Quit Your Job, Stay Home And Save More Money!

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Quit Your Job, Stay Home And Save More Money!

Quit Your Job, Stay Home And Save More Money!

From: Michelle

I just wanted to give a response on the budgeting article. I realize that sometimes recording every receipt is a pain, but I found out some interesting things when I actually did it. I recorded my husbands and my income to the penny. Then I recorded all the expenses from our bank statements and ATM receipts. Then I recorded any cash receipts (against the cash withdrawn). What we found astounded us. We had spent pretty much all of my net checks and an extra $6,000 of his checks on unnecessary expenses.

Too tired to cook after long days, we found ourselves saying, “Lets just stop at a restaurant”, “Oh lets just run through fast food for lunch or breakfast” or “How about a soda or coffee?” Well all that added up.

I am now not working, we are rarely eating out, and with one less income we are actually able to put more in savings than we did before. My husband does not mind my staying home (I have always worked) so I get some odds and ends done around the house that he does not have to try and do when he gets home now, so he feels less stress.

I plan on trying to work from home at some point, but it is not necessary to survive. I help with minor repairs around the house, painting, mowing the yard and such with all my new found spare time. You never really know HOW MUCH you are spending until you take a GOOD HARD LOOK at it.

Thanks for your website. It is what inspired me to check out our lifestyle spending.


Tawra’s Reply

One thing most people don’t realize is just how much money can be saved by staying home and not working. Meals eaten out alone can cost thousands. Just doing stuff around the house like painting the house, garage saleing, bargain grocery shopping can make staying home worth it. not only that but all the day care costs, gas, second car maintenance and repair, insurance and payments really add up. A lot of people don’t add up the true expense of working. There are times women could save MORE money by staying home than by working. It really pays to check and see if all those hours working really are bringing in more money.

P.S. We love your comments but any time we mention certain subjects we get swamped with comments from readers who are feeling defensive. One of those subjects is women working outside of the home. We are not making a statement about women working outside of the home in this article. We are talking about knowing what is happening with your money and how, sometimes, your working isn’t helping with your income as much as you thought and may actually be hurting you so please try to keep your comments along those lines.

Thanks so much!

For more easy and practical ways to save money and get out of debt, check out Dig out Of Debt and learn more about how to keep more of your money.



  1. Tammy says

    I took a good look at how much I was spending eating out for lunch and dinner every day. When I realized I was spending over $5,000 a year (!), I started making a more concerted effort to cook for myself in the evening’s after work. I’m trying to get better about cooking many meals over the weekend and freezing because my excuse was always “I’m too tired to cook.”

    I can’t believe all these years and all the money I wasted every single year. :-(

  2. Lisa B says

    I agree with the Tracy O about all the $ that can be saved when staying home…Here are some examples just with mother hood.

    With my first child I had to go to work 4 weeks after she was born. and this is what it cost monthly to raise her as a baby….
    Formula $200
    baby food$300
    Diapers $150
    wipes $ 40
    Daycare $1200

    Now with my second child I was able to stay home…Here is what it cost me montly to raise her in comparison to her sister.
    Formula $0=Cause I Breast fed
    Baby food $40…I pureed mostly what we already bought,I only bought baby food for going out or as a treat Since I purreed my own for her.
    Diapers$20=Since I used fabric diapers,I only used store bought when we went out. I recieved these for free at my baby shower and for my birthday(I specifically asked for only that)
    Wipes$3= Since I used soft washcloths instead,only using wipes when we went out.
    Daycare$0=Since I was at home.

    That’s a huge savings….
    Now I eventually had to go back to work When she turned 2, but now 4 years later I am home again after I got sick and had to have surgery, . I tried to find work that would pay me enough to afford day care etc but couldn’t find it so I am going to school at home online instead…

    Since I have been home again I cook almost everything from scratch,utilize sales and do the whole coupon thing.
    Since I have been home our food budget is cut in half and our out to eat budget down by 3/4’s.

    I would also like to add,my girls grades have improved because I have the time to help them study and tutor them. The house is cleaner…And conincidentally as a household we don’t get ill as much. I am not sure if this is due to all the healthy homemade food or the extra dilligence in cleaning or both but I thought it was interesting to mention.

    There is a lot to be said for having a parent or grandparent being able to stay home and help. It does save $,time,stress and it helps to promote a happier,healthier enviroment. I know not everyone can do it but it definetly pays off if you can…even if its for a few years off and on.

  3. Lisa B says

    I hear what your saying about not having enough time to cook. When I worked it was the same thing,I was tired and I just wanted to eat and go to bed…Cooking was the last thing from my mind.

    What I have found recently is A crock pot is your best friend. Whether you work or stay home it is amazing.
    When I am gonna be home all day I will start it in the morning and let it run till dinner time. This way I can concentrate on my house,my family and my college and dinner is done by 6pm. I also cook meals ahead too,Even though I am home we still have a busy scheldule(the gym,appointments etc) So on days I am home all day or the night before while I am asleep I will put 2 pounds of chicken,turkey or beef in a crock pot with just water,herbs and spices.(I grow my own basil and chives).

    The next morning I let my crock pot cool.I divide the broth from the meat. The broth is frozen seperately for quick soups and the meat is divided into baggies for quick wraps,tacos,burritos or salads.

    This might be really easy for you since all you have to do is throw it in,add water and turn it on… I love my crock pot. I wish I would of of known this when I was working.

    I find the frozen cooked meat will freeze for 3 months in either freezer safe containers or baggies..a bit longer if you have a food sealer machine+bags.

  4. MJ says

    You know I would agree that this is best for some families but for us I have no choice but to work. I have the constant pay and the benefits. My husband works construction and it is feast or famine and right now if I did not work we would be out on the streets.

    You don’t have to stay home inorder to save money. My childcare costs are only 10% of my take home monthly pay. I only pay 500 a month for childcare and that includes the food they provide – breakfast, lunch and 2 snacks.

    I cook alot of crock pot meals, healthy casseroles and I also cook and freeze meals ahead of time over the weekend. We seldom go out to eat except on very special days – anniversary, b-days, stuff like that. I also joined RecipeLion and make alot of the resturant knock off meals so some days it feels like we went out to eat.

    I also do a lot of coupon shopping and thrift store shopping too since I have a toddlers who goes thru clothes like a knife thru butter. Plus I am religious about following this website and all of the great ideas that are here.

    I also follow Dave Ramsey since my parents followed exactly what he is talking about with regards to finance. Funny thing about this is that, they were following his plan way before he was even in the media. They have done the envelope system since they first got married in 1945 and they paid off their home 7 years early and bought 2 new vehicles with cash. Even when credit cards came out, they only used it for traveling expenses and then paid it off every month. I believe in what he says – today live like no one else so tomorrow you CAN live like no one else.

    Thanks Tawra for all your great tips and neat ideas.

    • says

      I love Dave Ramsey, but I do not follow the book as religiously as I should. I have four kids, worked full-time, demanding job, paid pretty well, but I did loose myself in my job. I totally understand with the benefits and so forth, BUT you do loose yourself. There has to be some kind of balance. As for the daycare, it is a killer. I was paying $1300.00 a month for three children in California. My pay did cover it, and it was worth it, however, I lost valuable time with my children. I missed school functions, bought out often, and just ran out of time. Today for the past five months I have been home due to an illness, but soon recovered. I feel we have spent less money, that we do not have, I cook at home, clean house, RELAX….and most importantly, I spend time with my kids. I love it…I feel as if God has created this situation for me. I am doing whatever is necessary to save my money,spend less and enjoy quality time with my four children. The irony in all this, is my kids beg me to stay home. My nine year olds loves to say, “you are such a good stay at home mom, keep up the good work.” I take pride in that comment. :)

      • Andrea says

        Some of the things that you wrote, Janete, are identical to my situation. Don’t you love it when your kids beg you to stay home. I have a 21 year old daughter who is going to college and living at home and she tells me every day how she loves me to be home and hates when I go to work. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will ever be able to be a stay at home mom. We do NOT eat out and I even though I work full time, I do NOT have any child care (babysitting) expenses, we have old cars, rare vacations, no frills, BUT we have tons of fun together as a family. There are many families today that have it “all” with large access to money and they lack in family quality. My husband and I are very close to all of our children (aged 21 years to 5 years). Even though my husband and I have not been blessed with high paying jobs, we have been blessed with things that money cannot buy. In the end, that makes me content.

