I have been toying around with the idea of being a stay-at-home mom. Of course, that means that my husband and I are now re-evaluating our finances in order to determine if this is possible. We are exploring increasing life insurance on my husband as well as his disability insurance since he will be the primary breadwinner (nothing will change there, he’s always been the primary breadwinner). We’re also taking a look at my various 401k’s that I have in place, mostly from my previous employer and my current employer, as well as my employee stock purchase options that I have taken advantage of during my career.
We’ve managed to downsize the price of one of cars, as noted in a previous blog when I traded in my beloved Mercedes for a Chevy. We’ve also managed to pay off the majority if not all of our credit card debt, items which can easily be described as the spawns of Satan, but also closed out and destroyed those cards as well.
Instead of spending money on lawn care and maintenance, something we’ve had before in the past, we’ve decided to do a lot of things ourselves, which has meant no purchasing of new shrubbery or flowers for our gardens and conserving on mulch by only purchasing for the front yard as the back yard is fenced in and not many people see this.
We’ve also managed to plant our own garden of vegetables this year which we’re hoping will save us in some grocery expenses while also promoting good health. So, as you can see, we’ve started taking the necessary cuts where need be in order to try to maintain some semblance of a life while only operating on one income. As a matter of fact, once I am on maternity leave, of which I get up to 13 weeks full pay, we are going to experiment at that point with placing all of my income into savings and just living off of my husband’s. A lot of people are questioning if this is possible and I’m pretty convinced that we can make this happen. It will be a lifestyle adjustment, but there’s going to be a change in lifestyle once Davey arrives anyways.
In our attempt for me to be a stay-at-home mom, my husband and I decided to explore the various costs of raising a child. Fortunately, BabyCenter, a website where I get a lot of my content has a Cost of Raising a Child Calculator. http://www.babycenter.com/cost-of-raising-child-calculator
From this, we have ascertained that just for Davey alone it will cost us somewhere in the range of $200,000 to raise him from birth to the age of 18. I have to admit I find this a little shocking and I’m also questioning some of the areas, such as housing that may increase, after all we have a house with a set mortgage and interest rate. I’m really unsure how having a child is going to cause those costs to rise except for perhaps in furniture, but we have a fully furnished house. The cost alone for raising him the first year is estimated to be around $11,000 so we’re are trying to find ways to build that into our budget by cutting out other areas that we don’t need.
I’ve never been the type of individual to own name brand clothing or items of any sort. I’m a huge fan of store brands and NEVER paying full price for something regardless as to how much I may love or need the item. There is always room for negotiation, I suppose that’s the sales side of my personality coming out. I’ve dreamt about owning a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s or Jimmy Choos, wearing Christian Dior or Vera Wang, and I’ve even been known to walk into a Coach outlet and drool over the beautiful bags, but I’ve never bought any of these and that’s obviously not going to change once Davey arrives.
So in my effort to find a way to save money, I have completed some research that a few of you might find helpful in being a frugal mommy. First of which is to breastfeed my child. Not only does a mother’s milk have nutrients you can’t get elsewhere, but it’s also free, which can save thousands of dollars in the first year on food and formula. Second is to make my own baby food. Fortunately for me, we have a vegetable garden in our backyard and my parents will be planting a much bigger one next year, around the age of 6 months for Davey. So, I can download recipes online (we’re already paying for internet, so no additional costs there) or go to the library and handwrite out recipes and use an old notebook to store them in. Plus many store bought foods have fillers and preservatives with zero to no nutritional value. Here is a chart to help you see the cost savings here:
Another way to save money as a whole is through couponing, which has become a new phenomenon that has taken flight with classes on how to coupon best and television shows that will walk you through how to get the smartest deals. I have a few friends who live and die by couponing and their savings are astronomical.
The next area of concern especially where my saving money with my baby is concerned is with clothing. Children are constantly growing expecially during the first couple of years, and according to my baby calculator, my husband and I can estimate spending approximiatelly $700 a year on clothing for Davey. I’m hoping to cut that in half, by going to garage sales, consignment shops and even relying on hand me downs from some of my closest friends. I was a child that wore hand me downs and some of the my favorite pieces came from clothing that my mother got from friends of hers. Their trash was my treasure and still is.
I have to admit the task of trying to become frugal has been daunting, but it’s also been an adventure. There are numerous other avenues to explore, but I’m hoping that just by working on the few I’ve listed above, some of the others will begin to fall into place. My other concern is of course extra-curricular activities as Davey gets older and how to cheapily incorporate those in. Don’t worry, I’m doing my research there as well and have a few ideas that I plan to blog about later.