DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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21 September 2009

Losing a job - the transition from two wages to one

Hanno asked me to thank you all for the lovely birthday wishes sent his way on the weekend. He is 69 now, the last year of his boyhood. Next year he'll have to start acting more sensibly. ; - 0 We drove down to the beach to have lunch with our friend Diane and god-daughter Casey. For those of you who remember Casey's accident (she was in a bus hit by a drunk driver two years ago), she is still in a wheelchair and has not been able to work since. But it's always good to see them, they are two of our most favourite people, and we talked and laughed for hours over lunch and drinks. Hanno is a member of this club and they had sent him a letter wishing him a happy birthday, offering a complimentary lunch and drink; of course we took up the offer. It was definitely a good way to spend a weekend birthday.


The Christmas knitting has been stepped up a notch. This is a pure cotton and bamboo (the aqua bit) dishcloth.

I received an email last week from a young lady here who is very upset about the prospect of losing her job. She wanted to know what I thought her best course of action would be and asked me to help her and her husband through this difficult time. I sent her a reply telling her my thoughts but said I would also post about it today and see if all of us could workshop this problem for her. Together we should cover all angles.

This girl is 29 years old, married for two years, pregnant and due to have their first baby in February next year. The pregnancy was planned, what they didn't plan on was that she would lose her job before she had a chance to resign. Her job finishes mid-October and she will get a payout of about $4000. Her husband has a good job that is stable, which is good news, but they have nothing for the baby yet and they don't have a stockpile.

I suggested that from now on, even though she is still being paid, they live on his wage. They might as well get used to it now and be ready when they only have one stream of money coming in. Her wage should go in the bank until they work out a plan of action. I think the priority is to sit down and make up a new budget - a realistic one that covers two adults and a baby. They only have five months until the baby arrives and during that time they'll be equipping the nursery, buying and making clothes, blankets etc. When they sit down to do the budget, they'll have to work out what they can get rid of. They have two cars, three phones - one landline and two mobiles, pay TV, no stockpile, no emergency fund, no health insurance and nothing ready for the baby.


The beginnings of some muesli bars made on the weekend.

It sounds pretty grim but the husband gets a good wage that I feel should be enough to get them by and pay the mortgage as long as they sacrifice a few things and live frugally. She said they are committed to living a green and simple life but have just made that decision; she found us and this blog two weeks ago. If they are that way inclined anyway, I think they should be okay with this.

My suggestion to her was to get rid of everything that isn't necessary to their present circumstances. They bought the second car for her to get to work. They'll be able to sell that when she finishes work, they think it's worth about $7000. I think that money should be put away for their emergency fund. They should get rid of one or two mobile phones. I know young people are really connected their phones, but are they really necessary? When their contracts are up, at least the most expensive one should go, I would like to see both go. Pay TV - out! There is enough drivel on regular TV to waste time on, no need to pay for more. I know this sounds harsh but they need to conserve money at this important period of their lives. In a few years, when things stabilise and they're more settled, they can get it back if they want to.

I would suggest the $4000 she gets as her payout should go to pay extra off the mortgage and everything they sell should go towards extra payments too. Getting rid of the mobile phones, TV and extra car will save a lot of money, probably the equivalent of her wage. So hopefully, if they budget well, and live frugally, they should get by quite well on what he earns.

When her paid job finishes, she should consider her job to be manager of the household funds, being able to feed the family healthy food on a weekly budget, searching the op shops and thrift stores for baby clothes, rugs, a pram and cot and paying all the bills on time. She will become a homemaker, with everything that implies. It will be her job to work to her budget, fluff up her nest and make a wonderful home for her new baby and her husband - and I hope she finds satisfaction and contentment doing it. A first baby is such a special time for a family, this should not take away from such a special event. I see it as a challenge. She can use the time between mid-October and February to organise the home, to learn how to sew and knit, to start using green cleaners, to build a stockpile. Maybe she could also make cloth nappies/diapers. Does anyone have a good site with patterns and instructions? I wouldn't start a vegetable garden, not yet. But that could happen in the years to come. But now there are plenty of things to occupy her each day - learning how to cook from scratch, working out how to shop in a different way to get the best value for her money and getting ready for the arrival of her baby.

What started out as a catastrophe could be the catalyst for this young family to change how they live. They can build a good life, but it will be a frugal and simple one, one that is more environmentally sound and dare I say it, one that is more enriching. This will be an equal partnership in every sense of the word - one partner working for a wage, the other managing that money and the home for the benefit of all, while they build their family and future together. Sure, it would be a shock to hear you'll lose your job but once over that, with a few safeguards and budget strategies in place, I think this family will cope well. What do you think? What advice can you give this young couple?


95 comments:

  1. Hi Rhonda,
    I don't have time to write much so I thought I'd just give a link that will give the lady lots of help if she goes down the cloth nappies path. I have used Modern Cloth Nappies for years now and love them.

    http://www.ozclothnappies.org/

    This website has links to so many different patterns, lots of facts and helpful information about cloth nappies, and links to forums on the subject.

    Just before I go, we went down to one income before our first baby was born and like you said - it is just a case of changing your lifestyle slightly (my husband is a teacher so thankfully he had a secure, well-paid job).

    Being at home, you don't really need a mobile phone and a home phone.

    Babies dont need very much for their first few months!!! New mums get conned into believing that they NEED so much - bunny rugs, pram and stroller, all those floor toys for baby to lie on, bouncer... etc etc

    But really, if you breastfeed, all you need are some clothes, a bed, and lots of cuddles! Baby is quite happy to be entertained by people rather than toys. There are so many toys you can make from "nothing" which are free. Filling up an empty water bottle with glitter and water, or some rice. MAking a mobile out of all random things from around the house. I could go on and on

    Good luck to this mum-to-be. I'm sure with a bit of help from everyone who reads your blog she'll be fine =)

    Miriam

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  2. Baby Goodies-
    If this young couple is in a position that there will be a baby shower/party or 2 for them, please use these to your advantage. Register at stores to show your wishes and be practical. Or if there are friends or family members that would like to buy a gift, be ready with practical suggestions. It is common is my area/family to have such parties. People are happy to be able to get you things you will use. Some other suggestions would be for assigning different sizes to different people,or times of day, if clothing gifts are popular...different rooms, like kitchen(spoons,bottles,bowls), bathroom(towels,washcloths, soaps&shampoe), bedroom(blankets,jammies,nightlight,bed), outside(sweaters,jackets,stroller/pram,hats)... I'd rather be the one at the party that gave 1 of 1 or 2 blankets, than the 15th sweater. Or to be one of 10 people that put in money for a bigger gift that will be used everyday, and for the next baby, too. My kids were big and never wore size small..please always include information to exchange for another size, if this is possible.

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  3. Hi, I'm also 29 and having a baby in February. I have been out of work for a year now. My husband works a steady job, it's in a call centre for an insurance co. so the salary is below the so called average wage in Australia. Most of his wage (over 50%) goes to the mortgage.

    When I left work I was in a panic, I couldn't possibly work out how we would make ends meet. I'm pretty OCD and have an excel budget that we keep up to date to the cent and I still thought it was impossible to live on one wage. One year on, and I now know how wrong I was.

    An emergency fund = peace of mind.

    If you don't have one use your payout to build it up. Also a budget gives you a sense of control, rather than feeling like your expenses are a mystery.

    But don't forget you'll need stuff for bub. We're in the middle of decluttering at the moment - it's amazing how much stuff we have from our spendthrift days. We are selling it in the local paper and eBay and saving the cash to buy baby stuff also 2nd hand through the local paper. I don't think that we need that much for a baby especially first off. Breastfeed and cloth nappies will save you thousands!

    I started a website in order to be able to have an income as a SAHM. It's probably more work than a job, but at least I can do it at home.

    Are you in Australia? You will also get the $5000 baby bonus and the family tax benefit. Everyone, including working mums get these.

    I would also ditch everything that you don't need like pay tv, cook everything from scratch and avoid takeaway and packaged food (best for you and bub anyway) and get into the habit of thinking twice about what you spend your money on "do I really need this?" If you use a budget to monitor your spending the areas that need help will stand out like a sore thumb.


    Sorry for the long comment, but I know that you can do it! Saving money and living on less is more about lifestyle choices, habits and organisation than anything else. Work on it now, cause in Feb I think that we are going to be exhausted!

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  4. I agree, this could be the catalyst for this young couple into a saner, more fulfilling segment of their lives.

    What helped me along when we went to a one salary family was to jot down the amount of money I was saving our family. So I wrote down the cost of my commute, the cost of daycare, the cost of convenience foods (a truly alarming expense) and all the other amounts I saved. It's surprising how much this adds up to -- easily the amount of a second income.

    Congratulations on the new baby, and your upcoming adventure!

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  5. I had some links saved for making a wetbag for dirty diapers, nursing pads and femine pads. I have not used them, but they look very simple for a beginner sewer. A friend of mine cloth diapers and I will ask her for pattern links.

    I would also suggest for her to look into couponing at least until she can get a bit of a stockpile. I use www.hotcouponworld.com but http://www.thegrocerygame.com/ has a 4 week free trial that may be easier for someone who hasn't used coupons.

    http://www.make-baby-stuff.com/wet-bag.html
    http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2009/04/homemade-nursing-pads.html
    http://manymoonsalternatives.com/make_your_own_pads.php

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  6. It's hard when your plan gets hijacked out from under you! I wanted to share my thoughts about the baby related expenses.

    When we had our first baby, all I bought to begin with clothing-wise was what the hospital said I'd need: 4 nighties and 4 singlets, a couple of bunny rugs, nappies to go home in, baby wipes. I used dummies with my children, so we had those too...named so they wouldn't get mixed up in the hospital nursery. I think I also had a couple of grow suits. I had both cloth and disposable nappies at home waiting for us to return.

    That was enough to get us started. People gave us gifts of clothes and little baby blankets. And until your baby is born, you won't know what size it needs. There's a big difference between a 5lb baby who wears 0000 and stays in them for two months, and a 9lb baby who is busting out of a 000 at birth! My Dh loved going shopping while I was in hospital to buy things for his new daughter or son.

    We used a second hand cot with a new mattress, a second hand baby bath, because you only use those for such a short time anyway and bought a decent change table new. The change table was worth the expense ~ it survived three children....just. We also bought a new pram, which again, survived three children and was worthwhile to me. Loved having swivel wheels and something that went from birth to 4yo.

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  7. I would definitely say breastfeeding and cloth nappies! Babies don't have to cost a lot of money - I breastfeed (my 9 month old is still nearly exclusively breastfed), co-sleep (so no need to buy a cot), use cloth nappies, she wears hand me downs... I spent a grand total of $140 preparing for her arrival - and that was a second hand pram ($30 nearly new from a garage sale), a baby carrier and some cloth nappies. The rest of my nappy stash I got free from friends and family, clothes were the same. If there are no friends or family with hand me downs available freecycle frequently has babies clothes and other items like cots/baths etc.

    Day to day, I do baby lead solids which means that I waited until DD was asking me for food (there are a lot of books and websites if you google)but also means that she eats pretty much what we eat so no buying mush - no need to make mush either lol I have also got all our old clothes in bags ready to me remade into new clothes for my kids.

    I make just about everything from scratch - bread etc and am getting into cheese and soap but I wouldn't try that with a new baby!

    I am a single parent and as my kids are both still under school age we live on the single parenting pension - about $14k a year. I have shopped around for the best value internet connection and phone connection I could find, ditched the tv completely, only drive when really needed, have a prepaid mobile (and usually get ppl to call me back) and buy most things second hand from the tip shop or op shops. We have enough money to eat well, have some fun (usually free fun like parks etc), pay off some debts and for the first time I am starting to amass some savings.

    It isn't easy, but it is possible.

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  8. Its amazing what new mums think they need these days!! My 3 kids have all been hand me down kids :o) Mum and Dad bought me a brand new carseat, and a brand new mattress, these are probably the only 2 things that are really important to have new. My cot was a portable one with bassinett insert and change table attachment, its done 5 kids and is still going!! Mum bought the mattress for it from clark rubber, they cut to size and it cost $50. My kids will sleep anywhere, they are used to being lugged around, and having a portable cot as their bed at home meant they were used to the bed wherever we went.

    Buy a decent 2nd hand pram, shop on the rich side of town though, because all the rich yuppies give their clothes and things to lifeline almost brand new. A pram will be your best friend, you can use it for so many things. I used mine as a feeding chair until someone gave us a highchair they were finished with.

    Clothes from lifeline are amazing, and you really do not need to buy lots, I wouldn't buy any fancy outfits, you will get that kind of stuff as baby presents, just buy jumpsuits and singlets and then wait and see what you get after baby is born.

    Nappies are a huge expense, I did disposable for overnight and going out, Aldi brand, they are fantastic! And then I bought premade cloth nappies secondhand and pilchers for day use. If I had another baby I would only use cloth as they are fine, I was just lazy when my kids were little :o)

    The best tip I ever recieved was for production of breast milk, if you are not producing milk properly, then buy Blessed Thistle from the health food store its a vitamin thats around $30 but it made my milk supply strong when I thought I would have to give up feeding. Everyone I've told about this has been amazed when they have tried it, it really works!

    All the best with your new adventure. Enjoy every day because it passes by way too fast!!

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  9. Oh my....I had my babies over 21 years ago, and I didn't think anything of getting all the items used. And we have lots of money!! but I had always lived like that in my head, nursed (no formula!), used cloth diapers (which cost NOTHING to use almost....just the initial cost and then washing once a week with a newborn), wnet to the thrift stores..sheesh, those babies wear that new stuff for 3 weeks! if that and like the other mother posting, when they were ready to eat, they ate what we did.

    I eliminated TV when I got married, as I told my husband I didn't get married to watch him do the "channel changing" thing. So radio it was or games or books or TALK!! jee whiz..it's so easy to live simply...just ignore the status quo....AND it's so liberating!!

    Christine
    Gardnwest AT aol DOT com

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  10. Ronda you have covered just about every thing. I to have been threw a lot of hard ships lately but for me when evening has come to a close I use my help channel. I pray for strength to make it threw the next day. For some reason I do receive that help. For man does not live on bread alone.

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  11. This is a web site for making cloth diapers from old clothing...the author states they made an entire stash for very little money.

    Flannel "family wipes" (toilet paper) is also a good option, especially for us ladies, since we are usually the biggest users of the toilet paper anyway...

    Flannel baby wipes will cut down on buying disposable ones.

    Learning how to make homemade egg noodles for chicken noodles, a whole fryer can be stretched for many meals.

    Just some ideas.

    You can do this!

    http://fernandfaerie.com/frugaldiapering.html

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  12. Not sure what country she is in but there should be freecycle available.
    I've been able to get TONS of baby things from freecycle that I haven't had to buy very much. Other options are Craiglist. One of our friends has put an ad on craigslist (it's free) as a household helper and got so much work. Maybe she could do some easier household tasks for people while she still has the energy.
    She could even do some shopping for the elderly that still live at home.
    There are lots of options. Be frugal, don't spend and try to make some money on the side.

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  13. I agree with most of what you said...but starting now I unless the phones are necessary for work, drop the plans down to a bare-bones amount, I know there are $40-$60 'unlimited'monthly plans-use them, get used to using those phones less asap (we each have a pre-paid that we only need to put $20 on every 90days to maintain and these are kept and used for emergencies and rare short calls).
    We kept our cable, it is our 'splurge' since by getting the package deal with our internet we only pay an extra $20 per month where as we would be paying a minimum of $10 more for other internet options.
    Now on to her baby stuff dilemma. You don't need a changing table, if you feel you need something special for changing get one of the little portables that fold up and can be set anywhere. And depending where they are www.freecycle.org can get them pretty much anything they need as long as they can drive to pick it up. I also advocate thrift stores and craigslist works for some. This will save a bunch of money. As for the baby clothes, they grow out of them fast, used, but good condition is all you need for around the house and most outings(we have a couple nice outfits per girl for special occasions). Hand-me-downs, freecycle, thrift stores, even some baby resale stores will have all she needs at very good prices and I also shop the clearance racks at major department and mass market retailers for the best deals.
    As part of her home-maker training...learn to knit and/or crochet (reasonable and easy way to make dish clothes to blankets and even clothes) and get a sewing machine and learn how to use it. It's much cheaper to buy a yard of flannel and sew the edges for a receiving blanket than to buy one and if you get the fabric cut into 1/4 yards you can fold it in half and sew together to get a nice burp/spit up cloth that is sturdy and will last and is easy to care for.

    As for inspirational websites blogs...there are several I love because of how they live and Rhonda is one but if you are having little ones and just for a thrify, but full lifestyle...
    http://www.soulemama.typepad.com/
    http://bluebirdbaby.typepad.com/
    http://beautythatmoves.typepad.com/
    http://www.towards-sustainability.com/

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  14. Two comments, from one who has been there!

    I agree with everything Rhonda said, except the part about paying down your mortgage. While that is an admirable thing to do, right now what they need more than anything is ready cash in case of emergency. Anything they can possibly save towards an emergency fund should go there.

    Barb in GA

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  15. John Lennon sang the lyrics "life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans".

    I have lived through a situation like this young lady faces. Her young family will manage, and they will manage just fine. A baby changes priorities anyway. You stop thinking about your wants and start thinking about the baby's needs.

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  16. I definitely recommend the use of Freecycle.org . I do not need baby stuff myself but I often see things on there that would be useful for a new mum. :)

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  17. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    You pretty much covered everything except I agree the cash would be better in the bank. The interest on the loan is a tax write off here in the US and they will need it. Also the cash will come in handy in case of an emergcy.
    Here is a very good blog for her check out. http://frugalgranola.blogspot.com/
    Michelle just had her second baby with barely no cost. She is very green and has lots of recipes and sewing for babies.
    Hugs,
    Elizabeth

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  18. Babies need very little! Mom's loving arms and warm milk are really all that are truly needed. A carseat-get a convertible one that goes from birth to 40 lbs- will be useful and necessary if traveling by car. And also cloth diapers/nappies, covers and wipes. Get a few weather appropriate outfits and blankets. The most indispensable "thing" I feel is a baby wrap and/or sling. Not only will it take the pace of a stroller or plastic baby carrier, but it can be used as a changing pad, blanket, breastfeeding cover, etc. Baby can happily nap on mom or dad while tending to household duties.

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  19. I know I'm not very old and don't have a lot of wise advice so I wont pretend I do. My husband and I live with one cell phone, no land line, and no cable television. We have made this decision not only to cut costs, but to motivate ourselves to do more reading and get more done with our time. I think your suggestions for them are terrific and she is so lucky to have such a great confidant. The only thing I might say is that, because they're having a baby, they should keep two cell phones. Maybe they could switch to a family plan or a smaller cell company. It just seems important that they should be able to contact each other at all times. They should just get rid of their land line.