  5. Anna says

    Using Mint.com is a great way to track your expenses so that you can set your budget for the next month. It tracks every transaction that comes through your checking account. You can also put loans and retirement accounts on there so you can see your whole financial picture! It is free and I love it!

  6. Pumpkintown says

    I’m so glad to see young families living a more (reasonable lifestyle). This is the way we have always lived and pretty happily I might add. Living below your means sure lets you sleep better at night.

  7. Suzanne says

    I agree with this! I was working a full-time (plus) almost 65 hours a week for almost 3 yrs and we were no further ahead than we are now that I work 16-20 hours a week during school hours and have NO childcare expense, NO prepackaged foods, almost everything from scratch. I am loving it and enjoy every second I am home. I made as much for the whole yr last yr as I used to in 2 months but didn’t miss a dime, since I have time to enjoy being home now! Had you told me this when I was working, I would have said you were crazy, but thanks to the crappy economy I have found a new love! FREE TIME!! :)

  8. says

    It is really a simple mathematical decision. Unless a woman is working for benefits because her husband lacks them…or she is making REALLY good money it is often not in the family’s best financial interest for both parents to be out of the home and not maintaining it as a business. The stay at home parent is essentially in charge of economizing and prioritizing. That person has the time to shop carefully, repair, take responsibility for the kids and cook economically. So it is obvious that staying at home makes sense. Our economy has so changed in the last 20 years with higher taxes, costs of childcare, energy prices, food, etc that women especially need to evaluate their situation. Working part-time during school hours might be ideal or working a few hours in the evening might be a good way to go. BUT just working because you think it is the thing to do is silly. It looks like during this economic downturn some women are coming to this conclusion. If you can find time to continue your education perhaps at a junior college during the day why not? At least you are learning new skills you can use later.

    • Lindsay says

      Actually taxes since 2009 through today are the lowest they’ve been since 1950! Other costs may be higher than in 1992 (I don’t know, I was 1 that year) but taxes are lower. I don’t know which (if any) news sources you find acceptable, but NYTimes, Politifact and USA Today have all reported this fact.

      • CC says

        I would suggest looking to other sources for your news. Payroll taxes may not be the killer, but having the highest tax corporate tax rate in the world means you are paying more for products. Then add in all the increases in the “fees” (just a friendlier word for taxes) that most don’t even realize they pay. Americans are loosing more money per hour worked than ever before.

  9. Rachel says

    MJ, i can relate to what you had to say. My husband worked on the road construction for years. The pay was good, but we were maintaining two households. He usually split the rent on an apartment with some other guys, and sent home what he could. I paid bills, and I know what it is like to only have $5 left till the next check came. But we did value saving, and always put something back. I did work some as my kids were growing up. But I tried to be home with them as much as possible.

    What I see among so many younger couples now is the refusal to do without. When we first married we had a dryer in the house we rented, but no washer. I washed at my mom and dads and brought it back home to dry. We had no phone for awhile, cell or otherwise. We had no cable t.v. Actually we hardly had t.v., as it was an old black and white set that had belonged to my grandmother. try to get a young person to make do with a black and white set today! The year my daughter was born it was so cold that I closed off bedrooms and lived with my two children in the den/kitchen to save on the heating bill. My three year old son and I slept on a pull out sofa at night, baby in her bassinet. I learned to cook and bake, not buy anything we didn’t need. Once my husband did not work for almost a year. We actually came through that with some lessons learned. Number one lesson, God will provide, second lesson, stop using credit cards. I had gotten spoiled to using a gas credit card, just for the convenience. But eventually you have to pay that balance. You don’t think that long term unemployment will happen to you, but it can happen to anyone. Lesson number 3, save for those rainy days, because there will be rainy days.

  10. Chris says

    We’re a family of 2 adults, and I made about $13,000 last year.

    Even with careful consideration I cannot see how we could recoup the loss of income if I was to stay at home. I think logic shows that the idea is more promising for families with children, as opposed to those without.

    • Chelley says

      Chris, I agree with you. I will be getting married soon & cannot make the budget work with my staying home. Not that I care so much what others think, but I believe a stay-at-home *wife* (not necessarily mother) could be viewed as lazy in our society — sad.

  11. Jan C says

    We are a family of 2 also. Almost retired and would be if we didn’t need my job for the health benefits. My husband is disabled and would be dead if we had to rely on Medicare for his health benefits. I would love to stay home, I know that I would save lots of money a month just on gas that takes me back and forth those 50 miles to work. I don’t know how much I will have to pay for healthcare and prescriptions once I don’t have my benefits any longer.

    • says

      Jan that is why we say add things up or do some figuring. Call and find out how much health insurance would be if you paid it out of pocket then balance it out. Don’t forget to add in the fact too that sometimes people think they are getting totally free health insurance from where they work but the fact is more times then not if you look at your checks they may be taking out as much as $200 for medical and then they match it. So you maybe already paying $200 for medical as it is. If you call an insurance company and they say insurance for you would be $350 you would really only be paying $150 over what you all ready are.

      I was just picking out numbers you might find after checking it would be cheaper to keep working and using your companies insurance. The main point is don’t assume this stuff and take a little time to check it out, add it up and make sure of whether it is really working. Don’t forget too to add everything – hidden costs and little things. It might take a little work and time but you can sometimes save a huge amount in the long run.

  12. nancy says

    When I got serious about getting out of debt, I was working full time, and in a very stressful job. I decided that I would do every frugal thing I could do to pay off debt, start saving, and live on much less. It was hard, but I cooked every meal at home, made bread, in a bread machine, bought clothing at Goodwill, used “The Tightwad Gazette” as my guidebook. Listened to Dave Ramsey every chance I could, and read one of his books. I didn’t feel deprived, and what was funny, is my co-workers were always complimenting me on my clothing! Doing all of these things, using coupons, planning meals around loss leaders, etc. allowed me to quit my job and stay at home. My life is infinitely better. I have been able to save quite a bit of money, paid cash for a one year old car and have been so much happier. My husband is happy that things at home are taken care of, he has great meals to eat, and isn’t married to a stressed out grouch!

  13. Janet C says

    I unexpectedly was let go from my job 2 months ago, praise the Lord I was already knowledgable in couponing & bargain shopping, so we curtail our eating out to about once per month – next week I’m going to double the amount we’d been putting into savings. I don’t like not having a job, but I’m glad for the wake up call to account for every penny spent & no longer make any impulse purchases. Losing my job is probably a blessing in disguise. We are doing fine, the Lord has our needs met & more.

  14. Cindy says

    We either spend time or spend money to get things done and if you are at home it is easier to spend the time. I think it is imperative that the home be the main focus of one of the parents, otherwise it seems that homemaking and child care become bones of contention.

  15. Cindi says

    I was in the military for years and outside of that, I have always had to work because I had married a man who refused to allow me to stay home once we were married. Due to other issues in the marriage we divorced. I have been a single mother of three most of my life including years in the military.

    I am not opposed to anyone wanting to work, that is totally their choice. But…I can tell you that I made a major move this year to another state and lived solely off of my income from disability from the military which is okay, but definitely not substantial by any means. I did not earn a full retirement due to complications with a head on collision with a drunk driver on my way to work and problems with fighting my husband legally for years due to his nature. (Sometimes the court system is just an extended weapon for abusive people, they actually help them to continue) Needless to say, the income is not substantial and would seem not to sustain me, at all.

    But, my point is, that I was able to completely live off of this check with only one child support in over six months payment for one child from my ex for a total of seven months coupled with my income tax check in January. Amazing!

    I paid all my bills during this time, paid off a credit card balance, paid rent, utilities, and totally stocked my pantry for six months. I did not eat out. I drove as little as possible. Had so much time to get my house in order, visit with my mother and family and it was so peaceful! I saved soooo much money by not working and getting my household life organized.

    Unfortunately, I have to go back to work because I am the sole income earner. But, I used the recipes from Livingonadime.com including the laundry detergent recipe (love it) and I can say, I will be able to sink a whole lot more $$$ back after this. I try to accomplish once a week cooking and freezing and this is going to help when I go back to work. I also had so many months to get an organized household plan down pat. It will be a breeze!

    Thank you so much for this website! God will richly bless you for sharing these ideas with those who really needed them in their lives. :-) Best wishes Always!

