When I first became a SAHM my husband and I were making over $50,000 when I quit our income dropped to $26,000. A few months later my husband decided to change careers and our income dropped yet again to almost $20,000. We went from spending money on whatever we wanted whenever we wanted to counting spare change to put gas in our car. How did we make it?
I think the biggest help has been that we've always had just one car. We were lucky when I worked that we worked at the same place and the same hours. After I started staying home I just planned my errands around my husbands work hours. Having one car saves on car insurance and really saves by only having one or NO car payment!
Grocery shopping also became a challenge. Our monthly budget was about $200 for four of us and that included baby formula. I diligently planned our menus around what was on sale. My husband loves snacks so I started baking all his treats from scratch. I packed his lunch every day and my son and I ate leftovers.
My husband is a meat and potato kind of guy so we don't do the beans and rice diet. I just recently started using 1.5 lb of hamburger in our tacos and sloppy joes and that feeds six of us with leftovers! I also save all our leftover chicken no matter what flavor to make into chicken noodle soup. We do have meat usually at every meal. I buy pork tenderloin, boneless chicken breast, hamburger, roasts, pork chops, and steaks. I only buy beef or pork if it is under $2.99 a lb, I know some can find it much cheaper but here that is a great deal. I can find chicken at $1-1.50 a lb so that's what I aim for. Our side dishes are usually rice, a vegetable , and bread. I can often get frozen vegetables for free and rice is a cheap side dish. I try to make most of our bread from scratch but sometime I use Pillsbury frozen rolls if I can get them for $1 or less.
I also make breakfast and lunch for all of us because my husband works next door he eats with us,and since he is a meat cutter I try to always have a hot breakfast and lunch. I plan my menu for two weeks at a time for breakfast and lunch. I try to make lunch something in the crock pot so it's ready whenever he might get home. Some examples of our lunch menus are sloppy joes, tacos, meatball subs, hamburgers, chicken nuggets/fries, grilled cheese/soup, and baked potato bar.
I save on baby items by buying used or borrowing from friends. I also save all my girls clothes to pass on down. We love handme downs. I think homeschooling helps so they don't know what they're missing. My oldest daughter (7) and my son (10) are shocked when they see the prices of clothes at Walmart!! We do use disposable diapers, for a long time I only bought generic but then I found Cvs so now I rarely pay for diapers or wipes!! I only wish I'd found out how cheap the drugstores can be before I was on child #5!! I don't do a lot of baby food. I try to always have something I can smash to feed our nine month old every time we eat. I also buy jars of applesauce and divide them into smaller servings.
Our nine month old only has five sleepers and four "go to town" outfits. It is the same for the rest of us also, we each have "play" clothes to wear at home.
Another way we save money is by not going to the doctor every time we are sick. My youngest two have never had any vaccinations. We rarely use antibiotics. Now, I do have see my doctors regularly because of my health issues. If your family uses a lot of prescription drugs make sure you take advantage of all the gift cards offered by changing pharmacies!! You can easily make enough to buy groceries or household items this way! Don't be loyal to any pharmacy and change to whoever is offering a gift card each time you need a refill!
My husband and I have only had 1 credit card and it's limit was $1000.00 We have little debt so we don't have any debt payments. We currently do not own our home. Our rent is a little over $700 a month and our utilities run us about $300 a month. If you are struggling with debt I've heard great things about Dave Ramsey and Mary Hunt.
If you are still working and hoping to stay at home this is the best thing you can do... live off of your husband's salary and save all of yours! It will show him that it is possible without an argument. Show him how serious you are by cutting your grocery and utility bills now instead of later. My husband was hesitant at first, there were many things he didn't want to give up. We found ways to compromise. My husband loves his pop so I collect coke points to earn coupons and buy it when I can earn Extra Care Bucks at Cvs or Walgreens Register Rewards. I also "buy" him candy with my coupons, usually for pennies or free! I have learned not to fight about the satellite bill, we are on the cheapest package until OSU football starts and then we up it but it only lasts six months.
Our current income is still less than $25,000 and we are raising five children. It is hard. There are times when I wish I could buy whatever I want. I get tired of pinching pennies. You will have set backs and wonder if you have lost your mind when you chose this lifestyle. Other people will question you but stay strong. It does get easier the longer you are home. It is worth it!!