Many of you would love to be stay-at-home mothers but don't feel you can afford it. I asked my Facebook friends what they do in order to be able to stay home. I received many wonderful tips so I thought I would make a post of some of them to encourage you who would eventually love to be home full time.
Cathy ~ Use coupons, shop at second hand stores, and shop wisely with sale ads and price match.
Brittany ~ Make food from scratch. Make homemade laundry soap and hand soap. Breastfeed, use cloth diapers, buy clothes used or ask for them as gifts.
Cristina ~ Being on a budget helped tremendously. Dave Ramsey is an excellent financial expert. He opened our eyes to so many financial mistakes most Americans make. We are careful with not buying the "must have" new gadgets, toys, cars, etc. We never buy brand new cars, never go on vacation unless it's already paid for, eat out wisely, frugal with personal luxuries, and we aren't quick to buy each kid everything their heart's desire.
Amy ~ Meal plan, shop every 2 weeks buying whole foods in bulk, stick to the shopping list, cook from scratch, make all cleaning supplies, hand soap, laundry detergent, make a budget and stick to it, buy the "clean dozen" produce as much as possible, buy organic in bulk, eat out less, drink water, shop consignment sales for clothing, no cable, use natural lighting, sell unused items on craigslist or if I spot something on the curb, grab it and sell on craigslist, use cloth wipes with homemade spray, breastfed my children for the first year or so, go to parks and play outside, for gifts ask for clothing or money towards an annual pass for the family, invested in clippers and cut husband and son's hair, trim daughter's hair when needed, limit shower times, give kids bath together when needed or every other night, make homemade dog shampoo, use washcloths to clean surfaces instead of paper products, use cloth napkins as much as possible, simplify.
Jennifer ~ No cable, and only buy what we can afford with cash.
Jessica ~ Work from home.
Alethea ~ I own a daycare.
Cristina ~ My city has an online moms' marketplace where we buy and sell a variety of things at yard sale prices. From clothing for the kids, to home decor, kitchen items, electronics, books, toys, shoes, homeschool materials, anything that can sell. I love it! It's a good way to interact with other moms and the group has privacy settings, so you'll always feel safer. The quality of the items is excellent and the value is great. Many times I end up getting what I need for the kids and the home for free. Sell the things I don't need and buy the ones I do need at the same price.
Carmen ~ 1 car, 1 cellphone and no cable and less vacation and a meal plan.
Becky ~ I do everything listed here and I will add that we don't have cable but do have Netflix and Hulu. I pressure can our produce from our garden along with soups and sauces I make but I still have to work outside the home. I don't think that we could live on my husband's salary alone. Kudos to those who can.
Gently Led ~ For me, the most important change for making it on one income was mental. When I quit practicing law, I kept finding a quote that the path of Christianity is one of "downward mobility." Trusting that there is greater peace, joy, and fullness of life with less money/stuff/conveniences was key for me. Also, I personally don't make my own laundry soap, can, thrift, etc. That is WONDERFUL for those who do, but tips like that would've scared me off the one-income idea. I say this just in case someone is reading this thinking, "Obviously we can't live on one income b/c I can't do all of that!" Those of us brought up to be career women have a hard enough time with the transition! But there are lots of ways to save money that don't require Mom to be a domestic creative genius. We eat out pretty infrequently, drive older, long-paid-off cars, no cable or up-to-date electronics, "vacation" only by visiting family, etc. I miss nothing that I used to spend money on, and find family life so much richer than financial wealth!
If any of you have anything to add, that would be great. I can make another post with new ideas. If you have homemade recipes that you absolutely love, write them in the comment section also. If your heartfelt desire is to stay home and raise your own babies, there is a way. It may take sacrifice but it will be well worth it.
For which of you, intending to build a tower,
does not sit down first and count the cost,
whether he has enough to finish it—lest,
after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish,
all who see it begin to mock him, saying,
'This man began to build and was not able to finish'?"