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How to become a SAHM

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Right now I am the main breadwinner in the family while DH finishes his MS degree, hopefully by February. I always thought that I'd want to keep my job after I had a family, but now that I'm going back to work I hate it. DS is only 8 weeks old, and while DH cares for him while I work (and is an AMAZING father), I feel like he needs his mama home with him more. I'd love to be a SAHM, but don't really know how to make it happen financially.

 

So, if it's not too personal, how do you make it happen financially? Even after DH gets a job (or IF, in this bad economy), I still don't know if we can afford it. We don't live in luxury by any means and are always paycheck-to-paycheck. But DS is more important than anything to me, so I'm trying to find a way to make it happen. Thanks for any advice!

post #2 of 18

First... congratulations on your new baby!

 

Edit - cut out a lot of stuff about frugality because I think that you probably know this stuff if you already live paycheck to paycheck....

 

THe thing I would say is to make lots of friends with people in the same boat - sahps with tight budgets - because you can help each other out with everything from childcare and cooking together etc, to doing fun free things together and bartering with each other for baby stuff or handing it around so you don't have to spend.  You will feel so much better than if all your friends are much more well off than you because you won't be comparing.   And doing stuff yourself is a great way to save money but sometimes I like to not do it myself, because for me, trying to do "everything" to be frugal "all the time" can make you feel a little crazy.   And I'm very craftily disposed... it's in my blood, my folks are hill people.  But sometimes it is nice to eat a cheeseburger, lol.

 

I think I am saying... I am prone to letting the ideals of motherhood get me down... but it's okay to not live up to an ideal and just be good enough... and be a good enough stay at home mom and heck give the kids watered down grape juice.  And hotdogs.  Hotdogs get a bad rap but I really think they are all right.  Or whatever for you is a symbol of oh sh#$ I am a failure.  Just find out what works for you, and what things you think are worth the extra work, what aren't and to own those choices and feel satisfied and proud of yourself for choosing them, or at least, only mildly guilty and not completely horrible..  :)

 

Also, I do lots of side work.  Right now I farm, and it's great, but I also have done babysitting, sewing, writing, etc.  DP does a lot of side work too.

 

Ok, this is getting long again.....


Edited by cyclamen - 10/11/11 at 3:51pm
post #3 of 18

I am a SAHM right now and money is TIGHT!  We are couponing, shopping online for used clothing for DS, and in general being thrifty with EVERYTHING.

I do work from home doing customer service, but it pays poorly, and it's boring work...but anything extra helps.  I'm planning on taking in a kiddo or two to babysit probably this next Spring once DS is 18months old or so...but it definitely is hard.  DH was in school for quite a while and I worked nights at a gas station while he was sleeping so I could stay home during the day before we had kids so that I could cook/clean/be a housewife...but it's always a stretch!  There are lots of nights we eat chicken and white rice, mac n cheese, or breakfast stuff like scrambled eggs and toast...definitely no steaks here!

It's worth it tho...to get to stay home with my Aiden!

post #4 of 18

It really helps to have both people on board with having a stay at home parent.  If you "talk him into it" you may later deal with resentment.

 

Other than that, I'd suggest trying to cut costs as much as possible from now on and try to build up a savings. If you can live on what you predict he'll earn once he starts working, it's a good start.

 

As for cutting costs, every family is different, but look at every expense critically. Determing what you must do, what is luxury, and what is a worthwhile but extra expense. And then budget from there.

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclamen View Post

First... congratulations on your new baby!

 

Edit - cut out a lot of stuff about frugality because I think that you probably know this stuff if you already live paycheck to paycheck....

 

THe thing I would say is to make lots of friends with people in the same boat - sahps with tight budgets - because you can help each other out with everything from childcare and cooking together etc, to doing fun free things together and bartering with each other for baby stuff or handing it around so you don't have to spend.  You will feel so much better than if all your friends are much more well off than you because you won't be comparing.   And doing stuff yourself is a great way to save money but sometimes I like to not do it myself, because for me, trying to do "everything" to be frugal "all the time" can make you feel a little crazy.   And I'm very craftily disposed... it's in my blood, my folks are hill people.  But sometimes it is nice to eat a cheeseburger, lol.

