SAHMs: Where Do You Cut Back Financially?! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 09-14-2005, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Let me be blatenly honest...I am not cutting it financially as a SAHM. I cut back on a LOT of things...and I have no debt except my house...but for some reason I am starting to use the credit card and am sinking in the hole big time. I know there are those that live on less then DH makes. Can you tell me how you do it?

Note: Just to give you an idea of what I already do: I rarely eat out, I do hair and nails at home, I rarely buy clothes, I don't go "out", I don't pay a sitter.
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#2 of 16 Old 09-14-2005, 10:04 PM
 
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First I'd say sit down with the cc bills and really see where the money is going. Really it's an eye opener. I always thought I was only buying things we needed but it didn't turn out that way.


Start using cash only.


As far as saving and the SAHM, combine trips to save on gas, if you go to the zoo/pool whatever alot get a yearly pass, try free activities with the kids like the park and library.


I cut everyones hair, I shop clearance and the end of the season for the next season. Basically try to stay out of stores.

Mom to ds 9 dd 7 : and dd 3/08 : if I can I go to
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#3 of 16 Old 09-14-2005, 10:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aziah
Let me be blatenly honest...I am not cutting it financially as a SAHM. I cut back on a LOT of things...and I have no debt except my house...but for some reason I am starting to use the credit card and am sinking in the hole big time. I know there are those that live on less then DH makes. Can you tell me how you do it?

Note: Just to give you an idea of what I already do: I rarely eat out, I do hair and nails at home, I rarely buy clothes, I don't go "out", I don't pay a sitter.
What are you spending on. I made a list and I realized that I wasn't giving up the extras. I still go to Caribou coffee, Barnes & Nobles, buy the kids toys and clothes on sale but still from boutiques and trendy stores. I spend tons on my crafting (fabrics and whatnots). I finally realized that I had to work a little to support my habit...I work 24 hours on weekends as a nurse and that allows me to spend and stay home. I tried to cut back, but my dh said he was not going to suffer. By suffering he meant he was not giving up eating out, or his cable modem for the computer, or the 300 cable channels we have. Or sale his SUV which are all things I suggested. Sorry to hijack your thread. I can totally relate is all. I'd love to be debt free, but my dh says he doesn't care he's not giving up his lifestyle.

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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#4 of 16 Old 09-14-2005, 11:22 PM
 
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I understand that, Sabrina. I try not to be this way but often I am- that I will spend all the fun money on clothes and crap and tell dh not to spend anything. It's really not fair. Now, I do work pt a little and it does NO good since it's in a clothing store and so I am buying it all up for me, dd, and dh.

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#5 of 16 Old 09-14-2005, 11:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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actually, DH is in charge of our budget and he says the SAME things! "can't spend it when you are dead", "you need to have some fun in your life"...blah blah blah. When I was in charge of the budget, I was completely the opposite...I wouldn't spend a dime if I knew we were in trouble. DH, if he gets an extra dollar he will go spend it. I don't even look at the budget anymore (I get so stressed out)...but I know where we ARE spending a lot: groceries for one. I am a HORRIBLE cook and can't bake from scratch so I buy a lot of prepackaged foods. Home Stuff: home improvment items...home decor (if you call a front door mat "decor"). That is about it. I really don't do the lattes and stuff. I DO have cable TV and modem. Not 300 channels, but I am on the cheapest package next to basic cable. The combo still costs around $100 per month. Ya, I could live without it...but it WOULD suck.

Another biggie: DHs tuition. His work pays 75% but we have to front the money until the end of each semester. Then still pay 25% ourselves. We just got a bill in today for $13K Up to this point we were trying to avoid loans/debt. But I think we are going to have to finance...we just can't afford to front $13k on a credit card until the end of the semester. That is insane...
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#6 of 16 Old 09-14-2005, 11:47 PM
 
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Wow...13k!
Do you watch Oprah? The reason I ask is b/c yesterday Dave Ramsey was on there and he was adimant about the couples doing the finances together- according to him it's a must.
It is such a frustrating issue, I know.
I don't know how to cut back more in a way that I am willing to.
Maybe somehow bring in more is the answer.

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#7 of 16 Old 09-14-2005, 11:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe somehow bring in more is the answer.
You are exactly right. DH took a major paycut for this "promotion" (did it for the experience) plus I became a SAHM and lost $35k a year...AND we bought our first house. That is a BIG hit. But he HAS to finish school here (lost WAY to many credits transferring all these past years) and then he will be ready to be promoted again (and to a higher $ position). But that won't be for another 2 years. I have to hang in there for at least 2 more years.

