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Full Time Mommy or Full Time Career?

by Tina on November 23, 2011
category: Finances

Do you find yourself at a juncture in your life where you are not sure if you should choose to be a full time mommy or should choose a full time career? For some women their financial circumstances make it such that working full time is not an option but is instead a necessity. For other women however a choice can be made. You may not be able to be a full time mommy for all of the years that your son or daughter is growing up but at some point you may be able to make the decision to work from home in order to be a full time mother or to be able to leave your career behind all together (or just until your little ones are older or flying on their own).

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Being a stay-at-home mother on a full time basis is hard work, just like going to a job every day is but it can be incredibly rewarding. You can be home with your children all of the time and can experience all of the ups and downs of motherhood. You are there for meals, naps and to help with schoolwork.

If you are presently contemplating making the transition from being a working mother to being a stay-at-home mother (SAHM) then there are some things for you to think about before you put your plan- and your new life choice- into action.

Your Money Situation

Take a cold hard look at your financial picture before you give notice at your job. Talk it over with your spouse and write everything out on paper so it is easy to see in black and white. Determine how much money you are spending when you go to work, i.e. on childcare expenses, transportation, clothing for your job and meals when you are at work.

By evaluating your finances and how much you spend when you go to work you will be able to figure out if quitting your job to stay home is worth it from a financial perspective. You might be pleased to discover that you would definitively be saving money if you gave up your full time career to be a full time at-home mommy.

Your Personal Feelings

How do you really feel about making the transition from working mom to stay-at-home mom? While there may be pros and cons on each side of the coin which side do you lean more heavily towards in terms of the pros? Ask yourself how you really feel about being a full time mom. Don’t be swayed, pressured or downright bullied by what other so-called well-meaning people in your life have to say. Their opinions are not yours. You need to do what is best for your family unit and you do not want to feel guilty about the decision you ultimately make.

You want to derive joy and personal satisfaction from knowing that you listened to your heart and did what was best for everyone involved. Being a stay-at-home mom suits many women but not all. The same can be said for being a full time working mom.

The Feelings of Your Spouse

How does your spouse feel about you staying home with the kids? Life will be different once you make the leap into full time domesticity and the two of you must be prepared for that. Your money picture will be altered and chores and errands will have to be viewed in a different light. Your spouse must realize that you work hard at home all day with the kids and he is not off the hook for chores when he comes home at night. You need to come to an understanding about chores such as cooking, cleaning and taking out the garbage that works for the both of you.

Remember too that you are taking on a new job- that of a full time stay-at-home mother while your husband will be the sole breadwinner in the family. Your roles will change and that is why it is essential that you make a plan beforehand. It can be wonderful though and a very happy time for you, your spouse and your children. There will be some stress as you adjust to the transition in your lifestyle but the kinks will be ironed out before too long.

Eating Out at Restaurants on a Family Budget

by Tina on November 9, 2011
category: Finances

Going to a restaurant on a family budget can be a challenge but it is doable, as long as it is an occasional treat and is not something you make a habit of doing because you are too tired to cook. It is nice to let someone else do the cooking once in a while after all! When you are watching your money and doing everything possible to stick to a budget it can all go out the window if you do not plan ahead before you go to the restaurant.

budget restaurant It has been estimated that for the average American family of four eating out at a restaurant costs in the range of $40 to $50. That amount is on the low end not the high end. When you consider that if you eat out at restaurants once a week you are spending close to $2,000 a year it makes you want to rethink your eating out habits. That is definitely an incentive to want to prepare more family meals at home and to sit around your own table and eat together!

Here are some suggestions to make eating out less expensive and less of a strain on your resources:

There are coupons, deals and specials to be had if you look for them. Go online to check for coupons at the websites of restaurants in your area. Or in some cases the specials will come to you! When you get ads and flyers in the mail for restaurants keep them in one place so they are easy to find when you decide that your family needs a restaurant night out together. Compare the specials from one establishment to another and go to the place that has the most cost effective deal to offer. Keep in mind too that you don’t want to have to spend a lot of gas money to drive to the restaurant. Choose an eatery that is as close to your home as possible!

