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DH getting pay cut, Offset by cutting costs or going to work?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello out there frugal mamas! 


I have been spending all my 'spare' time trying to come up with ways to live more frugally, spend less on food (but still feed my kids healthfully), and so on. 


The story: DH works full time- more than full time- and I am a SAHM. we have 3 kids in 1st grade and 17 mo old. My work qualifications don't add up to a very high income, so we know if I worked we'd be basically reinvesting my entire paycheck into child care and school plus. Recently my DH was given a pay cut at work. It had nothing to do with performance- he works for a small company managing all of their marketing, design, and website. He was made a "partner" awhile back and is given a "base wage" which is basically minimum wage, plus a percentage of sales. So he sacrificed a higher hourly for the potential to make more in percentage as the company grew (the company has doubled annual sales since DH went to work for them- prior to that they had no marketing/web person). For a few months there things were looking up- more income! We paid off some debt, and right as that chunk was paid off his boss decided he had made a mistake in the base wage/percentage and essentially cut his monthly income by a quarter- essentially we are at square one, DH has been wrecked. he worked so hard to get to where he was- and knows the company owner isn't very business savvy or respectful of employees. It's a pattern and unfair things will probably keep happening- this wasn't the first time. We already just make ends meet, we rent a house we are already outgrowing but can't afford anything more. We have no savings. We need to get health insurance soon. With his pay cut we will have zero leftover on our current budget. 


Of course I jumped in and said I'd go to work, or watch some kids from home. However there is still the issue of our school aged children, the cost of child care and school plus, and the possibility of his schedule changing if he finds a new job (he's looking). My son with ASD currently gets a small amount in SSI as well and if I made any income we would lose it, and it would equate to me having to make up for that AND childcare. I just feel stuck, like I can't do anything financially to help other than figure out a way to cut costs in the home. 


One of the frustrating factors- and some mamas on here have voiced similar concerns- is that DH is totally on the wagon for "saving money" and budgeting, but he - we - are both pretty good at putting out wants last & kids/household/bills first. HOWEVER, any time I cook food from scratch that is mostly veg/ not standard "kid faire" either he or the kids complain, because I would rather feat them, say, a veggie-pasta casserole made from scratch (cheap) than brand x chicken nuggets and fries (also cheap, but processed etc). I looked at my 17 month old eating every healthy thing I put on his tray last night and was like- "honey, if the baby is willing to eat everything I give him, then 3 first graders can. they're getting too old to be catered to!"...  However, when DH does the shopping (not often) his idea of saving money is buying the cheapest partially-prepared food vs a bunch of raw/ fresh ingredients. Often you need to buy a lot of that in bulk each month or so, and he's trying to pay for food week by week and having a small budget makes buying bulk ingredients tricky.


I guess I'm posting to ask a few questions:


1) How little can you spend a week/ month to feed a family of 5 or 6 healthfully? What does that look like? I feel like we already spend so little but maybe I can do things differently...


2) How did you "get real" with DH about this? DH KNOWS we need to live more frugally, but how did you get him to really see what that looks like?


3) Is there any decent way to make money at home? Is it worth going to work full time/paying childcare expenses / putting all our kids in childcare if all we come out ahead with is $300 or so?



I feel like we can do something different and it will help. I can tell DH is stressed because this pay cut came right before holiday season. 


Trying to figure it out.


Any thoughts/ experiences/ recommendations are welcome! Thank you.

post #2 of 9
It sounds like you are already working so hard for your family. At this point it does sound like taking a full time job would perhaps not be financially prudent. Just think of how much time it takes to research decisions such as what health insurance to purchase, how the Affordable Care Act affects your family, and to try to navigate websites that don't work well--just an example. How easily would this get done properly with both you and your husband working full-time? Then think of how often, realistically, might the kids get sick and need you to stay home? With the 17-month-old likely around a few other kids, this might be pretty often. What job might you have where these absences would not quickly become an issue?
Is there possibly a longer term career goal you might be able to work toward, where once you get it, a small loss of SSI income would be small compared to your new income? Maybe you would want to volunteer, do some writing for publications in this field, take some classes, and network with folks in this field, looking toward a bigger payoff later on, rather than a job right now that wouldn't be worth taking.
With the dinner/frugal cooking questions, one small solution is making your own baked French fries by just cutting up the potatoes or sweet potatoes into the French fry shapes and putting a little oil and seasoning on them before baking. Most prepackaged French fries have soooo many ingredients, and it is also much cheaper to make your own.
With the husband and kids being a little picky about the healthy food, you might be able to get them more involved in the cooking and meal planning...but give maybe closed-ended questions like, do you guys want the kale soup or the asparagus stir fry?...not like, what do you guys want for dinner. You might even decide to serve two things, like both the soup and the stir-fry, knowing that everyone will at least eat one.
Good luck with all this. Hopefully you and your husband will come out ahead. You might have periodic finance meetings with him, and bring up not just the topics you have some suggestions or solutions for, but topics he might be able to help you research or brainstorm. This way he won't feel overwhelmed with suggestions.
post #3 of 9

Great advice from mommyfriend!  


