How in the World Can I Afford to Quit My Job?

 

After the decision was made for me to stay home and home school our boys, we had to figure out how to make up for the hole left in our budget when my income was removed.  To be honest, I didn’t have a huge income to make up for…I just barely made above minimum wage, and I only worked about 36 weeks out of the year; but we were definitely going to come up short!  The first few steps we took to fill in this hole in our budget were:

  • Staying home.  I was driving about 30 miles round trip to work five days a week.  My new goal was to consolidate my errands, shopping, trips to the library, etc. to one day during the week.  We figured out that this would save around $75 a month.  Also, we were now eating at home.  Previously we were spending almost $30 a week on school lunches and at least another $20 a week at the drive-thru after school.  That’s like earning $275 a month just by staying home.  
  • Cancel the satellite TV. We bartered for an old fashioned metal antenna and hooked it up to our TV.  We were surprised to find that we could get about 8 TV channels, including a local station and PBS.  This saved us $75 a month.  A little bit later we signed up for Netflix and we also use the free streaming service from www.hulu.com.
  • Cut our food budget.  This one was hard, and I’m still working toward my goal of $75 per person per month.  We were able to go from about $800 a month to $500 within a couple of months just by cooking from scratch, cutting way back on eating out, and packing my husband’s lunch and snacks.
  • Change income tax withholdings.  We had been getting around a $3000 tax refund every year.   We changed my husband’s withholdings so that we would have that extra $250 to use instead of loaning it to the government interest free!
  • Temporarily stop all unnecessary spending.  We didn’t buy anything new for six months.  We used the clothes we already owned, only buying the kids a couple of second hand items as they outgrew things.  I used vinegar and dish liquid to clean with (that’s supposed to be better for us anyway).  We used the library for books and videos.  And…gasp…we didn’t take a vacation that year!

Now, I’m not telling you that we decided that we were going to live like paupers forever.  We just decided that for a short time we were going to be very focused on figuring out our financial priorities.  We have since added back some small luxuries that are important to us, but now we have a much better idea of what that is.  Also, these are just the first steps we took…we now have totally different, and in many ways much happier, lifestyle than we did before we got so weird!

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How I Became a Stay at Home Mama

The last time I posted I mentioned my weird decision to quit my job to stay home and home school my children.  Just to be clear, this was not a sudden decision or something that I did on a whim.  I knew from the moment I saw my first sweet baby’s face that I did not want him to be raised by strangers.  As soon as I could, when he was about six months old, I left my full time job to work part time.  My mother was his caregiver while I worked, and she took wonderful care of him and was happy to spend the time with him.

Fast forward a few years, now I have two boys…ages six and nine.  I’m working as a teaching assistant in the elementary school that they attend, and one of them is struggling.   About mid-year, my husband and I start trying to figure out what we need to do to help him.  Now keep in mind that I have always loved the idea of homeschooling, I just never thought we could manage without my income.  My husband was actually the first to say, “I think we’re going to have to home school,” after listening to a radio program about home schooling while he was driving down the road. 

After a lot of research, discussion, and most of all prayer; we made the decision for me to leave my job at the end of the school year to stay home and home school our kiddos.  We then proceeded to get very creative about saving money and living on less.  We made some huge lifestyle changes, and now a lot of my friends and family really started thinking that I was weird.  Next time, I’ll tell you about the first things we did to make up for losing an income.

I’d love to hear your story if you left a job to stay home with your kiddos.  Leave me a comment!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hi, I’m Liz…and I’m Weird!

Okay, some people think I’m weird.  A lot of people thought I was weird when I left a decent paying job in management to work part time after the birth of my first son.  More people thought I was weird when I switched jobs again to work in the public school system when he was in kindergarten.  Almost everyone who worked there thought I was weird when I left work altogether to stay home with and home school both my children a couple of years ago.   But, you know, you just gotta do what you gotta do.

Leaving a full time job began a whole new adventure.  That’s when I started to get even weirder!  Now I had to figure out how the four of us were going to survive on a single income, and that’s where it gets interesting.

I didn’t take Home Economics class in high school; instead I took Advanced Math, AP English, and Physics, so a lot of this homemaking stuff was all new to me.  Yeah, I was an nerd…come to think of it, people thought I was weird then, too, hmm…..  I could cook, but a lot of it was “take it out of the freezer and heat it up” kind of stuff.  I was way too familiar with all the fast food drive-thru windows in our small town. Hey, we were hungry after those pitiful school lunches!

Coupons, home management, bargain shopping…never had time for those things before, but now I discovered that I had to.  It took awhile, but I eventually figured out that I could save enough money by living simply (but well), clipping coupons, bargain shopping, staying away from the drive-thru, and lots of other weird things, that we could scrape by one my wonderful husband’s income. 

So, this blog is a record of my weird life as a stay-at-home, bargain hunting, home-schooling mama.  I hope I can help others learn how to live well on less, and I hope I can continue to learn, too!

Are you weird, too?  Tell me your weirdest money saving tip!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment