags out of a pallet of loose grapefruit. The sign said "grapefruit, 10 lb bag 2/$5". I weighed 4 or 5 bags and they all had around 8 pounds in them. I brought this to the attention of the store manager and he sold me two bags for $1 each. I've found spoiled fruit in a prepackaged bag. One apple may be bad out of three pounds. I usually am able to buy those bages for half price. I throw the bad fruit away and I've gotten a deal. Learn to like chicken leg 1/4's, and stop buying boneless-skinless chicken breasts. (I went to a store with a butcher shop when they had chicken breasts on sale for $.99 lb. I asked the butcher to cut the meat away from the bone and weigh it so I'd know whether to buy the chicken breast or boneless-skinnless chicken breast. I learned that if chicken breasts are $.99 lb, the boneless skinless part is $1.41 lb. If you then take the bone and skin and boil it, you can then pull the meat off the bone and put it back in the pot, add vegtables, rice or potatoes and a can of chicken broth and you'll have a great soup. And the meat was "free". If you use spaghetti noodles, and break them up in short lengths it will look like chicken noodle soup and you'll have more chicken in it than the canned variety and less sodium too! Always buy the whole fryers that weigh the most. I won't buy a whole fryer if it doesn't weigh at least 5 lbs. Why? The heavier the chicken the better the meat to bone ratio.

I went to a fried chicken restaurant and was able negotiate with him to buy his after closing left overs for $.50 lb.

Stop day care ! ! ! Why have kids if you are going to pay some minimum wage person to raise them? No one will care for your kids and love them as much as you do. When you need time away from your kids, trade babysitting with someone else. One of my daughters has arranged with 4 or 5 other families to trade babysitting and it works for her.

Grow a garden. I've never tasted a store bought tomato that tasted anywhere as good as a home grown garden tomato. There in Cherryville
you appear to bein climate zone 6. There are lots of things you can grow. To find your climate zone use: http://cc.bingj.com/cache.aspx?q=usda+climate+zones&d... and plug in your zip code.
See if there is a garden club in Cherryville. You can get all kinds of help from them. Now is the time to start tomatoes inside for planting after the last chance of frost has passed. Swiss Chard is a wonderful green that will produce all summer until frost.

Garage sales are a much cheaper place to find good kids clothes. Go to the garage sales in the rich neighborhoods on the last weekend of the month. The rich have the money to update their wardrobe at their whim. Why the last weekend? Fewer people have money to spend so there is less competition.

Get to know the hunters/fishermen in your area. Offer to babysit for the hunters/fishermen in return for some of their game/catch. Fishermen often give their catch away. Tell them you'll be glad to take the fish, cleaned or not. Bake (not buy) chocolate chip cookies for them as a thanks and I'll bet you'll have more fish than you and your family could eat.

If you or your husband smoke or use any tobacco products, quit. Cut down or quit your "extensive travel". When you go into St Louis or Springfield, try and get the grocery store ads and shop the sales. You may save enough to pay for your trip. Many stores now put their ads on line.

Good luck to you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I know you said that you can't refinance your student loans, but what about a deferment? When we moved to CA I didn't have a job and was not having any luck finding one. I called the Student Assistance Foundation and they put my loan on a deferment for 6 months. I have 13 months available for a deferment and am lucky that I didn't have to use all 13 months, but it save me about $200 a month until we got out feet under us. I think they called it an economic deferment? Since you're pregnant, it might also be listed as a medical emergency deferment too. Just something to check into.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I would start w/the daycare. I know all about wait lists. But if you find yourself back at work, then there are non-waiting list options like in-home child care.

Next -- Like another poster said, I was also curious about the $200/month for school. Is this private/parochial? If so...

Cut the cable. Nothing wrong with ABC-NBC-CBS-FOX...And red box DVDs. Keep a basic internet package but loss the fancy high speed yadda yadda.

Finally -- That student loan payment is HUGE! Get it refinanced. But so that you don't end up paying more in the long run just to save in the short-term...Get it down to say $750 and then pay $800. Making any loan payment in excess of the minimum is one of the best financial tips I received from my parents.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Hi S.,

How many children do you have right now? (Feeding a family of how many and what ages, any pets, etc.) I use a lot of homemade cleaners, but also make my own laundry soap, which might be a good idea if you are not already. My youngest has asthma and eczema and the homemade detergent has been excellent. (I can message you the recipe I use if you want, but if you use a search engine you'll find a few good recipes). I get the ingredients to make several batches (which are each several gallons) for less than $6 or $7 (Arm and Hammer Washing Soda, Borax, and Fels Naptha bar soap).

Where do you shop? I just go the same two places that I get overall better deals to save the time and gas, buy diapers and anything I can in bulk, etc. You're probably already doing that. We have a few items we switch to store brand because we don't care, but there are a few products and items we have to buy name brand. I do not buy paper towels anymore, just washable and inexpensive cloths but mostly use rags from old shirts and towels--that has saved a lot on disposable paper products. I used to use handkerchiefs instead of tissues, but my husband refuses. :)

This might be a good time to do a cost-comparison on diaper services for the twins. The start up costs for cloth diapers can be a little pricey, but the end seems to be a lot of savings (I have not used the cloth ones myself because my husband watches our kids and we spend less than $40 a month on diapers anyway, even when we had two kids in them).

There are programs like Angel Food Ministries (www.angelfoodministries.com) that offer bulk food purchases and much discounted prices--it is not an income-based program and there are no memberships or committments, but I have had several friends who have loved purchasing food through them. You can check out the menues monthly to see if you want to buy them.

You can also shop around for better rates on car insurance, etc. and see if you can raise your deductible if you haven't already (we got a much lower payment rate, and that was more important to us since we are both safe drivers and were not going to get little dents fixed anyway).