 

I think I am saying... I am prone to letting the ideals of motherhood get me down... but it's okay to not live up to an ideal and just be good enough... and be a good enough stay at home mom and heck give the kids watered down grape juice.  And hotdogs.  Hotdogs get a bad rap but I really think they are all right.  Or whatever for you is a symbol of oh sh#$ I am a failure.  Just find out what works for you, and what things you think are worth the extra work, what aren't and to own those choices and feel satisfied and proud of yourself for choosing them, or at least, only mildly guilty and not completely horrible..  :)

 

Also, I do lots of side work.  Right now I farm, and it's great, but I also have done babysitting, sewing, writing, etc.  DP does a lot of side work too.

 

Ok, this is getting long again.....

 

This is a great idea. I recently started going to a La Leche League group 2x per month where everyone but me is a SAHM. Even after I go back to work full time, I still hope to make an occasional meeting (they are during the work day) and keep in touch with these women. I will definitely reach out to them as I'm trying to transition.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beebsmom View Post

I am a SAHM right now and money is TIGHT!  We are couponing, shopping online for used clothing for DS, and in general being thrifty with EVERYTHING.

I do work from home doing customer service, but it pays poorly, and it's boring work...but anything extra helps.  I'm planning on taking in a kiddo or two to babysit probably this next Spring once DS is 18months old or so...but it definitely is hard.  DH was in school for quite a while and I worked nights at a gas station while he was sleeping so I could stay home during the day before we had kids so that I could cook/clean/be a housewife...but it's always a stretch!  There are lots of nights we eat chicken and white rice, mac n cheese, or breakfast stuff like scrambled eggs and toast...definitely no steaks here!

It's worth it tho...to get to stay home with my Aiden!


Even though money is tight for us too right now, I know we could be more disciplined. You're right... our LOs are worth it!

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Pajama View Post

It really helps to have both people on board with having a stay at home parent.  If you "talk him into it" you may later deal with resentment.

 

Other than that, I'd suggest trying to cut costs as much as possible from now on and try to build up a savings. If you can live on what you predict he'll earn once he starts working, it's a good start.

 

As for cutting costs, every family is different, but look at every expense critically. Determing what you must do, what is luxury, and what is a worthwhile but extra expense. And then budget from there.


This is so true. DH is on board with the "idea" of me being a SAHM, but I think he's not on board with the life (ie: $$) that we will have to make this happen. Hopefully after he graduates and gets a job, he will feel differently, because then we'd have to hire an outside nanny/daycare to watch DS.

 

----

 

Thanks for the responses, it's great to hear from mamas who have BTDT!

 

post #6 of 18

It's tight for us. My son just started full day kindergarten so being a SAHM isn't as needed right until I do finally get pregnant. However, because my IBS it can be hard for me to get a job. Anyways, we live in a small apartment, 1 car (we pay on it still), coupon when we can, etc. Right now what is really keeping us going is my husbands overtime. It's been non-stop for 3 months and it's been VERY nice. Once that stops, however.....things will be cut down drastically.

 

Good luck!

post #7 of 18
If it is important to you, than you can make it work if you are willing to sacrifice other things. That is the part that can be hard to get your dh on board with! For example, my dh plays in 4 different hockey leagues over the course of the year which cost $500each.. To me that is an wasy place to save money, for him, it is a priority. There are the things you really have to iron out! What r u willing to do without and what is a priority? Remember that single moms make it work on one income all the time, so it is possible!
post #8 of 18
I'm afraid my advice won't be very helpful, but the way we were able to make it work (starting in 2000 on a salary of 35K) was by a lot of careful planning and in many cases, financial choices, made long before we met. We both had finished our educations and paid off student loans before kids. We had worked for years. We had saved money for a down payment. We managed to get into the housing market at a decent time and because of our savings, were able to buy a house one modest income could pay for.

