I quit working in the mainstream and started my career as a housewife a couple months before my first son was born. I was thrilled! I had been working for other people and companies since I was 15 years old and I had carried two jobs for most of that time. Mainly to get out of a huge debt I had gotten myself into by the time I was in my early 30’s.
We were prepared for this moment. I had paid off all my debt and we owned one car that was also paid off. I refused to get any credit cards or a new car when we married and this saved us in the end. At the time my husband, Bali, had a great job running the Circle K gas station and mini mart. He made good money and we took on a roommate/friend. Money was plentiful.
Then Bali’s boss went into a disastrous partnership and let the partner take over our gas station. He had a gambling problem or was just an idiot at business, too greedy, too slick of a man…he ran the station into the ground. Within 8 months the place closed and Bali was out of work. I knew it was coming, I saw the signs and I had my new baby and was not about to put him in daycare and go to work all day. What did I do? I started my own daycare and as the Universe provides, a family of 4 children came to me the very day we closed the store doors.
That daycare paid our bills for a while and then long story short, an old village friend found Bali and ask him to work at his store in another town. We moved to Walnut Grove and set up our nest. This time, I was pregnant again and didn’t want to run a daycare. Bali wound up cashiering and money was tight. We didn’t have that roommate anymore either. I found a wonderful book, The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn and I still have it to this day and it is one thing that I will never give away. I read the whole book and began reading and researching everything I could about being frugal and thrifty. I even switched to cloth diapers (that didn’t last too long, I’m a wimp). I think I’ve read every book out there. Even the ones on gardening and decorating on a dime. I’ve watched hours of YouTube and articles from homemakers with less money and more kids than I have and making it work.
I will say this to all of you out there either doing it now or debating if you should and if you can. Do it. Do it for your family and do it especially for the babies and children. Having you home to love on them and support them through their crucial years will make all the difference in how they learn and mature and the bond you share with them. Now, if you hate the idea, best to not do this. It’s lonely sometimes and the monotony can make you a little coo coo if you don’t love it. If the man wants to stay home great! Whoever has the desire let them do it. But don’t let money get in the way.
Saving money by staying home.
You can actually save more or spend less money by having a spouse stay home. You will save in daycare cost (which can be so expensive), commuting cost, eating out, clothes for work, coffees out alone can run in the hundreds a month. You add it all up and you have already saved over a thousand dollars.
If you are clever and creative, you will spend your time at home learning all the tricks to being frugal and thrifty. Maybe you get into coupon cutting and find other ways to cut cost.
You can still work, but do things from home. Maybe you are an artist, writer, soap maker! You can clean houses, babysit, start a daycare. There are always little ways to make money at home.
You will, hopefully, be cooking from scratch and that save big money. We are now making our own yogurt and I figured the savings to be about $3 or $4 dollars a jar. I make our bread and it cost $1 a loaf. Some people buy the discount bread at the outlets for pennies, but we are very into our organics and quality food. You can still have the non-GMO and organics, just get smart.
How to make it work.
So, my advice to you in a nutshell:
- Get rid of all the debt and car payments.
- Cut cost where ever you can.
- Downsize the house, get rid of the extra car. Even move into town so you can walk to the parks and grocery store…that is if it’s not too expensive.
- Read The Complete Tightwad Gazette.
- Read Queen of Penny Pinching (it’s my book and has EVERYTHING I ever read condensed in it). There is also Modern Homemaker and Mama, that is all three of my books that cover being a housewife (or husband), budgeting, living off very little, urban farming, and a million other tips. The Funky and Frugal Housewife is another.
- Declutter and simplify your home and life.
- Start the envelope system. More on that in my books.
- Buy in bulk.
- Cut out the sodas, booze, and bad habits.
- Cook from scratch.
- Always use what you have, don’t go out and buy things when you need them. You probably have something you can use at home to represent what you want.
- Learn the wonders of your local library.
- Find ways to have fun for free. Also in my books.
- Plant a garden and grow some of your own food. Depending on where you live, you can grow year round.
There are hundreds of ways to live off a tiny budget. You have to be willing to make life changes and get penny wise. I have written several blogs that will help, however, I won’t give it all away. My books are loaded with advice and tips. I have lived this way for years and I’m always looking for easier and better ways to save, clean, cook, live, enjoy my homemaking journey and, most of all, not get burned out.
I love this life and want you to love it too.