I have also made lists of all the meals we all agree we like, what main ingredients they take, and then keep tabs on what we can make in combination--if my husband wants burgers one night, we buy a large pack of the beef, make burgers, tacos, and then a macaroni and tomato/cheese casserole with it. Otherwise, we find that we waste a lot of food because we bought it for one meal only.

You are doing a lot more already than a lot of us are. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

wow paying preschool and daycare. If you are planning to stay home and thinking about it after the baby is born then you need to consider dropping daycare as that is a big expense.

Do you shop at Aldi for groceries? Wow your grocery budget is huge for a family of 4 with little ones that don't eat much. I have 2 teenagers and a 10 year old (family of 5 and we spend less than 500.00 on groceries a month and that includes the personal items and cleaning supplies and have a lot of food in the house stocked up too so we don't have to spend that much every month but that is our average and we grill a lot and buy a lot of hamburger,chicken, and pork chops but don't buy a lot of steak.

You didn't mention how much you have to budget on with one income but if your husband is making 50,000 a year or more and these are your bills you should be able to make it on one income by downsizing the cost in daycare. Kids really don't need preschool until the year before kindergarten so you could take them out of that as well and check into your local school district for pre-k programs. A lot of them have pre-k provided for free the year before they start kindergarten and is provided by the public school system. You can get involved in a mothers day out program if you want your kids to have some social activities with other kids. they are usually free and you take turns with other parents volunteering like 1 day a month.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Switch your phone to Vonage. We did it 6 years ago and have NOT missed the overpriced phone bills. If you don't need a land line, just use your cell phone(s). Our monthly bill for 500 mins is about $25/ month. I would also suggest ditching cable. Get yourself a digital converter and antenna. We have been doing it since January- saving ourselves almost $100/month. We have Netflix ($8.99/month) and get movies by mail, but also enjoy watching them online instantly, or through my husband's XBox. You can also do it through a Wii too. We watch so much less TV now, which is better for us anyway!
Plant a garden this summer to get your organic veggies for virtually free, and teach your kids all about where their food comes from!
Sell anything you don't need- have a big garage sale or sell it on Craig's List. I've been getting rid of a bunch of stuff lately with a lot of luck. We are expecting our 2nd any time now, and I'm only working PT. I do have a PT job selling Barefoot Books for children which brings in some money for us every month (so helpful!), and gives me the flexibility to work when I want to and when I can. I love it. If you want more information about how to do it too, let me know. There's more info on my website- www.ReadandGrow.com.

Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Keep the cars, mortgage and loan downpayment.
Your grocery bill sounds excessive to me. Consider buying unprepared in bulk and then freeze in portions if you can.
Also reducing the amount of pre-prepared foods in your diet is cheaper and healthier. For example you could join freecycle and get a few items like a bread machine to make your own bread, a waffle iron to make your own waffles, etc.
And "personal items" I would take a good hard look at, whether they are really luxury things like cosmetics and such.
I would also definitely pull the kids from daycare. First of all, you don't really need it when you stay at home. It's a luxury at that point. Yes, there will be A LOT more work for you, and yes, that is hard with a newborn. But many women are able to do it, and I bet so are you! If your daycare cost are anywhere close to mine, that will be considerable savings (ours is about half of my income!).
Last but not least I would take a close look at your cars. Trading them for a less expensive model is probably not worth it, but it might. You also have to think in terms of operating them (are they gas guzzlers or compacts?) and factor that into your decision.
I think you will absolutely be able to do it! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Like you, we don't eat a lot of processed foods and I have found ways to stretch the budget. I have noticed that coupons are mostly for processed foods, so I don't use them as often as others, But there are often coupons available for hygiene products and I use those when I can. I often stock up when something is on a great sale. I shop the ads. I try to plan meals based on what's on sale. And since we have several grocery stores close by, I don't mind going to two different stores if needed. I plan my shopping lists and menus meticulously - so I know exactly what I need and don't buy unnecessary items. I also shop at Sprouts on Wednesdays, because their sales day overlaps. You get the sale items for that week and the previous week on one day. So check your store for those kinds of deals.

Someone on this site suggested a "survivor week". I have implemented this as well. This is where you go to the store for milk and absolute necessities only. You don't do a big shopping trip. That week you use up what you have on hand. I do this for one week every two or three months and it has been quite the money saver, plus it has helped me clear out the deep freeze a bit. We do wind up eating a lot of frozen veggies that week, but I am ok with that. allrecipes.com has a tab titled "ingredients''. You type in what ingredients you want to use and they list recipes that may work.

And the thing that has saved us a great deal of money on our food budget is our back yard. We have a garden full of veggies. Our back fence is covered in a blackberry bush and we have a strawberry patch near our pool. It's a family project to take care of the garden. We love it. And I love seeing my kids eat fresh food they helped to create.

We have memberships to Sam's and Costco. I split the cost of the memberships with two different friends. Sam's allowed us to put whoever we wanted on the account, so we each have our own card. Costco was not willing to give a card to someone unless they lived with us. So my neighbor and I just go together and sometimes I just pick up what she needs when I go. Costco has a fantastic return policy, so we like shopping here. And they have the best deal on diapers compared to other places I have tried.

We bought five gallon paint buckets from the hardware store. We washed and sanitized them. I stock up on flour, sugar and rice at the warehouse stores. Then we store the excess in our garage. They are sealed tight, so the Texas humidity doesn't get to them. And we are extremely careful about the clean up, so we haven't had any problems with mice or other critters.

We have no credit card debt either. We do use our credit card that offers cash back though - we use it like most people use a check card. We pay it off EVERY month without exception. It helps us track our spending and we benefit from the cash back offers.

We got rid of cable over 8 years ago. We haven't missed it at all. We pay $7 per month for netflix (and $25 per month for internet). They offer watching movies online, so we have hooked our laptop to our tv. Many of the kids sites offer full episodes online (disney and nickelodeon) if we get desperate, but tv just isn't a big deal in our house, which I think is better for our kids anyway.