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  20. Rhonda, your correspondent should see this as a wonderful gift - she can now plan to stay at home with her little one for as long as she likes without even thinking about that decision.
    Rather than too much of the "I must get rid of this and that", she and her husband should set a positive goal - write it down and stick it on the fridge - "We want to amass an emergency fund big enough for our family to survive for 6 months without any paid work". Then they can make that their focus - write up a budget, write down everything they spend, compare the two, and the rest will all follow. I can guarantee they will feel so satisfied and empowered as their fund builds up.
    I'd echo the advice about recycled, secondhand, make-it-yourself path for baby stuff, and also that a positive determination to make breastfeeding work will make life so much simpler, for years. Everything is so much easier when you can just sit down and feed on demand, wherever you are.
    A baby sling and a good permanent change table were my most useful pieces of equipment I think.
    Babies need a relaxed, loving, confident mum and dad, not "stuff". PS Can she talk to her mum or mother-in-law? - they are likely to have lots of good suggestions, and will love to be involved in helping.

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  21. she might like to read at http://www.mothering.com, click on 'discuss' to get to a world of parents talking about all of this and a lot more.

    she can make herself, or buy a sling, it is an amazing thing to do with your child, i found i rarely used a stroller. there's also more and more information about cosleeping, having a family bed, and how positive for fostering nursing, familial closeness, and secure, confident, attached children. you don't need a crib. and of course, breast is best - joining the local la leche league will be a great way to support her in this transition. you can attend when you're pregnant.

    i've been home with my children for 9 years now, now we're homeschooling i have no plans to stop - i love it dearly and i do as much as i can to run the household in a way that means we save money, eat well, live peacefully, and are connected to each other. much better for me than paying anyone else to take over these responsibilities, when i love them and i can squeeze my art practice in around the edges.

    *

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  22. I have a few practical tips as a new mom. Make and freeze or can soups, quick breads and other meals. At the end of long day with a baby it is so easy to fall back on take-a-way. This just eats away at the bottom line. So while you have unfettered time now prepare for later.

    Also, I would try to find a mother's group at a library, church or ymca. These are great groups for finding mothers who become friends and will trade off childcare. Plus many will also be living a similar life as you and can provide much needed support. Community is very important to living a simple life.

    Most of all. Enjoy the challenge. It will be wonderful thing that you will be able to be home with your baby without the struggle of trying to juggle work and home. Enjoy your nesting. Frugal does not have to mean deprived. It allows you to tap into your creativity.

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  23. I'm 26 and I'm amazed at how much people my age spend on things like soda pop, coffee, 300+ channel TV, unlimited text messaging, ect.
    My friends would never buy off brand or store brand food at the grocery store.
    Or buy anything from the damaged goods section.
    There are great deals there!
    I'm also a dumpster diver.
    People throw out so much great stuff!
    With a little paint or repair everything can be new and perfect again.
    Good luck!
    You will have so much fun once you get started!
    Now I'm off to care for my chickens-another thing my friends laugh at.

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  24. Rhonda, your ideas are great. I hope this young woman finds help here, and can stop panicking!

    I would suggest a couple of things, mainly from "being there" 12 and 10 years ago when my babies were born. One, if you go down to one car, please make sure you can get out of the house somehow. Can you walk somewhere with the baby? A stroller, or pram, is a wonderful thing to have so you can get out and walk. Maybe a bike trailer so you can bike, too. But a pram is even more important if you are limited in what you can purchase or get secondhand. We used a front-pack baby carrier constantly with our infants, for walks during the colic hours and just pleasure, too.

    Also, do you have buses or other means of transportation? You probably won't need to go far with a little one, and you can do your errands (or hubby can) when he is off work or on weekends, but do think of transportation options. Sometimes mothers can feel so isolated when baby comes, though it is also good to stay home with baby most of the time and not feel the need to run around.

    Two, some young people are ditching the land line and keeping the mobile phones. In our family, we have one mobile phone that generally stays with whomever of us (hubby or I) has our one car that day. We want to keep the land line, but I know so many people prefer the mobile over the land line. There are options to think of...

    Have fun with learning to sew, knit, whatever. I second the nomination of SouleMama's blog as she is so inspiring. Though if you're like me, a perfectionist, you might feel guilt over not being able to do "it all". Try not to get that way! Just do what you can and have fun with it.

    Blessings in this new season of your life.

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  25. I would recommend free cycle, garage sales and Ebay as sources for baby items, where you can sometimes get next to new items for little cost. Selling the car and emergency funds Yes. essential IMO. I would also get rid of pay TV.
    I do disagree with you on the getting rid of both mobile phones though. As a mostly at home mum of two littles I personally feel the need to be able to reach their dad who is also the person with access to our car in case of any emergency.

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  26. Oh my goodness Rhonda, this exact same thing just happened to us! I suggest that along side the taking a meeting with the hubby, she toddle (or waddle?!) off to the library and look in the household section/cooking/organisation. I just borrowed a marvellous book by Kathy Peel called The Family Manager Takes Charge, and it is fabulous.

    Also, in her budget, I suggest she put aside $20 a week for op-shopping. I have continually op shopped for my bub (due november) and bought all my blankets and newborn clothes for less than $100 in total. I'm also very fond of having a baby shower, because its all about helping out. Oh, and check out ebay! Lots of packs of clothes for babies that you'll get for about $2 a piece if you buy in lots of 10 - including the postage!

    Good luck to this mum, if she lives in WA please tell her to contact me, I'd love to help out, even just by giving a supportive shoulder to cry on.

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  27. Great advice Rhonda & all the lovely ideas in the posts too. This sounds like an exciting challenge ahead for this young family & what might look like 'lemons' can turn into sweet beautiful 'lemonade' for them.
    Jeni

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  28. Thank you for posting this. It's amazing how sometimes in life things come about at just the right time.

    My husband lost his job very unexpectedly on Wednesday. He managed a restaurant that is going under - it was before he even got there although we didn't know it at the time. We got wind of this and even though he had started the process to look for a new job we thought we had at least a few months.

    The way the employers operated meant he was forced to sign a letter of resignation and he cannot file for unemployment benefits without going to court. We will lose our health insurance in 30 days and I am a graduate student with only minimal income and we have recently come off 3 months (summer) where I didn't draw a paycheck.

    We started our transition to a more simple and frugal life in January. We built up our savings account with the knowledge that I wouldn't have a paycheck in the summer and we still have some leftover. We cook from scratch, make our own cleaning supplies, garden, and try to save energy wherever we can.

    Given all of this we still have two cars (must keep given where we live), cell phones (no land line), and cable television.... I think it's all about finding balance in life. We budget our money well, don't spend frivolously, and go without many of the 'new' things our friends have. Sometimes it's hard and no doubt, until my husband can find work it will get harder, but we are committed to living a lifestyle and doing with what we have.

    You always seem to post things that speak to my life when I need them and I'm sure I'm not the only one!

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  29. http://handmadebyrita.blogspot.com/2007/10/classic-rrp-ritas-rump-pocket-pattern.html

    Cloth diaper pattern my friend recommended.

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  30. Dearest Rhonda,
    I'm a 32 year old, married with a 3yr old. The mistake I made when I was pregnant was that I thought I needed heaps of "STUFF" for when the baby arrives. How wrong I was!!! Babies don't need hardly any toys or ANY fancy clothes. My daughter lived in grow suits ( all in one) for about the first 3-4 months. I found it too difficult to try to get her in & out fancy clothes. I love op shopping & the fantastic baby clothes you can get for $1 or $2 is great value as babies grow so fast they don't get the wear out of them. The other place I have bought clothes is garage sales & ebay. I also purchased the cot & change table off ebay. They were brand new from a baby warehouse. It was heaps cheaper than the retail shops. I cleaned out my daughters closet the other day to make room for summer clothes and 90% of her clothes are second hand but no one could tell. Most are brand labels like pumpkin patch etc that I have picked up for next to nothing.
    I was lucky enough to be able to breastfeed my daughter for 19 months. Silly me bought all the bottles, sterilisers etc before she was born. She never had one bottle! So that was a waste of money (for me anyway). The savings we made by never having to buy formula was huge. We also saved by me making all her baby food. I steamed vegies, put them through the blender then froze it in ice cube trays. Perfect size for baby. When we went on holidays I bought some heinz baby food for convience and she wouldn't touch it. I thought it tasted awful as well.
    Anyway I have learnt many lessons so when we have our next baby I know what I will be doing! This is what worked for us and might not work for everyone but sometimes it's nice to get a few ideas.
    Still love your blog Rhonda,
    Take care & God bless
    Melissa

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  31. Great ideas Rhonda and everyone else! One thing I would strongly suggest that even though it is extremely tempting to buy everything new for the baby (and alot), buy used. Babies grow so quickly and expensive items are not needed. My son slept in a dresser drawer for a while when he was born!

    Save as much as you can and like Rhonda said...start living off of one income now. Re-do your budget and see where you can cut back. By the time you leave your job, you will feel better in knowing that you can survive on one income and your life will be much happier realizing that you are going to be able to stay home with your child. There is nothing more rewarding.

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  32. cloth diapers/nappies tell her to get fuzzi bunz. on the first three of our four we used prefolds. oh, the time and energy we'd have saved if we would have gone there straight away. they have seconds available at kellyscloset.com

    people are amazed that i don't have a cellphone. i was an early adopter and got it out of my system over five years ago. concentrated magnetic fields are bad for your health.

    pay off the mortgage or save up, re-finance and use the savings to pay down the principle to get lower payments. i they can...

    best of luck to them.

    k-)

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  33. not much advice, but one thought -- babies need SO much less than you think they do and SO many people will be happy to lend you clothing, and the small list of essentials for those first few months. you won't need a baby wipe warmer, diaper genie or all the other things "they" tell you you'll need. onesies, diapers, a few soft blankets and some warm outfits will be plenty. babies can sleep well in the simplest bassinet or crib.