There are restaurants that offer such deals as buy one entrée and get a second one free, or kids eat free specials or free beverage or dessert with the purchase of a meal. Look for family discounts in the newspaper as well as in magazines. Some restaurants advertise deals over the radio or on television. You might even might to call ahead to inquire about deals before you arrive.

Be realistic about how much food your children can eat. Do not order a whole meal for your young child. If the kid’s meals are not to your child’s liking then split a meal with your child or split a meal between your children. Wasted food means money wasted on a meal so make sure that you do not order more than is necessary.

There are plenty of family restaurants where the servers will understand that customers wish to share meals so whatever you do do not feel strange about asking for an extra plate so your children can share. If you do still end up with leftovers then ask for a container so you can take them home with you.

When you tell your children that you are going to a restaurant, treat it as a special outing. It should be about dining together and interacting as a family. Teach your children that it is something you do on occasion as opposed to something you do simply because it is convenient. You want the meal that you have out to be the family entertainment and you need your children to understand that. You also need them to realize that this is not something you will be doing every week. It is probably best to make eating out a last minute surprise as opposed to something they look forward to for hours or days beforehand.

Six Ways to Save on Cosmetics

by Tina on November 3, 2011
category: Finances

As women we love our cosmetics and we spend a fair amount of money on them every year.  However when we need to shave costs in our lives and save money we must look for effective ways to do that in every area we can think of- that includes our beloved cosmetics! Here we look at some ways to save as much money as possible when we purchase makeup.

  • Do you wear makeup on a regular basis and is it a part of your daily routine or do you wear it occasionally, such as when you have a date, a job interview or a special event to attend? Consider when you wear makeup and how much it matters to you and then gear your shopping habits in that direction. Ladies who wear makeup every day will spend more money on cosmetics than those that wear it infrequently. Those in the former group will need to work harder to spend less on such a purchase.
  • Buying cosmetics is often about trial and error. You go to the store, select a product that you hope- fingers crossed- will be suitable for your face but you take your chances. Perhaps it will become your latest favorite product but maybe it will fall flat and you will have wasted $20 or $15 or $10. But you didn’t need that money anyway, right? Wrong! Of course you did! Every cent counts which is why you should search for stores that allow you to try cosmetic products before you buy them. In this way your money will not be wasted.
  • If there are no such stores in your community then you will be glad to know that some retailers offer their customers refunds or exchanges if they are not happy with the products they have purchased. Find out what the policy of a store is before you buy any type of cosmetic.
  • Figure out which cosmetic products mean the most to you and from there decide which ones are worth spending more money on and which ones are not as important. If you love mascara because it makes your eyes look bigger then put more of your cosmetic dollars towards this item and less towards say your foundation, blush or powder.
  • Applying makeup properly is often more important than buying expensive brands. For that reason purchase quality cosmetic brushes, applicators and sponges and learn the proper means of caring for them. By so doing they will last longer and you will not have to replace them as often. It will also make for a more professional look for you! When you buy good brushes then buying cheaper cosmetics will not be a huge issue.
  • If one of your compacts gets broken such as your blush or eye shadow case then do not throw it out but instead save your broken cosmetic by scraping what is left of it into a small container or jar that has a good lid. Your money will not be wasted when you do this nor will the product. You can continue to use it until it is all gone.

When your birthday or Christmas is on the way put a bug in the ears’ of your loved ones and friends and tell them that you would love a gift card for makeup purchases or money that you can use to buy some new cosmetics. Receiving money or gift cards for holidays can help a lot when you need some new products.