I try to run all the errands at once. I have cooler bags to keep cold groceries cold. By hitting everything (bank, grocery store, pet store, target, etc.) on one day not only frees up my week, but it also saves gas.

We do free and cheap entertainment wherever we can find it. My children an d both younger, so we have play dates at the local parks. We bring picnic lunches. The local science museum had a fabulous deal on memberships, so we bought a family membership and go often. I do searches online and I am often surprised at the free entertainment for children that is available. As a family, we have the garden, we go for bike rides, we camp...which are all relatively cheap.

We don't mind buying used. Craigslist and garage sales are a great place to look. And we don't mind being picky about it. Keep looking and you will find what you want in great condition. People are often shocked to learn that my son's bunk bed, our hutch style desk, and various dressers were all purchased used. There are great deals out there if you are willing to be patient.

I'll be interested in seeing the other suggestions you get. HTH!



answers from St. Louis on

Try a local farmer's market for fresh fruits and veggies - the bigger the market, the better the prices. I go to the Soulard farmer's market (just south of downtown STL) during the summer and get awesome deals (strawberries for $1/box, pineapples $1/each, etc.) I usually walk the whole market once to check out prices and then go back through to get the best deals. We're big fresh food-eaters, so this is better for us than buying it at a supermarket. If you just buy a few things a week, then it might not be worth the time or the drive.



answers from Los Angeles on

You've already made some very good changes, and seem very motivated to follow through on more. make a list of all your monthly expenses and divide them into two categories; fixed expense and soft expense (those that vary in amount like water, groceries, etc...)
Then try to determine how to keep the variable (soft) expenses down. Five minute showers, limit use of electric appliances (switch to compact flourescent bulbs), look into food pantries.
Regarding the fixed amounts it is possible to call the lender and negotiate a lower monthly payment. Recently my sister called her credit card and had the account placed on a hardship status. so for nine months the monthly payment and interest rate dropped by 75% .
I don't know if your loss of income puts your family in the poverty level income (by family size and income bracket), but if it does then the utility companies can provide a discount too (you usually need to qualify)
Sorry about your job and best of luck to you and your family. This may be a blessing in disguise, though it may not appear like it now.



answers from Eugene on

I haven't read all the responses, but I skimmed them and didn't see this suggestions. I would call about deferring your student loans until you are employed again--there are a lot of ways to defer your student loans based on "hardship." I had a friend who worked in finance and apparently student loans are the most highly defaulted type of loan so they will often work with you very closely rather than have you declare bankruptcy.



answers from Washington DC on

What great ideas here! The one thing I did that has saved me HUNDREDS of dollars each year is to stop giving Christmas and Birthday gifts to my siblings, their spouses, and my husband. (We still give a small monetary gift to the parents and grandparents). At first I was sad but it turns out to be a huge relief not to worry about these gifts. Of course, this has to be a joint decision between all members of the family.

Good luck!



answers from St. Louis on

Depending on how you lost your job you could apply for unemployment. It is an insurance that your employer has paid in to the government for you. Also, depending on how much you make you could get a few hundred dollars a week that might help out. You can apply with the state and they'll let you know if you're eligible or not. Sometimes you might not be eligible until a couple of months after being let go.


answers from St. Louis on

Sounds to me like you are doing a lot already in the way of cost cutting!! The only things I would offer if you think you will be out of work for at least 6+ months (maybe closer to 9 if you had planned on taking off with the baby) would be:

1. Pull your kids from daycare - +500 month
2. Pull your kids under 5 out of school (they really don't need to go to school until kindergarten) - +$200 month
3. Get rid of cable/internet - +$50
This alone would add up to $750 per month.

Will you be getting unemployment? That would make a huge difference in what you have each month. If you plan on trying to get a job before the baby is born, I would not pull the kids from school/daycare.

Does your husband get paid for travel? Or is that part of his salary (not getting paid for drive time)?

Cut out meat in your meals 1-2 times a week.

You didn't mention other things such as electric, water, trash, sewer, so I'm not sure what other bills you have to deal with.

Good luck!



answers from Cincinnati on

hi -
First off I'm sorry to hear about your situation :(
you have some good ideas already, but here are some other cost cutting thoughts (some may or may not work for your situation):
- no cable TV
- either cut cell phone use or land line use
- no going to movies (can get free movies at the library)
- open up shades and turn off lights
- in the summer keep house at ~76 degrees or what ever you feel is comfortable
- invest in energy saving bulbs (some energy companies are mailing out coupons for free energy saving bulbs)

Here are some other websites with ideas:

Good luck!



answers from New York on

You might already belong to one, but I find that belonging to a warehouse shopping club such as Costco or BJ's REALLY helped us cut our food and household supplies in half. Diapers are, by far, less inexpensive at Costco's than they are at other stores. For $33 you can purchase a box of 224 size 4 diapers. That right there saves us money. Little things like garbage bags, paper towels, toilet paper....really add up when you purchase them at the regular grocery store. We also buy big bags of peppers that we cut up and freeze, bags of brocolli that we freeze as well. And we are able to buy 3 packs of organic milk for the price of one half gallon in the grocery store. We are so happy with our membership to Costco and so is our bank account. We usually go once a month and spend about $150-$200. I hope this helps a little and congratulations on your pregnancy.