As for doing finances together...impossible. Well, in our case impossible. I am aware of what is going on...but if I were to "dabble" I would freeze all spending, get rid of cable tv, and not spend a dime on eating out and he is MISERABLE when I "control" him.
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#8 of 16 Old 09-15-2005, 01:33 AM
 
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Well, we've been going through budget cuts ourselves recently. With our new house, the payments are much higher and we had to take some serious looks at what we're spending. I cut my cell phone package way back. We gave up cable entirely - still have high-speed internet with DSL, but the cable was $100 a month. I did mitigate that by signing up for Netflix so that for $15 a month we could still see movie and get last season's tv shows on DVD. I took a look at some of the other bills, and we cut back on some of the phone services we had like CallerId.

Each of us has our own checking account seperate from the joint one where we get a "fun money" allowance each month, and we each gave up a little from that. This way, we still get to decide what we're going to spend our disposeable cash on and not feel like it's the other person's fault. But we've always done that since we were married - just we used to have more in our personal accounts. I don't want to know how much my husband spends on CDs vs. eating lunch out vs. video games, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't want to know how my clothes/crafts/coffee shop budget works out. But we do have a rule that we don't use our credit cards unless we can pay it off that month or if it is an emergency like the car needing fixed.

Groceries are a huge expense in our house, and I am committed to cutting way back on those. I'm going to shop at the less fancy store, use dried beans instead of canned, eat less meat, and buy less organic produce (which kills me, but we gotta cut some corners). I buy very little pre-packaged food anyway, but we're cutting back on that too.

Oh, and before, I had my daughter signed up for lots of fun art, music, swimming, etc. classes. Those add up fast! We're stopping those and will be looking for free activities this winter instead.

Shopping at second-hand shops for her clothes has never bothered me, and hitting the clearance sales at the end of the season can yield some great deals as well...except last spring I bought a ton of 4T clothes and she's still wearing 3Ts with the cuffs rolled up. Oops! Hope the styles don't change too much in the next year! And, it's a little late in the season, but garage sales are great too.
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#9 of 16 Old 09-15-2005, 01:47 AM
 
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I am having the same problems; just not cutting it trying to live frugally. So I am reading all these other responses and hoping to utilize them myself. But some things i have been doing have helped a bit -
*If there is a generic version of a product we use, i buy the generic.
*My sister and I cut each other's hair.
*My sis and I share a Costco membership and buy things in bulk, then split them.
*I try not to buy convenience foods, like frozen dinners and box cereals.
*I use rags instead of paper towels whenever possible to save on buying paper towels.
these things seem to help a bit.
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#10 of 16 Old 09-15-2005, 02:13 AM
 
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We are doing fairly good. We have no debt other than house and car payments and a little bit of student loan.

We bought half a duplex insted of a house because we got more "house" for our money. We are still in a nice neighborhood with a yard ect but it cost quite a bit less than houses of the same square footage. We bought a used car. These are the big things. They bring down the over all monthly budget. Then I do cook from scratch and do most of our baking, we don't eat out much and we write down everything we spend. It can be amazing what you find out about yourself when you start doing that.

Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.)0(
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#11 of 16 Old 09-15-2005, 02:27 PM
 
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I've been a SAHM for 8 years now (3 dc) and it's definitely had its moments of financial stress. I gave up $40k when I stopped working and other than a seasonal job here & there, I haven't gotten paid since. Here's what helps us out:

*Buy in bulk (find someone to share a membership with)
*Cook & bake from scratch & in bulk--freeze, can, etc. (I started out not being able to boil water and I was recently told I should open a bakery!)
*Outlets/Thrifts/Consignments for clothes, etc. I still buy books, but I found an outlet that is 70% off everything. I'm not very lucky at thrift stores, but I do great at outlets for everyone. Then I consign it when it will serve us no more and make a little $$ back.
*Library time for the kids, books & movies & cd's. They have a great selection.