All the other things people have been mentioning - coupons, modest lifestyle, one car, cutting costs - we did and do those things too, but to be honest, they were peripheral choices. It was all those earlier factors that make the whole thing possible.

There's a lot of talk on MDC that amounts to, "Everyone can stay home if they try really, really, really hard and just eat beans and rice and give up the big-screen TV." (And I'm not saying that's what's happening on this thread, just that I see it over and over.) OP, I do hope you can figure out a way to make it work. But not everyone can swing it financially, especially those living paycheck-to paycheck. Huge numbers of people can't. So please don't see it as a personal failing if you need to keep that job.
post #9 of 18

I stay home and my husband has a modest, below average income. We make it work and live paycheck to paycheck, we keep ourselves from going into negative on our account by the [not even] couple of hundred dollars I make blogging (less than part time). We make do with one car, we rarely eat out, we don't have cable, smart phones, our daughter is dressed in hand me downs, we don't buy any clothes for ourselves unless we need something, we don't fly for vacation, we use cloth diapers, I cook everything from scratch (don't really use coupons because they are mostly for packaged junk), etc. I go into a lot of detail about it here. Being home with my daughter (and baby #2 soon) and seeing her grow up certainly makes up for not having all these material things. 

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post

I'm afraid my advice won't be very helpful, but the way we were able to make it work (starting in 2000 on a salary of 35K) was by a lot of careful planning and in many cases, financial choices, made long before we met. We both had finished our educations and paid off student loans before kids. We had worked for years. We had saved money for a down payment. We managed to get into the housing market at a decent time and because of our savings, were able to buy a house one modest income could pay for.
All the other things people have been mentioning - coupons, modest lifestyle, one car, cutting costs - we did and do those things too, but to be honest, they were peripheral choices. It was all those earlier factors that make the whole thing possible.
There's a lot of talk on MDC that amounts to, "Everyone can stay home if they try really, really, really hard and just eat beans and rice and give up the big-screen TV." (And I'm not saying that's what's happening on this thread, just that I see it over and over.) OP, I do hope you can figure out a way to make it work. But not everyone can swing it financially, especially those living paycheck-to paycheck. Huge numbers of people can't. So please don't see it as a personal failing if you need to keep that job.


Thanks for your realistic input zinemama. DH and I have been together for almost 9 years and were emotionally ready for a baby a while ago, but kept waiting until we were financially "ready." I realized that would never really happen, so we just went ahead and started our family. There's part of me that wished we set ourselves up better beforehand, but you can only wait so long, kwim?  So while I think I've gotten great advice from the other posters, I realize that it's just not going to happen for us right now, but hopefully it will in the next couple of years.

 

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cat13 View Post

Thanks for your realistic input zinemama. DH and I have been together for almost 9 years and were emotionally ready for a baby a while ago, but kept waiting until we were financially "ready." I realized that would never really happen, so we just went ahead and started our family. There's part of me that wished we set ourselves up better beforehand, but you can only wait so long, kwim?  So while I think I've gotten great advice from the other posters, I realize that it's just not going to happen for us right now, but hopefully it will in the next couple of years.

 


You're welcome. And you know what? Being a wohm mother who, with her partner, is emotionally ready to be a parent is huge. So many people who maybe can swing things financially to sahm really aren't ready emotionally and are in relationships that could have used the nine years together you two have. It sounds as if your family has a lot going for it.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks  Sheepish.gif

post #13 of 18

Perhaps this is a totally different thread, but I am a working mom who would love to stay home.  Does anyone out there have suggestions for jobs I can do from home?  I am a good typist and good writer...   Thanks in advance smile.gif

post #14 of 18

Because people define frugality differently, it's worth taking a look at spending and budget stuff.  I know many people living paycheck to paycheck here who make double or triple what dh makes, and still feel they couldn't afford a parent staying home.

 

Although I'm not as frugal with groceries as other people manage to be (couponing? er, cannot make it work for me), dh and I are pretty much on the crazy side of bonkers as far as overall not spending.  There is a lot of stuff we don't buy, and a lot of stuff we don't buy that even many people who are low-income consider too important to skip.  It is not *fun* or comfortable all the time.  But for me it is worth it.

post #15 of 18

Congratulations! 