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  34. one more thing -- rather than pay down the mortgage, I would set aside the funds from the car and final salary. if you have an emergency it would be more difficult to get those mortgage payments back than to dip into your savings.

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  35. Good morning (just!) Rhonda.

    What a wealth of tips in the comments above! I'd like to add a couple of things: both might start making lunches and taking coffee to work to cut costs immediately as well as starting the frugal life.

    I find cooking double when a meal freezes well saves money and time. With a new baby in the future, the young lady might like to plan for the early months now by starting to freeze meals. If doing this, I would urge careful packaging, labelling and keeping an inventory on the front of the fridge. Otherwise everything looks the same.

    Also, go back and read about price books on this blog. I thought I knew what items cost until I came across this invaluable little tool.

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  36. All the ideas given already should help on a practical level, but I want to talk about the emotional impact instead.

    Being left in this position unexpectedly, the couple may feel they are somehow to blame. They may be tempted to feel guilty also. She, for losing the job and he, for not being able to earn more for his family.

    Money and financial security is a wonderful thing, but don't forget the integrity and strength of your relationship either. Learn to express your emotions without feeling guilty for having them.

    Give yourselves permission to feel overwhelmed too - it should be expected. Especially with pregnancy hormones and suddenly having to become responsible for a new life; both of you.

    To the young lady in question, it's going to be difficult getting used to managing a new baby, let alone all these new stratagies which will save you money. Please do not burden yourself with guilt if you struggle.

    Talk about it and embrace the struggle, even if you don't feel like it - because it will serve you well in the long run. Be kind and understanding to yourself, as well as to your partner. Ask for help. Don't forget to share a hug first thing in the morning and before you go to bed either.

    The hardest aspect my husband and I have had to face during sudden changes, is keeping the integrity of our relationship in tact. It's tempting and human to want to yell your frustrations at the person closest to you. Rather than waiting for that to happen however, it's better to anticipate the need for forgiveness early.

    Practice saying to each other, "this is a really tough situation and I'm feeling really useless at the moment, but I still love you." It's just as important for HIM to say this, because he won't instinctively verbalise it.

    My husband is the kind of guy if he sees his family struggling, to throw himself into his work more. This was such a shock to me initially, because I thought he'd left me to deal with the struggle alone. What he was attempting to do however, was make our financial life easier. It was a shock to him, to discover I thought he'd left me alone, LOL. As he put it, he thought he was showing how much he cared, by working harder for the family's security.

    Just be aware you will deal with this new struggle differently, and be prepared to talk about it. You won't instinctively know how to help each other through - but you will be each other's main support. :)

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  37. I recall living on one income and we are pretty well back there.
    But one thing she and her hubby might see if they could redue the mortgage.
    But don't wait until the last dog is hung.

    Coffee is on.

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  38. A wonderfully informative post Rhonda. I'm sure that young couple should be fine if they follow half your suggestions. Suggestions that all of us, no matter what situation we are in, could only benefit from if we were to follow them ourselves. So glad I've found this blog! :o)

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  39. What a lot of great helpful hints from a loving community!
    I want to wish this family all the luck and happiness possible! What an adventure they are going on! I have all the faith that they will be just fine, we are never given more than we can handle.
    I would like to keep up with them to see how they are doing...so Mom to be...please would you let us all know through Rhonda Jean how you are doing? Thank you!

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  40. An idea for your finances:

    We have four bank accounts - our working account which dh's pay goes into, one for Centrelink/govt payments (used for car repairs, unexpected bills, etc), one for long-term savings which is direct-credited each pay, and one term deposit that keeps rolling over. Oh, and no credit card.

    Cath

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  41. They are too young to worry about putting extra money towards the mortgage! Didn't mention if they have any credit card debt, if so, use the $4000 to get that off their backs. And then any other obligations and then the emergency funds. I would say at their young age the mortgage is the last to worry about, since even if they put several thousand towards it it would still likely by many years before they are mortgage free.

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  42. We have been through a similar situation and are still struggeling. My hubby has a job but not a great, high paying one BUT we are getting by. Our son is 4 months old now. We have two older (ages 18 and 17) at home also. I lost my job and couldn't find more work, I went to college then we found out we were expecting! What a shock. I took hand me downs and bought used on everything! I started immediately buying diapers. I would watch the sales and combine them with coupons, many times I would get a large pack of diapers for as little as $3.00. I used under the crib for diaper storage. I did not buy ALL one size. I have sizes 3, 4 and 5 still under there. I used few newborns, ones lasted about a month or so then onto size 2. I think size two seem to be what he is in the longest. He is four months old and just two weeks ago I picked up the first pack of diapers. :)
    I make my own laundry soap which only cost me about 2- 3 cents per load. I have info about that on my blog here : http://lifedomestic.com/2008/11/homemade-laundry-soap/

    I also did a post recently about menu planning and how much that can save you. I save a ton of money if I can keep my hubby out of the grocery store. LOL

    Our main thing is discerning between wants and needs. We do not NEED cable but we have it right now. If it comes down to it we will cut it but as long as we are getting by we are keeping it. Hubby has a bit of a tv addiction. In the past I have went with out tv for years and it didn't bother me. Now, try to cut off my internet...whole different story. LOL I cut my phone bill in half and cut my cable bill by talking to the companies and telling them we could and would switch to a more affordable service. :)

    Best wishes on the new baby and I hope all goes well.

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  43. Hello Rhonda

    Oooh how I can sympathise with this woman, only 3 years ago that was me, i was working until i fell pregnant and ended up with horrible morning sickness that lasted the whole pregnancy (i lost weight instead of gaining!)...i gave up work on the advice of my Dr when I was 4 months pregnant.

    We were forced to live on the hubby's wage, and the remaining months of my pregnancy were a steep learning curve. Even though i'm sure there is similar advice above, this is what i bought for my bub, and how we survived - and now we thrive...still on one income and loving it!

    My bub lived in Bonds wondersuits for the first few months, with 2 fancy outfits for church, outings etc...no-one ever saw the fancy clothes anyways, she was a winter baby and always wrapped in a blanket!

    I bought a great pram off Ebay, a second-hand cot, but new mattress. I bought one bottle and a breast pump (worth it's weight in gold so that i could express milk and hubby could occasinally feed bub while i caught up on some sleep). I used cloth nappies during the day and a disposable at night.

    I know a lot of ppl recommend getting rid of the car, but i couldn't handle that because we have very limited public transport and no parks near where we live.

    Making all snacks, meals from scratch saved us the most money, and i started to feel better and lost weight from eating healthier.

    If this woman allows this oppertunity to teach her some great new skills and new ways of living, she will be so much happier and wiser for it :) :)

    Lauren H

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  44. Hi,

    I'd not pay on the mortgage but keep the cash for emergencies. It'll probably not save them significant monthly amounts in the short run. Reading about them having no health insurance... Well, I'd never want to be in a position where I could't afford health care for a child (or myself), so I'd prefer to have a shas of cash.
    Great advice for the rest. The baby will never know or remember if it has new or second hand stuff.

    Good luck to them, Jandra

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  45. I'm a new reader of your blog, and I must say that it's really fantastic! You give so many good advices =) You do a great job with your blog, and I find so many good ideas about how I can organize our family-life. Thank you so much!

    I'm sorry if there's a lot of words that I have spelled wrong, I'm not that good in English...

    Greetings from a homekeeper in Norway

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  46. They are already on their way since they decided to simplify their lives already. There have been many great suggestions. Some of the frugal sites I will check out too even though my children are grown.
    We have always lived on one income and know it can be done. Our one income was megar by society's standards but very adequate for all our needs. We learned how to make every cent count. We made it a game to win at not a chore.
    Keep a good mindset. You two are working together on it. It is never you against each other. Discuss any concerns you have together. Even when my husband was without work for months on end at times we made it.
    As others said... There are wants and then there are needs. That being said our life was never dull nor did we feel deprived. There is a world of things to do free at museums, zoos and through many local places. Just ask at your city council office. Ask other Mothers young and old. Without leaving home there is so much to do and enjoy! :)
    We bought used everything and found more than we could ever use. Keep a good list of what you need as you will find many wants out there!! :)If you are not used to buying used ask friends that do so you can find the best places and learn what the going price is for things etc. Get a different mindset. If you think you need something think first if you have something you can use instead...or make easily. Yes learn all you can before the baby is born and cook a few meals ahead is such a good idea for after the baby is born. There will be money for some wants gotten frugally too...you'll see. We resold a lot we got used we no longer needed [having yard sales] for more than we bought it for. If you buy something for 50cents that cost new $8.00 use it then sell it for $1.00 and it still looks/works good you have saved and so will the next person! :) Course likewise you can give the things to another new Mom or family and rejoice that you can help them.
    You never stop learning how to live easier. Yes I said easier. Less frills but also less stress. Find yourself like friends. Friends for yourself and your husband who have been there are invaluable. They can mentor you and in turn you will teach things or be able to help them in other ways. They will be very valuable. If your working friends go round talking mostly of all the 'stuff' they buy they don't need and the fancy life they have{or Think they have} it might depress you. Actually they are probably really not as happy as they make themself sound. In reality they may even be envying you as they would like to be at home too. You will be the happier one in mind and soul. Content and relaxed like you have never known before. You will gain much confidence in yourself and know you can take care of yourself,..yourselfs. The two of you will be closer than a lot of your friends as you work together.
    We have been doing this nearly 40 years and would not Want to live any other way. There will be worries and changes during the change and learning your new babies ways. Remember this too will pass. You will never believe this but the years will pass all to quickly. You have already been through struggles no doubt that you can remember. You made it through them didn't you? Just take this one step at a time. I am happy and excited for you that you are on your way to a very rewarding life! Stay turned as Rhonda and all these other commentors always have soooo much good advice. I always learn something new. Jody

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  47. I agree with most of what has been said. Babies need very little, and things like clothes and toys can be bought very cheaply second hand.

