The decision to stay at home with your kiddo is a tough one… especially if finances are a concern. I knew that when the day came to have children I would want to stay at home, but wasn’t sure what my place would be in life, who my baby’s daddy would be, and therefore, if my pretend husband’s finances would afford me the opportunity to be a stay at home mommy. When Wesley and I found out we were expecting I had 2 of the 3 factors determined… I knew who my baby’s daddy was and I knew his finances. We never discussed daycare versus me staying at home during my pregnancy. It was really just a given that I would go back to work. It wasn’t until we met Lincoln for the first time that I knew there was no way I could go back to work. He was just too tiny and he was ours and there was NO WAY someone else was going to be able to love my son the way that I knew I could and would.
I knew I had to get creative in my approach to Wesley about my plans. So here’s our story about how I’ve been able to stay at home with my son for the past 14 months, how we were able to financially make it work by cutting corners, and some easy things to do if you’re contemplating staying at home or just want to save some money.
I knew my first 3 months after having Lincoln were taken care of by money I had saved during my pregnancy and my maternity leave from my previous employer. As I started to near the end of my 3 months maternity leave I began to panic. Wesley was okay with me not going back to the corporate world as long as I was able to find some source of income. So I decided to look to Care.com and seek out a family that would be okay with me watching my son and their child. A fabulous family reached out to me who had a son (Luke) that was only 6 months older than Lincoln and it was truly a perfect fit. I was able to be with my son while he was making dramatic changes daily and I was able to contribute financially to our household by watching Luke. I did that for about 3 months, but it was extremely challenging to watch 2 children under the age of 1.
After a few months of being a nanny, Wesley was able to see how emotionally and mentally drained I was so he told me to take a few months of enjoying just our son at home. Obviously I was elated to officially be a stay at home mommy! Money was still a factor and concern so I started selling clothes, sunglasses, and purses on Ebay as a way to bring in some extra money. In addition, we switched to cloth diapers and I started making my own baby food. These 2 things alone were a HUGE savings! After 6 months of disposable diapering we had spent more than $480. We spent only $200 on our entire stock of FuzziBunz cloth diapers that will easily last through the end of Lincoln’s diaper days and hopefully through future babies as well. And by my $480 6 month estimation, we would have easily spent close to $3,000 on disposable diapers until he turned 3…let’s face it, some boys take longer to potty train. The math proved to be a huge savings on the baby food as well. It wasn’t astronomical, but every bit of savings was beneficial to us. I gotta say, it took me a while to master pureeing my own food and was a bit messy from time to time… especially the explosion of peas…but the savings have been worth it. And yes, this is a terribly embarrassing photograph of me.
After a few months of me staying at home solo with Lincoln, Wesley got used to the finances being as they were and began to fully embrace me being at home. In fact, he loves having us waiting for him in the driveway everyday when he pulls up to the house. I think it brings him joy being able to provide for his family and making me happy at the same time. Staying at home can definitely be a strain on the finances, but if you are creative in saving money and finding unique ways to bring in money the rewards are so much greater than the strains it puts on finances. I have definitely had to make sacrifices…no more pedicures, no happy hours, and definitely no random dinners out; however, I found the Ped Egg for my feet, I have my girlfriends over for Vino that just so happens to be in a box (Big savings there! $14.99 for Bota Box Wine, which equals 4 bottles!), and I have became an excellent chef! So you too can save money while staying at home… you just have to find what works for you!
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