answers from Decatur on

Wow I think you hit on a hot topic!! Saving money is all the rage these days. Lots of great suggestions out there. Something you might want to consider is a home business. CEO Moms has been helping moms work from home since 1999. The company I work for saves us a ton of money on household items and they ship them to our door so it saves on gas and all the extras that you might pick up as you are shopping down the "Wal-Mart" aisles. Just something to think about. It is a great business with very low start up. I have a lot of fun with it. http://www.ceomomsbiz.com



answers from San Antonio on

All things work for His glory and it will be fine! You are already doing a great job! Some small changes that work drastically is deciding on how much you need for groceries/personal items...couponmom.com has some awesome ideas on saving in that area! If there are stores with double coupon days def. use them! Planning meals and writing them on the fridge is a great idea too...this way you are only buying what you need and not guessing at the store! I make my menus for 12 meals and know that sometimes we will eat leftovers or sandwiches! Use all the free stuff you can! I have three children, one on the way, and am a SAHM and everytime someone offers me something I am all over it :) If you are pulling the kids out of daycare that will def. save you money! Then see if you have a friend who can swap a day or two of childcare during the week so you still get some you time, etc. For your school loan, call the school and they will, most likely, put it in default for a year for you or drop the payment! For the school (200) is that for you, is it kids lunches? I know this rambles on and I'm sorry but it's a lot at one time to put down eloquently :)



answers from Pittsburgh on

OK--your bills, as stated total 4400/mo. Can you live with that on hubby's salary only? If not--get rid of the daycare (seems weird to keep it as a placeholder only) and sell O. car to eliminate O. payment. Sell it to a private owner (don't trade it in).
Daycare and O. car will free up $750/mo.
You and/or hubby can temporarily stop 401K contributions if you have them.
Land lines OR cells. O. or the other. Or eliminate O. cell and get pre-paid phones.
Check out www.couponmom.com. It will (free) give you the best deals per week at your local grocery store.
Do you have ALDI? Their produce prices are really good.
$800/mo seems high to me, even including personal & paper goods, etc. You'll save more on food if you're home making home made stuff.
I second Craigslist--cheaper to use and faster ca$h!
Sell, sell, sell anything you have around but don't need/use.



answers from Appleton on

Check out CouponMom.com for money saving ideas for groceries. Just by shopping double coupon days at my grocery store I reduced our grocery bill by half (from $200 to about $100 per week)!!! That's $400 a month!
We also try to do most laundry/dishes at night after 7pm or on weekends.
Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

I have a document called Provident Homemaker that a friend wrote that I can send you (if you want it send me a private message) that has meal plans and tips for how to save TONS of money on your 800 per month. I've never even spent over $450 a month on groceries- and that's when I'm really splashing out, and although I only have one child, I don't think another would make my budget go up to as much as you're spending. But it depends on what you are willing to eat. Vegetarianism, even only 3-4 times per week would save you a lot. Cheaper cuts of meat, generic, non-organic (this is a personal decision though!) plus my husband and I grow a garden that gives us lots to eat.

One idea that you could try is getting a deferrement on your student loan due to you losing your job. Most lenders are pretty understanding about this, I would give it a try, they might defer your payment for a few months at least.

Good luck! It really is hard to cut back on things that are necessary, it looks like you are doing good in a lot of areas. I'd just focus on my food bill If I were you. Try some price comparison at different grocery stores maybe?



answers from Austin on

The one thing I can say is that you are spending WAY too much on food every month. I'm not sure what you mean by "personal items". Maybe razors and feminine products? Those should be a very small part of your budget. Maybe 10-15 dollars a month.
Anyway- There are ways to save money at the grocery store and not compromise on nutrition. A bag of apples is 3 dollars, less when they are on special. If you REALLY want to save money, make a reasonable, SIMPLE menu. 1 (seasonal/cheap) veggie, 1 starch, 1 protein. Save fruit for snacks. Trust me no one will starve. Get rid of soda. Only drink milk with meals. Water down juice. Buy store brand instead of name. Buy a bag of potato's (usually a couple of dollars) and use them for baked potato's, oven fries, mashed, salad.
As far as the daycare- You are 5 months pregnant. I am assuming that you will want to wait to find a job after giving birth and raising the child for a few months. You might be able to work something out with the daycare so that you can pull your kid out now and put them back in next year WITH the new baby.
Just so you know, it is really hard to suddenly start doing things like making your own cleaners (for everything), eat cheaper meals, give up meat and eat beans. It will be a learning process and it probably won't be easy to get your husband on board for the things that you have to do. I know my DH HATES to eat pasta, but we eat it 2 times a week because that is what we can afford.



answers from St. Louis on

We just recently went through the same thing and like you, can pay the important bills w/ my hubby's income but have to make some other cuts.
In response to your daycare question, I had the same fear. I did no want to pull out my son completely for fear of loosing his spot, but he actually enjoys his school and I like the socialization/education he gets. It has actually worked out well for me. I talked to my daycare director and found out there are a lot more options than I realized. Currently he is enrolled in morning only program - three hours a morning during their prime "learning time" so he gets all the benefits of the education and socialization, but what I am not paying for is feeding him/nap time and outside play time at the daycare center. Its been a blessing allowing me a few hours every morning for the job search which I can schedule phone interviews around. The daycare is now a third of what it was, $100 week which is only a small portion of my weekly unemployement check, and by him still being there 5 days a week, we don't loose his spot so when I get another job, he can go back to full days. Hopefully your center will be able to be just as accomodating.



answers from Kansas City on

It sounds like your best opportunity is in your grocery and personal items budget, you were not very specific on that. There are a lot of easy ways to reduce your grocery budget and still eat healthy. couponmom.com and neverpayretailagain.net offer a lot of great ideas on budgeting and saving money. Also, you may be able to temporarily make arrangements (while you are looking for work) to take an unemployment deferment or a forbearance on your part of the school loans if it comes right down to it.



answers from Greenville on

Coupons- Clip coupons and shop where the coupons are doubled- like Harris Teeter. Once a month they do triple coupons. You can also go to sites like SmartSource.com and print online coupons. Also, buy in bulk and freeze. Usually, the more you buy the cheaper it is.
Cut out the daycare and school. That will save a significant amount of money. You have an advanced degree, so who else to teach your kids?
Call the bank and get the latest interest rates on vehicle loans. If it's less than what you pay now, refinance your cars. Also, call around and get quotes on your car insurance. I do this every so often anyway to make sure that I have best rate.
Hope this helps!



answers from New York on

Your already doing a lot. I have a few suggestions that might help.

