I would not want to end our debate about the importance of wives being at home, without offering some practical help and suggestions for those who want to be home but feel like they can’t. I used to be one of those women. But guess what? YOU CAN!
I believe three factors are involved in the process of converting to a one-income family:
- A renewed way of seeing your material life (including the determination to do whatever it takes)
- Earning extra money
- Saving money
An expectation makeover
I think a lot of women can’t see the possibility of slashing the family’s income, because they can’t imagine life any differently than the one they live, materially speaking. It is as certain as the sun rises…a family will spend what it earns. A $100,000 income family will usually spend all of that and a $30,000 income family will spend all of that. both will claim that they “live paycheck to paycheck”. Hmmm…
If and when husband and wife decide it’s important for her to come, and really believe it, they will do whatever it takes to make that happen. It may even mean moving to a lower cost-of-living state. Sounds drastic, but I’ve heard of it happening! But a little less drastic, may just mean a good look at expenses, and budget surgery.
The first place to start is a look at how much money will be saved just by wife coming home. Gas, clothing, lunches, less eating out due to more time at home, child care, etc. If she makes $28,000/year, that is not the actual figure that will be deducted from the income. After expenses are taken out, you get a clearer picture. You may be surprised…
The other thing I like to remember is, every dollar she earns is taxed; every dollar she saves is not. A penny saved is more than a penny earned!
Looking at the budget (remember every little bit adds up to a lot!):
- Are there extras you can do without?
- How many times do you go out to eat? (This is one of the biggest money-eaters.) And when you do go out, order water. Our family saves about $15 just by ordering water to drink!
- Do you have two cell phones? You should be able to get by with one now–drop the other one.
- Look at the grocery budget, and decide how you could bargain shop now that you will have a little more time. Consider purchasing in bulk. Buy less convenience foods (it’s cheaper and healthier!)
- Dry your clothes on the clothesline when weather permits.
- Look into making homemade Christmas gifts–it’s not as hard as you might think!
- Shop yard sales and thrift stores. This is probably our biggest money-saver.
- Learn to be content with less–great for the budget and the soul!
After your obvious expenses are cut, revise your expectations. Are the shopping sprees you’re accustomed to going to matter more than being at home with your children when you are 80? And you can certainly be assured that your children aren’t going to “suffer” because of less money. They may whine if they’re accustomed to certain things, but they’ll be better for it! I love this quote: “If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money.”
I highly suggest getting Dave Ramsey’s book “The Total Money Makeover”. It motivated us SO much! He has great advice on how to pay off debt and get back on track with your budget.
Another good book is Amy Dachyzn’s (not sure of the spelling!) “The Tightwad Gazette”–lots of great tips and tricks for saving money.
Then, there’s always the option of a home business. We started a homemade skin product business one year when things were really tight. It was born out of my plan to make homemade skin products gifts for Christmas. We aren’t marketing it as aggressively as we have before, but it has been a great source of extra income.
If you enjoy writing, write an e-book and sell it. I would be happy to give you more information on how to do it if you e-mail me.
Sell stuff on E-bay. We’ve also made quite a bit like this. Once I offered to sell things for my friends/family, keeping half of the profits.
Think about what you like to do, and then see if there’s a way to make money at it!
There are so many frugal ideas out there, if you just become aware of them. I shared once about my recent purchase of checks. I found a website where first-time customers get a discount. I got 2 boxes of checks for $18.00. BUT, they also offered a rebate for signing up with some other company. I signed up, cancelled before I owed anything (they said I could), and got a $20 rebate in the mail. So I actually made $2.00 on my purchase!
One great website I’ve found is http://www.betterbudgeting.com/
There are lots more for the serious frugal zealot!
I just wanted to throw a little encouragement out there for those of you serious about wanting to come home and cherish those fleeting years with your family. It’s been worth every penny and then some!
I would also love any of your suggestions for our readers (you never know who may be reading, desperately looking for hope to come home)–so let’s hear ‘em!