Stay at Home

Updated on November 10, 2011
L.F. asks from North Richland Hills, TX
11 answers

Ok--how the heck does anyone in this area afford to stay at home? I want to go part time, or work from home, but am trying to figure out how. Anyone willing to share their budget secrets? I would really like examples of an actual budget. For example, how much do you spend a month on mortgage, gas, groceries, utilities, etc...... Right now my husband and I make about $7,100 a month combined, so me not working will be a big change in income. We do not live beyond our means, and have no debt other than the house and one car. We only have one child, but when I stayed home on maternity leave I almost went insane. I need ideas of social things for my daughter and ME too!!!! I have gotten a lot of good responses, you actually save any money each month??? Being home is great, but college and retirement for mom and dad are a BIG thing to think about. How much do you put in savings???????????

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answers from Dallas on

From the start we always budgeted on my husbands income alone. Whenever we decided what we could afford in terms of house, car, etc. was based just on that. my salary has always been "extra" and if we had factored that in we could have bought a house sooner, a bigger more expensive house, etc but it has been nice to be able to over the years have periods when I have worked and periods when I have stayed home because we weren't dependent on my income.

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answers from Dallas on

i don't know how we do it.. lol. we make no where near you guys... we don't have debt really other than our mortgage... no car payment or anything.
ours is something like this..
mortgage- 740
electric- 190
gas (heat type lol)- 20
internet- 40
phone- 75
car insurance- 30
dish network- 100
water- 65
car gas- 45-50 now sine i'm not driving. husband goes to work 10 minutes away and back and that's it unless i need to go to store.
after all that, we have a couple hundred left....
lol i thought hurst was pretty decent cheap living... unless you live over by rickel park (my dad lives around there) then yikes!
anyhow, i don't know anything around here social :( since my car's broken now, my son & i are stuck at home, bored.



answers from Dallas on

We have no car payments, no credit cards. We don't go out to eat. I clip coupons, shop the sales & make as much as possible from scratch. This goes for food, clothes & everything else. I breastfeed, use cloth diapers, make my own baby food. I buy things used or on clearance and use them until they fall apart.

But that's not to say we have nothing and never go out. I buy our clothes at Gap, Gymboree, Old Navy, JC Penney, Khol's. I've learned to shop the sales/coupons. I have a Coach purse, I buy my make up at Ulta. We take vacations, pay for preschool. We are just very careful about where we spend our money. We budget and track everything. We make sure that what we spend our money on is really what we want, not wasting it on small things like eating out too much or too many extra things at Target.

My husband brings home about $4k a month. We have three kids age four and under, so no one goes to "real" school yet. When I worked I brought home $4.5k so it definitely was a shock, a huge lifestyle change! Try writing down every dollar you spend for a month, most people are surprised at how much money they are spending on certain things without even realizing it.



answers from Dallas on

It's a lot easier not to spend money when you are staying at home. You don't need work clothes, you are not driving by starbucks in the morning on a cold day, it's a hassle to get the kid in the car and go out to lunch. Not to say that I never go out to lunch but if we do it's usually chick fil a. I joined a local MOMS Club (there is one in your area that is very active) and we have about three things on the calendar a mom & tot type activities. The other ladies in the group can also give you tips and tricks for how to live on a budget.



answers from Dallas on

I can offer some of the cheapest places to shop and other tips .Rule of thumb---compare prices on everything ----usually by the oz.

Town Talk in FW---surplus food warehouse with some great buys.You never know what you will find! Even organic and gluten free things pop up often. Watch the expiration dates if you do go--especially on chips. Most frozen things will be expired but they have told me that everything is frozen prior to the expiration date and I've never had a problem.

Big Lots

Dollar Tree and 99 cents store (the one that's white store with pink and green stripe)

Sam's Club

Save A Lot.

I scour grocery ads for meat sales and try to always buy chicken at less than $1 per pound---usually easy to get wings, thighs or legs. I try to buy fruit in bags and in season. Also buy some frozen fruit.

Buy Great Value (WalMart) pizza instead of ordering out--the chicken, bacon & ranch one is especially good!

Eat baked potatoes with all the toppings and/or soup once a wk and it's a really cheap but filling meal!

Order only off dollar menu at fast food places.

Split meals at restaurants.

Go to www.entertainment .com and get a coupon passbook for your area---we get one yearly!

Use coupons (especially at grocery stores that double and triple coupons) if you're up for clipping----I don't have the time usually but do use some for restaurants.

For gas, google the cheapest gas in your area before you buy.

Join yahoo freecycle group.

Go only to the dollar movies (Cinemark 8 in N Richland Hills)---all the movies get there eventually.