    • says

      Wow Cindi. We love testimonies like yours. You have had a long haul and you did a great job in dealing with it. You did what I wish more people would understand. We all have something we are dealing with or someday will have to deal with and instead of feeling sorry for yourself, giving in to fear and just plain giving up you faced the problem and spent your energy and time on how to deal with it and taking care of it one step at a time. I’m sure you had your days and your tears but you picked yourself up and kept going and have made it to the other side it sounds like. You deserve a medal for that and one even bigger then you could have gotten from the military.

  16. Cindi says

    Thank you Jill! That was so very sweet!

    Yes, you have to look ahead and focus on what is important and positive. And, as difficult as times may have been here and there, I am quite sure there are people who have experienced much more difficult situations than me. It is definitely all in a person’s outlook.

    Jill, you and Tawra have been a blessing to me and my family. I truly mean that and I have prayed that God bless you, Tawra and your families. Thanks so much again!

  17. Ann-Marie says

    Thanks so much for this article! I appreciate the points you’ve made. I am a SAHM now. For years I felt that I needed to find some way to contribute to our household income. I’ve tried working from home more than once but it didn’t work for me. I worked part time in the evenings for a few years. I thought it was perfect because I could take my children with me (I have four young ones) and still get paid. I didn’t realize the toll it was taking on my family. I brought home at least $200/month, depending on how many hours I could work. Not much, but it did help. I filled in for others as much as I could to raise my pay. Yes, it was helpful, but finally my children started letting me know how hard it was for them to be dragged along through the dinner hour, having a stressed out mom who bought $5 pizzas the nights she worked, and always being placed second to mom’s job. We couldn’t participate in school Family Nights becuase mom had to work. Their behavior started to deteriorate and finally they literally begged me to quit. I didn’t feel like I could becuase we had come to depend on the income, but I prayed and decided I had to do what was best for my children, even if it meant a few sacrifices. It has been the most amazing and faith building experience! My children’s behaviour has vastly improved, as well as our relationships. I have time to help them and focus on their needs after school instead of rushing them so I can be on time for work, and we have more time to do fun things together, like play games and have a family movie night. I am now homeschooling my daughter for kindergarten and there is no way I could have had the energy to do that while I was working, even though it was only a few hours in the evening. Most of all, about a week after I put in my notice, my husband came home and told me he had just gotten a raise which was almost exactly equal to the amount of what I had been bringing home! It was more than the typical raise where he works, so I definitely see God’s hand in that. He was letting me know that I need to trust that He will provide. Even if he hadn’t, the better home life for us would have been enough to make it worth me staying home. The time and energy spent was way more than what I gained. Everyone has a different situation, but I totally agree that you have to do some figuring and include not just dollar figures, but the cost in time lost at work versus what you can accomplish if you are at home.

    • says

      Anne Marie you are so right. We tend to so often add the cost of things in money and forget to add the cost in emotions and spiritual things. There is 3 parts to all humans but for some reason we tend to take care of only the one part mostly.

  18. says

    Years ago about 15 we needed a tax shelter. Don made too much to get any breaks in income tax and we were being nailed.
    We bought wool from a bankrupt store in another city and opened a shop here. It was great Don paid my salary and expenses on the store and since it never made money we got the breaks we needed.
    Then it was contract year so we sold the store and made money on that as well as the government owed us money so it was a win win for us.
    I went to work at a video store because I like meeting people. I quit that after a year because I took the owner to the labour board over some of his ideas. They were not right or humane.
    But when I quit we looked at what I was getting back on income taxes and what Don was paying. It made sense to not work since what I got back he paid. So we were no further ahead.
    I did not get health benefits which didn’t matter since Don’s company plan paid for everything and really the only thing we got from me working was a chance for me to get out of the house and pay CCP the government retirement savings.
    In the 35 years of marriage I have worked a total of 3 years and for what? Actually very little.
    Do the math but also keep in mind your personality. I loved being at home when my children were young but many just can’t take the isolation. And yes it can be very isolating even with all the activities now for children and parents. You meet other mothers and talk about recipes, lack of money and how lonely you are.
    The turning point and the real reason I quit was when my 8 year old son one night got sick all over his bed and I woke up with him sleeping on the floor in our room wrapped in a blanket.
    I felt so guilty that I hadn’t heard him and I considered myself a failure.
    I quit within the week and have never gone back.
    I guess I am over protective but that is just me.
    There is usually a way to do what you want so try and find the way and your life will be better for your family.

  19. Debbie says

    I have always thought of myself as a full-time working mom. I didn’t think I had it in me to stay home with the kids and be just that…a SAHM. That is until I lost my job a few years ago due to the automotive industry collapse.

    I was pleasantly surprised to find out how much I enjoyed being home with the kids and how much money we managed to save. I am less stressed and rushed and have spent time tightening up our expenses by shopping the sales, cooking from scratch and doing more things at home.

    I have since fell into a part-time job that I enjoy emensely. I only work Mon-Thurs 9:00am to 4pm. It’s a low stress job that gives me the people interaction that I need but still gives me the flexability to be there for my kids when they need me. Win-win in my book.

    The part-time job I have ends later this year but I have no fear or stress about not working now. We will just tighten our belts and spend lots of family time together. Love family time.

  20. Seanette says

    My husband and I do not have children, but after trying various combinations, we’ve come to the conclusion that I need to be home at least part-time to keep household needs running smoothly (much to his very materialistic mother’s disgust. To hear her tell it, one’s worth as a person is directly measured by one’s bank account). I’m currently working a very part-time job (about 10 hours/week), helping a disabled lady I knew from church. I’ve been easily able to schedule around my husband’s swing shift schedule and our only having the one car, and I don’t have child care to worry about, which helps. We’ve been on the current schedule for a very short time so far, but it seems to be working for us. I don’t know yet what the tax impact will be or how to figure that, but I think we still gain a little financially after figuring extra gas (clothes, meals, etc., remain the same), and I do get out of the house and have some social contact, which is emotionally helpful. I still have plenty of time for household needs, church activities, and my own interests. For me, this works nicely, but I realize that there is no “one size fits all” solution. You really have to assess the individual circumstances and personalities involved, with prayer for guidance, to figure out what works for YOU.

  21. Jan says

    Thank you for that article…I’m a work from home mom…and it has been nice, no doubt will we look back and say it was a great decision for our family. Also wanted to thank you ladies for this site as we reside in Canada and food costs can be very high…but we have taken out 900.00 per month food spending down to 500.00 a month…and we do not live off beans…just not buying prepackaged items…I never buy a 1L of juice unless I can get it for under 1 dollar. Our home will also be paid in full Dec.31st 2012…a nice feeling to be completely debt free by the age of 32. Keep up your great work and God bless.

    • says

      Way to go Jan. Sounds like you really have it together. I am so glad to hear you are from Canada too because we have many Canadians ask us if our ideas will work for them since the prices are different here and I try to explain we mostly teach principles and it really doesn’t have that much to do with actually prices so you are the perfect example of that. Thanks.

  22. Joan says

    I retired 7 years ago at 63 yrs old. A year before I made the commitment to do it I went to Soc. Sec. to see what benefit I would get. I had also made a job change at age 60 and receive a small monthly check from my previous employer Anyhow..for the whole year beforeI lived on that amount to see if I could do it without using any of my savings or 401. Believe it or not, I did do it and also saved a ton of money. Also got to see how much I spent just going to work. I kept track of every penny I spent during that year and didn’t buy anything I didn’t NEED! I have always been frugile and its really a blessing especially during these times. I love your site, Its right up my alley!!

  23. RC says

    WOW! You guys make me feel rediculously stupid! I am mom of 3 ages 9, 6, 4 and 6 months pregnant with #4, I work 55 hours at my home daycare, I have a fulltime job (45 – 60 hours pre week) as a house manager working with developmentally disabled in a group home, Im also the child care coordinator for a church nursery part-time (10-15 hours per week). My 9 year old son is on his 3rd refferal from school (in a 9 week period) and we are having problems with his disrespectful behavior and lying at home (this is also an issue for my 6 yo daughter) I’m very short with them at times and I seem to anger very quickly at things they do.

    You guys have oppened my eyes to see that this may be caused by all of my working and hours spent away from home as I am away alot during the night and morning because that is the hours I work at the group home (overnights).

