Ideas to cut cost so I can be a SAHM! - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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#31 of 52 Old 05-09-2008, 11:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by raleigh_mom View Post
My kids and I are also allergic to milk and dairy (though we can eat a little cheese and ice cream). We drink water. It's great that you want to give DS soy milk, but how about cutting back?

I'm not sure why the kids need AC in Pennsylvania in May. It's only in the 60's and 70's right now during the day and 40's and 50's at night. Is $100 your total utilities bill, or just for AC? I try to keep our total electric bill (all appliances and heat/ac) around $100.

I think Sylith has some great ideas.
We do water too but he wants his milk. I'm trying to slowly cut him back.

The AC is more for me... I am allergic to about 10-13 different trees and right now when they are in bloom I'm a MESS!!!!!!!!!!!! The AC isn't for coolness, its to clean the air. I really should try to find a good quality cheap air purifier but even with the windows open, that would be working double overtime.
Trust me, I LOVE my windows open... I grew up with no AC and love that summer breeze! Yes, $100 is my total Met Ed bill. We don't use the heat in the house, we use a wood stove! (its electric baseboard when I saw our very first winter bill I about died! in went the stove! problem solved!) I do most all of my high energy things at night when the prices drop or on weekends. I try to unplug any energy leaching appliance (becuase even though they are off, they use up a ton of electricity!)

Thanks you all... these are all great ideas and some of them I may be doing but I may be able to do them better!
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#32 of 52 Old 05-09-2008, 11:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How much are you actually bringing in after daycare and other work related expenses?
Sadly... only about $650 with gas expenses... I travel 100 miles a day and fill up every 3 days. I can get a good 23-24 mpg but I'm in traffic... Doesn't always work that way BUT It's starting to be nicer up here so on my motorcycle I go...I get 55 mpg on that.

Its our bills I'm sure... ccard and car. We HAD the card paid off until I went back to work and daycare hit along with everything going up... ugh.
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#33 of 52 Old 05-09-2008, 11:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree, aldi's is quite cheap!

You know, my ds has milk allergies too, and I EBF, which means no dairy for me. But, instead of loading up on soy, we just stopped things that need dairy. The replacement dairy stuff can be pricey. DH is living dairy free too, because it is cheaper for us to both avoid it, rather then buying food that only one person can eat. I keep a tub of dairy free butter and a thing of rice milk on hand for cooking, but that is it. I understand you want to eat good. I do too. I cant afford organic vegetables, so I went around to grocery stores until I found the one that I felt carried decent produce and I shop there. I know you said you wont budge, but just thought I'd offer that.

I know I might be out of line here, and maybe I am reading wrong, but you seem a little resistant to change. Like you want to stay home but DH must have tv and you cant bend on food. I am sorry if that seems offensive, but sometimes staying home means you have to do things a little differently. I love going out to eat and being able to get organic veggies, but I have 50.00 a week to feed me and dh, so those things arent possible. If we had cable, it would be gone. I only have internet (and a computer) because my parents pay for it so they can watch ds on a web cam. Otherwise, I would be hanging out at the library a lot. That is what I did before they bought the computer.

Anyway, again I mean no disrespect.
No disrespect... I feel kind of uppity replying to all these wonderful suggestions but I do feel strongly about the cause that organic is doing. Thats why i try to grow a lot myself and go to farmers markets where I know how its grown. Our beef is organic or no chemicals becuase we bought a side of a cow... we are trying to buy chicken that way too. I buy a lot in bulk which tends to be a little cheaper to so organic pastas, rice, dried fruit (athough some of that is WAY more so we avoid it) and I just got flower fresh milled for $0.85/lbs- WAHOO... I am making bread and we make EVERYTHING from scratch- we shop on the outside of the store.

If he wasn't the director of IT systems and his career revolve around computers I'd agree with you on that but we are both in IT careers and when problems arrise- I'm NOT driving in 1 hour to fix something that takes 10 mins. KWIM? So, internet stays...

We are doing almost everything everyone is suggesting (and I can probably do my shopping a LOT more frugally (is that a word?) - but I know its our bills (not the little ones either) that are killing us so any free money we are getting goes to that... maybe one day we can use it for fun???!!!
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#34 of 52 Old 05-13-2008, 03:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by heatherweh View Post

I've saved a lot of money by shopping at Aldi every other week
We have an Aldi around here. I use it for much of the same as you stated: the staple items. Bring your own bags and a quarter for the shopping cart!

For us, we decided to live in a condo rather than a house. That was the *big* switch. But it has made all the difference!
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#35 of 52 Old 05-13-2008, 10:18 PM
 
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Just one little suggestion . . . I'm not a fan of soy at all and we can't have dairy either. Have you thought about making your own rice milk? It costs pennies to make and may be to your son's liking.

