Before I became a work-at-home mom (WAHM), I was a stay-at-home mom (SAHM). Before that, I was a working girl. My husband and I had a dual income, no kids’ household. We travelled, ate out almost every night, and bought lots of toys. All that changed when we decided to have kids. I told my husband I want to stay home when we have a baby. He agreed as long as we eliminate our credit card debts, pay off the auto loan, and have an emergency fund saved up.
We managed to do all this in less than a year by carefully watching every penny that went out the door. And I mean really examine each. and. every. purchase. Before we paid for something, we asked ourselves, do we really need this? Can we use something else? Can we borrow or rent it? Can we make it? Can we make do without it?
Here are some of the things I remember we did that helped us saved money:
· We looked at our insurance policies and found better rates for the same coverage.
· We cooked instead of eating out. It’s easier to do if you create a weekly menu plan.
· We homemade a lot of things: from bread to yogurt to laundry soap.
· We built a garden and grew our own produce.
· We became mindful of our energy use; I line dried our clothes, set the dishwasher on air dry, replaced bulbs with CFL as needed, and made sure all the doors and windows are not drafty.
· We “staycationed” instead of going on cruises or travelling to far flung places.
· We stopped drinking Starbucks coffee and brewed coffee at home instead. French Vanilla coffee creamer is the bomb.
· We downgraded our cable TV keeping only the channels we watch.
· Movies? Nah. The popcorn and drinks alone will kill our budget. Besides, there are plenty of free codes online for Redbox. Plus, you can put your feet up at home not like in the movie theater.
· We cancelled our gym membership. It’s free to run on the street.
· Cut off our landline. We use cell phones and we signed up for the most economical plan available.
· We borrowed books from the library instead of buying new ones.
· We let go of the landscaper. My husband is able bodied and can definitely mow the lawn.
· We cut coupons. I followed blogs like Money Saving Mom, joined forums such as A Full Cup, and Hot Coupon World. It’s awesome not to pay for shampoo, deodorants, and other toiletries.
I quit my job when I was 3 months pregnant. I couldn’t wait to clear my desk and drive off on my last day. Sure, I will miss all my work friends but I have a new job waiting for me. It will be both challenging and rewarding, and probably the most important job I will ever have. A job in which I will dedicate my entire life. I’m coming home to be a MOM.
My next post will be about being a SAHM and stumbling into a business that will eventually lead me to become a WAHM.