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How did you prepare financially to make the transition?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi, mamas!

I am a new mother to a beautiful 4.5-month-old. I was home with him for almost three months, then I went back to work part-time in the afternoons (when DH would watch him), and now I am back at work full-time, and the baby is in daycare full-time. Although the transition has gone fairly well, I miss him horribly, and I'm getting a lot of attitude from my boss when I need to take off because he's sick or when I come in late because he peed/pooped all over himself on the way out the door in the morning.

Anyway, I am worried about the financial feasibility of SAH. My husband makes a decent salary, but we'd be left with very little after paying all the bills.

How did you prepare financially to be able to SAH? What did you cut back on (cable, land-line phone, food budget, etc.)?

Any suggestions or words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated!

post #2 of 12
For us, there were a lot of things we did to help. We live in the Toronto area (biggest city in Canada) and manage to get by fine with DH's salary (about $45000 a year)

First, we are lucky because we live in a co-op. Our housing charges are only 900 a month for a 3 bdrm townhouse, which is a steal for this area.

We have also chosen not to own a car. We just can't afford car payments, insurance, gas, etc. We either walk or take public transit where we need to go.

We do not use credit cards.

We buy most things gently used as opposed to new.

I plan our menus a week in advance. We also shop sales and bulk when we can.

These are just some of the things you can do to save money. I'm sure you'll get lots of other great ideas. It's usually doable with a little imagination and sacrifice.
post #3 of 12
The first thing we did last summer was to separate our income.

I moved my direct deposit into a separate account in a different bank. Then we budgeted and paid the bills out of the account where his money was going. I had to "bail out" the house on a few occassions while we tweaked the process, but I think we have it down now.

I still have money in that account and I pay a loan each month from it, then I move the same amount of money from our main account into our savings account (eventually the "house" will be paying the loan when I run out of money). This has helped to build up the savings account.

Whenever we get extra money (unexpected gifts), it goes into the savings account. Now, when those big bills come in that I was having to "bail us out" of, we have some money in savings that we can use.

I am also going through the grocery ads carefully, stocking up on sale items, etc. We use a cash budget. Credit cards are only for doctor visits, internet purchases, etc, and they are paid off in full each month.

We also buy second-hand for the girls, trade hand-me-downs, etc. My parents volunteer in a second-had store, so they watch for the nicer stuff and grab it. We do not hesitate to ask for pricier gifts from the grandparents (my parents purchased a $50 tricycle for my 4yo's birthday in a few weeks). My MIL always buys the girls nice new clothes for each birthday and Christmas, so they don't always have to wear used clothes.

It's not easy, and I hope to build up my Bradley birth classes business and maybe get a "real" PT job in my field to help out, but so far, so good!

Good Luck!
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks, ladies! You have some great ideas! I appreciate your help with this.
post #5 of 12
I knew I at least wanted the option of a real choice as to whether to stay at home with my child or to return to work. I didn't want to be forced to do either one.

So, I started planning and saving several years in advance, in order to have the option.

One thing that drove this more than anything was that I knew years before I had children that I would want to attachment parent, and I felt it would be easier to attachment parent during the first year if I didn't have to think about or juggle the scheduling for a career. That's really a side note, though.

So, basically, just be as frugal in life as possible. Try to cut out as many excesses, money wasters, unnecessities as possible. There might be a learning curve with this, and that is ok. Some things you can do temporarily to save.

I am a real believer in the wisdom of financial guru Dave Ramsey. I think if you follow the basic tenets of his plan, you would be well on your way to being able to be a SAHM. There are many posts about Dave Ramsey in the frugal living area of this board. In fact, most of the posts in that section are very, very helpful. Good luck! I hope it all works out for you.
post #6 of 12
Ummm. Planned? Ha. We are completely winging it.

And have no savings b/c DD was quite expensive to conceive. 4 years of disposable (and not so disposable) income going to the Doctors before we had her.

In theory we can live on one pay check. We are going to find out if that's true in the next few months.

I went back to work for a while to see if that was what I wanted and it was way too hard. She was sick all the time and made us sick all the time, it was terrible and not sustainable. Esp since I was a manager with growing responsibilities, it was all I could do to find time to pump. So I quit and did the unplanned SAHM thing.

post #7 of 12
Uhhh... no landline phone, no subscription tv, groceries and eating out coming to under $300/month, etc. We didn't really prepare, as we knew we were going to move and make a big lifestyle change right around when dd was born, so we just sort of "did it". We didn't save up to prepare, but we did set a budget at the beginning, and figured out how to trim as much as possible.
post #8 of 12
We did a few things to prepare, but not all that much. We paid off our cars and started to live more frugally. The plan was that I would work for one more year, but I got really frustrated and just decided to finish out the academic year and be done with my job. So in the end, we just took a leap and made it work.

If we had waited until we were 100% financially ready and secure, we never would have made the switch to one income! But I realize some people are better planners than we are. It really was just something I *wanted* to do and was determined to make it happen.
post #9 of 12
Originally Posted by Maddy123 View Post
If we had waited until we were 100% financially ready and secure, we never would have made the switch to one income! It really was just something I *wanted* to do and was determined to make it happen.


We did save ahead of time to make it work, but I agree with you that a big part of making it happen is wanting it enough to be determined to make it happen.

Obviously, that alone won't work for the majority of people. But it is the big first step for sure! Once you are determined, you can figure out the rest by taking a good hard look at finances, trying to reduce debt and save, and living more frugally.

I don't know if being 100% financially ready and secure is even possible. You could always have a little more security, a little more insurance, a little less debt, a little more money, etc. I am unsure what "financially ready" looks like.

Our "financially ready" was to basically follow Dave Ramsey's ideas for money and saving, and to have a fall back plan. Much of it depends on how you are used to living, I think, and what your goals and expectations are.
post #10 of 12
We didn't "plan"... for anything... at all. DD was quite the surprise, but we knew right away I would be a SAHM. DH was making next to nothing (about $17k a year), so we cut back. Cheap housing, no cells, cooking from scratch, one car, no eating out, NO credit cards, no clothes shopping (thrift if need be), etc.

Somehow, you just make it work. Looking back, I don't know HOW we did, but we did.

Good luck
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks, again, everyone, for your sharing your thoughts and experiences. I really appreciate it!

Well, I'm handing in my resignation today ... I'm going to stay home with my baby!!!

I'm so nervous about having this conversation with my boss. She's going to flip. But seeing my son's unhappy face this morning as I handed him off to his daycare teacher was all the extra encouragement I needed to do this today.

Wish me luck!
post #12 of 12

We didn't prepare. I lost my job before we were pregnant and was unemployed for a while when I got pregnant by accident--and then my little guy had a TON of issues that really required me to be home.

We just adjusted and over time, dh's salary went up and we were able to get rid of "stuff" that we had before (particularly vehicles). It worked. I agree with the others in that if you were to wait until you were 100%, you'd always find something else that needed your money and therefore required you to work.

Welcome to SAHMing...!
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