Talk to your day care provider. Rather than paying the full $500, maybe you could just pay a fee to keep your spot open.

For a little extra income, maybe you could provide some afterschool care in your home?

If your not already, don't use the dryer. Hang your clothes out to dry.

Consignment shops are great for kids clothes, but even better is yard sales.

If you have a cosmotology school in your area, consider using them for hair cuts/trims.

Take a look at your phone bill. You may be able to switch to a different less expensive plan that still meets your needs.

Try switching to store or no name brands. I've found that crackers, bread, many cereals, instant oatmeal and juices are very good. This is also true for soaps and shampoos.

Pasta is inexpensive. Take out the recipe books and find some good pasta recipes.

Give up beverages (soda, juice, even milk) and drink water. For something different make your own iced tea.

Avoid the deli counter. Make your own roast beef or ham for dinner and slice the leftovers for sandwiches. The same goes for cheese.

Most people think of turkey only for holidays. But we make it a few times a year. it's not that expensive and it goes a long way. Use the bones for homemade soup.

Now's a great time to start a vegetable garden.

We often go to 2 grocery stores each week to get the best sales (they're close so very little gas/car costs). Don't forget your coupons and reusable bags.

If you don't already belong, consider joining a warehouse club like BJ's. We save big on breads, meats, cheese, juices and some canned and jarred products like baked beans and salsa. I don't know about now, but 12 years ago, it was a great place to buy diapers.

Hope some of these ideas help.



answers from St. Louis on

Hi S.- it sounds like you are in the same boat as lots of Americans. Where do you live? We have 4 young boys, my hubby is a professor and I am an RN. We live on what we earn too and cut back on the non important things too. I have a business that I do from home where I help families save money and earn extra cash- It has been a real blessing for us- it helps us stretch our budget and gives us a supplemental income. I can email more info if it something you would like to learn more about. Warmly, D. Taylor, RN Carterville, IL



answers from Kansas City on

I didn't read all the responses but haven't seen anyone mention price matching on food- shop your local ads that come in the mail and take them to walmart and they will price match- often you can find coupons online for "dry" products and save even more- we spend about $450/mo on food, diapers, and household items for 2 adults, 1 teen-ager and 1 toddler. I also make my own cleaning items, but also laundry detergent and only run full loads.

CVS usually has diaper and baby essential sales and then you can also get the in-store credit coupons (we bought 2 jumbo packs of diapers and a jumbo pack of pull-ups for around $18 and then also got a coupon for $10 off another purchase w/in 1 month- that's another free pack of diapers (or whatever else you need) or a pack and a half if they are on sale again :)

if you are still looking for meal ideas let me know and i can give you cheap, but good ideas there too

also- fresh fruit- buy a food dehydrator ($60 at bed, bath and beyond, before a coupon) stock up on fruit on sale and when it starts to get too ripe to eat fresh put it in the dehydrator and you have your own "fruit snacks" vs the more exp and sugar filled store ones :)



answers from St. Louis on

Sounds like you're already doing the easy stuff. But you could call up your loan companies and apply for a forbearance. I was unemployed for many months after my first job out of law school and I had a forbearance until I got my next job.

Best of luck to you, and stay sane!


answers from Kansas City on

That $500 a month for day care is a big chunk you surely could use during this time. I don't know how flexible the daycare is about saving his spot if you find a job but I would cut that first since you are home. Don't know how old the children are but surely they would survive at home until you go back to work.
The college loan being paid off would sure be great but it's not so don't know what else you could really cut out. You need phones. Be sure you do all your shopping and errands when out running your son to see his dad or other times you are out. Don't go for one thing and then go another day for another item. Maybe you already do this. I know that save gas.



answers from Kansas City on

The kids are in public school, but you have to pay until they're five. That's public preschool? right? And then day care on top of that. Something in there can change. Probably should eliminate day care. If you're six months pregnant, you're not getting a job again until after the baby's born and you get through your maternity leave period at least. You can find day care again later. Just plan ahead and get it lined up again in time for when you think you'll need it.

Older cars are not necessarily less reliable. You should look into trading in for an older car, but you do have good reasons to keep what you have. This may or may not be a good option for you. How much do you have left on the car loans? How much longer do you have to pay that amount. Don't trade them in for new ones when they are paid off. Drive them until they can't be fixed anymore.

Get rid of cable and get NetZero or a low-price dial-up connection for your internet. Yes, it's inconvenient, but you can live with it.

I don't have student loans myself, so I don't know the details, but I heard something about Obama passing something that's supposed to help people with student loan debt. You might look into that, if nothing else.

Groceries: Whenever possible, buy the store brands instead of the name brands. There are some exceptions, but most of the time they're just as good or almost as good. Buy at Wal-Mart when you can. They're cheaper. Their store brands aren't that good, though. Kroger has great store brands. HyVee's pretty good too on store brands. Avoid Price Chopper store brands.

Mortgage: Could you downsize to a cheaper home? Probably not at that price, but it's something to think about at least.

Phones: Seventy-five a month sounds high for just land lines. They much be mobile. Do you really need a mobile? Probably not.

Are you getting child support for the child you share with an ex?

Good luck. We've done it for that income before (a bit more money today, but still in that ballpark). However, we had no student loans or car payments. Gonna be hard. Make sure you get on unemployment.



answers from St. Louis on

It took me awhile to think of a way to help since you are not looking at being a stay at home mom. I know it sounds like not a big difference, but you are looking for a temporary solution and not a permanent lifestyle change.

I agree with those who have said get rid of cable, but usually as far as phone internet are concerned it doesn't turn out any cheaper to get rid of the phone (there is a surcharge for having internet only). Also, a forbearance is a good idea for your student loans. I have done it once and it wasn't hard at all. Especially if you've never asked for one before.

