Most Moms I know wish they could stay home with their children, something I have been lucky enough to accomplish. I want to help other moms do the same, and like most I learn best by example. Don't get me wrong it wasn't and still isn't easy but here is how it went for us:
The first step for us was taking the Financial Peace University course with Dave Ramsey. It was the best thing we ever did for our financial future. Some of the things we learned : pay off our debt, secure an emergency fund and learn how to cut back our spending.
We didn't have big debt to start with, only little cards here and there besides our house and car. So I took on a second job, working in the evenings at a fast food restaurant to pay off each one at a time. After that we started paying extra on our car payment each month. We had it paid off before our first baby was born. That was the easy part. Then came saving money. I don't have to tell you, that its a challenge. We started out saving up $500 for an Emergency fund. Then we started having fun trying to see just how much money we could save. It is amazing how different your outlook on life gets when you stop spending. We realized what was really important. I'm not going to go into all of it, but I definitely recommend checking out Dave Ramsey, he will change your life!
Well having a baby changed things, added a little more debt and bills to our budget, so for a year I worked on figuring out how to cut our monthly spending. I still have the notebooks of charts I made showing what was coming in and what was going out. I never got it to equal out. I missed out on the fun of staying home with my son for a whole year. So my husband and I sat down and decided to take the plunge. We had recently built a shop (more debt) in the backyard that he could do some side work out of in the evenings, he was willing to be the one to take on the extra job in order for me to stay home with our children...yes by then I was pregnant with our second baby. It's all about sacrifice, and jumping in. We knew we could make it, we just had to cut back some.
OK, now that I have laid out the fairy tale of how to stay home, let me throw some reality at you. IT IS HARD! It is a complete lifestyle change, it doesn't happen over night, and you will always struggle. In fact we are struggling right now. Somehow money makes you make bad decisions, if you have it you spend it. So we are living one paycheck to the next and still wondering where it all goes. My husband feels like all the burden is on him to bring home the proverbial Bacon, and I feel like I never have any fun money. I get lonely most days with only a 2yr old to talk to a 5 month old to take care of. I rely on FB and Netflix to provide any needed drama in my life, and my daily routine includes laundry and snack time. We don't have health ins (but we do have an emergency fund), I don't go anywhere if I don't have enough gas for the week, and some days I feel I deserve an award for not flushing my children down the toilet. I'm telling you this not to discourage you, but to show you that if we can do it, so can you. Somehow we do it and I would never change any of it. I get to spend my days watching every moment of their lives, the changes, the milestones and soak up there love. I get to be the Mom they will remember making cookies and finger painting with. If you are stubborn enough (and most of you are) then you can pull this off. Sit down and make a list of all (don't leave anything out) your monthly expenses. Add it all up and compare it to how much money would come in that month if you weren't working. Then go through and take out or cut down the going out expenses until they equal the coming in. it is do-able. Start thinking like you only have one income, start living like the biggest obstacle standing in your way is your job and find a way to eliminate it. When you want something bad enough, life finds a way of working itself out.
I have been struggling on the budgeting lately, not staying as organized as I once was, not saving like we used to. But today is a new day, Today I Stop Spending and Start Saving!