Before we made the choice for me to become a SAHM we were terrified of taking away my paycheck. I really had a great job, tha paid great, and my benefits were almost unheard of in today’s workplace. Naturally, it was an intimidating situation. But after long talks, and a lot of lost sleep, I knew in my heart this is what I wanted. And my husband fully supported me either way.
After we made the transition I really asked myself how I could work on saving the family money. My husband works really hard to make money, so I felt like it was my job to save money.
1. Stockpile: My first step was completed even before I became a full-time SAHM. We had started talking about the possibility, and I felt like building a stockpile was going to help us while I still had my income. What a GREAT decision that was. In 3 years we have not bought tooth paste, laundry detergent, deoderant, shaving razors, shampoo, conditioner, and some other expenditures as well. All from couponing. I only paid tax on some of the things, and most of the items were discounted up to 75%. Not to mention, I love being able to go down to our stockpile, and grab laundry detergent instead of having to go out to the store.
2. Dollar Store: Okay, I swear I was hesitant at first, but I love the dollar store. The boys really love to make crafts during when we are at home. Construction paper, pencils, stickers, paper plates, etc. are all there. Hot wheels are a big hit in this house, and we go through a lot of those. For our longer trips I make sure to get the boys some surprise toys from there and it definitely helps keep them entertained. Also, the kids are wondeful at destroying things, so I figure it’s not that big of a deal if they break them.
3. Thrift Store: I can’t even count the number of times I have gone into a store and found Melissa and Doug toys still in the plastic. Or Little People toys that look like a child has never even played with it. Our 3 year old wants to play baseball, and I found a brand new glove for $1.99 that fits his cute hand perfectly. I am a sucker for designer jeans. I found Rock and Republics in my size, just a bit too long. Nothing I couldn’t handle. Seriously, everyone should learn to shop at second hand stores.
4. Sewing: We are shorter people in this house. I’m totally okay with that. But hubby needs to look nice at work, I don’t hate when our pants are too long and dragging on the ground. So I taught myself how to sew on a Brotherton machine. It’s really simple, seriously, if I can do it, anyone can do it. I have hemmed plenty of pants. What normally would cost us $22 a pair, is now free. Halloween costumers last year were all made by me. I made my oldest sons bedding. You can’t find his navy chevron bedding anywhere. I made him a reversable duvet, and he loves it. It even has buttons on it.
5. DIY: When we bought our second house, I knew I wanted a bigger dining set, one that had 8 dining chairs. And then I found what I absolutely loved. I mean it only cost THOUSANDS of dollars, right?! No! I refuse to spend that kind of money on a dining set, working or not. It just doesn’t feel right with me. So, I did what was second best in my book. At a whopping 9 months pregnant, I built a farmhouse table with my dad. The chairs were bought for $4.99 at goodwill and I sanded, repainted, and reupholstered them myself. So instead of spending thousands. I know have a table and chairs I love for less that $500.
6. Photography: Now I am not even close to an expert, but I have taught myself to take pictures on a DSLR camera, and how to edit them in Adobe Elements. Why? Because pictures of your kids are priceless, but if taken by a professional, they are darn expensive. So over time I have learned more and more about our camera, and on how to edit those adorable little faces in the pictures I take. I also taught myself how to make cards and invitations on there, so that they cost me a $0.09 instead of $1.50.
7. Cutting Hair: It started with me just cutting K’s hair since he was so small and his hair just needed some trimming here and there. But then I got to thinking. With 3 guys in the house and all having thick hair, we would need to have hair cuts every 4-6 weeks. That’s at least $60 a pop, really more, because we used to send hubby to my lovely lady, but between school and work, I just ended up cutting his hair too. I watched tutorials and go slowly. And it’s nice, because we do everyone’s in an evening before bath time.
I know none of these seem like they would save hundreds of dollars, but the cost really does add up. I am so happy I have done all of these. I think these are life lessons that I will carry with me forever. I also love that we are teaching our boys to shop smart, and that some things really can be done on your own!
Below are pictures of some of the projects I mentioned above. Our dining table and chairs. I also painted a chair that I bought for $14. It was a horrid pink, but now it matches our navy themed dining room.