    • says

      RC you aren’t stupid at all. I guess what I really admire in someone is the ability to say “hummm maybe what I am doing is not working so I need to try something different.” To me seeing and admitting there might be a problem is halfway there. I think it is great you can see you might have to change some things.

  24. says

    when becoming a parent whether a stay at home or a working parent know your own strengths and weakness.
    My strengths are I love being around children and they like me. It is the adults I have problems with.
    My weakness is I am not a disciplinarian. Knowing this I had to decide which battles were important for me to win and which ones I could let slide.
    One example of that is.
    He didn’t eat his cooked vegetables at meals.
    But he ate 2 bowls of salad and the fruit we had for desert.
    Since he was getting his vegetables was it worth my stressing him and myself to eat cooked vegetables?
    I decided it wasn’t that important. He felt he won a battle and went on to eventually loving cooked vegetables some meals.
    nobody won nobody lost. We both felt good.

    They were not allowed to play with matches or lighters. We smoke so lighters were all over the house. That was one battle I had to win.
    One time a neighbour kid came back mad as all get out because he had matches and wanted to start a fire in the bush behind his house. My son kept blowing out the matches till they were all gone.
    I think I won that battle.

    Smoking was another I had to win. I did neither of my sons smoke.
    One time my son was in to see the dr and he was asked if he smoked he said no. The dr said both your parents smoke why don’t you want to. He said “my mom said she would kill me if she ever caught me” another important battle won.

    One battle I never won which isn’t such a bad one is they never put their dirty socks in the dirty clothes. They were always in a pile beside their bedroom door.
    Even now when they visit I find socks in their rooms after they have left for home.
    Kind of nice that somethings never change.

  25. LISA says

    When we got married, I was the bread winner. When we had kids, I was the SAHM. We calculated that child expenses were too much and for the money made, it didn’t pan out. We had hardly anything in savings because we got our first home and had to put 10% down, which wiped out our savings. So I got a PT job for extra money. As time went on and the family grew, I still worked PT. Through the years, I was always told how I didn’t have to work at all and my income wasn’t much. Well, guess what? That PT job turned into full-time after my husband lost his job. I carry the benefits and can still watch the kids and cook/clean, due to a flexible schedule. I keep expenses low by eating less and cooking from scratch. I make my own dishwasher detergent. I turn the heat off during the day and wash full loads of laundry. I help the kids with school work and they like the attention. My husband found a job but you know what? He isn’t complaining about how little I make or how it doesn’t matter if I carry benefits. He comes to the dinner table with his plate ready and helps with household duties!! He watches how much he spends (he doesn’t buy Starbucks anymore!!) and seems happier. Who knew that a job loss could actually help in this way?

  26. Jen says

    My husband and I have a similar situation. When the economy went south he got laid off. Daycare even for our one child was very expensive and he got laid off of 2 more jobs in the next 2 months as well. We got really discouraged and talked about it and decided he should stay home with our daughter and that way we could eliminate that huge expense. Well here we are 2 1/2 years later and the economy is not much better (improving but still not good) and we are about to have our second child and are still planning on him staying home with both our girls. Some people are very critical of us because they don’t think its right the man stays at home but when times change if you want to make it you gotta change right along with them and most of all we are content with the situation.

    • Grandma says

      my son is a contract welder so when he works he works long hours makes big money but when the job ends so does the pay cheque. His wife works for the tax office so money isn’t really a problem but when ray is off work they cancel day care and he takes over.
      He loves it. when he works he could be at one end of the province with his family at the other end so he doesn’t get to commute home each night.
      So when he is home he has a blast getting to know his children all over again.
      One day he had his youngest in the sandbox and was playing with dumpt trucks and shovels someone came along and called him mommy in a very rude way. He stood up and brushed off his pants. The rude guy just looked up and said “it sure looks like fun” I think it could have been the fact that ray is 6’3″ weighs 220 and is very muscular. Ray just sat back down and continued to play with his son.
      big guys don’t have to say much to get the point across.
      If he had to do this permanently I am sure he would to heck with what people think.
      what ever makes you happy is the way to go.
      36 years ago when my boys were young the town we lived in you rarely saw men walking pushing baby buggies. Then the mining companies started laying off and the wives had to go to work so it became quite a common sight of men in grocery stores and at the parks.
      times change so do circumstances go with the flow.

  27. Marlies says

    I too work PT about 10 12 hours/week. My husband works (as an electrian)out of town staying in our travel trailer- but, there is lot rent to pay. He comes home on weekends when he can. I make sure that he has plenty of leftovers to take back with him and plenty of cookies for snacks. With his hours, it is quicker and easier for him to eat out, especially after working 12 hours a day or more. Me, I only run errands when necessary, make most everything from scratch and spend money on things when I need them– I do stockpile our panty and stock up on paper goods (toilet tissue, kleenex, and paper towels) and we buy our beef and pork from a meat market. No kids, no daycare and the only stress is what do I want for dinner during the week when it is just me. Do have a 96-pound puppy that loves any reason to go for a nice long walk.

  28. Sunny says

    We are new empty nesters. I have always worked at least part time and make decent money. However, now that the kids are gone, the budget is a little easier and we can make it easily on my husband’s income. I want to quit work and concentrate on things doing things at home to make things easier on both of us. I am feeling guilty for doing that now though and wonder if it’s being too selfish.

    • says

      Sunny I’m not sure why so many women feel guilty and selfish for staying home or wanting to stay home. You are suffering from what I call false guilt. It happens all the time we feel guilty not because we are doing anything wrong but because others have told us we shouldn’t do it just because they think that is the way it should be.

      You went to work probably with the idea to make your family’s life’s more comfortable and easier. You are wanting to stay home to make your family’s life’s more comfortable and easier. You are accomplishing the same thing just doing it in two different ways. Why should one way be more right then the other when they both do the same thing.

      I was just talking to an empty nester yesterday where both of them work. They are stressed to the max and meeting themselves coming and going. I too am an empty nester and can honestly say I am almost busier now with my family then when my kids were living at home.

      This person yesterday were really in a pickle. Their married daughter had to have emergency surgery and she needed them to watch her babies for her. I told them people are stressed because there is no one home now to do things like go get the car tags, deal with the bills, fix the meals, do the laundry. We are trying to squeeze these things into to a few hours a day after work. I don’t know when we are going to wake up and realize doing all of these things take as much time and can be as much work as a full time job. We can’t just make them an after thought at the end of the day and if we squeeze them in fine if not oh well.

      Families get stressed not having clean clothes, meals and living in a messy unorganized house. We are trying to fix the wrong thing. We think if we work more and longer hours making more money it will get rid of the stress but all it is doing is adding more.

      I am the first one my kids call when they are at the emergency room and need someone to come pick up the kids for them, I am the first one they call to watch the kids while they are at the bank trying to get a bank loan, to load the moving van or to bring cookies to a grandchild’s school party. I am the first one my neighbor calls when she needs some kind of help at her house. I can do so many things for others and those I love which I could never do if I worked. I would have felt guilty working.

      I always find it interesting that “women’s libbers” (sp) say you need to put yourself first, make sure you have “me” time, do things for your creative side etc. but yet if someone in your position decides to stop working and stay at home they can make you feel like you are being selfish.

      Besides have you thought maybe your family doesn’t need more of your money but more of you? Even if you don’t have grandchildren and your kids don’t need you you have done your job. You have raised your children, working hard at the same time and now are comfortable. It is time for you to reap the rewards of all you hard work and if that means for you staying at home and enjoying it I say go for it.

      One of the most freeing things which ever happened to me was when a pastor’s wife told me that false guilt is one of the things Satan uses to make God’s people miserable and so many people especially women fall for it all the time. You decide with your husband what is best for you two and then just go for it.

      Bottom line – making money and more money isn’t the total of what life is all about and where all or really any of our happiness should come from.