    One spot I would disagree with though is the mobile phones. DH and I both have very cheap mobile phones (he has prepaid, and I have an old deal where I only pay for the calls I make), and I wouldn't live without them. Perhaps it is different in built up areas, but out here I am often driving long distances where there is no public phone available. Our car is a little older, so we have RACQ membership if the car has a breakdown, but that isn't much use if I don't have access to a phone to call them. I also like to be able to call DH to come home if I am particularly stressed or DD is sick.

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  48. What a positive post Rhonda. Must be so difficult for the woman in question to contemplate this right now, but hopefully all these fab suggestions will be of some help :)

    I was wondering about health insurance too. I'm in the UK, so no need to worry about health insurance, and I don't really know much about how it works elsewhere. But is it worth paying out a monthly amount for insurance? Or is it better to save part of the payout? I've read some illnesses/ injuries end up being pretty costly.

    Anyway, just a thought, good luck to the woman in question anyway! :) And Happy Birthday to Hanno for the other day, I laughed at you saying this is the end of his boyhood - never!

    Jenni
    xx

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  49. Dear Rhonda,
    I've been reading you for a long time but this is the first time I leave a comment. I love you blog and I find your ideas very inspiring. I was touched by this story as I too lost my job eleven days before my son was born. Those were very hard times for us as my husband had just changed for a new job and we were paying our first house. And of course the solution is what you said, to cut down on what is not absolutely necessary. That's what I did and I still do it, though I eventually found a new job. Thank you for being a constant source of inspiration! Paula

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  50. This was us earlier this year :)

    my DP lost his job about two months before our baby was born in Feb this year (a few weeks before christmas), and I had already left mine managing a plant nursery.

    We had most of the things we needed for bub - cloth nappies, car seat, a sling, a few flannel and muslin wraps, and minimal clothes. I have an 8 yr old as well, so I remembered that people LOVE to give gifts after bub arrives, and didn't get too much in the way of clothing. Sure enough, when our boy was born, we were lucky enough to get lots of clothes, some toys and some more cloth nappies. I still had my daughters cot, but it holds our washing, bub sleeps with us lol!

    We don't have a mortgage/rent (family farm) so are very lucky there, got rid of one of the mobiles - the other one goes with whoever is in the car and is pre paid, have the one car (live out of town, so a necessity), no cable tv, prepaid internet. We do have a small personal loan, but no credit cards.

    Our living expenses are pretty low anyway, but things were still quite tight. We cook from nearly scratch, take out twice a month. Our fuel bill is huge because of family needs, but we work at reducing this as much as possible.

    Breastfeeding helped save money - formula is $$$! We recently picked up a secondhand stroller for $10, it is very handy, and our boy is a heavy young man, although we use the sling whenever we are out and about.

    fastforward to now, and things are even tighter - we are expecting another baby (a surprise lol), there will be a 12 month age gap! We need another car seat and some more nappies, but wont be buying anything else as everything from our son is still here. If this is another girl, blue is still fine, we just might add some more purple in too :)

    I'm crotcheting a dishcloth as I browse the blogs here, and am teaching myself some basic sewing. We are working on the gardens, and hope to raise more chooks for the freezer this spring/summer. I plan on making up some more soap soon. We are penny pinching where we can, while still maintaining a good, simple lifestyle.

    It is hard work, but worth it. And babies grow SO fast! The transition can be hard, and there will be a lot of strong emotion involved. But this can be done... many hugs oxox

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  51. There's been a lot of great advice here already.

    Paydown the mortgage or save? People seem divided on this issue. For my family, paying down the mortgage would be the best option for us - we have a loan that allows us to easily withdraw any extra payments if we need to, so for us extra payments are a savings option that also saves us in interest payments. However, some loans are not structured to allow easy withdrawals of extra payments.

    In Australia, interest payments on your own home are not tax deductible, so it is pointless minimising payments to get a tax benefit here. I gather from some comments here that the situation is different in the US.

    This definitely seems to be an area where you need to exactly what rules apply to you, both with your specific loan package & tax implications.

    Nappycino is a great resource for making your own nappies: http://www.nappycino.com.au/forum/

    There is a sewing forum with links to patterns & members are happy to help out with questions about making them up.

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  52. Hi Rhonda

    Its dinner time in our house so not much time to look at the responses that you already have and to give a lot of comment but on the cloth nappy thing www.ozclothnappies.org has lots of info and links to sellers, free patterns, the 'how to' etc. It also have a yahoo group to chat to other cloth users. www.nappycino.com.au is a forum where again she could get cloth nappy advice. And as you know the Australian Nappy Network (http://www.nappynetwork.org.au/)has Reusable nappy Week coming up so opportunities there to learn about cloth nappies and also, depending on where she is nappy sewing workshops (Perth, Sydney & ACT). If she needs to know anything to do with cloth I am happy to help her out, she can contact me on my ANN email - wa at modernclothnappies dot org.
    My other sugestion, if they didnt want to get rid of their mobiles completely once their finish their plan is to use prepaid sims, that way they can only use what they can afford.
    Freecycle may be one place that they could pick up some secondhand items and most states (assuming she lives in Aust) have Baby & Kids markets http://www.babykidsmarket.com.au/ for secondhand stuff. Also tell her not to get conned in to the "you must have" there are so many things that people tell you that you just have to have and in reality half of it doesnt even get used and really isnt necessary.

    Mich

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  53. As a mother of three, my youngest is almost one, I have stayed at home since my children were born, and we have been on one wage now for almost 9 years.
    It isnt easy sometimes, but neither do we do without.
    My only real suggestion here is, after having three babies, you really work out what you need and what you dont...........think carefully......it is so easy to overspend on the best of everything, too much of everything, and on things you dont need.....babies grow sooo quickly, if anyone offers you ANYTHING, take it.....I didnt, and wish I did. Ask other mothers what they wish they hadnt spent money on, and they will surely tell you...also, I know it is a personal topic, but breastfeed if you can, for as long as you can...the benefits arent so much monetary, but Im sure it helps...and make your own baby food...there is no need to purchase pre packaged baby food that you have no idea what went into it....
    Hope this helps a little...with a few little subjects....Suzanne.
    Good luck............and mobile phone???? Dont even ask me where mine is........I have no idea!!!

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  54. Wonderful advice! Definately making sure the family has 3 months of mortgage payments with the 4000, would be my first step if possible. Also; working out a budget asap, in accordance with the one salary. I'd also suggest two websites that may be a source of encouragement.....

    www.crown.org
    www.daveramsey.com

    This time may actually be Gods provision for this family. May she be blessed w/an excitement of learning new things and wiser ways of doing old things.

    eunice:O)
    http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/ivleague

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  55. Hi Rhonda,

    I agree with most of your suggestions, however, I would disagree on just one point.

    I would not use the $4000 to pay down the mortgage. The 7000 earmarked for an emergency fund, if they get that much for the car, really is not sufficient. I think they should add those two items together into an emergency fund. Perhaps put it in an interest bearing account and use the interest toward the mortgage repayment if they like, but in general, as long as they have the money at their disposal to use to pay the mortgage down they are better to retain it and use it for additional income. I know they won't get as much interest as they are likely paying on the mortgage but unless they can pay it off completely the benefit isn't there yet. A big emergency would lead to additional debt.

    You never know if he might lose his job in this economy or what other unexpected things might pop up.

    I have been a financial analyst sitting down with families for thirteen years. It always amazes me how little things can make such a huge difference.

    I really appreciate your blog and would never disagree with you...except this time... ((hugs))

    Becky K.

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  56. Once she has got used to the idea of the change in circumstances I hope she sees it as a positive thing. A key factor in living a simple, frugal life is the mind set you have.
    When I was made redundant and we went down to one wage I found it hard at first but now enjoy living a happier/ healthier/ more frugal life and my children have benefitted from the changes too.I have just had baby number 3, we had planned to stop at two so had given away all our baby equipment. I have prepared for this baby very differently - using freecycle and ebay, visiting the sales held by local toddler groups where parents sell of barely used clothes and equipment. Babies grow so quickly that most of the clothes, although not brand new, are in super condition as they have hardly been worn.
    I find menu planning has been really useful in control the shopping bill, stocking up on things we use a lot when they are on offer, comparing gas/electricity suppliers and making sure we get a good deal and giving handmade gift has also helped control outgoings.
    I hope she has a happy pregnancy and will perhaps let you know when her baby arrives so you can tell us.

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  57. I think Rhonda's plan sounds just right, aside from putting the $4000 payout on the mortgage. Personally, I would save that as an emergency fund if there is no other debt that needs to be paid off to avoid accruing interest. Perhaps allot a small portion of it to pick up some gently-used baby furniture to outfit the nursery. Then, as they adjust to living on one income, perhaps they will get expenses down to the point where they can eventually pay a bit extra on the mortgage each month.