Decorating the Tree on a Budget

by Amelia on December 10, 2009
category: Finances,Fun time & Toys

DSC_0054 When we moved to England 3 months ago we left our Christmas decorations behind.  We are only planning on being here for 4 years and we live in a small flat with little storage.  We only brought the necessities and Christmas decorations didn’t make the cut.  As Christmas was approaching the kids started talking about getting a Christmas tree and hanging up stockings.  My husband is in graduate school and we are living on a pretty tight budget. I didn’t want to spend very much money on buying a tree, ornaments, stockings, lights etc.  We wanted to keep with tradition and make Christmas in England feel like “home” but spend as little as possible.

I asked my mom if she could find the storage box and send our stockings to us from the US.  She didn’t want to mess with digging through our Christmas boxes so she generoulsy ordered some stockings online for the kids and sent them to us.  We bought the cheapest reusable Christmas at a store (costing $11!) so we can use it for the next 4 years, one strand of twinkle lights, and 2 boxes of candy canes.  Everything else we had at home.

Here is what we have on our tree:

  • Paper chains
  • Homemade salt dough ornaments painted by the kids
  • Candy Canes
  • Sparkley red ribbon left behind from the previous flat-renters
  • Twinkle lights
  • Stringed popcorn (still in the process)

DSC_0053 I like it when my tree looks pretty with full lights and is decorated with my pretty ornaments. But I gotta tell you, our kids LOVE their home decorated tree! They are so proud that everything on it is something they helped make or find in our flat to decorate it with. Our tree has lights on the top half and has ornaments unevenly distributed everywhere.  The paper chains are not cut evenly either.  But it has lots of flair and personality and it brings a smile to my face when I look at it.  We all worked hard to put our tree together and I love that they love it.

We spent very little money–especially since we can reuse everything except the popcorn and maybe the candy canes.  I have found that I don’t need fancy decorations for Christmas to feel like Christmas.  Spending time with my family and remembering why we celebrate Christmas in the first place has been a great reminder for me this year.

What fun things to you put on your tree?  Favorite homemade decorations?  Best Christmas budget ideas?

Save Money by Bartering Services: A Guest Post by Clair

by Amanda on November 17, 2009
category: Finances

ClairBoonePortraitResize This is a guest post by Clair. Originally from England Clair blogs daily over at www.mummydeals.org where she scouts out bargains and shows you how to cut your grocery bill all while doing it through the eyes of a Brit in America. Her family of 3 lives on a $50/week grocery budget which includes diapers and if you head on over to www.mummydeals.org she’ll show you the ropes!

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hammer I’m preparing to go to a conference where I’ll more than certainly need my laptop plus I’ve got articles that need to be written and emails that need to be checked when all of a sudden my computer won’t start. Several more attempts and I want to throw it out of the window. As much as technology has blessed us with the ability to connect with friends and family all over the world, research new exciting recipes and see your house from space, there are still moments when although it acts like one you realize your computer is not a human and therefore can never be your friend.

It was at this moment that I realized it was time for a new laptop. Here’s the problem. We don’t have a spare $700 sitting around devoted to computers and I was in a bind. What is a frugal girl to do?

I talked to my secret weapon in the form of a 5”8 ruggedly handsome man and called my friend Lynda. Her husband is a computer whiz, mine not so much. But mine can swing a hammer with the best of them and lays floors for a living. Lynda had mentioned that they wanted to put some new hardwood floor in their living room. Now Computer Whiz is a whiz at computers but not so much with the hammer.

Enter the perfect solution: A trade off that involves Lynda and I eating ice cream while the guys trade services. Computer Whiz spends time re-programming one of his computers for us that he has just “lying around” and gives us this one as a loaner while he fixes ours. Oh no wait, it’s lying around so he informs us we can actually keep it and I do the Giddy Dance in delight! Accompany that with some spare batteries and an external hard drive he also just has “lying around” and we’re set for a while.

In the meantime my handsome Secret Weapon will lay their floor for them free of charge in exchange.

Lynda and I sit and giggle with glee at our smarts and chow down on ice cream while our Hubbys save us a fortune in repairs.

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