  29. Victoria Gibson says

    I went to work on 3rd when #5 was 3 weeks old. Even with me working we couldn’t afford childcare, and I figured this way we’d save money, WRONG! I was working 50 hrs. a week on 3rd and finally took a good long look at why we still never had any money. After the second car, insurance, fast food, a higher light bill (I was too tired to hang out clothes anymore), extra gas for the second car, more electricity, soap, and water to wash my uniforms, we were clearing $100 a month! Did I quit? Nope, in my sleep-deprived haze I just figured I’d get a SECOND job and we’d clear more money. That next month I would work 3rd for 50 hrs. a week, and then turn around and work either 1st or 2nd for another 30 hrs. a week. Well, it only took a month and I made myself so sick I had no choice but to quit both jobs. I’ve been back home now for 2 years, and we are actually faring better than when I worked! I homeschool the oldest 4, and I’ve even started college myself online. We are doing better physically, emotionally, and financially since I quit my jobs. A few people I worked with asked me how I was liking all my free time since I stopped working. I just look at them and say “When I get some free time I’ll tell ya!” :)

    • says

      Victoria I just finished writing a book on stay at home moms – should you and how to – and I had to chuckle at your last line because in it one the major things I pointed out was the point you made that it isn’t as easy as what some gals think it is going to be. You usually aren’t sitting around all day eating bon bons and having your children fan you. I have been on both sides and I can honestly say for me it was much less work going to work then staying at home even at that I did prefer staying at home.

  30. Sunny says

    Thanks for the advice Jill. We did decide to make the jump and I quit my job. Many people don’t understand it and question me about it. But so far, it has been a real blessing being able to be at home and take care of things that before created stress or just never got done.

    And no, there isn’t a lot of free time but it has been worth it!

  31. Stephanie says

    I’m a stay at home wife right now. It really depends on what your job is and how much you are paid. I’ve been working on job searching and I haven’t found a single job that would actually be worth it. Most of the entry level jobs out there pay next to nothing, require weird hours or weekend and holiday work, and are not convenient to home so they’d require extra gas costs. Not to mention the jobs themselves are pretty lame. I feel bad for wasting all that money on a college education now, but as there are no jobs in my chosen career field in our area, it saves much more money for me to stay home and focus on the finances.

  32. Stella says

    Just wanted to say that I totally agree with your article, and that more people should consider having only one ‘working’ family member.

    I am a nurse and my husband, until recently, has been unemployed for the duration of our marriage. He recently got a part time job (was looking for full time, but all he could get in this economy.) I had just bought him an SUV, which, luckily, he only works a short distance away, because his car eats much more gas than mine. His working does not pay any bills, and we still live entirely on my income. I pay his car insurance/repairs/etc. All he really gets from his work hours are gas money and a little extra spending money, so looking at it from our financial standpoint, it may seem a waste for him to work at all (honestly, it kind of is.) Though, his self-esteem is so much higher from finally being able to work, that I don’t say anything.

    We are luckily able to live quite well on my income alone. (It is just the two of us and our dogs.) We are able to save a little each month, and keep up with the bills and house payments.

    Luckily, if we decide to have kids, he has a very flexible schedule, so we wouldn’t have to pay for childcare.

    Honestly, it is so nice to not have to worry about making time to see each other, that that fact alone is worth him not working (or minimally working.) So many people have to worry about making time for each other because of crazy work schedules. It’s nice to know that after a long night at work, I can come home and see my husband. :)

  33. Chris says

    We’re very unconventional. Before we had kids, we both worked and saved one income. Our goal was to save about $1700/mo. for 5 yrs which equals about $100K. We bought property and I kept working while my husband built our house and worked a little. Our house and land cost about $90K total, and we have never been in debt.

    We moved into our new house a week before our baby was born…. long story, but we’re very happy that we never had a mortgage, car payment, student loan, or credit card debt in 19 yrs of marriage. “Baby” is 8 now.

    I try to recommend this to people, but the vast majority think they could never do it. Seems like it has to be a wild, personal dream in order for it to happen. Once I mention it, it’s not an original thought anymore so maybe they think it’s a one-time use idea. But I can tell you, the plan really worked, and I give God the glory for leading us to wise advice.

  34. Maggie says

    I think Rachel said it all. Some young people want now what it took us older folks years to get. My parents worked hard and saved to get a color tv when I was about 20 yet my brother went into debt to get one as soon as he was on his own. I think this still applies to some people today. There is no waiting and saving. It must be NOW!
    I am at a point in my life where I want to retire but my job covers our healthcare and my company has changed their retirement program for retirees and does not help with costs. It seems like it will cost almost my entire SS check to pay for healthcare. Yet, I am considering retirement because of all the good tips I have gotten from Jill and Tawra and know that I can keep us eating well and paying our bills because we don’t require much to make us happy. Just the savings on frugal shopping, cleaning our clothes, washing our hair, and saving on utilities will make up the difference in my travel expenses back and forth to work. My husband is already retired and has been doing some repair things around the house. I would like to do some of them inside and get things sorted and organized. Tough to do when you are working full-time.

  35. Angela says

    People get defensive about this? I used to, until I realized it was because I was jealous. My husband will not allow me to stay home, he thinks its gold digging. I wish it were an option for me, but its not.

  36. Janina says

    Hey y’all!

    I have been following your blog for quiet a while now! And I am a stay at home wife due to my husbands military career my goal is to cut our budget in half and make everything at home and I’m done wasting gas to turn in applications!!! The economy is not very good and I love cooking and cleaning for my husband! Thank you for a great blog!

  37. Terrie says

    I have been both a working single mom and a year after remarrying, became a stay-at-home mom. I didn’t have a choice about working when I became suddenly single again. Was blessed to qualify for what was then called JTPA (Job Training Partnership Act–not sure what it is now called) and able to get some job training. Went through a Clerical Training program for about 6 months, then got a good job. I started at $14,000 a year in 1992, which was pretty good money back then. Two years later (almost a year after I remarried), I was making $14,997 a year when I left to take care of my family. That came out to almost $7 an hour at a time when minimum wage was $4.25 an hour. Pretty good for that many years ago in Alabama, considering the fact that I do not have a college degree.

    It was really scary to leave that income, because it was almost half of our family income. (My husband had made just under $17,000 in 1993.) But our finances actually IMPROVED when I left my job and began working at home to care for my family. We had read Amy Dacyczyn’s Tightwad Gazette book and it inspired us to think outside the box and really evaluate the costs. Since we were paying for year-round child care for my child, and after-school and summer care for my husband’s son, it was costing a lot for me to continue in my job. We just didn’t realize it until it was pointed out to us.

    I love your newsletter! Thank you for challenging people to really evaluate how they spend their money. I wish more people would really look at how much their making compared to the costs of working. Coming home to work and giving up a paycheck made our family life so much more peaceful. I was able to take care of more things at home (even when we added in homeschooling), and take a lot of stress off my husband. Staying at home IS a hard job, and it can get lonely. Staying involved with friends and church groups helps lots.

  38. Shelly says

    Staying at home doesn’t mean that you’re not doing anything, it may mean you’re busier than some people want to be. I worked out one summer on another farm. Sure, I had a little more cash, but then I also had to drive 26 miles one way, be there by 7am and work as fast as a man no matter what. Some days in early spring it was so cold my hands cramped up and I couldn’t handle the tools and forget about taking a pause until the pain killer kicks in if you had period cramps.
    While other women are busy “working” for someone else, you can be busy “making” things for your family. I know someone who mirco-cleaned the barn and corrals while her daughter-in-law canned apples, guess who’s not going to have to buy a lot of fruit this winter? And it’s not Momma.
    A good read is “Better Off” by Eric Bende. He did an “experiment” about how much technology we really need. He did it to write a book,but there are a lot of thought provoking things in this book. He wasn’t headed for no technology, but actually “low technology”, something a lot of us employ everyday, but never think of. IE: washing dish cloths by hand instead of the washing machine gets them cleaner and smell free.

  39. Sandy says

    I am a stay at home mom. I get so bored being home alone all day with just cleaning, doing laundry, cooking, and some computer time to look forward to,and only seeing my husband and child at night and often no other people. I usually go for a drive at night just for something to do away from home and to get some fresh air and see that there are other people in the world. I have a hard time walking or I would go for a walk. I can’t seem to find a job in my field. My husband says I’m too old and nobody wants to hire me (over 50).

    • says

      Sandy if you can try to get our new free e book on Should I be a Stay at Home Mom. It has lots of ideas and answers for someone in your situation that may help or give you some ideas on what to do. In it I address the very thing you are going through.