Hope any of these ideas help.
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#12 of 16 Old 09-15-2005, 03:02 PM
 
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I was amazed at how much I spent on little things -- for example when I went to the 99 cent store I always found way more things then were on my list. I have to me very mindful there and ballance needs with wants, since often you go, "well its only 99 cents" :LOL though sometimes you really do find things that you know if you don't stock up you'll regret it, KWIM. So you have to go "well, will i need it before next payday?" "will it be here next time?" and that sort of thing. I stopped buying treats at the grocery store (not just candies and cookies, but things like special breakfast items or convienence foods, fancy ice creams, expensive fruits). I try to use up as many things on hand as possible before I go to the store. I used to think I did very well at clothing store sales, then i discovered a thrift store I really liked that has lot of very good things for $1 or $2! Though even there I have to be careful (I bought a pair of BCGC jeans for $1.50 not b/c I needed jeans, but b/c of the brand. Or even though I haven't surfed since before I was PG I found a wetsuit in my size for $10 and bought it.)
I found that writing down everything I bought using the debit card really helped. now i know what my danger stores are and can develop a plan to not spend so much there.
Oh and consignment/relase shops are great. Children's Orchard is a chain and I've had good luck selling dd's stuff there (and their proces are teriffic, $3 for gently used robeez)

HTH!
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#13 of 16 Old 09-15-2005, 03:07 PM
 
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It is a painful process to go through cutting back but it does make you realize what is important in life and what is not. I am glad we cut back and are able to survive on our minimal income. It sounds like you and your dh have different values when it comes to $. You need to talk about what is important to you and work through your differences. You wanting him to live in reality is not controlling - it's called working together. The reality is that you are either not going to be a SAHM or you will end up bankrupt or atleast under some very limiting restrictions, if things continue the way they are. One of my SIL's and her dh are living their lives like that - not looking at the money because they don't want to worry or stress about anything but they are getting in over their heads. Ignoring that problem will not make it go away.

As far as grocery spending - start trying a few new recipes a week. Start stretching yourself in learning to cook. It's more about knowledge than talent anyways. Try simple recipes - maybe even some designated for kids if you feel intimidated. You will amaze yourself what you can do but be prepared for a few disaster meals and burned stuff occaisionally. I've been cooking since I was 2 and I still ruin meals occaisionally. You learn along the way. You can do it!
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#14 of 16 Old 09-15-2005, 03:21 PM
 
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We are a family of seven that lives simply, is about to move to Vermont (9 days!) - my husband doesn't make a lot of money, and I have a home based business to help.

I guess it really comes down to what you value most. For us, it is time together.
The trick is to elminate debt - and to not spend - But you can't deprive yourself either...

I try to make things at home as beautiful as I can - with fresh cut flowers (that I grow), setting the table with a table runner and candles, keeping the house neat, etc...

We just don't go out a lot. That helps tons.

Warm wishes,
Tonya

Simple Living, Joyful Homemaking, Homeschooling Mom of 6
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#15 of 16 Old 09-15-2005, 03:25 PM
 
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i agree with the trying new recipes idea. You will be surprised how much grocery money you can save with just taking a basic recipe and spicing it up your way. Granted, not all these attemps will be winners, but atleast you tried.

Another thing we have almost cut out is paper towels and napkins. They dont seem expensive but for how fast you can go through them they are. I just placed a dish cloth on the paper towel hanger and havent had one thought of not using it over a paper product and we use cloth napkins for meals now too. They get dirty throw them in the wash and they are clean again, simple and cheap and have done the job for hundereds of years.
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#16 of 16 Old 09-18-2005, 02:24 PM
 
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Dh is the world's best budgeter and I am so proud of him. We have savings, we have enough in dd's college fund that we don't have to worry about it the next 15 years, we have retirement and no debt except for our house. And it's all because he is so good with making sure we stay on budget.

We live kind of simply. We do eat out sometimes, but other than that, we don't spend on extras. We never go to the movies, we get yearly memberships for activites in the city, and find free things to do otherwise. Dh takes a sack lunch to work and I always pack dd's lunch. We freecycle when we can. In the past I've done things like use my computer skills (former computer programmer before becoming sahm) to barter for things like yoga classes. We use our library instead of buying books. We utilize the bookstores and libraries for kid's activities. I cook everything from scratch. For example, if we have chicken, I'll simmer the bones to make stock for a meal in the future. The one thing I don't do is bake bread. I stink at that! We shop at resale shops and try to find bargains at Goodwill. We also donate our stuff to Goodwill to get the tax break. Other than that, I just follow dh's lead and when he says that we need to watch the $$ for the next week, I simply make do with what we have, which sometimes means a lot of cooking from the pantry. Dh makes a good living, but we are committed to sending dd to a private school, which is why being frugal is important to us. We cut corners at home in order to afford her school, which is our one extravagance.
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