S & J . DD 2/8/7. DS 4/25/10. Natural foods eating, sleep deprived, gardening WAH mama.
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#36 of 52 Old 05-14-2008, 01:19 AM
 
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obviously PA is a little higher (or a lot!) living than here but heres out budget sans clothes/going out/extra's.

Mort 1055
Food 260
Cells (2) $70
Internet $30
Car Ins 205 ()
Car pmts (2) 510
Electric 90
Water/trash/sewer 50
satelite 45 (for 12 months plus i got $100 in gift cards)
gas 100
dh allowance for lunches/gas 350
2765 bills
3320 income

so we have extra for savings, some eating out, clothes etc. course we have NO credit card debt so i am sure that helps and cheap food. try also gradually watering down your ds's soy milk. my ds used to drink 2 8 oz glasses a DAY and it was horrendous! i eventualy got him down to half and half and now dd is a water fiend so ds is as well. he didn't know the difference!

i second the car insurance shopping around. i remember switching from am fam to geico and saving $300/MONTH....i fell over! i use sprint for cell useage (they suck i know!) but their sero plan is CHEAP. ALSO what kind of high speed does your dh need? i can tether my cell phone to my lappy and use the internet for FREE ($25 for the program nothing else), 500 minutes/mo (per cell) unlimited everything else (txt, mobile to mobile, internet etc), if you need a land line you can get magicjack (.com) that uses high speed internet for $40/ first YEAR ($20 every year after), also as mentioned we switched to direct tv and got a little savings BUT got gift cards to help make it a way better deal. (bundling is CRAP when you figure in all those phone fee stuff!).

also ALOT of SAHM's i think deliver papers 1 or 2 days/wk. from what i figured they pay about 10 cents per paper and you can deliver 1000 in a few hrs PLUS you can take your kids!

theres also *little* ways to bring in money. i subscribe to freelancebyu (.com) and this lady does a daily survey ($24/mo), some ebay, some mystery shopping, a little of this and that....i haven't done it all but considering its a real person and i've seen the proof it works. since you have high speed theres lots of ways to make the internet work for you!
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#37 of 52 Old 05-15-2008, 05:09 AM
 
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You might also be able to go to just liability for your car insurance, which would save you money.

Jen 47 DS C 2/03  angel.gif04/29/08/ DD S 10/28/09 DH Bill '97.

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#38 of 52 Old 05-15-2008, 09:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by stephanieb29 View Post
I wish I could... YDS has a milk allergy so its all soy (and he drinks a LOT OF IT!!!!!!). AND I found when we cut out all the 'chemicals etc' in the 'normal' food it helped not only him but all of us (ODS is ADHD and being treated naturally, DH is anxiety/stress treated naturally and I have adult acne that vanished when I changed what we ate)... We do the cheap store brand organic when ever possible!!!!!!!!!
Just making sure you know that it's very possible to make your own soy milk. You can buy a soy milk maker or just make it stovetop in a big pot. Organic soybeans in bulk are quite cheap for how long they stretch in making soy milk.

We don't use much soy around here and I've never made it myself but family members have and really, not big deal and quite easy. You might have to add sweetener or fiddle with the recipe to make it taste more like what you're buying but probably worth a try.
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#39 of 52 Old 05-15-2008, 03:17 PM
 
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I skimmed the replies, but if you've done everything you can to cut down costs, could you do something yourself to make money? Could you tutor, babysit, watch another child in your home, clean houses, etc etc etc? is there anything you can do that is sellable? sew, etc??
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#40 of 52 Old 05-16-2008, 02:06 AM
 
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Here's what we did/do:
moved to a cheaper house--but we were renting and continue to do so
sold DH's fancy car--we got more than we owed, so we paid off some bills and now he drives an older car that we own free and clear
meal planning--less impulse purchases and less eating out
cancelled sattelite TV
only have cell phones, and DH's is paid through work
walk as much as possible rather than drive
cloth diapers
cancelled extra contributions we were making for DH's retirement
adjusted our tax withholdings--we still get a refund but it is much smaller now than in the past
buy toys and things at yard sales, thrift stores,
in the winter we put plastic over the windows and it helped cut our electric bill



My dad and his wife are great about buying clothes and things for the kids every season, they really strugged when my stepmom became a SAHM, so she really knows what it's like to sacrifice in order to stay home.

SAHM to twin kindergarteners

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#41 of 52 Old 07-20-2008, 12:50 AM
 
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Do you spend a lot on groceries? I have found that that is one place we were actually able to cut down on. I saw on good morning america about a lady who was so poor and got so good at using coupons that her savings was amazing. NOw she has a company where you pay something like 5 bucks a week and get to have them find coupons for you..anyway, the savings were outragous like 70 dollars per shopping trip. go to www.thegrocerygame.com. We would use it except we shop on base and they do not have our store on their list. Good luck.
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#42 of 52 Old 07-20-2008, 01:58 AM
 
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Here is what we did (this will sound very much like what many of the PPs have already said).