I will start with the less crazy suggestions first... :)
1.) Plan meals for the month. Take the 45 minute trip to Aldi once a month for everything that can keep that long. You will be surprised at what you can get for significantly less. So, all your oatmeal/cereal, lunch meat, cheese, bread (keep one loaf out at a time the rest goes in the freezer thaw overnight when ready), eggs, sour cream, pastas, frozen veggies, etc...
2.) Buy produce that is in season locally. Understand that sometimes things happen climate wise and you may not always get what you want (spike in tomato prices due to freeze). Keep an open mind about what you are going to eat that week. Don't box yourself in to certain veggies or fruits.
3.) Meat - try to get it at Aldi's. If you need a special cut for an occasion go to the butcher, otherwise, again, keep your mind open. The recipe calls for ground sirloin $4/ a pound vs. lean ground beef $2/ pound.

Heating and Cooling
If you are on budget billing and don't owe then stop budget billing. This time a year with no heat or a/c the bill should be low. When do you really need the a/c on? Can you get by with a window unit in your bedroom for sleeping (since your preggo I understand!)?

Only cold to wash. Only wash full loads. Don't flush the toilet unless it really needs to be flushed.

Around the House
The only paper product necessary is toilet paper. Really. Cloth napkins. Old undershirts cut up for nasty messes. Old socks for cleaning. Bulk clearanced out cheap-o washcloths for baby wipes. Whatever. Get creative with this.

You only need them when it's dark outside. I try not to use lights in the day time at all.

Like I said the farther down the list goes the crazier it gets. You didn't mention cell phones. We use consumer cellular. Have the cheap phones, no texting, no internet - talk only. It cut our bill in half!

Good luck.


answers from Phoenix on

Shop your home/auto insurance with an independent agent. You do NOT have to wait until renewal. I have saved my clients at least $100 per month. Good luck!!!



answers from Los Angeles on

First off, congratualtions! I'm sure you are probably doing a lot of stuff to save money, based on what you posted already - and good for you!

Clip coupons and use them on double days

Fresh food purchases - go to a co-op, so you have healthy fresh food - also seek out indpendent farms

I used to buy this juice that is from Belgium at the grocery store for $6/bottle, but I found it at a discounts place called Big Lots for $3 - so I buy it there.

Our health insurance we pay on our own, as I am a small business. I had them remove maternity (Obviously not in your case right now) right after I had my baby and also had them remove drug coverage from it - saves us a fortune! We have our babies at home and it's cheaper (not to mention more relaxed) than paying maternity premiums, as well as we never use drugs, so that was a waste of money. See if there is anything in your policy that you can live without and see if it helps at all?

Whatever you did for work, maybe you could work for families or small business who need periodic help. We hire a gal for my small business about once a week and she's 36 weeks pregnant now. She likes the change in pace and the extra money - and I like her help! She even wants to come back after the baby is born and works - and I'm OK with her bringing the baby. Sometimes homeschooling groups hire/trade with people with certain skills who can teach their kids something academic, or even a life skill. What do you have to offer? Do you know how to sew, etc?

Here's some other websites with good info:


Perhaps all this happened now for a bigger reason? My friend's company went belly up when his wife was pregnant with #4. He was SO stressed out - turns out his new daughter softened all of the blows and gave them something positive to focus on! They have recently sold their home (for way less than they wanted) in California, by the beach and are planning on moving to Tennessee to slow thier lives down a bit.

Good luck. Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and getting the time to spend with your new baby. So many moms have to run back to work just weeks after their baby is born.



answers from Kansas City on

One little thing i done it use small towels instead of paper towels. you can buy a package of 100 of them at sam's club. i have saved about 17 dollars a month for the last 2 years by doing this. just use the shop towel where you would use a paper one and toss it in the hamper. after about a month when you have used most fo them, toss them in the washer with a cup of bleach.

you might also start buying your groceries at aldi's or save a lot. or maybe buying somethings in bulk at sam's club.

look into signing up for online coupons or printing them out (kansas city mamas .com)

look into hyper miling to discover a new way to drive that conserves gas
(biggest thing is to drive like you have a cup of steaming hot coffee in between your legs and just SLOW DOWN)

aslo research articles on cutting budgets or how to be an at home mom

good luck



answers from Miami on

I didn't read all of your responses, but I would suggest writing down in a journal your spending patterns for the next two weeks. I mean literally every single penny. I got this from an Oprah episode and we did this for the month before we applied for our mortgage. I was genuinely surprised by how high our "latte factor" was!

We were able to track our spending and make a series of small and big changes that impacted our cash flow.
-My husband started packing a lunch EVERY day;
-he started getting his afternoon coffee from the Mobil instead of DD or Starbucks;
- I learned how to give myself a decent manicure/pedicure;
-buying generic grocery items like pasta and milk (you will never notice the difference)
- Consigning clothing that I no longer wore/ fit into/ liked, etc
- Doing laundry with a full load, unless it was an emergency
- If you husband has the option of taking a pre-tax childcare deduction, do it! I have $5000/year taken out of my check pre-tax to pay for childcare and it's huge!



answers from Minneapolis on

to help save on everyday things i follow pocketyourdollars.com its great. Carrie gives you lists for the stores and ways to save using coupons if you dont have the stores she feautures u can go in becentable.com and find websites that do similair things in MO



answers from Chicago on

Go back to the basics. No cable, etc. Need house payment, electricity, phone, food. Do not use Credit cards. Consider watching a friends kid for a little extra money. Use coupons. Maybe sell car and buy a used out free and clear if you have payments.

Get the books from Dave Ramsey or Susan ( sorry I can not think of her name right now). They both have good Ideas.

I do not know what your expenses are right now to off more thoughts.

Plan on nursing if you can formula is expensive. Make own baby food when the time comes (there are many books, and I found my son is a great eater not sure if that is why, but we never gave him jar food). Use reusable diapers.