  40. Andrea says

    I love this article and the comments that have been made so far. I have been married for over 20 years, have 4 kids and I have always worked outside the home. I would absolutely love it if someone would have some tip or trick for me on how to work less (I can’t even let my mind or heart go there about not working at all). I am a nurse and so I make fairly good money. I have no childcare expenses due to children are old enough to watch my youngest, I cook at home all the time, from scratch, I buy all clothes from garage sales or second-hand giveaways. No coffee, shopping online or stores (absolutely no time for that anyway), no jewelry parties and anything else that people sell for high prices and make a big profit. I can wear street clothes for my work (including my garage sale clothes that are clean and neatly pressed). I do not do fancy things with my hair or nails. I consider myself “painfully frugal”. No fancy phone (What does it mean that a phone is smart anyway?) My husband works, although his hourly wage is about one-half to one-third of mine. He works 70 hours a week. I am working to get our mortgage paid off and we have no other debt. What am I doing wrong? Thanks for input. Encouragement is welcome too.

    • says

      Andrea I wish I could help more but it is hard without knowing everything about your finances. It does sound like you are being very careful. Here’s here’s a couple of things that I am by no means saying you do but this is for others too and something to think about. Why it is hard to tell you where to cut back is often people will mention all the things they save on and are careful on but often don’t mention things they can’t really see because they think they are needs. They can be spending more on these then they are realizing.

      For example I know a woman who considers herself very careful and frugal. She cooks from scratch, uses coupons and shops at warehouses, doesn’t spend anything on entertainment, is careful with her clothes etc. Her husband has been unemployed for awhile and she only works part time. She didn’t know where else to save. Well she is very much into eating healthy buying a lot of things at health food stores which can be expensive, she goes to a special butcher which is more expensive, she goes to the mall shopping on a regular basis, they spend quite a bit on cars and they have a very expensive house. They also sent all of their kids to a private school.

      She never mentions these things just because in her mind they are things she considers needs and aren’t options to cut back on or give up. We all tend to do this that is why it is helpful to have some outside party go over your finances for you because you can get a more realistic view.

      You didn’t mention how much your mortgage is, what expenses you have for the kids and school or what area of the country you live in because all of those things can be a factor too. Not to mention medical needs. As you can see there is so much more involved.

      What you need to do is really write down for a week or a month what you are spending – are you paying a huge amount for your son’s shoes, or for a daughter to be in choir or are you setting aside money for college which is hurting you now. Be real honest and look even closer. I’m sorry I couldn’t come up with a better answer but it really is hard with out having more info. Also check out our web site and books more closely we have tons of ideas of where to save in different areas.

  41. Sharon says

    We are new empty nesters, I am 47 and hubby 50. A month ago I lost my job of 29 years. We have decided I will stay home. Our house is paid for and I used half of 401k to pay up large charge bill. Frugal living has become a game not a challenge. I only worked 20 hours a week, and basically all my income went to house payment any way. Any tips I am over looking? I too have guilt that people will think I am lazy. We have never been a family to work just for our toys. Thanks for any tips or comments.

    • says

      Sharon you are like me you have a strong work ethic and we feel guilty if we aren’t working all the time. I felt so guilty when I first got sick and couldn’t work and other people didn’t help at all by making me feel even more guilty. I had to actually learn not to feel guilty about it. One of the things I finally learned was I knew in my own heart that I was doing nothing wrong and that I was exactly where God wanted me to be for the moment – that was all that mattered. When I finally got to the point of not worrying what other people thought of me it was the most freeing thing I ever did. I realized if they weren’t accusing me of being lazy it would be something else.

      Besides staying at home will be more “work” then you imagine. I have no kids or husband at home and yet I have to get up early and go go all day long in between being sick. There is always something I have to deal with. It is like I wrote in my new book Should I Be a Stay at Home Mom, you really aren’t being lazy you are just destressing you and your husband’s life a little. We think nothing of going for a massage to help relax us or going out for the evening or on vacation – those are all acceptable ways of dealing with stress but if someone stays at home to run the household and do things like cleaning, running errands, taking care of the bills, appointments…. so there is less stress for the home and the wage earner, we frown upon it. You especially deserve it when you have discipline yourself so well as far as your money goes. You are now reaping the harvest of it. Even the Bible talks all the time about the law of sowing and reaping.

      True laziness is going to have a manicure to help yourself to relax and you don’t have the money for it or going shopping because you are stressed. None of things take any discipline and discipline is hard work. I stopped going by the dictates of others a long time ago because I found first of all they were rarely right and usually themselves just went along with the crowd so they would be accepted or not feel guilty and second of all only I knew what was best for me, my circumstances, and my family.

      One last thing. I find it interesting how what we find a “sin” or laziness now because we stay at home, a hundred years ago they thought if you didn’t stay at home you were an awful person. It just goes to show you need to do what is best for you and not what is the latest thing that others think is right.

      So relax and enjoy this new time in your life. You deserve it.

      • Sharon says

        Amen! I totally agree that I am exactly where God wants me to be. When I was at work, I was showing early signs of repetitive motion injury from so many years of typing and mousing. Most of those pains are gone after only a month off. Also what you mentioned, I am taking over a few more of my hubby’s duties for him, like taking garbage out. I do handle all bills and shopping. I was also available last week for my elderly mom (76) when her car was out of commission. I told her not to buy a new car if this one acts up again. I am sure my siblings will be glad I am off then! Thanks for your advise. I will not worry what others think any more!

        • says

          I see you understood exactly what I was talking about. The more you are home the busier too I think you will become until you will think “How in the world did I work and do all of this before” the thing is you did it all but you and the whole family was more stressed then you realized while doing it. We tend to blame the world and society we live in for all of our stress when much of it is of our own making. I am so glad you knew what I meant.

  42. Bea says

    It would be nice if people would just quit rash judging others based on what they see of their lifestyles from the surface. There is always much more involved than is seen on the surface. Sometimes when you find out the whole story YOU feel guilty for judging others on what you think you see and know, but really don’t. We all have free will and our choices are ours, and don’t need to be explained to others.

  43. Andrea says

    Jill- In your post to Sharon, I am sure that you were trying to help her feel less guilty, which is good, but I don’t agree with your last statement: “You deserve it.” If Sharon stays at home with her family, that is good, but it not because Sharon inherently deserves it. Who is to say what people deserve? That gets into the whole web of entitlement, and I don’t want to go there. We all think we deserve (and nice people like you can agree) more than what is really necessary. I may think that I deserve a newer vehicle because I need reliable transportation, etc, but I really don’t deserve it. It may be the right thing for me to do in purchasing a newer vehicle, but I really will not get it out of deserving it.

    • says

      Andrea years ago when you would say someone deserved something it had a whole different meaning and that is the way I was using it. I know what you are talking about and agree with you 100%. The attitude of many today who think they deserve this and that does get my goat all the time too. When I said that Sharon deserved it I was using it in the old fashioned context of reaping and sowing where she had worked hard for years, was careful of her money and this was her reward from all her hard work. In other words she really deserved it for all the hard work she did and should not feel guilty and enjoy her reward.

      We have over used certain words and misused certain words that they have lost all their true, real meaning or they have so been used out of content that it has gotten twisted. I agree with you in this world of “entitlement” attitude this has been the case. Still the law of reaping and sowing applies in that you do reap what you sow but sometimes things happen and you don’t so of course we should not always expect, demand it or have a pity party when it doesn’t happen. At the same time we should be excited for and rejoice with others when it does happen. That is what I was doing with Sharon.

  44. Andrea says

    Thanks for that clarification, Jill. I am old enough to understand the older meaning of deserve, but many people don’t! Or they are old enough to remember it and choose to adopt modern culture to justify doing whatever they want under the umbrella of entitlement. And yes, I am happy for Sharon. I am sure that she does deserve (in the old fashioned meaning) her rest from many years of hard labor.

    • says

      I really have to be careful because often when I write I have to “translate” or try to think in today’s way and that isn’t always easy and can get me into trouble so I’m glad you understand what I was meaning.

  45. Terrie says

    I agree that Andrea should not feel guilty about staying at home. Entitlement is not a good thing, and I see that so often these days. But I do believe in enjoying the fruits of our labor, and our homes and families. Everyone makes choices about their finances and their willingness or unwillingness to trade time for money. We should not judge others for their choices. Most people who think us stay-at-home moms are not “working” or providing a valuable service for our families have never tried it.

    I have been a single working mother after my husband left. I remarried and a year later became a stay-at-home mom. Our finances actually improved when I had more time to care for our home and wasn’t paying for child care.

    I have been working part-time for 3 years now, though homemaking and homeschooling are still my main job. We are usually busy at work, but that job is still a breeze compared to my full-time job at home.

