How did you make being a SAHM a reality? - Page 5
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  1. #61
    Registered User pammy's Avatar
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    Yup. 10 months ago, by choice. The decision came at the same time as we decided to get out of debt, so there's been some challenges.

    First thing I did was to read as much as I could on how to save money. I didn't grow up in a frugal home and had no idea on the different ways to cut costs around the home, so many lightbulbs went off with each book I read. Some helped with saving money, some helped with changing the mindset. The big ones were the Complete Tightwad Gazette, The Total Money Makeover, Your Money or Your Life, The Millionaire Nextdoor, The Complete Cheapskate, just to name a few. So many more good ones out there.

    Then I sat down to work on the budget. Made a list of everything that we absolutely had to pay to get by and then worked on how to reduce those things. It took a good 3 months to get a good budget going, but it was so worth it. It really showed where the money had been going and after working on it the budget told the money where to go.

    I also went to using cash. Mainly, I only wrote checks for the bills, took out 'x' amount of dollars in cash for things I would need between paydays (groceries, gas, blow money). Using Dave Ramsey's way of paying off debt (from The Total Money Makeover) I would then take everything left over and pay down debt. Then I would put up the checkbook until next payday. When the cash was gone I was done. Yes, this took a bit of tweakiing as well to be able to know what we could comfortably live on between paydays.

    When I started this on one income it appeared we didn't have enough to make ends meet. By cutting out some things we used to do when making two incomes (like eating out, spur of the moment purchases, not paying attention to what we were spending, etc.) all the sudden we had everything paid and money to spare, like $700 within a few months. All this and going from about $90k a year to $60k. From using our extra to build a small emergency fund to catch those things that use to get taken care of with credit and starting to pay down our debt with extra, we've managed in the last 10 months to reduce our debt by $38,000 already. Sold some things, snowballed debt, used any bonuses to reduce debt, you name it.

    And, I'm STILL working on reducing our expenses. It's a work in progress and I don't think I will ever know everything. There's been other benefits to being on one income. I've now got time for things that I didn't before, things that I couldn't have done while being a two income family. And the quality of life in our home has drastically improved. I can't even begin to explain, it's really very positive. Right now my 'job' is home economist, dh brings home the paycheck and I make that money stretch until it begs for mercy. It's a challenge I'm finding quite rewarding.

    Have babbled enough. There's many here that hopefully will share their story as well.

  2. #62
    Registered User JustJoy's Avatar
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    My DH and I did it about 5 years ago. The main things we do are cut out things we didn't think twice about before like going out to eat alot, me with my shopping sprees anytime I felt the urge, switching from 'regular' grocery stores to Aldi, etc...

  3. #63
    Registered User i.m.cheap's Avatar
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    Well, sort of... I still work part-time, and DH has returned to school after a job loss. He is working full-time, but for less pay than before. Our combined income in 2003 was $52,000. Last year it was $24,000, and this year, it will be slightly less than that.

    We have had to cut lots of corners. We found a cheaper place to live, paid off our car with our last income tax refund, stopped eating out entirely, buy 80% of our clothes at thrift shops and yard sales, look for things we need in the second hand market (ebay and others) first before shopping retail stores, clipping coupons and building a stockpile, finding cheap or free entertainment, using the public library more (we used to buy alot of books, now we buy mostly used books).

  4. #64
    Registered User autumnlynn's Avatar
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    yep, after my divorce I went from two incomes to one. It takes some getting used to, but I find that I am doing well. I am following the Dave Ramsey Plan (TMMO), and it is working very well for me. I am so much happier now and am plotting out my future. The Tightwad Gazette (three books in series) has been invaluable in finding ways to cut expenses. it is hard, and I'm still learning every day, but you can definitely do it!!

    Also, the ladies on this board are very knowledgable and can help you with your budget (which is a necessity) and have many ideas to help. It also is a great help to be here with people who have the same goals. Also it is a great place for finding a shoulder to cry on when needed, and people cheering you on when you have a victory. You couldn't put a price on all the support that is offered here.

  5. #65
    Registered User danni's Avatar
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    After our 5th child was born we decided that I would stay at home. We went from an income of $60,000 to $30,000 cdn. Once we got used to less money we were fine. By next year all our loans will be paid off and we will have more money to save.
    EF $703.21
    STARTING DEBT $40,567.12

    DEBT TO DATE $5,571.24

  6. #66
    Registered User mom2three's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the encouragement! We have some time to cut costs and pay down debt. I am going on my third mat leave and due to grant cuts will likely not have a job when it is time to go back. Whatever we can do to cut expenses is great!

  7. #67
    Registered User leezza's Avatar
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    Mom2three,

    While hubby and I were unemployed recently I think some of the biggest things we did to not spend money were:
    *use coupons
    *buy loss leaders
    *if you have a cell phone?? get one that is pay as you go, (ei: boost, TRAX) that way there are no surprises.
    *If you have a computer sign up for a SKYPE account, you can talk computer to computer, or computer to phone all you need is a head set....we got ours for $9.00.
    *STAY HOME
    *Try to stay focused and organized

    Good Luck,
    leezza

  8. #68
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    I became a SAHW 7 years ago. First thing we did when I quit working was cut unnecessary expenses. Cable, extras on the phone, that sort of thing. We saw an immediate reduction in expenses simply because we were no longer eating out constantly. I was a teacher, and I always came home exhausted and with a pile of work to grade, so I rarely felt like cooking. I started experimenting in the kitchen and discovered that I really like to cook! I stopped buying so many new clothes. I don't know what it is about working, but I always felt like I needed new outfits. Now I usually only shop for clothes when I need something.