Good luck.



answers from Las Vegas on

I shop at Fresh and Easy and because their fresh veggies and fruits do not have preservatives, they don't last as long. If you shop after 7 pm, they start pulling items and marking them down. You can freeze tomato's, bell peppers, & onions. I chop the peppers and onions first. I also plan according to their sales because they often put fresh veggies and fruits on sale for $0.98.

Find out the peak hours of your power company an do your laundry at that time too. Line dry your clothes. That's it, you already have so much covered.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I second (or third) that you check out Dave Ramsey's books from the library, his web site, and his radio show. His ideas are saving my family as my husband is also going through a loss of income.

Some suggestions as well as the clipping coupons and such:
If you are going to stay home you can save $500 per month in day care and the $200 per month in school fees. When they are 5 is plenty of time to start school and you can spend those tender years with your babies. You can probably easily cut your groceries in half or maybe a little more so there would be another $300-$400. So that would be $1000 or more per month savings. Plus if you are staying home, your fuel amount should go down some even if you still travel for the custody arrangements.

Another thing that has worked for me on things like my cable/internet and cell phone bills is find a better deal with a competitor or even if you can't call and tell them you need to cancel. Often they will ask what they can do to keep you. Sometimes they will make "unadvertised specials" to keep your business.

Good luck!




answers from Hartford on

wow. you did give us enough info. lol. I did not read the other posts yet but I will soon as it might help me too thanks! I lost my jobafter I became a mom (best thing really I love being home) when I lost my job I was able to get a financial hardship and therefor have not paid school loans in 16 mo. we shop at aldi's that saves a lot!!! my friend just bought a cook book at target that she is going to let me look at and it has all recipies for under $5 a peice (i have not read it yet but she loves it)
oh and if you are home you dont really need a fancy cell phone plan...if you can loose just one cell you will save money there. I now have a boost mobile so that I can use it if I really really need to and since I have switched I only spend $6 for me and I used to pay $40.
I also freeze all my leftovers bc before I would only eat them like twice and not want to eat again so I would toss them, now I freeze them and if in a pinch i have something to eat.
oh and get rid of tv. really i know it sounds crazy w/ kids that you want to watch tv at times, but after a while you wont miss it and your family will be closer bc of it. you can always get netflix it is wayyy less than tv and the library has free movies to rent too. we have not had tv in 6 years well we have a dtv box so we get some shows, but not many. good luck!



answers from Dallas on

Here is a recipe to make your own laundry detergent and fabric softener
1 cup washing soda (I used Arm & Hammer, can also use A&H Baking soda)
1/2 cup borax (I used 20 Mule Team)
1 bar soap
Approximately 3 gallons water
5 gallon bucket with lid
Cheese grater

First thing, put about four cups of water into the pan and put it on the stove on high until it’s at boiling, then lower the heat until it’s simmering.

While it’s heating up, take a bar of soap and grate it up into little bits.

When the water is boiling, start throwing in the soap a little at a time. Stir it until it’s dissolved. The water will have a soupy soap look with suds and will be the color of the bar of soap you used, so color will vary.

Next, get out your bucket and add three gallons of warm tap water to it.

To this bucket add a cup of the washing soda, 1/2 cup of borax, and the soap solution you made and stir until its all suddy. This will look like a bucket of soapy water.

At this point, let the soap sit for 24 hours, with a lid on it.

When you take off the lid, you’ll find any number of things, depending on the type of soap you used and the water you used. It might be firm, like Jello; it might be very watery; it might even be like liquid laundry detergent. Just stir it up a bit and it’s ready to be used. Don’t worry about the texture - it’s completely fine. Just use a measuring cup and use one cup of the detergent per load of laundry. If it’s got “globs” in it, get a mix of the water and of the globs - it’ll break up very quickly in the washing machine and wash your clothes well.
This recipe is for 1 batch.

Powdered Laundry Detergent

1 Cup Grated Fels Naptha Soap
1/2 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax

For light load, use 1 tablespoon.
For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 tablespoons.


* 1 cup baking soda
* 6 cups distilled white vinegar
* 8 cups water
* 10-15 drops orange essential oil (optional) or lemon essential oil (optional) or essential oil, of choice (optional)


1. You will need a one gallon container.
2. First add the baking soda to the plastic container.
3. Next add 1 cup of water to start with.
4. Slowly add the vinegar to the bottle as the vinegar and baking soda will start to fizz.
5. Then add the rest of the water swirling around & cover venting the top a few times.
6. Last add the essential oil.
7. Add 1 cup in your final rinse cycle for each load but give the bottle a good shake to stir up the essential oil if using.



answers from New York on

I didn't read all of the responses, so I'm not sure if someone else has suggested this... have you investigated signing up with a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm? I noticed you mentioned that you prefer to buy fresh fruits and veggies, and a CSA farm may be a great option. You pay flat rate for the spring/summer months (the CSA's in my area are typically around $350-450 for May-October) and you pick up a bag of freshly grown fruits and veggies every week. The items in the bag vary depending on the season, so you and your family will get to taste a wide variety of yummy things. If you need something to "fill in" a recipe, you can buy it at the grocery store. There's nothing more organic than getting your fruits and veggies straight from the farm!

Good luck to you. I always feel that you get stronger when times are tough.



answers from Washington DC on

Definitely call about your student loans and having them deferred. They are usually really willing to work with you.

Drop cable. Keep the internet (you'll need it for job hunting, and BTW, you can write if off on your taxes during those months of job hunting).

Use coupons and match coupons with sale items to stock up for less $$.

Grow fruits & veggies during the season and freeze as much of them as you can.

Get rid of the landline and use just your cell phones.

If you're not working, take the kids out of daycare, get yourself on the waiting list (if you're dead set on keeping the kids at that daycare) so that after you have the baby and go back to work, the spot is there for them (might be some special option for your situation).

For a quick way to put some money in your pocket, have yard sale.

Evaluate wasted money - make-up, expensive shampoos, body wash (bars of soap are cheaper), hair cuts.