  46. Melissa says

    This has come at a perfect time for me. I am in the process right now of trying to decide whether or not to quit my job.
    Society tells me that there is no way I should quit. My three children are older(oldest 2 in college and youngest in 8th grade) and no longer need child care. I was a SAHM for 14 years. I was home from the time my oldest was born until my youngest started 1st grade. I LOVED IT. Being home feels “right” to me. I’m not a materialistic person who wants/needs “stuff” to make me happy. I am happy just to observe God’s beauty around.
    Right now I’m working for the school district, which means I have summers off and all school vacations off. Society tells me I’m “lucky” that I have that time off and I shouldn’t feel like I deserve to have ALL of my time off.
    My husband runs a business from our home. He is always needing an errand ran or someone available to answer the phone when he is away. I would be able to help him if I didn’t work at “real” job.
    Anyway, I’m still trying to decide. The extra money DOES make a big difference with our finances. Thanks for posting on this subject!

  47. Bea says

    Jill, You’re welcome for the recipes. I think it’s so much fun to make frugal, but nice things, especially to give as gifts.
    Also, thank you for all the kind and warm-hearted answers you always give everyone! You are truly a Christian lady and I’ve learned so much from you!

  48. wildk says

    I am a SAHM and have also homeschooled both of our daughters for nine years. We live on very little. I work very hard to keep costs down to maintain our home and hobby farm. I have a very different problem than most people commenting. Though my husband of 19 yrs sees the fruit of homeschooling, he judges peoples worth by the money they make. That is EVERYONE, our daughters included. No matter how much I SAVE our family and make our home a rich and comfortable place, he still only sees what I DON’T do. In this case, make money. Any suggestions as to how to help us? When I look around I see everything we have. When he looks around he sees everything we lack. I know to put my trust in Christ as the Provider (whom my husband does not know) but this situation makes for a lousy relationship and stressful living.

    • says

      Since the problem seems to be with your husband – although of course I don’t have all the facts so can’t really tell properly – unless he sees his problem and asks for help there really isn’t much a person can do. We can’t change other people especially if they aren’t asking for help.

      You really said it all in your last line. If your husband doesn’t know Christ as his Savior then he really can’t see when he is doing something wrong. This is what the Bible means when it says people are blind and can’t hear. You can say all you want about the subject but it is as if you are talking to a deaf person.

      Now that doesn’t mean things are hopeless. I use to pray that God would change my situation and to make them better for me but I realized that was not the way I was suppose to be praying. I was suppose to be praying that my husband would have a change of heart, that God would give my husband wisdom in all matters concerning us and our family. Praying that God would change my situation and make things better for me is kind of a selfish way of praying – I wanted to make things better for me – where praying for my husband the way God wanted me too not only would help my husband but in the long run it was best for me too.

      You would be amazed at what results a wife can get when she selflessly and with unconditional love prays for her husband. Like I said, pray not only for his salvation but for him to have wisdom. Then rest in God and trust Him to fight the battles for you. Don’t be surprised though if God shows you to change many things in your own life while you are doing this. I know He did with me. I was so shocked because I thought I had it together in the area of being a good wife and He let me know I needed to work on myself and leave my husband in His hands.

      Last but not least ask God to teach you to learn to love your husband unconditionally. So many married couples assume they love their spouse but there are very few who love unconditionally. That is where no matter what you love them. A good test of this is I ask – If your spouse can not return your love, can not fulfill physical, emotional, or spiritual needs at different times in your marriage will you truly love them anyway. We may find that hard or unreasonable but that is the kind of love the Bible talks about and the way Christ loves us. That is the kind of love God honors and will eventually reward you for.

  49. Sharon says

    Ugg, I need help. I recently wrote about losing my job of 29 years. Today I got the phone call I knew would eventually come. My oldest daughter called (she lives 5 hours away). She asked how the job situation was. I told her that dad and I discussed and that I stopped collecting unemployment and was going to stay at home now. I can’t believe how mad she got! She says I am too young (48) and that the longer I am off the harder it will be to find a job. She thinks we will ask them for money when we retire. My husband and I gamble once a month. Always with coupons! Usually $10 free slot play and $10 off the buffet , each of us. We save carefully and are frugal and this s our only fun. We put $50 in each casino pouch and leave all other money at home. This is our ONE fun thing. We don’t eat out, never go to movies, never go any where. My daughter says we are no longer “allowed” to gamble. Besides my small IRA, hubby has one at work and he has an old one of $35,000 that he starts getting in 5 years, at 55. I also own 1/4 of my mom’s home and I know I will have that and inheritance by the time we both are done working. How can I handle my daughter? I can’t help it but it really bothers me what she thinks of me. I have always been a bigger girl so I have the prejudices of that already against me. Who wants to be thought of as fat and lazy?? Sorry I ramble, just so upset.

    • says

      Oh Sharon it is that false guilt thing again. I know it hurts when your grown kids say things like that to you but it sounds like you have got everything together just fine for your finances so she really doesn’t have anything to holler about. It isn’t as if you and your husband both have quite working. Years ago people would have hollered at you because you worked and didn’t stay at home. You can’t keep going along with what society or your family wants you to do all the time. You know what is best for you right now and to be honest I really don’t think your daughter has a right to holler. The only case where she might is if you had made a habit of borrowing from her in the past and it doesn’t sound like you have so she shouldn’t say anything but be happy for you. If she can’t then she has something going on in her life which she needs to deal with.

      If the tables were turned would she want you on her case every time she made a decision about her job or how she should spend her money? Probably not. As long as people are not asking for hand outs or depending on others and have their finances under control no one even your own children have no right to tell you how to spend your own money or in your case whether to work or not.

      Bottom line – you can be miserable and try to find a job and work and be unhappy about it every day and your daughter will be all happy or you can stay at home the way you planned and be happy for a change and your daughter can be mad for a bit. She will get over it and if she doesn’t then like I said there are other worst things wrong.

      Plus you have to gain some confidence too so you aren’t easily swayed with what others think even your own kids or family. I tell you until I decided I was no longer going to worry about what others (family members mostly) think I made myself miserable and sick all the time. Hang in there you are doing nothing wrong and probably something very right. Don’t be swayed. If you had two daughters and one said you should be working and the other one said you shouldn’t what would you do then. You see each person will have a different opinion from yours and some will agree with you but none of them live in your shoes. You don’t need to explain yourself to any of them. As a matter of fact the less said the better. Just simply say we have decided it is best for me not to work right now. Don’t argue or discuss pros and cons. You have decided – it is finished.

      • Sharon says

        Actually I do have two daughters. The younger one is a senior in college. She sees first hand how we handle our money since we still help her out with things for college like groceries and car insurance. When I told her what her sister said about not being able to gamble she laughed and said “that’s interesting”. I am feeling better and I have decided to cut older daughter some slack. She is getting married in May, moved 5 hours away in February, and just a few weeks ago finally found a new job using her major. I know she is stressed.

        But Jill , thanks so much for your help. I know I am new but I hope you do t get sick of me!

        • says

          No way. I won’t get sick of you. I am always uncertain answering questions when you don’t all that is happening.I just hope my answers help a little.

      • says

        Just my .02 Sharon but it really makes me mad when people react like that to women staying home. Isn’t everyone always trying to destress their lives? So when we decide not to work to take the stress of our family they get mad. I personally think about 90% of people who get angry with women staying home are doing so just because they are stressed and want to stay but don’t think they can. I would say hang in there, stick to your guns and ignore what she says about it.

        • Sharon says

          Thank you both so much! I am sticking to my guns. Since I just made the decision definite this week there is still one sister who does not yet know, and she happens to still work at the place I got released from. I know she will have her opinion but I am prepared since she will be jealous she can’t . She carries the insurance. You ladies have been a true blessing to me. Thanks for helping , and yes you did help!

    • says

      Sharon I should have mentioned this first but after many years of having a grown daughter and a daughter in law I have learned to try not to react to them when the come unglued at me for something. I did this to my mom and have found that once in awhile they do this to me and that is if I was PMSing or all things weren’t right in my world I would dump or get made at my mom because when I was coming apart at the seams I knew she would still love me. This could be part of the reason your daughter reacted too. I have found when they scold me for something sometimes they are just frustrated with things in their life and I get the brunt of it.

