I love staying home with my nine month old, but we do not have a lot of money. People often wonder how it is possible for me to stay home, even though they may have more money. “How are you able to stay home?” or “I wish I could stay home” they say. It might seem like we are making sacrifices or making changes in our lifestyle, but we did not really make that many changes in our lives. We simply made the decision that I would stay home with our children and budgeted accordingly. Here are a few of the things that we do that allow me to stay home.
Low mortgage payment – We purposely bought a small house (750 square feet) so that we would have a low monthly payment. A smaller house also means less clutter, lower utility bills, and less cleaning to do. It also means that there is not a lot of space, like sharing the bathroom mirror with my husband, but that is not a big deal; we just swap or use another mirror.
Low-end technology – We do not stay up to date with technology, and honestly, it does not hurt us at all. In fact, it helps us develop relationships instead of being so immersed in technology. We do not have i-phones or smart phones or data plans. We share a cell phone plan with my parents and pay $60 a month. Sure, my slider phone sticks out like a sore thumb, but I do not mind. Cable, high-speed Internet, and Netflix are not on our budget either.
Eating at home – Eating out is a special thing that we do as a family. It’s a treat. Being a stay-at-home mom, allows me to cook at home and save money for our family. Sometimes, I make a huge crock-pot meal that lasts several days so I can cook just a few times a week.
Clunker cars – Growing up, my husband and I always had used cars with both our families. We’ve never owned new cars. Our “cheap” cars run great and since my father knows a lot about cars, we fix them ourselves and buy car parts on Ebay. Thus, we have one less monthly payment on the budget.
Used, used, used – We buy used cars, used furniture, used clothing (clothes on clearance), and refurbished items. For example we recently bought a desk from craigslist for $20. It was in excellent condition with a few scratches here and there, but not bad. Brand new, it costs $250.
And there you have it. This is how we live. We live within our means and we are definitely pretty comfortable. I guess we could live even more comfortably, but some things we do not truly need. I’d rather be debt free and eating leftovers just so I can have more time with my son!