 

I'm a SAHM and we try to be very frugal. Here are some thing's we've done :

 

1.Changed our auto insurance company. We shopped around and discovered we were paying way too much money. 

2.I no longer have a cell phone and I don't miss it at all. My husband has a work cell, so it works out just fine.

3.No cable. I don't miss that either. 

4.We have internet but we use magic jack as a phone service. It cost us $39.00 for the first year and then about $20.00 each year after, long distance included. 

5.Combine grocery trips to just one trip. 

6.Second hand clothing. 

7.I dye my own hair.

8.I did coupon for food but found we were eating way too much processed food, I still coupon for toiletries and I cruise Craisglist for deals from local farmers and I preserve by freezing or canning. 

9.Purchased a small second hand freezer to buy meat when it's on sale, we have a little land now, so we just process our own meat and save even more. 

10.I make our own dishwashing and laundry detergent, it's very inexpensive.

11.We cloth diaper ( purchased second hand ) our son and use baby washclothes for wipes when I can.

12.We barter a lot.

13.We purchased everything second hand for our son, or is was given to us, except the car seat. 

14.After our son was born, we switched to a major medical policy. It was much less expensive and covers preventative care like wellness visits and vaccinations if you choose them.

15.Breastfeed - boobies are free. 

16.We line dry our clothes. 

17.We also found our mechanic on Craigslist, he charges $40.00 an hour and comes to our home. 

18.I use freecycle for items when I need them.

19.I network with other moms. We all want to help each other. 

20.We turn the heat of at night ( we live in NC ) or set it to get no colder than 55 degrees in the house. We invested in thermal curtains purchase off season and also warm jammies.

21.We learned to live with 82 degrees in the house in summer.

22.Homemade Christmas gifts are thoughtful and save money too.

22.And just when I think we can't find more ways to save, we somehow manage to find more. 

post #16 of 18

Thanks for posting this question. I'm tossing around the idea of becoming a SAHM in the next year or so, but wanted to see some ideas that are out there. I have an 18-mo right now and am a teacher. Even though I get done at 3 and have summers off, both DH and I are beginning to feel that DS is spending too much time at daycare. He's been saying one of the teacher's names and it just cuts to the soul :( Anyway, I think I'll be going the SAHM route once #2 gets here (we're thinking of TTC this spring). So, I just wanted to say thank you and good luck!

post #17 of 18

my husband makes crappy money becuse we live in a crappy town with no jobs. i was a sahm for 18 months and i currently work from home for 25 hours a week, evenings and naptimes, which is really tough (i have zero downtime, i mean ZERO) but it's worth it. i'll reiterate what other posters have said: cut out the non essentials (smart phone, eating out, second car, etc.) and do it all with joy... the whole crumbling edefice of the capitalist system is based on us continuing to spend money on **** we don't need. life sucks when you can't afford a roof over your head and food, but over and above that happiness comes from relationships with other people and from interacting meaningfully with the world.

also i have one more helpful word - GOODWILL! i never buy anything new - not baby clothes, not my clothes, not toys - and woulnd't even if i had the money. you can get most everything you need at goodwill.

post #18 of 18

We also were emotionally ready to parent early in life and jumped in way before we were financially ready. The birth of our first child was a great financial wake up call. The best thing we did was open a second bank account when I was pregnant. We scaled back and lived off DH's salary and used mine to pay sitter and then put the rest towards paying off debt, which fell away quickly when we had all my after childcare income put towards it. Then we kept the same system and saved my income. I felt better about working because I saw our debt fall away and our down payment built up. And before I quit working we were already used to living on DHs salary alone. It has not always been easy, and got really hard when we bought our home after the birth of our second child. I worked from home on and off over the years to help us make ends meet and enjoyed being home full time more the past year and a half than I did being home full time when my kids were really young.  We'll probably use the same system again when I go back to work in the coming year.

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