P31 Wannabe

Staying Home? May 25, 2010

Filed under: Life — Lacey @ 4:21 pm

Seth and I have been debating about me quitting my job to be a stay at home mom. I’ve only been working part-time (2 days a week usually), but works ends up being a huge stress in my life and it seems like everything ends up centering around it. I’ve been dealing w/ some anxiety recently and it seems like work is a big producer of it. And most importantly, I really want to be able to spend more time with Haddie and Seth and to be able to do more with church/youth group. So, that being said, we’ve decided that I will take off through the summer as a kind of trial run to see how we do financially without my income. That way we’ll also have more time to pray and think about the decision.

With all that being said, I’m really starting to think about how to spend my time and how to better scale back on our spending to make this all worthwhile and possible. So, I’m wondering…to all you stay at home moms, how do you make it? What are your budgeting hints? What have you sacrificed to make it all possible? Also…how do you spend your time? Do you have a certain schedule you try to keep or certain goals/projects you’re trying to achieve? How do you balance that with caring for/spending time with your children?

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4 Responses to “Staying Home?”

  1. Renata Says:

    i feel compelled to respond because most of what you write about really hits home with me, and in a way it comforts me to know you, and possibly others, feel the same. when michael and i made the incredibly difficult decision for me to stay home and care for dani full time i reviewed our finances and made some practical changes. for example, i shopped around and found lower car insurance as well as homeowner’s insurance, and we got basic cable. we rarely watch television, so it wasn’t all that painful to get rid of all those useless channels. my friend teaches a couponing class, and she was kind enough to recently teach me the basics free of charge. needless to say, i rarely buy anything without a coupon or two now, and i’ve considerably lowered my grocery bill. i’d be happy to give you her information if you’d like to contact her. i also hang my clothes on the line to dry and switched to target brand diapers, which are wonderful. i’m sure there’s more i could be doing, so i welcome any suggestions you might have. we certainly have seen our fair share of financial hardship since i’ve been home, and i will say working one or two days/week per diem has been helpful money-wise. but it cuts into our family time, and that’s what makes me regret working those one or two days. having to limit our time together as a family does not make working worthwhile. what have we sacrificed? too much to list, but if i did list it it would probably consist primarily of meaningless things, like eating out or buying new clothes for me or buying a video game for my husband. i don’t do well with schedules, so my days are pretty free-flowing. i do have a general idea of what i want to accomplish during the day, though, just so i don’t wander around aimlessly and waste time. overall, i’m too isolated for my own good, and i have to work on that, as well as getting dani involved in some sort of play group. i look forward to reading more about your journey. enjoy every step.

    • lbourne Says:

      Thanks for your insights, Renata. I’m working on a chart of all the items I usually buy to compare the prices at the stores I usually shop. Once I get it done, I’ll be sure to post it. The cheapest diapers (that still work) I’ve found are the Sam’s brand. I’m still not very good at coupon clipping, but I’m starting to shop a lot at ALDI since they’re considerably cheaper than even Walmart. But they don’t take coupons and most of their stuff is off brand, so I’m not sure how much coupons will help. But I’m going to get with it anyways. Oh, and once Susan has the baby, we’ll have to all get-together and make our own mini COC play group : )

  2. Kris Says:

    Over the past 22 yrs, I have stayed home to care for my husband & kids off & on. You will never regret making that commitment. And don’t ever let anyone get away with telling you it isn’t work!

    Making a paycheck stretch from week to week takes thought & planning. It amazes me how quickly life comes down to necessities vs. niceties. To make it work, I have kept a simple Excel spreadsheet for many years. Aside from keeping track of “how much is coming in, which bills have to be paid this week, how much each will cost & how much will be left over” one of the worksheets in my spreadsheet is a Wal-Mart list of all of the basic staples of life. Call me anal, but I list everything from milk & bread to TP & shampoo and includes a special column for “things not on the list” – anything extra has to be calculated in & usually means giving up something else. ($$ was very tight for many years) My “Wal-Mart” list has 4 columns: quantity on hand; item name; price each & how many more are needed. That way, I can do a quick inventory of everything, calculate an estimated cost of what is needed & see how it fits in with the weekly bills. For me, actually seeing a list of what we buy & how much it costs forces me to think about each purchase.

    A hint for building up some savings – at the end of the week move whatever amount is left in your checkbook to savings. Even if you only have $5.00 left, move it to savings & do not include it with this week’s income. It does not seem like much on its own, but over time it will add up.

    To help out with clothes, I recommend starting a “hand me down” chain. My sister used to give Matt tons of clothes Josh out grew (he’s couple of years older than Matt). A good friend of mine has a daughter a couple of years older than Kaylan – more nice clothes. In turn, I passed their things on to other friends & family. BTW, same with gently used toys, coats & shoes. This also teaches kids to take care of what they have, to share and be concerned for the needs of other people.

    When the kids were little, we spent most of our time at the local parks. A typical day was getting up with Kurt, sending him off to work, having breakfast followed by bath time. And then it was off to the park for a couple hours of running, playing & exploring. Then, home for lunch & nap time. While they napped, I cleaned up the house & enjoyed a few minutes of quiet time. Afternoons were spent coloring, playing with legos, etc. Evenings were family time.

    What was sacrificed? That is a good question. Perhaps my sanity at times. Be sure to make time for yourself. In all all honesty, there isn’t anything that we didn’t do back then that can’t still be done now – such as finishing my BS degree. Perhaps my career would be something more than it is now, but I have another 25 yrs before retirement to work on it. We don’t wear “name brand clothes”, nor did our kids have the “newest & best” gadgets/toys. I can’t ever remember anyone asking to see the brand name on my clothes. Matt & Kaylan know the value of a dollar and that life just isn’t about material things. (And, Matt actually cares about all of this again! But, that’s another story).

    I hope at least some of this helps. I will certainly keep you guys in prayer.

  3. Bonnie Sparks Says:

    Lacey,
    You’ve gotten some wonderful advice. One thing I want you to keep in mind is that life goes so very quickly, and you need to enjoy every minute of it. Be sure you keep God first, your family a close second and you next. I know people argue to keep you next, but if you keep your family well loved and happy it will give you more joy than you can imagine. Having a budget is imporant, but very personal. List all your debts by importance and see they are paid in the same way. You need a roof over your head more than we need cable, so keep things in perspective. If its school debt you are suffering from, you can always look into a forebearance or deferment to help you for awhile.
    Don’t schedule your time to tightly, and do your chores when you have time. If you plan every minute of the day you will not enjoy your time, if you give yourself freedom to do what you want, you will lose some of the stress of having to get it all done. Everyone needs a general guideline, but they usually come naturally.
    Also, don’t stay home all the time. Plan playdates at the park, or just go volunteer at church if you start noticing the days getting long. You need to enjoy yourself and the time you have available with friends and family. It really can get lonely if you don’t.
    I hope it works out that you can stay home, but if not, please don’t feel like a failure. Life is expensive, and very few have the luxury of a one income family, expecially in the ministry. He promises us a good life, not an easy one:) Please know we will continue to pray for your family as you seek His answers.


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