Canceled cable
Limited restaurants to once per month
Cut out all movies, concerts, entertainment that cost any amount of money
Bought items in bulk
Shopped second-hand, especially for clothing
No new anything unless it was absolutely needed
Carpooled and used mass transportation
Clipped coupons, shopped on sale, shopped clearance
Any extra money that came in went directly to savings
Didn't buy any frivolous things for months at a time
No vacations
Increased the amount of work hours to draw a bigger salary, and plopped the additional income immediately into savings

I also recommend reading the Frugality and Finances forum. Good luck!
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#43 of 52 Old 07-20-2008, 12:53 PM
 
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We are in the process of transitioning to me being at home full-time instead of working part-time, so are in a similar situation. I think it all really depends upon your situation/bills, and I haven't read through the whole thread carefully, but what we did was go through the budget really carefully looking to see if there were places we could cut back. We also have been tracking all our expenses for the past year to see what we actually spent in each category, just to get more on top of things, though this has come in handy with me wanting to stay home! Off the top of my head, we did the following:

Raised deductible on auto insurance (saved only a few dollars though)
Used the grocery game (I'm embarrassed to say exactly how much this has saved us ... several hundred dollars and would be even more if we bought more processed foods, but we don't want to do this. There is a lot of savings to be had on health and beauty products -- makeup, toothpaste, etc -- esp if you are not brand loyal, and the list is worth it for those alone. It costs me $10 a month for 3 stores.) You can try it for a $1, so it may be worth it to check it out.
Put ourselves on a strict budget for entertainment/dining out to where we do VERY little of this. Did not do so much before, but we are a family of 6, so it really adds up easily.
My husband and I now have an allowance in cash each week that we can spend on whatever we want, but everything else is accounted for in the budget -- this has made us more thoughtful about each penny we spend. Hubby actually thought he would hate this, but actually likes it.
Hubby takes lunch every day to work. He has class two nights a week and does buy dinner sometimes, but usually from his "allowance".
Older kids get to buy some school lunches, but have to supplement from allowance if they want extras over the lunch (they were buying cookies, water, etc. above and beyond the cost of the lunch).
Same with their clothing budget -- our budget includes enough to buy the basics at reasonable stores, but if they want the name brand stuff, they have to chip in or find it on ebay, etc. I have two teenage girls who are a little fashion conscious. Once I am actually at home and have more time, i will help them thrift store/garage sale for some of these.
Cut back on all expenses in the budget as much as possible.
Looked through all bills for things we are not getting rid of to remove any unnecessary fees, features, etc.
Canceled any services that were nice, but not necessary when I am at home.
We have older cars that are paid off, so no car payments, which really helped.
Cleared off debt and built savings -- we are in the process of selling household items that we don't really need (baby stuff since this is last baby, etc). I am trying to be ruthless here! We don't have any really high ticket items that fall in this category, but do have some stuff hanging around we don't need.

Also, because I will not be working, I will not have preschool expense or have to rent an office any longer.

This is all a work in progress here, because I will be working some through the end of August. I wish I could start being home now, but have some work scheduled that needs to be finished up.

Good luck!
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#44 of 52 Old 07-20-2008, 01:48 PM
 
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i almost always use the library, but this is a book you should buy:

The Complete Tightwad Gazette

http://www.amazon.ca/Complete-Tightw...6572480&sr=8-1

the author has 6 children, a dh who made about $30 k per year, NO DEBT and a massive paid-for house in the country.

With that much land, you can grow pretty much all of your own veggies. I would seriously start gardening and canning and freezing. It's great for you and great for your kids. Naturally organic, and almost FREE, minus the cost of seeds. If you get it in now, you could still get a lot put up for the season.

Transportation is a BIG one.

Start a price book. Write down the sale and regular prices of your usual purchases at stores. Then you will always know if a deal is really a deal, or if you should wait for the next week's sales. Start a purchase book too... Write down everything you buy each day. Review after a week. Then you will get a better idea of your spending.

Trin.
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#45 of 52 Old 07-21-2008, 05:15 AM
 
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Stephanie,

Can you write articles?

We are trying to build up our website and need some articles on an ongoing basis. We can't pay much, as we are just scraping by and it takes time for the site to earn much from the pages we add, but if you feel you have the time and ability, it could be a bit extra to add to whatever else you can save/earn.

You seem to have a bit of knowledge about organic stuff etc, so maybe we can come up with some viable articles around this kind of thing... and any other interests/knowledge you have.