      I know it doesn’t seem right but it is all part of the maturing process. Some day they will wake up and say “I can’t believe I said that to my mom or didn’t understand>”

  50. Sontag B. says

    I agree with the article, because I am a stay at home girlfriend…My boyfriend and I do live together, and when I moved in he told me that he’d prefer that I dont get another job, because he is making enough to cover us both. During the day, we spend time together mostly at home & go out maybe twice a week. Whether it be to run an errand of splurge on a date…He sleeps during the afternoon, while I clean & organize. & when he goes to work over night, I sleep.

    Even though I am not working for a paycheck, I clip coupons, cook & bake a lot of things from scratch, and have joined 3 verified survey taking sites! Each site can be linked to a paypal account, which is initially linked to your bank account! In this past 3 weeks alone I have added about $12. Which is not a ton, but through these sites I can make about $20-$30 extra dollars a month & a little extra is better than nothing at all.

    I also like to request any and every free sample that I can have mailed to my house, most of which are travel or full size!

  51. Squid4Life says

    At four month prego I realized I would be a single mom and had to act fast with my finances, thankfully I’ve always been frugal and lived far below my means. I moved back to my hometown and bought a house, worked from home and made even more money staying home than I was working. It made me realize all those years I have wasted, stressed out working 2,3 jobs and not having any time for myself were not to be repeated. I was really scared at being jobless and being a new mom with no support system and that was really hard to swallow but I just sat down one day and said “Okay, we know what the problem is no use crying over it, now how do I get out of this hole that’s right in front of me?” I planned and planned for a month and viola! I had my way out and was still able to stay home. I recently returned back to work and my daughter hates it but I just really needed a break from working from home to just talk to other adults 24/7. I know that sounds selfish but the wanderlust was building and if I didn’t get out and do this I probably would have become a very mean mom. I love what I do and I still get to see my daughter right after she comes out from school, I do have to do a lot more cooking on weekends now though, sigh, but it’s worth it. Come June my princess and I will spend weekends traveling once more, she misses the “big choo-choo train” LOL life is as hard or as easy as you make it, dont ever let anyone put you down as lazy because you chose to give your family the best of you by staying home. Being a SAHM is a LOT MORE WORK than just working out the home, this coming from someone who’s been on both sides of the fence. Thank you for the great article

  52. Mary Jane says

    I took on a part-time job a few years back, that I loved, and the job turned into half-time. I was beginning to suspect that the benefit gained from the income was in jeopardy, and had my eyes really opened when I realized that I was paying half of my net cheque for the gas to just go to work. Since the job was just above minimum wage, I was working half a week at half the minimum wage. I also was running out of time to do a lot of the things that I do at home to save money. The straw that broke the camel’s back, came the day that I had off, and I decided to harvest my overgrown rhubarb patch and make some jam. Since I already had canning supplies from previous years, and bulk sugar in the house, I decided to count what I made and compare it in price to buying it in the store. Basically I was giving myself an hourly wage for my time spent on the project. I made over 40 jars of rhubarb jam in 4 hours. The cost in the store would be about $4 per jar in the store, so I created $160 worth of product in 4 hours. I made $40 per hour, by staying home that day. The Tightwad Gazette used to calculate true value this way all the time in it’s books and newsletters.

    • says

      This is so true Mary Jane. We have written many things about adding up every little detail of your expenses when you work and see if it really does pay or not. We have found that unless you have an extremely high paying job most of the time it doesn’t pay and in some cases you are even losing money by working.
      We have been asked about this so often in the past and it has been such a popular subject that last year I finally wrote a book on it. It covers almost everything there is about the pros and cons of working, how to decide if you should keep working – the emotional, physical and financial things, how to adjust to staying at home, how to answer the question “So where do you work?”. We even discuss moms who work, like how to juggle things, dealing with guilt, when you should work etc.
      Here is the link to it if anyone is on the verge of making a decision one way or the other. It is only $2.99 and might save you many headaches and is cheaper then a bottle of aspirin. : ) Should I be a Stay at Home Mom

  53. Cat says

    Just a comment on the very good article.
    I was a stay-at-home mom of 2 boys.
    I gardened,canned,garage sailed for the kids clothing and household furnishings,made meals from scratch,packed hubby’s & the kids’ lunches every day. We only ate out on special occasions like Anniversaries & birthdays. Hubby cut the kids hair and repaired and maintained our vehicles and other household appliances.
    I’ll never forget the time we were at a gathering of people from hubby’s place of employment and he had introduced me to some of them. One woman with a superior attitude (this was a gathering of medical personnel but hubbs is NOT a doctor)obviously knew I didn’t work there and asked me in a condescending voice “And what do YOU do?”

    Don’t remember exactly what I said…something like I take care of my children. My response should have been Domestic Engineer…but that term hadn’t been coined back then. Those same people who looked down their nose, jokingly accused my hubby of selling drugs because between what he earned and what I saved…we payed off our house, always had what we needed, always gave to our church,plus were able to save a bundle.
    To be honest, I DID get a job after BOTH boys were in school. But for 13 years staying home really did make a difference.
    We were able to retire early but still live the way we did when the boys were little….garden,can,yard sales,thrift shops,scratch cooking, eating out only on special occasions etc. We even get to travel where it’s warm for the winter. It’s not always what you earn but what you save.
    I’m always surprised what we can get by on.

  54. Lynn says

    My husband and I have recently taken a good hard look at our spending, and we were quite dismayed. We both earn great money, but spend WAY too much of it. While working doesn’t make us spend more money for the most part: I work 2 miles from our home, husband has a company car, we pack lunch every day, I can see where being home is way more frugal. You have more to plan meals, get things done around the house. When working, everything is in a huge rush and there is no time, so when running errands, shopping, etc., we don’t take the time to plan properly and end up flying by the seat of our pants and spending more than we should. Our “entertainment” cagetory in the spending spreadsheet is the one way out of control, and that needs to be reeled in.

  55. says

    I love how this discussion is going, with respect for everyone being in a different place, and sometimes in a different place at different times.

    Sometimes I second-guess my own decision to be home right now. All of our children are grown. Even though I home-schooled them, there were times, off and on, when I had to work too, at least part-time; so now I say, “NOW I stay home?” (like shaking my head or questioning myself). However, they still need me in various ways.

    But, in addition to saving on gas, etc., by being home, I decided to use this past summer to de-clutter, and we were able to clear out our storage unit, saving $230 a month on that. We also found other ways to cut down our monthly bills, bringing the total to about $550 in savings that I don’t think I would have found if I had been working.

    And now I am tracking our spending…not just “spent so much” at Target, or Giant, but how much of the Target expenditure was for groceries, drugs, treats. I’m hoping by tracking, I can save find ways to save even more money. If I can save another couple hundred, I will be saving as much as if I worked a job. But still, I tend to question that I “should” be working. So thank you for this post!

    Also, just to clarify, I totally understand that many women do need to work, or even have a job that they enjoy. And I may be joining them again at some point. But I think we need to each rest and be comfortable in what we think is best at each season of our lives.

    • says

      You know Margaret my kids are now gone from home too and I am staying at home also. I work on the web site some but it is more to help out then real work. Even if I was physically able to go to work if I could get by without doing it I would stay at home because my kids and grandkids need me now almost more then ever. I spend close to 6 hours a day on the phone with kids and grand kids calling all the time to talk, ask advice or to touch base with. My daughter in law said they liked to call me because I was available and other moms aren’t. They are too busy with work and all kinds of other things. I know some have to work and I did for awhile too but I think it is a shame more moms don’t realize how important it is to “be there” for their kids and grand kids when a crisis or even everyday life happens. Even little things like when my grand kids were old enough to stay at home for the first time – as soon as mom and dad started walking out the door – they were on the phone calling or skyping me and we talked the whole hour and a half mom and dad were gone. They weren’t scared but I could tell they felt better having me on the phone with them. Then my 17 year old grandson called today from the auto place where he was waiting for his windshield to get fixed. He wasn’t coming apart from the seams but he enjoyed the reassurance from me that his teacher would understand the situation. It is all these types of things that we never think about or understand how important they are to our family when we go to work. You being there can calm many little things that seem so big to those they are happening to.

      • says

        Jill, thank you for your reply. Sometimes it’s just hard not to second-guess oneself, and as I said, I may have to go back to work at some point in the not-so-distant future; but for now this is my season to “be there” for people from my home. And everything you said makes sense. :)


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