SAHMs, I need some help...long

Ok, ladies. Currently we are a two income household barely making ends meet. We are able to save about $600/month, put $50/month in an IRA, $100 in a college fund for my stepson, and the rest is spent on day to day living, which includes $620 daycare and paying off a $2k credit card balance. Well, in October we are moving due to DH signing with the Air Force, so we will be taking a drastic paycut; like half our income. I am trying to make sense of it in my mind, but I'm not sure if I want to put Rei in daycare once we move. I'm also not sure if we can make it as just a one income household and trying it out for the next 3 months isn't an option because we need my income plus his to pay bills.

With DH being military I will need to be mobile every 3-5 years for relocation. Also we plan to have another child in the next 3-5 so that will just add to our COL expenses. I know that will I was on maternity leave we spent less on groceries and eating out because someone was home to cook, so I know we can save money there. Even when combined with saving on daycare expenses and maintaining double baby supply stashes, it does not negate the benefit of having the second income. Currently we are paying for health benefits which we won't be once he is active duty.

I am trying really hard to have the credit card debt eliminated before we move, but it seems like something comes up every month and I use the card, but then don't transfer the money from savings to pay it off. (It hurts to see the savings decrease, especially after we murdered it while out on maternity leave.)

Even if I do decide to go back to work, I will be unemployed until after the first of the year, because I will need to set up our household and get all the paperwork organized while he is in training, not to mention wrangle an almost one year old.

I have been looking at part time work. Since DH is a nurse, once he finishes training (approximately 3 months), he won't be working a typically M-F 8-5 schedule, so that will give me a little leeway in playing with a parttime job.

How do you do it, SAHMs? Any tips on how to make this work, even it is just a temporary thing?

TIA for any wisdom you lay on me. It's causing me a little anxiety which I'm trying to control so that the hubby doesn't become stressed about. No need in both of us worrying about it.
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You're saving $600 a month??? I feel like a slacker.
3c/4a
If you have the money in savings to do so, pay off your credit card. I know it's hard to see the balance in savings decrease, but you are being charged more in interest for the credit card debt than the money in savings is earning, so it really makes no sense not to pay it off. If you ever need the money, you will still have the line of credit available to you.

Other than that, no real advice. Finding somewhere less expensive to live, maybe going down to one car (we did for a while), giving up non-necessities like landline and cable. The biggest way we've saved money is that we completely stopped going out to eat when we had our first child - not just to save money but also because it's a pain taking kids to a restaurant. We literally go out to dinner only 1-2 times a year. Not exaggerating. We do get takeout occasionally, but a $5 pizza or $10 at Taco Bell is much less costly than a dinner out. When we have "date night" I'll make a special dinner at home then we'll share a bottle of wine once the kids are asleep.
Faith, 3Aish redhead
Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy
If you have the money in savings to do so, pay off your credit card. I know it's hard to see the balance in savings decrease, but you are being charged more in interest for the credit card debt than the money in savings is earning, so it really makes no sense not to pay it off. If you ever need the money, you will still have the line of credit available to you.

Other than that, no real advice. Finding somewhere less expensive to live, maybe going down to one car (we did for a while), giving up non-necessities like landline and cable. The biggest way we've saved money is that we completely stopped going out to eat when we had our first child - not just to save money but also because it's a pain taking kids to a restaurant. We literally go out to dinner only 1-2 times a year. Not exaggerating. We do get takeout occasionally, but a $5 pizza or $10 at Taco Bell is much less costly than a dinner out. When we have "date night" I'll make a special dinner at home then we'll share a bottle of wine once the kids are asleep.
Originally Posted by PixieCurl
All of that sounds good. Cutting back on what you eat is also really helpful. I started buying frozen fish and more beans to eat instead of chicken and beef. I also started making pasta without meat and adding more vegetables instead. We also buy chicken in bulk (frozen and fresh) I prep it and my husband grills it. We usually do about 5 lbs and use the left overs for other meals and lunches. We buy a lot of things in bulk... you'll also have access to a commissary which will be helpful. Also if you have to buy clothes look for justbetweenfriends.com location near you and you can get your kids clothes for a lot less and in good shape. Shoot I know I have more ideas I'll have to think about it. If you want PM me and I'm sure I'll remember more.
Ok breathe . Your life is about to change drastically and you have a lot of concerns. I completely understand. I was a military wife and SAHM mom for 5 years and it can be done. You need to learn how to cut corners and manage your finances differently.

I'm on my phone so I can't type out everything I want but I'll try to give you some advice.

The commissary plus coupons can save you a ton. If you don't want the Sunday paper there are still lots of coupons online. Coupon.com is great. Also if you go to the websites of brands you use a lot you can sign up and they'll send coupons. Diaper and formula companies are really good for that. I have a coupon box to keep everything organized and that helps.

You might be able to qualify for low income programs like WIC. Also in some places the phone company will offer a lower service price for low income families.

Your housing and health care will be provided so that expense is almost non existent. When we lived on base all we paid for was cable, phone, Internet. Also have you thought of going cable free for a while? Netflix is cheaper than renting from Blockbuster too.

We did one car for 2 years without many problems. He carpooled. Having just the one car payment and one car to insure helped.

If you do decide to work there are usually lots of other wives around that run home daycare for a fraction of what you're paying now. And it's not just the neighbor watching your baby. There are programs through the military that give classes and check on the daycares, etc.
High Priestess JessMess, follower of the Goddess of the Coiling Way and Confiscator of Concoctions in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

Jess had a lot of good suggestions.
I might add:
  • contact your credit card and see if they will decrease your interest rate.
  • can you postpone payments to college fund and IRA for a few months?
  • there are many stay at home opportunities to be found on craig's list if you're interested in part time work.
  • coupons are a beautiful thing as is planning weekly meals, once planned you can budget to them and shop the deals - we have a sunflower market here that offers double coupon days on Wednesdays.
  • once on base see about starting a kid swap, each mom takes a handful of little ones on certain days to free up other moms
Good luck to you
2b/3a.
Your housing and health care will be provided so that expense is almost non existent. When we lived on base all we paid for was cable, phone, Internet.
Originally Posted by Jess the Mess
I just wanted to say that the housing expense isn't true for our post. Every village is now having to pay for water and some of them are having to pay for electricity AND they don't get the BAH because they live on post. No thank you to that. I will keep MY house where I can have pretty ceramic tile floors instead of an elementary school tile floors.



Last edited by FieryCurls; 07-13-2010 at 07:56 AM. Reason: forgot something
Your housing and health care will be provided so that expense is almost non existent. When we lived on base all we paid for was cable, phone, Internet.
Originally Posted by Jess the Mess
I just wanted to say that the housing expense isn't true for our post. Every village is now having to pay for water and some of them are having to pay for electricity AND they don't get the BHA because they live on post. No thank you to that. I will keep MY house where I can have pretty ceramic tile floors instead of an elementary school tile floors.
Originally Posted by FieryCurls
Every base is different...that's true. In my experience it was muuuch easier to live on base. When we lived off base our BHA barely covered our rent and we lived in a terrible, teeny apartment. My base townhome had a laundry room with shelves, 2x the space, a pantry and a dishwasher. BHA has come a loooong way in the last 10 years. BHA also rises with rank so when you first get in it can be much easier to live on base when your BHA is really basic.

To the OP it will be up to you and DH to assess what would work better for you.
High Priestess JessMess, follower of the Goddess of the Coiling Way and Confiscator of Concoctions in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

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