It does sound like working outside the home would not gain you very much right now. I would seriously look into home daycare. In most states you can watch a child or two in your home without any additional certification. You can likely find someone within your circle of friends or your children's friends that is looking for care. Depending on the need in your area, you might look at before/after school care and you may make as much with that as having an infant or toddler all day. Or perhaps a toddler and their older sibling(s) after school. I've done home daycare many times, and found it to be a good fit. My children had an additional playmate which usually meant more time for me to get things done while they played with the new 'friends', and I was usually more productive overall when I had a schedule to stick with. I've also traded care before while I went to school. I found a mom who was going to my same college and we both watched each other kids at my house while the other went to class. It worked really well for the two years we did it. She also then had an internship over both summers, so I watched hers full-time over the summer for pay. 

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you both- DH i still pretty steadfast against me going back to work. He doesn't feel the stress on our family/ extra few hundred dollars a month is worth it. He is optimistic about finding a new job, but it's hard to have no control over the matter as a SAHM, as far as addign to the financial contribution. One of my conflicts with providing childcare in my home is 2 of our 3 school agers need rides- DS goes to a magnet school (even if he went to our home school i would still drive because we live 'too close') and DSS goes to his mom's homebase school so I have to pick him up half the days from there as well. So my options are to find parents comfortable with me driving their kids around town- not to mention I have an 18 mo old- or to put our children in extra care like school plus! Which will cost us just the same as If I were working out of the home! My mom had an in home preschool when I was a child but we all caught the bus right outside of our house. 


Momsteader the childcare trade sounds awesome, I will keep that in mind if I ever plan on going back to school! :D Do you mind me asking what you went to school for?


I have brought up going back to school/ finishing my degree/ taking out loans and grants but DH is pretty firmly against taking out more loans (I took them out for 1 year of my college and have about 8 grand in debt for that.). Even If we went for that I wouldnt be going back to school until fall next year so it wouldn't be helpful now.


He got offered a good paying job an hour and a half from where we live, so that's a no go- we mused about moving to the awesome town thats between here and there, has cheaper costs of living, but there are still custody matters ( we CAN move that far, but schooling would be complicated etc). Still waiting to see if something local comes up.


Mommyfriend- there a a lot of things I would LOVE to do as a long term career goal/ livlihood.  That's part of my internal struggle is there is a lot I would love to do but I am holding the fort down at home. My littlest is getting older and I am starting to want to do something again- however a lot of my goals/visions take training, schooling, and money/investment! I do not qualify to take out business loans so some of my ideas are "down the road". I've daydreamed about using things like indiegogo and kickstarter but it's hard to imagine if that would be successful or not. I pretty much have a "bigger picture" dreamed up but there are a lot of components that have to be worked out/ built up first! Networking IS my current goal- I want to volunteer doing some of the things I want to incorporate into future work. 


As far as food goes- I think getting their input will help and I LOVE the idea of leting them chose- between a few choices I present them rather than just asking. That way they may feel like they have a say, but it's still being guided by me/ healthy choices/ budget. Thank you!

post #5 of 9

Can you try being a virtual assistant? or an online tutor? Both allows you to set your timings and work from home. 


And maybe babysitting during the hours you are available? 

post #6 of 9

I went to school for Health Information Management, I have a BA in it. I do not currently work in the field as I am a SAHM, but I do love it! 


As far as taking other kids, I drug mine all over in my 'home daycare'. I told the parents that the kids are part of our 'life' and they will do what we do as a part of our regular day. I took them grocery shopping, to mommy group, I even went to our athletic club and worked out during the day. (There was an on-site daycare, and I had to pay $2/hr for non-member children, but luckily most of the time my daycare kiddos parents were members, so it didn't matter!)  I acquired extra carseats and drove a Suburban at the time. If I had something to do, they just came with! 


But, I also provided a great 'service' to the parents too. Their kids just were part of our normal daily rhythm and weren't in a big daycare center. When my kids did swimming lessons in the summer, they signed theirs up too, and they came along. 

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Wow Momsteader- that's awesome that you found parents willing to let you do that! It would be super helpful to me to have parents comfortable with that. I suppose I won't know until I try, if I do.  DH is looking into new jobs (which may or may not work out), and I just got asked to help with a website that will bring in a little extra money (one time payment)! DH also took on a small side job, they both cam up out of the blue, feeling blessed :)

post #8 of 9

I just made that a condition of care! I always had kiddos and usually people asking me when I'd have an opening.  I was just upfront. Here is what our day looks like, and your child is a part of that. We are a HOME daycare setting. I was a legally unregistered provider. 

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 


Edited by mamakitsune - 12/29/13 at 9:26pm
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