Email me if you would be interested- or anyone else reading this too! antheah@adam.com.au
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#46 of 52 Old 07-21-2008, 05:28 AM
 
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Is there anyway you could make a product at home for sale either locally or on the internet? Anything from jewelry to home cooked foods could work. Do you have a store or co-op that loves locally produced items? My experience has been that they are more than willing to give a new product a chance.
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#47 of 52 Old 07-21-2008, 02:30 PM
 
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one hint: for phone, this is what we do:
pay as you go cell phone (about $15/month as we only use it sparingly, while away from home)
SKype for all outgoing calls (this is internet phone that costs $3/month for unlimited north american calls)
i just tell people if they call my cell at home, that i'll call them right back. takes a minute to do that, and costs me less than $20/month for phone.

another hint: allow NO food to go to waste. I know that we all try not to, but freeze, eat everything, find ways of making things into other things, add the last bits of something to something else. food waste adds up every month. aim for zero food waste!

and something that may sound really strange: practice feng shui. seriously, i have noticed that since i have made changes in my "abudance/prosperity" area of my home, that i have been seriously abundant. for me, it's as simple as always keeping the toilet seat down! take a feng shui book from the library. you may find it useful. and why not try, with what you already have?
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#48 of 52 Old 07-22-2008, 03:11 PM
 
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Stephanieb29- I agree with sylith I cut my husbands hair and my children's hair. Also, every week I get the ad to the grocery store and plan the week using cupons. When I have to run errands I do them all in one day to avoid gas increase. In addition, my dh works two jobs. At first my dh was very nervous about me being a sahm but now he would not have it any other way. I iron all his work clothes and make sure everything is neat when he gets home. We always have healthy meals and no one is in a hurry. Yes, my dh works alot and so do I. However, in the end it is all worth it. Also, I breastfeed all my kids until 2.5 years-3 years which has cut down on fomula expense and medical bills. My soon to be 3 year old has not been to the doctor's for anything but a baby well check. I have not used cloth diapers but will consider them in the future. I also potty trained my daughter at 1.5 years because I had the time. This once again cut the cost of diapers. Toys can be recycled. I hardly ever buy toys only around the holidays.
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#49 of 52 Old 07-22-2008, 03:16 PM
 
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One more thing if you already have internet you can get rid of your landline for voip. You can get skype or magic jack for about 20 dollars a year and the includes unlimited long distance. With magic jack you can use any phone. My parents have skype and they love it. They can even call their friend in Brazil for 20 dollars a year.
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#50 of 52 Old 07-22-2008, 03:19 PM
 
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Mama MEME- You should look into magic jack. My parents have skype and like you said they can't call you. However, magic jack lets you use any phone using the same as skype. Look it up on the net. We found it a few months back and already use it for a business phone.
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#51 of 52 Old 07-22-2008, 03:32 PM
 
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Please look into the soy milk maker. We have a Soyajoy www.soymilkmaker.com . I've never tried on the stove, but would give it a whack before you buy one of these. We really like ours, but they can be expensive if you are trying to save $$$ right now (I used part of a tax return to purchase ours).

However, the soy milk maker works great. The milk is more beany flavored, but it does come with a book of recipes to make various types of flavored soy milk as well. You can actually use it to make any type of bean milk. I recently made almond milk for a change.

Bulk soy beans are way cheap. A batch (which is about 1 3/4 quarts...I use 2 recycled glass milk bottles) is about 1/2 cup dry beans, maybe a little less.

I agree about the natural foods. I've cut way back on the meat so I can afford more fruits & veggies. I'm not able to do organic on those at the moment, but am working on a garden & starting to forage so that's helping. There is an exellent thread on foraging over in the frugality board. You'd be suprised how much there is to forage even in developed areas! We also do everything from scratch & honestly, you are probably not spending more by doing that. I rarely find anything that it's cheaper to buy the boxed version of than to make myself.

Also, if you do a lot of baking check your local area for grain mills, u-pick, etc. You may be able to find better $$$ on your bulk items by going direct to the source. Actually, co-ops like Frontier or sites like Walton Feed can be a big help if you are trying to do all natural/organic on a tight budget.

Sounds like you're doing great & on the right track. on keeping your bike too btw!
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#52 of 52 Old 07-22-2008, 03:35 PM
 
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One more thing if you already have internet you can get rid of your landline for voip. You can get skype or magic jack for about 20 dollars a year and the includes unlimited long distance. With magic jack you can use any phone. My parents have skype and they love it. They can even call their friend in Brazil for 20 dollars a year.
Yes, Skype is great. We used it to talk with my brother for free when he was stationed in Japan last year.

We also have VOIP & are happy with it. We're having a hassle transferring our current # over to the VOIP line, but otherwise it is a good deal. We have prepaid cells as well & do get service at our home, so no worries about loosing phone if the internet goes down.

Heard about the magic jack thing, but havn't tried it yet. Will have to look into it more!
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