A penny saved is MORE than a penny earned:
Can a mother afford to come home?
(From the archives…I thought this may be a timely post about saving money!)
Most families believe that the wife and mother simply MUST work to make ends meet. Sometimes they don’t even consider any other possibility. In many cases, however, she works to pay for her working expenses. AND, the money she earns is taxed; therefore, money saved is actually more than money earned.
I would love to resurrect the art of “frugal homemaking” and give women who want to be at home the hope that they can stay at home and still greatly contribute to the finances. Instead of looking at a woman’s job in light of adding income, the wise family will consider the importance of the wife’s role as the “money protector”, or steward over her husband’s income. And while certainly there are instances where this doesn’t work on paper (wife is a doctor who makes $180,000 and hubby brings in $28,000), many families would be appalled to know how much money could be saved if the wife were dedicated to guarding and wisely spending the income.
You’ve probably seen similar break-downs before, but consider, first, the added expenses of the working wife:
Clothes/dry cleaning…………………………………………………$750/year (obviously this is a random guess)
Child care for 2…………………………………………………………$8,840
Convenience food and eating out(lack of time to cook)……$4,000
That’s just the spending part, and I’m sure there are other expenses I didn’t include. But the really staggering part is the amount of money a homemaker can save, when she is excited about the prospect of staying home. I’m not talking about a “poor me…I’m so deprived” kind of saving. I’m talking about a creative, energizing, contented saving. I will share just a few from my own experience, but the ways to exercise frugality is unlimited. The more dedicated you are, the more ways you can find to save. And of course, the benefit goes far beyond just saving money. The lessons your children learn as they watch a joyful, content wife be a good steward over what God has provided are astounding.
- Cooking from scratch is one of the biggest money-savers to implement. Not only is it cheaper and healthier, but the homemaker has a lot more time to search for bargains and save additional grocery money. (We have a “bent and dent” warehouse store where I regularly save a BUNDLE on groceries. Yesterday I bought a jumbo, 9 lb bag of Quaker Oats for $3.99. Find one in your area and use it!) And alas, let us not forget how CRUCIALLY important the family table is, where hearts and lives are knit together by good food and pleasant conversation. The American family has all but abandoned this precious gift of family dining!
- Internet savings. I can’t tell you how much I’ve saved by shopping for things on the Internet. School books, videos, magazines (all for school of course!), contacts, printer ink, clothes–you name it, you can almost always find it for a fraction of the price on-line. E-bay is a great place to look for many things. Here is my most recent Internet “frugal find”…I was so excited. We were out of checks, so I scoured the Internet for check companies. I found one that offered a first-time customer discount. After ordering with the discount, my checks were $18.00 (2 boxes). BUT, they also offered a rebate if you signed up for a “free trial” with this company. I signed up, canceled before my trial was over, and a week later received my $20 rebate in the mail! I actually made $2.00 on my purchase. Can you beat it? I order our printer ink for a fraction of what you can by it at Wal-Mart. Same thing for my contact lenses. The list goes on. The bargains are out there with just a little bit of extra time spent looking for them.
- Utilities. With more time at home, you have time to implement money-saving things like hanging out your laundry (which can be very therapeutic, by the way!)
- Homemade gifts & cards. This one is a biggie at our house. You’d be surprised at all the wonderful ideas (even for the less creative person) there are for gifts and card making. I figured one time that if I make all my cards (they can be very simple but pretty), I will save on average around $120 a year. That’s a big savings for such a simple thing. Baked goods at Christmas, simple sewing projects, easy homemade skin products, there are hundreds of ideas! (Again, the Internet is a great place to find them!) Simple Homemade Gifts
- Home business is always an option. There are so many opportunities for a family who still needs additional income. Within reason, a wife can participate in a home business that lends extra money to the family’s finances. We make homemade skin products and it has been a wonderful family affair and helpful endeavor. (Our ebook about how to start a skin product business.)
- Don’t forget, there is no expense for child care…but MUCH more important than that, Mom is the one raising and teaching her little ones!
The list could go on and on, but the point is that those who want to stay home but feel that they can’t, may need to take a second look at their situation. And those who do NOT want to stay at home but use the “we can’t afford it” as an excuse, I’m on to you!
Don’t miss our family’s journey from one income, to no income, to debt, to the road to freedom! Finding Financial Freedom is full of practical tools from our own lives, about living on one income and getting out of debt.