My husband and have chosen to sacrifice my wage so that I can stay at home to parent my toddler. People say, “its great that you can afford to stay at home” which is very true- we can afford to do that at this stage (just). However, I think it is also true that our family make a series of deliberate choices and sacrifices that allow me to stay at home. Without these choices, we could not afford it. In the end, it is easy to say we cannot afford things, but really it is a matter of priorities rather then affordability.
As a result, some choices mean a bit more work for me, some choices mean that we don’t do things that others take for a given. We think its worth it though to spend the precious time with out children.
Obviously everyone’s circumstances are different and I do not write these suggestions to guilt people, but rather to help consider some of the ideas to afford to stay home, or to stay home longer then intended if that is your wish. This is a few parent and family sacrificed that have made staying at home possible for us:
- We chose public medical care: In Australia I think we have a fantastic medical system and for pregnancy I actual believe you get better care in the public system (you just do not get your own room, and choice of doctor). A midwife estimated to me recently that you save $6000-$10000 by choosing public care. This is one of the biggest money savers and would probably mean you could stay at home for 3ish months longer buy sacrificing this!
- We choose to use cloth nappies: It is estimated that you will spend between $1900 and $3000 on disposable nappies over the lifetime of a child. This is compared to under $1000 on cloth nappies (buying modern cloth nappies and washing them). (See this article). Although this does not seem a big difference, you also need to take into consideration that you can re-use the nappies for multiple children, reducing the cost even more. See this article for pro’s and con’s on various nappy types
- We choose to not use cloth wipes: We also just do not use wipes and instead wash dishwashers with nappies. You would probably spend $10-$15 per month on wipes if you used them consistently per nappy change.
- We choose to breastfeed our baby: Obviously there are a small percentage of people who cannot do this, but for the majority of people this option is free, convenient and good for baby. If you were buying formula (which web forums seem to suggest its about a can per week), you could be spending $15-$30 per week on this
- We choose not to spend money on child care: Obviously because I stay at home to care for my son, we do not need to use child care. If we did, this could take up a considerable portion of my wage!
- We choose to own one car for our family: We save money on rego, petrol and insurance having only one car and find that it meets all our needs. We can manage by car pooling when we need to be somewhere separate at the same time!
- We opt for re-usable and homemade over disposable: Like above, anything we can we try and use reusable versions we do. For example: we make our own cleaning supplies, we make rags out of old cloths, we buy reusable things like nursing pads.
- We choose to buy second hand for our family: We just do not buy many things new. This includes all our toys, clothes, and kitchen things. Anything we can buy from an op shop, second hand market, or borrow we do. We have lots of success and fun doing this (and I have never felt better dressed!). See here for tips
- We choose to have small food budget by eating simply: We work hard to live on less then $70 per week for food for our whole family (and manage free range grass fed meat and some organic produce on this budget) and we sacrifice convenience foods, processed foods and treats to do this. I make a lot of things from scratch. It is not as hard as it sounds and it has resulted in a healthier lifestyle. you can see how I do it here
- We choose to sacrifice dinner or movie dates for stay at home dates and coffee dates: We do not often go out on expensive dates like lunches or dinners (unless its a gift to us), but instead go on coffee date, go to parks, go on walks, use our zoo membership (a gift to us) and other cheap or free activities! We still have lots of fun and enjoy time as a family but we just do not spend lots of money on it.
As always I would love to here your money saving ideas or things you sacrifice to make ends meet . Just comment below