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Old 04-10-2008, 05:30 PM   #1
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Did anyone become a SAHM on a SUPER tight budget?? (DR plan Qs too)

DH and I both work full time outside the home and both make great money. We both want me to quit though and be a SAHM to our DS(12) and new DD(4.5 mo). The problem is, we're still fighting stupid debts (DR plan, baby step2) and it doesn't seem like we'll ever get them all paid off if I wasn't working.

Also, on DH's income alone we would be about $400-500 short every month between bills/gas/groc/spending. So that would leave $0 towards our debt snowball (currently it's at $878). I'm trying the best I can to cut our spending and grocery down more but I just don't see how it would be possible for me to become a SAHM.

We could save up our snowball for the next few months and put it into savings, just paying min. payments on our debts and then live off of that for a while (taking the $400-500/mo out that we'd come up short) but then we wouldn't be paying off any debts. My mom is coming to stay with us for the summer and we'll be able to save $730/mo in daycare costs (YAY!) so I'm thinking we could also bank that money instead of putting it towards debts. Then we'd have a bigger savings amount to live off while I'm not working. But then when that's gone...then what?

Then there's the whole "What if DH lost his job and all we have is the $1,000 EF?" Should we first save up 3 months worth of expenses before I think about quitting??

Advice, btdt help needed!

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Old 04-10-2008, 05:57 PM   #2
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Re: Did anyone become a SAHM on a SUPER tight budget?? (DR plan Qs too)

I don't know if I can help or not, but I thought I'd see. We really respect Dave Ramsey and believe that he has sound principles to live by. I really admire you for working on getting out of debt and looking into becoming a SAHM.

But of the two goals, I believe that becoming a SAHM is the more important one. Your kiddos need you. Yes, it'll take longer to get out of debt, but you can't get that time back with your little ones. I think you might find that when you're a SAHM you have time to find ways to save that you might not if you were working. Do you commute - you'll save that gas money? Do you eat lunches out? - you'll save there.

My DH just took a 60% pay cut this year, so now we're on a super tight budget, but we do okay. We really had to look at our budget and get rid of some sacred cows that we thought were 'necessary' like the gym membership and cable. We looked at everything and asked ourselves if this was an absolute necessity. We do have 3-6months expenses saved, but thankfully we have not had to use it. In fact, we actually saved a little money even with the paycut. We did qualify for WIC, which is something you might look into. It saves me about $100 a month on groceries.

As for if your DH loses his job, it depends on how specific his job is and can he get another one easily in the same field? If something drastic would happen, could you get a job again easily? etc? Is there something you can do a little from home to earn a little money? How long would it take to save 3-6 months expenses if you continued working? Is that "security" worth it? Maybe yes, maybe no; I don't think there's one right answer.

I don't know if my random thoughts will help or not, but it sounds like you guys are thinking about things and are headed in the right direction!
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:24 PM   #3
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Re: Did anyone become a SAHM on a SUPER tight budget?? (DR plan Qs too)

We are basicly living off one income, and no matter how much that one income is, it's tight going from 2 to 1! We have always tried to stagger our shifts so we never had to use daycare. Your expences such as food might not change, but your lifestyle will - no more lunches while you're working, coffe breaks, work clothes to buy, gas to drive there, childcare costs.....all that will save you money.

As the pp said, evaluate your monthly expences, and cut out the ones you can live without. You can save money by shoping sales and second hand shops.

Good for you for trying to make sah work! It takes a good tightening of the belt, but you CAN make it work!!!
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:31 PM   #4
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Re: Did anyone become a SAHM on a SUPER tight budget?? (DR plan Qs too)

Maybe if you didn't mind you could post your budget and we could see if it could be tweaked enough?
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:46 PM   #5
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Re: Did anyone become a SAHM on a SUPER tight budget?? (DR plan Qs too)

Thanks for your help, ladies!

Let's see...the numbers I came up with ($400/500 short a month) were figured after I took out daycare costs. I wear normal clothes to work, so there's no extra clothes expense for me. Also, I brown-bag it every day so the lunches I eat at work would be the same lunches I'd eat at home (well, I'd probably do more leftovers at home actually).

We've also done the following to cut down expenses:
-gone to cloth for paper towels/napkins
-gone to reusable paper plates (cheapy plastic ones that we wash)
-cloth diapers and wipes
-BFing (for many reasons)
-mama cloth/Diva cup (when AF returns)
-Goodwill/garage sales/Craigslist junky
-we already have an HE washer/dryer so we spend very little for laundry.
-use our programmable thermostat to cut down on gas
-lights off to consume electricity (we have 4 huge skylights so no lights on during the day
-cut down our satellite, cell phone, and just switched phone companies to save more $$
-just went with a different life insurance company and cut that bill down by 50%

I'm thinking about doing the grocery game/HotCouponWorld to save on groceries but it seems like a lot of figuring out and I haven't had the time to sit and read the billion websites/forums to get started.

