Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Savings of Staying Home

Right off the bat when I quit working, we did lose money, but not as much as one would expect. No more filling up the gas tank three times a week (I lived quite a distance from where I worked). No more store bought snacks or lunches for those days when I didn't or couldn't bring a lunch or snack. Finally, although I find joy in giving and am glad that I can contribute, there were now fewer cash gift contributions to make towards whatever occasion a work place collection was being administered. Because I worked in a large and loving library community, there was a collection almost every week. But one of the biggest savings came in clothing.

I don't dress that differently from what I wore to work to what I wear anyplace else. The main difference is quality and newness, so my clothes with the least amount of wear were the ones that went to church and work, while some old dresses and skirts are really what I wear for day to day cleaning. I had spent so long making sure I had decent professional clothing on hand that it took a few months to remember that I no longer had to dress like that every day. I could now wear my denim skirts, slightly worn tops, and flip flops. Yay! Of course, I can't wear that for every occasion either, so the first time I crafted a nice church-worthy outfit for under $25 I felt like a champ. The only thing about store-bought clothing is that it rarely lasts as long as the items I have sewn, so I definitely want to keep sewing as time allows.

The rainy day we've been saving for.
Another thing I noticed after Duckling came along was that food prices soared last year. Remember, I had spent a year in bed being sick and not getting out much. Then,  I suddenly went to the store and thought What happened here? I read a couple of sources that described low cost meal systems, and found that they fell into two areas. One is the extreme couponing model, where you denounce all brand loyalty and after running to ten different stores with a fistful of ads and coupons, wind up with five boxes of cereal and ten bottles of salad dressing for free. The other technique involves a combination of mass bulk buying and limiting yourself to certain recipes that work with the hundred pounds of chicken legs in your freezer. I have ended up doing what I always did, which was carving out a middle ground that uses a little of both strategies. By using coupons for products we like and use and keeping up with the sales at the 4-5 stores where I regularly shop (two grocery stores, two drug stores, and Target) along with produce stands and a bulk food store, I'm able to make the same delicious meals we always enjoyed, at a decent price.

I still love articles where ladies talk about how they make ends meet and how they feed their families on pennies a day. There is always something usable there, and if not, then I can use the inspiration. Every family has different priorities about what they consider to be essential, and once you know what those are, you can set about finding the best deals and leaving the rest. 

Our formula would not work for everybody. Our lifestyle does not include a satellite or cable television package, car payments, smart phones, cosmetics, or even paying for water and trash removal, with those last two being based on where we live.We're also blessed with an extremely low heating bill every winter thanks to our wood stove and a large amount of wood split by my husband and his family.

The money we've saved by my staying home is off-set to a point by some new expenses. Items for the baby, additional health check ups, and the rare baby sitter. Also, we are still generous when it comes to giving to those who are in need. Because saving means you have more to give, when you live simply so that others can simply live.

8 comments:

  1. I was in a similiar situation, all my job did was get paid for me to work there in the end.. I was forking more money out for the day care and driving that it was not worth working.. Dont get me wrong I enjoyed the people I worked with, now that I am older I see the importance of how GOD needed me home to be here for my first real job and that is to care for my family... and my husband always said if I work that is my choice, but I shouldnt have too.. and its not like we lived beyond our means because we didnt...

    BTW that is ONE ADORABLE PHOTO!

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    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Barn Swallow. I agree that when God gives us children they must be our first priority. Like I've said, one size does not fit all, but this was how God worked things out for me and I feel blessed to be able to be at home.

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  2. Love it - and not many think of this but I really count mental sanity as a savings. I can't remember if it was here or where that I mentioned this one time...I remember seeing Jamie Lee Curtis on a talk show a lonnnng time ago and she was talking about how she quit working once she had her kids. She said she tried to do both but she wasn't the mom she wanted to be, the wife she wanted to be, the friend she wanted to be, and basically the person she wanted to be. It still sticks with me to this day because when I get too busy juggling too many things, I think, 'Am I really being the person that I want to be?'

    It feels good to cut corners and live within your means. I'm happy to see you where you're the most content. ♥

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    1. Oh Beth, I don't know that I'm getting to be the person that I want to be every second of the day. There are plenty of things I could have gotten done before that now seem impossible with a baby needing care. But that just goes to show that you can't be everything to everyone all of the time. You make an excellent point about mental sanity as savings! My savings account of sanity is very important. :)

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  3. A wonderful post,....there is much wisdom in what you have shared...blessings

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  4. Good post, and you are wise to figure out what works for YOU. I can't do extreme anything due to allergies and limited time. I do what I can, where I can, to live frugally and save money. It means we eat a lot of potatoes and rice, but doing that means we can have fresh fruit and veggies a lot of the time too which is important to our family. We aren't stuck up about wearing our clothing till it's complete "shot", we shop thrift stores, make a lot of home-made gifts, up-cycle and try to survive in this expensive world with our 5 kiddoes as best we can. ;-) I have often said that I don't know how we could afford cosmetics, hair styling/coloring, or many other things that some folks seem to think are just a "normal" expense.

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    1. Shelley~ Thanks for your kind words. In this case, wisdom came from experience. There is so much more to learn.

      Hope Anne~ Women like yourself with large families and sound priorities have long been an inspiration to me since childhood. You completely get my point about examining ourselves for what is a necessity versus a luxury. Those things differ amongst families, but we all truly need food, clothes, shelter, and time for our families and God. Everything else gives us room to make adjustments, and I find it can be an exciting challenge on managing that margin.

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  5. I think America as a whole is going through a pretty bad time right now and most of us are just trying to survive somehow, but the important thing is to try and be as happy as one can be. Richard

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