When I decided to be a SAHM we lost two thirds of our income as well as benefits with my job that were much better than my husbands. But I really wanted it and if you want it bad enough you find a way. It does take a while to adjust. Here's what we did:
1. We cut out eating out unless someone gives us a giftcard or money or its a very special occasion (our birthdays). Even then we eat somewhere inexpensive.
2. Set a budget.
3. We take the amount of money budgeted for food and put it into an envelope when we get our paycheck. If we run out of money we don't get anymore groceries. We have to dig through the cabinent and try to put something together out of what we have. Next time we manage our money better. We cut our bill dramatically by doing this. If there is any left over we can eat out or get a special treat. This also works well for other things like gas, household items, etc.
4. We consolidated our student loans at a lower interest rate. I wouldn't suggest consolidating anything else, but its a good deal with student loans especially because interest rates are still low. We try to pay extra as much as possible because I really want to be out of debt.
5. We don't have any credit card debt so I can't help you out there. But I second the idea to cut them up and never use them again. Pay off the smallest as fast as you can. Then take whatever you were paying on the smallest and add it to whatever you were paying on the next smallest. You will free up so much money when you pay off your credit cards.
6. We bought our car with cash for $2,000 and have had it for four years. We have put aside a little cash and when our car dies we will buy another for very little money with cash. Never have a car payment again. If you have two cars, you should sell one of them.
7. We moved to an apartment in a different area that costs $400 a month less than our old one.
8. Turn off your TV. It just makes you want more stuff (and eats up electricity).
9. We use the library for books and movies.
10. Remember that by staying home you will be saving money. You're more likely to cook from scratch, not be tempted by co-workers to spend on treats, not have to pay for commute or childcare, etc.)
11. Try to be creative about spending on gifts. DH and I used to spend several hundred dollars on each other for Christmas. This year we spent $25 each. We spent $2.85 on dd but she was only 8 months so we could get away with it.
12. We don't have modern conviences like fast internet, cable, cell phone, etc. Our only splurge is dial up internet for $9.95 a month. Otherwise we go to free events. There are actually a lot out there if you look.
I know its overwhelming at first. And it probably helps that my mama brought me up to be a cheapskate. But you can do it. It just takes a lot of work.