    Best wishes to this couple...you CAN do this, and do it well. In our personal circumstances, when stopped working at an outside job to stay at home, though our income went down, our lifestyle went UP, as I had the time to devote to scratch cooking, crafts to improve our home (making curtains and place mats, that sort of thing) and so on.

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  58. You have given this young lady such sound, wonderful advice! Our experience with our three children was that the two largest expenses in their first years were diapers and formula. By nursing and using cloth diapers, it is possible to all but eliminate these expenses. Yes, there is a little extra laundry but it is easily manageable. I used a diaper pail with a tight-fitting lid and washed diapers 2-3 times a week. Yes, I had a large stack of diapers but it was well worth the investment. I used them for all three babies and then for cleaning...they were truly just tatters when we finally tossed them. I also made much of our own baby food...a blender is a wonderful investment. I would grind/mash the veggies and meat and then freeze in baby food jars. I have a larger freezer so space was not a concern. By doing this, I was able to ensure my babies were eating only healthy foods, no fillers or additives. Yes, I used some commercial food for the sake of convenience when we travelled or were otherwise away from home but the day-to-day savings were tremendous.

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  59. Hmmm... I don't have much to offer, as we're just beginning this journey to a simpler life, ourselves. We've always lived on one income, and I've always stayed home with our kids (4, almost 2, 4 months), but lately we've realized just how much we have already. We're truly and wonderfully blessed, so shame on us for not being more responsible with what we've been given. Simpler, more thankful life, here we come! I just read a book called The Nursing Mother's Companion, and it was wonderful. Very practical, encouraging, and helpful, even to a mommy who is nursing her third child. I wish I'd known about it when I had my oldest! I think for a new mommy-to-be it would be a great help in easing a lot of those "is my baby getting enough to eat? how do I know I'm doing this right?" worries.

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  60. I feel for this young couple - this is a lot to absorb at once. I liked much of the advice given, except I'd be tempted to get rid of the land line and keep the cells (on the most basic plan they can get). If they only have one car - they're going to need to get a hold of each other (sick baby, Dr. appt., etc).

    More importantly - I would not advise them to pay down the mortgage - they need to keep that for savings, because they have no health insurance. If they live in the US, that is extremely scary - because a birth in a hospital can be extremely pricey, particularly if there are complications. They need to save that money just in case (also - try and find a way for hubby to get insurance if possible).

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  61. For companionship I would recommend joining MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) along with her little one. There will be lots of moms there that can encourage and sympathise. http://www.mops.org/

    Enjoy the time with your little one. Before you know it, they're grown up!

    Sally

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  62. Rhonda,

    How large do you make your dish cloth? I have been wanting to make some but I am not sure if I am making them big enough?

    Love to see more of your knitting projects...

    Renee

    gardendesk.com

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  63. Wow, is there anything I can say that you didn't? ;o)
    Well, I am a stay-at-home-mum with one child (3 1/2 years). We (my husband and I) decided that it was the best way for our new to be family. And it still is!

    There's just one thing I was wondering about: I would not give the money to te mortgage, but put it away to overcome the first days of their new (family)live. This way they have some money to spend at contingencies. Well, that's what I think.

    Wish them all the best, also from Holland ;o)

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  64. Hi Rhonda,
    A belated Happy Birthday to Hanno!
    I think you've covered most things that will make a BIG difference for this young couple. Most people are given a Baby Shower when they are expecting, so the mom to be could be very specific on what she would like to receive. That would help with baby items.
    Oh yeah, they should try to eliminate cable etc, one at a time till she is laid off, that way it doesn't feel like your depriving yourself and doesn't hurt so much.
    Wish her and her hubby best wishes and good luck from me.
    Thanks!
    Coleen

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  65. We are a one income family with 4 kids. We choose to live this way and it takes some creative budgeting. I won't say what my husband makes but he is a social worker and technically we live below the poverty level. I wouldn't think it looking around my house. :)

    As for things for baby they really do not need very much. This is what I would buy:
    1) A NEW car seat. I would get a convertible infant to toddler. Saves money in the long run as you do not have to buy new carseats every time the baby grows out of it. New because car seats expire and also need replaced if ever in an accident.

    2) cloth diapers. One size diapers are expensive but last through out all of babyhood. Prefolds and flats are the cheapest option and with a little learning work wonderfully. Newborn diapers are often available of craigslist for very cheap. They are also in great condition as they are worn so little and then you resell them again. :)

    3) a nice baby carrier. This is priceless in my opinion. One can continue to do work around the house while baby sleeps on mama. I have a infant pouch if it would fit the mama and she is in the US I would be more than happy to mail it to her. Its just collecting dust here and I can't find anyone local that it will fit. Its a Hotsling size 3.

    4) Breastfeed! Free food that is best for baby. Nothing more to say. :)

    5) If mama cosleeps there is no need for a bassinet or crib. We do have a crib that is sidecarred to our bed that all four kids have used. These can also be found used for great prices.

    6) a few clothes. Thrift stores again are great for babies clothes.

    As for our budget we try and do the bare minimum. We do not have TV but get netflix to watch on our computer. We have a home phone for local and one cell phone with long distance and a minimal amount of minutes. Internet is another expense I won't part with. We homeschool so its a great tool for us. We have also gone to a one car family. Saves us in gas, car insurance, and maintenance.

    Best of wishes to this family and if she wants that sling please feel free to email me. :)

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  66. I am short on time, so if this has been said already, my apologies.

    If I read that right, they have NO health insurance. If they are in the US, they will need quite a bit to pay for the hospital/midwife costs for the labor/delivery of their baby.

    They should put the money into savings, not their mortgage, until they know what their medical bills are going to look like.

    I had nurse midwives through a clinic at the hospital, and with "no complications" births it was still at least $4000 dollars. For one birth.

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  67. well I agree with the cost saving measures in the post and comments. we decided it was not economically viable for me to continue to work after we had our first child (and this suited me - as I wanted to stay home!) when we took into account childcare, 2nd car, disposable nappies, convenience food etc.

    The biggest problem for me was not the lack of money - it was the loss of my job - identity, friends, 'contribution' to society etc - staying at home alone with a baby was boring, tiring, stressful, depressing. I also seemed to spend a lot of time justifying my decision about staying home - 'wasting my life and education' apparently :).

    i would spend some time making new contacts (pre-natal classes, mothers groups etc) as soon as possible. it got better of course, or i wouldnt have had another 2 kids and still have no 'real' job - but the first couple of months can be pretty rough. however, after the first year i couldnt even imagine juggling work and family.

    PS: I have spent the last ten years fobbing of questions about when i will return to work (like i havent spent the last ten years working!)- now the youngest will start school next year the questioning has resumed in earnest.

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  68. Any chance of your posting the muesli bar recipe? Sounds good and I'm always trying to find a healthy one.Thanks!

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  69. Just remember- happy memories are important. These years will be a blur. Right now, you have the choice to make them contented years with a positive attitude and a can-do spirit, or unhappy years longing for material items that bring instant, superficial gratification.

    You baby will only know it is loved and cared for, not if it sleeps in a used bed. Your husband will either cherish memories of a strong, resoureful, loving wife or live in a stressful environment with a wife who finds no joy in life's blissful, simple moments. You can survive, or you can choose to LIVE life to the fullest.

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  70. There are so many wonderful ideas for this family - just wanted to add something. When I started my family in the late 80's I knew I wanted to stay at home and raise them and this was very much against the trend at the time and against my in-laws wishes who thought I was selfish.I stuck to my guns despite financial struggle and when we moved cities for a job we were without any extended family. I was anxious for my kids to feel centred and protected as a somewhat isolated family and to have lovely memories of childhood. I set about making our home really colourful -every room different, themed, cheerful and happy. With little money the easiest way was to decorate chippy country style (some new friends thought I was quite eccentric). But by using old furniture, 2nd hand china, garage sale toys & kids clothes, market treasures and a 'friendship' wall of blue and white plates ( all discards or donated) our home over time evolved into a warm and settled place. In recent times we sold our loved home to pay soaring medical debts and we are now rebuilding our lives with inspiration and focus from Rhonda's amazing blog. The thing my kids miss most now(and they are nearly all adults) is the 'old house'. They talk about 'doing up' their own houses one day and they all have an eye for quirky things & appreciate 'different' homes. It was worth all the criticism and sacrifices. If this lovely new mum stays strong to her beliefs anything is possible. My only other advice is to accept help whenever its offered. It took me a long time to feel comfortable to accept offers from new friends - thought I should be able to do it all by myself. But by baby no3 I had mellowed. And sleep/catnap when you can! Blessings for a beautiful life ahead. Jen xx

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  71. Oops forgot - belated birthday wishes! Happiness always Hanno! Hope this coming year is just wonderful..

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  72. I think this couple will be fine. My dh lost his job in July. We've been a one income family since we married, and have 7 children. When he came home after being laid off (after 30 years on the job) our hearts sank. We've lived frugally since we married 26 years ago, thank God, but making it on NO INCOME is a challenge. We still have six kids at home with the youngest being 4. So making it on one income with such a small family should be very doable!

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  73. I'm kinda late to jump in but wanted to say how wonderful all the ideas are! Seems like many of us started out like this. I left my job to stay home w/ our first child. DH worked full time and took night classes and we struggled to make ends meet. BUT we did it and you can too. It's not easy but stay focused on the goal. Everything for our first child came from garage sales. Our home was very tiny so we just had the basics. I also agree about using the $4000. into an emergency fund. The money will be accessible when needed eliminating the urge to use a credit card.
    Good luck to you both. You can do this!!!! ((HUGS))
    Debbie
    Central Illinois

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  74. Run, don't walk, to the bookstore to buy one thing. Just one thing: The Baby Book by Dr. Sears. This book will not only make you feel like PROS in the parenting department if you read it before baby arrives, but will also recommend a very simple way to parent. Attachment Parenting is not only an incredible, positive, loving way to raise your baby, but it's also cheap!

