In 1986 my oldest boy was one and I wanted desperately to be home with him. Finally I quit my job and stayed home. I earned extra income by babysitting but we were left with a $150 per month food budget. This was difficult back then as coupons were not as prolific as they are now. Also, I have often thought that I would have faired better if the internet would have been invented then as I have used this as a good source of information. I stayed home a few years. I should have looked into part time employment but didn't. I wanted to be a stay at home mom in the worst way and my DH knew that. Our first child had died in 1984 after her birth and we thought our DS would be our only child.
It was rough financially. We didn't even live paycheck to paycheck - it was worse than that. The main problem - we didn't plan for going to one income but went on emotions.
When I had the opportunity to stay home this time I knew I could live on less; do without and such because we would not be living paycheck to paycheck. Yes, over the past few years of working I had put aside being thrifty and spent what I wanted to spend but I knew that the time had come to be home again and I could do better. When I worked I felt entitled to spend money on work clothes and eating out.
With having about one year's notice of going to one income, we made plans. We saved and paid off bills so that we could live on one income. We still have a ways to go and there are more areas where I could save money. Our youngest son goes to college in two years and we will be putting him through college on one income. It will not be easy but we are planning ahead.
I watch Suze Orman on Saturday nights and I am often convicted by the fact that we need more money in savings. In order to put more in savings for emergencies I need to plug those leaks. For me its those $5 dvd's at Wal-mart. I've started not to go to that section of the store. It's other things such as driving somewhere when I could be walking. Those little things do add up. How about those magazines?
Even when I have been stockpiling on groceries I have put things back on the shelf if I feel I really don't need this. It may be a good price and I may have a coupon that has brought it down to 50 cents but do I really need this? An example is paper products and laundry soap and flour based items. I can use rags; make my own laundry soap; and bake my own bread.
Little things do add up. Sometimes it does pay attention to the small things.