Staying at home with your kids is definitely a luxury, even though it doesn't feel like it at the end of the day when Hubby comes home and the house is filthy, I still haven't put on a bra, brushed my hair or teeth or put contacts in. The truth is I never made much money in my career. I'm not a big baller in the spending department anyway so it worked for us and I also provided health benefits to our family. After paying for daycare for the twins, I brought home some money but not a ton, it was all gone each pay period, so that was a huge factor in me staying home.
Before I was on a budget but a rather loose one. Now my budget is very tight. People keep asking me how we do this, am I rich, what a luxury, etc.
Well, here it is . . .
1. We have no car payments. There are four cars (one to be sold soon) sitting in our driveway and not a single one has debt related to it. When we sell one of the cars it will help reduce other debts we have and our ultimate goal is to be debt free aside from a mortgage. Our cars need to get us from point A to point B, they are not designed to give us a thrill or keep up with the Jones. We have what we can afford in car payments which is nothing. The vehicle that Hubby uses for his heavy driving is also a fuel efficient vehicle.
2. I am currently very thrifty in the shopping department and spend only about $130 maximum a week to feed us all each day, every day. That means no eating out or eating out very rarely. Most meals I make come from the crock pot because that requires very little cooking and a lot of the time it is chicken because that goes on sale a lot in the frozen section. Soon the downtown farmer's market will get going and I will be able to buy a boat load of produce for cheap. The smaller farmer's markets are more expensive than the store, but the one downtown is so huge that there is lots of competition. I have the Target debit card so I automatically save 5% on my groceries plus a few coupons if I am shopping there.
3. I have a dumb phone with no data plan and no intentions to upgrade anytime soon. This is absolutely stunning to people and they say HOW CAN YOU LIVE WITHOUT INTERNET ON YOUR PHONE?? The answer is, I've never had it, so it's easy.
4. There is no cable in our house. Even when we had the money we didn't have this because I am cheap and can't imagine spending hundreds of dollars a month just to watch television. If you spend $120 a month that is over $1400 a year on sitting in front of the boob tube. We spent less than that on our one week vacation to Kauai (we admittedly got a ridiculously amazing deal). I would much rather take a vacation than watch TV and it is easier if we don't do both. I will admit I mooch cable from my grandparents and go watch at their house when the Walking Dead is on.
5. I have never bought any item of clothing not on sale. Ever. For any reason.
This sounds like pure torture to some people. It's only slightly different than the way we have always lived. When others were buying houses and cars and paying things off we were spending all of our pennies making babies, which I actually can't think of a thing that money could buy that is better than the twins or the attempts we had to make to get to the Butterball so money is an arena that I'm just not bitter about it. We use it for what we need to use it for and that's it. As I said, we already had a tight budget but we are definitely making more sacrifices now than we were before and that's ok. So yeah, there are five of us living on an undisclosed amount to you, but know that it isn't a ton of money.
One splurge that we do have now that is new is a gym membership. We belong to a gym that is income and family sized based so with five people and one income that isn't a lot and it's a great deal for what we get. It has daycare so that means I can get some time to myself and the twins get to socialize. It also has cable so I can watch the Real Housewives while I run a few miles. It's a really nice thing and something that I chose to sacrifice some of our food budget for and I am happy with that.
So there you have it (in case you wondering, as many people seem to be in my life, no we did not win the lottery, yes, we still don't have much moola around here). I think it's awesome for the ladies that can stay at home and still afford everything! In our home though, it took some serious cuts. Also, if I made more money, I would probably still work so don't look at this as you should do what I do, it is merely an explanation of how we afford it.
Smooching on my boys.