    We never needed a crib or swing. I have never once walked down the "baby" aisle at the grocery store - didn't need to buy disposable diapers or food in a jar (I don't feed myself food in a jar, why would I feed it to my child?) or the aforementioned bottle-feeding paraphernalia. And babies in cloth dipes don't need diaper rash cream!

    Really, this book will so very gently and happily encourage this soon-to-be family that living on one income is not only doable, it's the best thing you can do for your kid.

    The cheapest, easiest way to diaper I have found is to use prefolds (with a Snappi) or fitteds - both underneath wool covers, made from recycled sweaters. You can find more answers to diaper-sewing and diaper-using questions than you can imagine at this forum: http://diaperdivas.proboards.com/ where you can also buy the Fattycakes diaper pattern for five bucks. This pattern is incredible. Super easy to sew, and a size Medium will fit from five weeks to two years or more. (Prefolds work best on those teeny newborn legs up until that five-week stage, and after that time those prefolds can be used to stuff the diapers for more absorbency.)

    Good luck! It will be fun. Trust me!

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  75. Hi Rhonda,
    when i had my bub we were both on benefits after dh lost his job, we used our baby bonus (then only $900) to pay the rent and when my mum came up and wanted to make meals for us, i asked her to buy us a load of groceries instead, as we only had a tiny freezer. my mother-in-law took me shopping and we bought a cheap baby bath, a change mat (can put it on a table or the floor) and both flannel and cloth nappies. Other friends bought clothes, relatives sent stuff from o/S, I bought a second hand bassinet. Mum and Dad bought a stroller and later a proper car seat, we hired a baby capsule from the government, and i had a sling made for $50.
    we went into debt for a new washing machine though.
    After 2 months when bub was 6 weeks, we moved to QLD, used our bond money to pay for fuel and one of the cars died on the way....I won't go through the whole saga, but we used to joke that if someone broke in they would leave $20 on the table. And then someone did break in, and didn't take anything!
    Eight years on, I no longer have to budget so carefully, but the skills I learnt then have stood me in good stead. Our marriage is stronger because of the hard times.
    Anna

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  76. I am going to assume this young woman lives in Australia.
    1. If you are pregnant and on a low income, any friends who have already had babies will pass on everything they can. I had so many things given to me that I couldn't use them all, and I have passed on many things to other friends. See what you can get free before shopping anywhere.
    2. A February baby will probably only wear a nappy for the first month of its life because it's so hot!
    3. Go to breastfeeding classes and join the Australian Breastfeeding Association. BFing doesn't always go smoothly, but it is a great way to save money as well as ensure a healthy child, and you will find the other mothers very supportive.
    4. Go public for the birth. The biggest risk factor for a C-section in Australia isn't a medical condition: it's going private.
    5. Get the doting grandparents to stump up for a convertible car seat for the baby. One of the few baby items that is both necessary and expensive.
    6. Drop a hint to friends that you'd like a baby shower because money is going to be tight.
    7. Change tables are worthless. Change your baby on a rug on the floor -- wriggly babies never fall off the floor!
    8. You don't need a pram. Use a sling when the baby is small, and a stroller after 6 months.
    9. Only put that emergency fund money into the mortgage if you are going to be able to redraw it in time of need. (I am assuming they have no other debts, but if there is debt, pay off whatever has the highest interest rate first).
    10. If hubby can catch public transport to work, buy an annual ticket for him; it saves a motza and you get the car!

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  77. Hmm, I think I would do things a bit differently. Do they owe on their cars? Do they have any credit card debt? STudent loans? Putting extra on the mortgage would be the last thing I would do. In fact, if the $4000 would pay off the second car, I would keep it. With a young child and a need to get to the doctor, a second car could be much needed. That being said, they do desparately need an EF for sure. Banking all of her salary for the next month will help with that, but there will certainly be expenses for the baby that need to be covered. I can see putting extra on consumer debt, but not the mortgage at this point. At least wait until after you have the baby and make sure everything is OK before paying extra on it. Good luck! You can do it.

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  78. Hi,
    I've not read all the replies yet so I might be repeating someone....The only piece of baby stuff that is absolutely necessary is the car seat. A crib, changing table, playpen, swing, etc...all that is extra. People used to put newborns in a drawer. You can find strollers at yard sales and second hand shops. Buy your car seat new though.

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  79. There's a great article about saving on things for baby in a book she can probably find at her local library. "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Dacyzyn has a lot of great ideas for caring for babies and young children as well as saving money on groceries and utilities. I've checked it out from the library several times, and finally bought my own copy as there are recipes and so many great ideas in the book. I wish her and hubby and new baby all the best.

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  80. Hi Rhonda, As a 70++ grandma may I just make one suggestion for the young lady in question that is talk to other people. Its amazing what can happen when you exchange a few words. Half an hour ago I was standing at my front gate when a neighbour passed and we got chatting. The outcome was I was offered two boxes of designer baby clothes for my year old grandaughter. A very welcome gift as both parents have been made redundant in the past two months and things are very difficult for them too.

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  81. I hope it's not too late to put my "two cents" in.My concern is about the phone situation.Since the young wife will be at home,I think dropping down to one cell phone would be good.Whoever is out and about would carry it.If the husband can be reached at work without using the cell phone,then it can be left at home on days the mother will be out.But I have a problem getting rid of the landline phone.Where I live in the US,I have to drive over 15 minutes away to have cell phone service.So my landline is essential.
    I have two phone jacks in my home.One has a phone directly plugged in to the jack and the other is a "cordless" phone,(base is plugged into the jack".When the power goes out the cordless is useless,but I can still use my regular phone.So if the power is out and a emergency happens I can still call for help.I want this young family to make sure they can call for help even if their power should go out.In February,where I live,is the worst of Winter weather and when we most likely lose our power.
    Since I don't have cell phone service where I live I don't know if they work just fine if there is a power outage.I just want to make sure whatever route they choose about their phone service to make sure they can call for help always!!
    Best of luck to them and know that no matter how hard and impossible it seems now,you will make it through and someday be able to look back on this time and know it made you stronger! Darlene

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  82. I don't have time to read through the many comments already here, so there may be some repetition, but I wanted to let this new mom-to-be know that you do NOT need all the "stuff" marketers would have you believe. And happily, the "greener" choice is very often the more frugal choice as well. I was 29 when my baby girl (now 11 months) was born, and we live on my husband's salary while I stay at home with Katrina.

    -Breastfeeding--aside from having many other wonderful benefits--is free. Formula is expensive. (Breastfed babies also tend to be healthier, which saves on trips to the doctor.) If you are worried about nursing, look up your local chapter of La Leche League--these ladies are invaluable in helping with any nursing questions that come up. I attended a meeting before my daughter was born so I would feel comfortable asking them for help if I needed. This resource is free, though you can pay to be a member if you choose.

    -Consider co-sleeping. There are many resources online (Mothering magazine has a wonderful website full of resources on this and other topics) on how to do this safely. Not only do you not need a crib if you co-sleep, if you're nursing then mama doesn't even have to get out of bed to feed the baby, which leads to better-rested parents and baby.

    -Don't bother buying baby food at $1 (or more) per tiny jar. You can make your own at home much more cheaply, and then you know exactly what's going into it. Our baby doesn't even want the homemade baby food anymore, she wants what we're eating. So we cut it up into baby-friendly bites and share with her.

    -Consider what clothing you'll actually need. When Katrina was a newborn we needed to bundle her up because it was winter. But we live in Florida, where it's quite hot most of the year, so now she's in just a diaper most of the time--no need for lots of outfits, though we do have some for when we go out.

    -Speaking of clothes, baby clothes don't get worn out--they don't get worn long enough before they're outgrown. You can find baby clothes in great condition at yard sales or consignment shops. You can also let any mama friends know that you'd gladly accept hand-me-downs if they ask.

    -A stroller is nice to have but not essential. Consider babywearing--keeps your wee one close to you, keeps your hands free. There are *many* different kinds of carriers, many that can be made easily if you sew. If you use a wrap, you can make it with just a length of cloth--no sewing needed, unless you want to hem it.

    -When you get a carseat, look into convertible seats; the one we have goes from 5 lbs to 80 lbs, so it's basically the only carseat we'll ever need. If you go with an infant seat, you'll have to get another one when it's outgrown.

    -Toys are nice, but babies don't need many. Very often they're more entertained by ordinary household items--I'm sure you've seen kids playing with the box their expensive toy came in, and disregarding the toy altogether. And most of all, your baby just wants *you*. You can play peek-a-boo with a blanket and they'll be entertained for ages. :)

    -Baby tubs are overrated. You can use the sink, bring your wee one in the tub or shower with you, give sponge baths while the baby is laying on a folded towel, etc.

    -Cloth diapers are the way to go. There are many different kinds out there, some of which can be expensive initially but you get your money's worth by not having to buy disposables. I was very lucky--when my SIL was organizing a baby shower for me, she and several others got together and bought a bunch of cloth diapers for me, so I was all set.

    -If someone wants to throw you a shower or asks what you can use, know what you need so you can give them a practical answer. Now is not the time to worry about whether all your nursery accessories match. :)

    Best of luck, and congratulations on the new baby. This will be a precious, precious time for you--enjoy it.