Anything else? Wow, looking at that makes me proud of how far we've come!
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:46 PM   #6
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Re: Did anyone become a SAHM on a SUPER tight budget?? (DR plan Qs too)

Quote:
Originally Posted by redsonja View Post
Maybe if you didn't mind you could post your budget and we could see if it could be tweaked enough?
Good idea! I'll post in a bit... (cleaning up dinner)
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:53 PM   #7
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Re: Did anyone become a SAHM on a SUPER tight budget?? (DR plan Qs too)

we are only living on one income - DF only makes about $1800 a month. We have 1 DD (5 months) and I'm staying home with her. Things are EXTREMELY tight, we barely make it paycheck to paycheck, but we are doing all we can so WE can raise our baby, not someone else.

We are in major debt and looking into bankruptcy - it sucks, but it looks like our last option. We don't have many luxuries - we only eat out twice a month, usually on his 2 paydays we get Chinese. We don't go out, we rent movies from Redbox. We are very tight with groceries, we only get what is absolutely necessary. We have basic cable and internet. We go to the Salvation army to scope out deals on clothing!

we got really lucky with our apartment - we have a really nice, big 3 bedroom for only $450 a month.

If you are thrifty, it can be done!
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:55 PM   #8
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Re: Did anyone become a SAHM on a SUPER tight budget?? (DR plan Qs too)

Our budget is beyond tight and I've been a sahm for almost 2 yrs now-we also follow dave's plan. I really don't know how we do it sometimes but we've paid everything on time since starting dr's plan, even on one income Some things that have helped is that we now can get WIC which helps for groceries (I get $60 a week for a family of 4 and another on the way-also one in disposable diapers until I get start her on cds next week), I will donate plasma again after my baby is born-$240 a month cash for a few hours of me sitting on my bum reading magazines and seriously just cutting everything down to bare essentials-we do not go out to eat unless its the dollar menu at mcdonalds (maybe twice a month), garage sales or thrift shops for all our clothes, etc. Its definately a struggle but I wouldn't change it for anything! And you could always do a part time job from your home-I sell toys on ebay at christmas time and make really good money-pays for Christmas and such. You just have to be creative sara
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:57 PM   #9
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Re: Did anyone become a SAHM on a SUPER tight budget?? (DR plan Qs too)

DH is military and when I got preggers with my oldest I quit work to be a SAHM. We had nearly $3,000 in debt and paid it off in 2 years. We are now back in debt but not because we were irresponsible, we had a legal situation that took precedence in our family a while back. We have already paid half of what we were in debt off in the last 6 months, thanks largely to our tax return. I am now a WAHM for a great company, but I only get paid once a month and it's less than $500 for the whole month.

It can be done, you just cut costs wherever you can. Use washer/dryer late at night, avoid peak hours or use clothesline when available. Wash full loads of laundry not just what's dirty because someone wants to wear their favorite pair of jeans. Switch to energy efficient light bulbs, costs more up front but has cut our electric bill by $20. There are lots of other ways you can cut costs too. Basically what we did was VERY strict grocery budget, no extras.. movies, eating out, shopping, etc. Gas, groceries, bills that was it. It's tough but it can happen.
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Old 04-10-2008, 07:24 PM   #10
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Re: Did anyone become a SAHM on a SUPER tight budget?? (DR plan Qs too)

Ok, here it goes!

Blue is what would go away/be reduced when/if I quit and when my little brother moves back to my mom's.

DH take-home pay $4000/mo.
My take-home pay $2200/mo.

Fixed:
mortgage - $1005
internet - $53*
school instrument rentals - $58 ($37 next school year)
cell phones - $80
gas - $230 (variable depending on season)
satellite - $95 (DH's one thing he won't give on, ugh)
Life insur - $45 (used to be $80)
van - $173
car insur - $122
home phone - $55*
Electric - $75 (variable depending on season)
HELOC - $654 (dumbest thing we ever did)
house insur - $62
student loans - $124
medical bills - $50
prop. taxes - $400
daycare - $780 ($0)

Gas/Groc/Spending - $1500 This is what is killing us, I know. Until this month I didn't track each category but am attempting it now to hopefully cut it down A LOT. Here's what I'm going to try:
Groceries/Household supplies - $500
Gas - $300 ($150)
Boys' lunch - $100 ($50 next school year)
Eating out - $100
Misc spending - $500 (NEED to get this down)

*Internet - we're both computer programmers and can work from home if weather is bad, etc. We're also out in the country and the only avail. internet is dial-up (too slow to dial up to work), satellite (way too expensive), and wireless (what we have now). We're on the cheapest package with wireless, so I don't think we can cut this one down until someone comes out in our area w/ DSL or cable.
*Home phone - we have unlimited long distance on the home phone so that we can save money on our cell. ALL of our family live long-distance away.

Also, my little brother lives with us right now (12 yrs old). He's going back to my mom's after the summer is over, so we'll be saving some money on the school lunches and instrument rentals.
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