Sell stuff on craigslist instead of ebay (no fees)


answers from St. Louis on

First of all, I am sorry that you are going through this hard situation. It is not going to be easy and I am sure that many people is dealing with these problems now days. It is hard for me as well. I see that you are looking for mostly " small and smart money saving ideas", however I believe that those are just a minimal PART of saving money. It is hard to say and do it, but this is a VERY DIFFICULT time for you and your family, and you guys will have to change your LIFE STYLE for a while until things get better which means to change some other things that are not just tips for saving money.
Have a calm and smart talk with your husband with a pen and paper on hand. Write down a budget and make a list of the main things to spend money on, and those MAJOR expenses that should be GONE. It is a decision for you and your husband together.
There some things that will help you to save money H. and there, like:
Changing phone/cell system. Get another probably with less fancy features.
Moving your children to another reliable preschool or school
Re-thinking the use of appliances in your home (like the dishwasher). It is known that TV and microwave use lots of energy, so teach your kids and practice yourself turn the TV off when nobody us watching TV; unplug most of your electrical devices or some appliances when they are not being used ( toaster oven, microwave, radios, etc.)
Replacing one of the cars for another one that help you to save more money, not just gasoline or maintenance.
Using in your exteriors, automatic switch on/off lights, those that are activated with motion, and so forth.
Good luck and be positive but mostly smart in overcoming the obstacles and difficulties.



answers from Kansas City on

I think you should cut out daycare and school. Kids don't need preschool, and they certainly don't need daycare when you are already home! You should be home with your children; consider the job loss a blessing since it now makes this an obvious decision to make. You can also put your loans into deferment or forebearance, especially yours since you have no income. True, the interest will capitalize, but you have to decide what is more important: 1) saving money now, or 2) saving money later. And the truth is, with $1100 a month in payments, your loans must be huge. Are you realistically going to pay them off before you die, anyway?

If you do those three things, your budget problem is solved, and your kids will be a lot happier.



answers from Dallas on

Definitely take the kids out of daycare. What is the misc. $200 to "school" every month?

Looking at your current budget. I would say the obvious choice is call your student loan companies and reduce how much you're paying. Explain your job loss and try to get that amount lowered to $200 - $400 a month. Or, perhaps even get them differed for a few months while you adjust to your situation (SAVE some while you can.)

You also spend a lot on groceries. Look at a few reciepts. Are you buying chips, pre-made meals, snacks, soda? Premade drinks are very expensive. Kids don't need them, and neither do we. Water, water, water. For some variety buy a big container of countrytime lemonade mix, and some tea bags. Fresh brewed tea and lemonade will give you guys some variety - without the cost of sodas and juice. I've read the average American throws away 25% of the groceries they buy. By that logic you're "throwing away" $200 every month. Tighten up on what you buy. Plan your meals, only buy whats on your meal plans. Pack lunches for your husband -- tell him he needs to do his part and he can make his lunch the night before.

Also look at Angelfood for a cheaper grocery option https://www.angelfoodministries.com/

As a side note - pregnant women is a protected group -- you could persue action against your past employer for letting you go while pregnant. Will you be getting unemployment? If so -- SAVE it. Act like it's not part of your current income, sock it away. Direct deposit into an unlinked account. Don't touch it. It could save you guys later.

I did the same thing you're doing, by the way. When we had our second I gave up an income similar to yours and chose to stay home. We went to less then half income. I quickly learned how to make our single income go a lot further - and that was much more valueable then bringing in side income.

Good luck!



answers from St. Louis on

My husband and I live on very little because of non-negotiables, too. Here are some things we do to save money:

Buy whole chickens instead of chicken pieces. It is much cheaper and I get a lot more meat. Bake, then use the cooked chicken for other meals (salads, sandwiches, etc).
Use the chicken bones to make my own stock. Very tasty and a lot cheaper!
Make our own bread and tortillas. I bought a book called "The Bread Book". It's a lot less expensive, and we have a good time making bread together. My kids still don't understand the waiting/rising process, though!
Grow our own fresh herbs and potted vegetables. We save a lot that way, and it's not as labor-intensive as tilling the ground. There is an initial investment for containers, soil, and seeds, but that's really about it. Some great ideas are blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, lettuce/spinach, beans, peas, and even zucchini!



answers from Las Vegas on

hi there
how about planting a garden? it's nearing summer.. so now might be a good time... AND any fruit or veggies you don't consume asap, you can freeze and or jar..
Tell us more about where your money is spent and we can then tell you where you might be able to cutback... since we have no idea what you spend on groceries much less anything else, it's hard to give out advice blindly.. give some examples of where the goes not what you are already doing..
will come back to you when I think of more ideas..



answers from Kansas City on

-You can cancel (or don't renew) magazine/newspaper subscriptions
-Flourescent light bulbs are great if you can use them. They cost more up front, but last so much longer and use less energy.
-Look online for recipes to make your own spice blends (taco, fajita, sloppy joe---whatever you use)
-I freeze the 'ends' of loaves of bread, or bread that has gone stale, and make my own bread crumbs in the food processor
-Mail-order pharmacy saves my family $100's a year-see if your hubby's insurance offers this option.
-Save receipts from any donations of clothes or good you make to charity for a tax deduction later.
-Water your lawn less often/at the right times.
-Can you go longer in between haircuts/ do the kids' hair yourself?
-Make the library your only stop for books/movies.
-Be careful about late fees on anything. Cutting them out can save you tons if you are currently paying them.
-Carpool when/where you can with other moms.
-Can you go a little bit longer in between mowing the lawn? Maybe cut it a little shorter? It will save you on gas throughout the summer.
-I haven't used them, but I understand there are some very user friendly cloth diapers out there. No pins required, and they have leak proof covering. You can obviously save $100's on diapers this way. Check them out online.
-Make your own baby food once baby hits that stage.
-Trade babysitting with other moms when/if you can.
Best of luck to you and your family

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