    I've learned to look for deals on the things we need or want. For example, I learned that it is MUCH cheaper to buy our magazine subscriptions on Ebay. I've also found that I can buy brand-new Birkenstocks (my favorite brand of shoes) there for half price. I cut coupons when I find coupons for the things I use. I scour the ads to find the best deals (I subscribe the daily newspaper).

    The library became my very good friend. It's a great source for free entertainment with books and videos. It's also great for new cookbooks when I'm bored with my own. Great for project books to give me new ideas. Great for books on frugality and saving money! I've read most of the books mentioned by others.

    I shop WAY in advance for birthday and Christmas gifts. When I find things at a great price that I know someone will really like and enjoy, I buy it and store it until it's needed. This has cut down drastically on our gift spending! When invited to baby showers, I give the same thing most of the time: board books bought brand-new at Half-Price Books for an amazingly low price. When I find them at really great prices, I stock up. It's all about planning ahead. In fact, for my 4 nieces, I have 3 out of 4 Christmas gifts already taken care of. Have 2 of the b-day gifts taken care of, too.

  9. #69
    Registered User banana's Avatar
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    Yep we did it when my son was born 9 years ago. It was tough at first but we managed. I now work part-time at a local school while my son is at school. It helps pay some of the bills.

  10. #70
    Registered User kabin63's Avatar
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    Yes, did it 4 years ago in december.

  11. #71
    Registered User Buckeye5's Avatar
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    Just did it 3 weeks ago. it is a big adjustment for everything, $$. time, and just your way of living. My family life is much more relaxed and simple. a big plus for all of us.
    taking one day at a time, trying to get rid of debt!!

  12. #72
    Registered User acox68's Avatar
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    My husband was laid off in December '04 from the Information Technology industry. The market is so tight here in MI and DH doesn't have a degree in IT, just a lot of experience. He made about $80,000 a year back then and we wasted all of our money on frivilous stuff. The first few months after he lost his job, we kept spending as we always had, we were just putting the expenses on credit cards. Then when the minimum payments got to be too much for us to handle, it was either file bankruptcy (we had over $100,000 in cc debt...talk about a spending problem), or do what we did and that was borrow $ from my parents. I think our former spending habits were completely unfathomable!!!! We are now just living on my income and DH is getting ready to go back to school in September into a totally different field (Physical Therapy). We are going to have to get a student loan just for him to be able to go to college. I am paying my way through school (my school is much cheaper than his will be) and will be finished (God willing) in December '08. I do have to say, that this has been a very humbling experience! I never thought in a million years that we would have these types of problems, but the important thing is that I am working on it daily and getting better at the whole frugal thing.

  13. #73
    Registered User warramra's Avatar
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    We made this decision in the Fall of 2003. At that time we had two young children and I carried the family insurance. Since then we have had another daughter and have a son on the way. Dh was laid off the next summer, but was lucky enough to land another job before his benefits were gone.

    We have gone through several 'seasons'. I have on occassion picked up some contract work from home, but found it very stressful with so many young children. There are times it has been easier than others, an unfortunately instead of saving the extra money we just spent it. Now, gas prices are eating away at our income and we accumulated some debt when we did some work on the house to put it on the market before we decided it wasn't the right time for it. Then I had to buy new furniture for the girls' room to re-organize it to fit the three children and toys into it and for the new baby to have the nursery. So, now we are back to trying to get on track and lose the debt. Since we are staying in this house we have decided that we are going to do a home reno that will add a master bed/bath, open the kitchen and move laundry room. We want to be cc debt free and have 1/2 the $ in savings before we start the project.

    We basically have broken even with me not working. All those additional expenses added up. Mentally, we are happier. I love being home and finding ways to be more frugal and manage the household really uses those brain cells that I thought I might not get to use being home.
    Amy

    Wife to one hardworking man
    Homeschooling mom
    Three girls 14,11 & 9
    one boy 7

  14. #74
    Master Dollar Stretcher guest32's Avatar
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    We went to one income when the girls were in high school (talk about crazy!!!) But....it worked for us. Dh wanted me home and I was longing to be at home and know what my kids were up to. Luckily, dh bought the house before we were married, so the payment was always something that could be managed on his income alone. But the other expenses....school, driving, braces, etc. had to be managed pretty carefully. Their dad rarely paid his 200.00 month support (rolling eyes) and never did pay his part of orthodontics, medical, etc. We just buckled down, ate at home, somehow....everything worked out. Being home, I was better able to manage the budget. Hanging clothes, shopping carefully, meals from scratch, homemede gifts. I have not gone back to work and my youngest graduated in 2001. I LOVE being at home and it works for us.

  15. #75
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    4 months ago for us. Its been a big change, but actually its alittle easier on us now b/c we don't eat out a quarter of the amount times we did while I was working. And now I have more time to shop the sales, etc.

    This board has been SO valuable to me since I joined.

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