Pick up FW Child magazine and Suburban Parent (I think those are the names)usually at a local library for things to do monthly.Also check out kid stuff on

Hope this helps! It's not easy, especially in this economy, but we believe it's so worth it for me to be able to be home with our little one. Blessings and all the best to you!



answers from Dallas on

Hi L.,
I don't have suggestions on living on one salary, but wondered if the work you do now outside of the home could be done part time, reduced work hours or even done as your own business? That way you have some income during a transition period. I have a mommy friend who started her own consulting company in the line of work she was in 'pre' mommy. She does that now, but only for 2 clients at a time. Also think about taking a leave of absence from your current job rather than quite, that way you have a foot still in the door if this doesn't work the way you wanted. If leaving your job is what you really want to do, try living on your husband salary for 3 - 6 months, putting your salary in the bank for extra savings, then leave your job. To the other suggestions...these women rock! What creative ideas on being a SAHM.



answers from Dallas on

I'm not sure how people do it to be honest. I am super blessed with a dh who makes quite a bit but I am still pretty frugal. I don't buy things often, at least not when I compare myself to others I know. I think being a SAHM you will find you spend less period just because you don't go out as much. I am in a playgroup (look at for one) and would be LOST without it, so for that I am thankful. With playdates, cleaning, cooking, playing with my kids, Bible study, "homeschooling" (I don't homeschool per se but do have things planned for the kids like activities, reading for the older ones, etc)), there is NO time to get bored for me. I LOVE being at home with them and I look at it as such a short time in their lives that I can give them, I just can't imagine it being any other way - having someone else be there instead of me would crush me. I know even if my dh did make much less, I would still find a way to be a SAHM, at least for the first 5 years...after my youngest is in kinder too I do plan to go back PT while they are in school. If you want to do it, you CAN do it - you just have to PLAN a lot, ADJUST a lot and CHANGE your ideals/outlooks a lot on what's really important. I hope you decide to do it, I can't picture any mom ever regretting it!



answers from Dallas on

I'm not a SAHM, but I'm a single mom who doesn't get any CS b/c I share 50/50 physical custody with my ex. It's actually really easy for me to live on one income AND tithe AND max out on my 401(k) AND save up to move.

31% goes to housing 'stuff' (mortgage, utilities, electric, home phone, internet, alarm, direct tv, cell phone)

37% goes to tithing, retirement, college fund, and savings.

right now, 20% goes to a car I just bought b/c I'm paying it off in 1 year. once it's paid off, most will go into savings, part will go towards the new house. that number also includes gas.

10% goes to groceries, eating out, and HHs

The rest is surplus that gets used on various things or put in savings.

Those are the high level categories.




answers from Dallas on

I don't feel comfortable giving out the nitty gritty details, but we're a family of 5 who gets by on almost half of your income. It sounds to me like you're more concerned about not enough money to do all the social things you want to do. That's definitely going to be something that will have to give. Instead of focusing on all the things we do without, we shift our perspective and focus on our choice for our children to have a parent at home full-time. Social stuff for kids: library storytime, playgroup, park, Paradise Pond in Grapevine, look into a family membership somewhere (children's museum, zoo, Dallas Arboretum, etc). For you, have a video night with a friend instead of going out to the movie theater, start a playgroup (I've done playgroup with all my kids so I can get together with the other moms more than for the sake of my kids playing!) have friends over for potluck dinners or game nights, get an exercise buddy or group. If you want to make staying home a priority, you'll find a way to make it work. You can also do some odd jobs to get a little extra money here and there when you want to do something special. I occasionally face paint, which gives me a little bit of disposable income to do what I want with. Going from working full-time to staying home full-time is a big transition and will take some time to get used to. I know from experience :) But just like anything else, over time you'll figure it out, and pick up on the tricks of the trade. Best wishes!



answers from Dallas on

It all comes to choices. There are companies that you can work parttime from home. alpine access. It is a customer service company that contracts out to different companies - like xbox and walgreens.
Most churches have MOPS groups. Mothers of preschoolers. They meet once a month, provide childcare and the adults get to have some adult conversation :)...Most churches have weekly bible studies that provide childcare. You could clean houses. It is good money for only 3 to 4 hours of work. Hope this helps!



answers from Dallas on

It is a huge change after our second child I have have been a sahm. It is also not always fun. But the benefits for your children is amazing. We make about 4500 a month and it is not always easy. My husband and I go out on a date night once a month grandparents watch the kids. I joined the ymca and meet friends in the morning there and the kids play with their friends. It is a great time to have time away. I think the hardest thing is to not loose yourself which is hard not to do. Also the biggest money saver as we all know is eating at home. I don't coupon but I try to make everything at home. If we go to park or outside activity I try and pack our lunches. I do as many free things with the kids as possible and once a week we go to McDonalds and have water and a cookie and they play for a hour in the play area. That is the treat for good behavior after running errands once a week. The thing is to be invintive and once you start talking with other sahm you get ideas. You realize that everyone is giving up something to stay home. You and your husband have to see what that is in your life though. Ours is going to movies and dinner out. We love those things but once I stayed home that had to go. Goodluck to you it is a hard transicion but completely worth it in the end.

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