    Helena

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  83. WOW! What a lot of comments!
    I left a job I disliked three months before my first baby was due and it was the best time, time that can never be replaced. I enjoyed cooking, preparing for baby and general homemaking.
    There are alot of ideas for babies in the comments, fabulous ones - breastfeeding (if possible), cloth nappies (disposables are handy to have on hand for emergancies), making baby food, buying second hand clothes and furniture. If you drive a new babyseat will be worth while. We have used an old family cot for my five children (it has been in constant use for over nine years now!) but if my mum didn't lend us the cot I wasn't planning to buy one - we were going to use a mattress on the floor. I always found a bouncer/rocker good to use. You will work out what suits you as your baby grows.
    I would also suggest not putting extra funds onto the mortgage, at least not until the baby is delivered and there are no emergancies, still keep an emergancy fund. I have found daveramsey.com very helpful in regards to managing finances.
    If you are sewing, blesseddesigns.net has some wonderful maternity/nursing patterns that can be used even if you are not pregnant or nursing.
    Reading Rhonda's blog will be a big thing for you - so many helpful ideas, and inspiring/uplifting posts/comments. Good luck - you can do it!

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  84. The same thing happened to us! I was sacked while pregnant and hubby brought in the only wage. While I was pregnant we were very concerned about how long we could live on one wage, as we didn't want to put our baby in child care. We thought we would only be able to afford to be on one wage until the baby was 6 months old. But by changing our habits, writing meal plans, shopping at the farmers markets etc. we are living more cheaply and healthier and I get to stay at home and raise my baby and see every little accomplishment he makes along the way. I think all your suggestions are wonderful and wish we had had this sort of guidance when we were looking for it.

    PS. Our nursery set up was very cost effective. We brought a cot off ebay for $30 and wrote a list of the things we would need and whenever family and friends asked what we needed we were able to show them the list and they would pick something in their price range to buy for us. We brought most of his clothes from op shops, a friend who had had a boy gave us all his baby clothes and clothes were given as gifts when the baby was born. As I am breastfeeding there was no need for formular, bottles, sterilisers.

    PPS. The expensive toys people brought him don't get as much attention as the blinds or the kitchen measuring cups!

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  85. We have a family of two small children and live very, very comfortably on one income.

    On top of what has been mentioned:
    * fitted cloth nappies can be got second hand even more inexpensively, less than half the price of new ones often and still years of wear in them. Even better yet, many of them are often shared among friends, ie I have my friends 'smalls' to use for my DD until she has her third baby in a few years and needs them again. Others were given to me with the provision I pass them on to someone who needed them when I was done.
    * as for baby gear - go to Baby & Childrens Markets! Especially in t the 'well to do' suburbs. Some of the stuff is new with tags on or lightly used and can be picked up for 20cents to $2 an item and these are not for cheap/poorly made items either. EG Seed, Fred Bare, Minihaha brand shirts that retail for $50-80 new (really cannot fathom spending that on a shirt my child will chuck on in 5 mins or less) for $1.50 etc. I can clothe my children in excellent stuff for about $60 inluding tops, pants, shoes, jackets and jumpers and no one knows it's not straight from the shops. You can pick up a lot of other baby gear from these inexpensively as well. We've picked up a pram for $50 that was in Baby Bunting the season before for $850, judging by the tyres utter lack of wear it must have been an unwanted gift. Likewise our highchair $15 vs 149.99 at the shop... same model, had been bought to live at 'grandmas house' for when they visited and rarely used. We bartered with a friend who makes slings to get one - they're awesome! Other than that babies don't NEED half the stuff that the shops try to tell you your child needs. People have been raising babies for thousands of years without all the gadgets.

    For the big ticket items you need to get new eg carseat, look for lay-away options that you can pay off slowly well before bubs arrives without any intrest.

    Change tables=towel laid on the bed, with an old bit of vinyl tablecloth under it if you're worried about accidents.

    Freecycle can be your friend - we were gifted a number of items such as a babyswing etc from people who no longer needed them.

    We also cosleep (no need for a cot or the umpteen monitors to tell you bubs is still breathing) and breastfeed (formula, bottles etc.) which minimizes costs and is safer as mums are designed to be aware of their babies.

    Oh and knitted cotton dishcloths are the BEST baby burp rags ever. Bar none. Tested every day by my lovely little chuckers! ;)

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  86. I'm not sure what country this family is from, but if they are from the USA:

    If hubby's income is low, she should qualify for medicaid while she is pregnant and for the delivery, and the baby qualifies in most states, as far as I know.

    If income is too high for medicaid qualification, they might consider home birth with a midwife, if their state allows, and if she is having a low risk pregnancy.It is usually much less expensive than a hospital birth when one doesn't have health insurance.

    Many hospitals also have discount programs for people who don't have health insurance. They should talk with the billing office to see if they can work with them.

    Walmart has a discount prescription drug program for certain medications,and many doctor's offices can often provide free samples.You can also contact pharmaceutical companies directly to see if you can get a discount in certain circumstances.

    A simple lifestyle can greatly reduce episodes of illness,so you may not need antibiotics and such as much or at all, anyway, due a better immune system provided by a healthier diet and less exposure to toxins.

    If the family does vaccinate, most health departments will give babies and children free vaccinations.

    WIC has a great food voucher program for juice, milk,eggs, peanut butter, cereal, and cheese. The baby will qualify to age five (I believe), and mom qualifies while breastfeeding-which I highly encourage for health and money reasons), if the family meets the income requirements (which are higher than most people are aware of, btw).This is a HUGE help on the food budget.

    Babies don't need as many things as people think-just a few basics and lots of love and attention.:)The baby certainly isn't going to remember the material things they did or did not start out with, but will be shaped for a lifetime by love and attention.

    Our first baby slept in a travel bed someone gave us for the first eight months of her life. We bought everything else second hand, or received it as gifts.I hand washed her clothes in a bath tub until she was six months old, at which time we were able to purchase a very old but trusty second hand washer.My most important piece of baby equipment was a second hand manual baby food grinder I found at a yard sale:)

    Don't hesitate to let people know your situation and your needs. My daughter mentioned that she would like to use cloth diapers for her baby, and someone just gave her a huge bag full of them recently!

    Here is a great link for making your own diapers and diaper covers out of t-shirts, sweaters, and other things:

    http://www.diaperjungle.com/sewing-cloth-diapers.html

    Here is a link for home birth info:
    http://www.midwiferytoday.com/

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  87. This post is filled with lots of useful ideas for living on one income.

    As the young lady mentioned going green, she can cut their expenses even more by eliminating the waste in their electricy usage and water usage.

    Changing their bulbs to the energy saving ones would help with that as well as switching off all lights, appliances etc when not in use.

    Closing the pipe instead of keeping the water running while brushing teeth is also a good way to cut down on water waste.

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  88. i would also suggest thrift store clothes for baby. one or two new outfits are nice but for the most part baby is just going to spit up, pee and poo on the clothes. there's little sense in paying 20$ or more for a new outfit when you can walk out of the thrift shop with an entire bag for the same price. also, don't believe everything you hear about "educational" toys and videos for baby. what they need most is mom and dad and time together. when it comes time to move to solid foods, don't fall for the jars and microwave meals. mash up some of what you're eating and baby eats right along with mom and dad.

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  89. hi.. another new mum here to say that we also are living off one wage with a large mortgage payment each week so our budget is very tight.
    You really dont need much for your baby at all. Food is free. If you use MCN (Modern cloth nappies) you can pay around $200-$400 for nappies that will last you until toilet training, and they will be the fancy new coloured ones not terry squares either..
    We bought a cot, changetable and some bedlinen/toys etc in one package off eBay for VERY cheap.. I didnt buy any clothes at all.. i was given tons! the only expense really should be a new car-seat.. dont settle for a second hand one.
    join your local freecycle group and see what other people are getting rid of.. we have managed to baby gate our entire house with babygates (same brand and all matching even!) for FREE - council cleanups for baby gates are also great!
    seriously, we did our baby on a tight budget but i think i could easily do it even tighter now i have seen what we actually use and dont use..

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  90. Don't know where this family lives, but one thing that struck me (and no one else seems to have mentioned) is the topic of health care. If you don't have any, most states in the US offer free coverage to expectant mothers. Look into that asap. You'll need it in 5 months. Also consider finding and working with a Midwife and Dula. This can be a much more economical way of having a baby, though it would still be nice to have that heath insurance for any complications.

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  91. Hi, have just found the post on Losing a job - the transition from two wages to one. We are a family of four Dad, Mum, 20yr old daughter, 18yr old son with a small family business which is shortly closing down due to lease issues and change of land use locally (so our products no longer viable). We live in a small rural town in NZ and for several months have not been able to pay ourselves regularly. We all work in the business, (me from home doing the bookwork) and we have survived.
    How? This was expected to happen so for the last several years we have saved HARD, put money aside and learned to live simply. We had an acre of land which we sold when land values were highly inflated, and with that money purchased 7acres in a fruitful and fertile area and at present are living off our vegetable garden, planning our new home and living on our food budget (for the four of us) of NZ$4.60 a day. And what's more we're doing it, with change left over. That change is paid out every week to those who have eaten under budget and they use it to buy that something they'd really like (could be a rump steak, could be a favourite coffee). What has helped us more than anything has been no mortgage and no debts. One car, no TV and simple family living, sharing everything together. Our present house took 7 years to get into but we worked on it when we had the money, built up the garden and when we moved in we had a garden already established and a new home. We made this decision early on in our marriage, and together learned "to bite the bullet" regarding "things" and to really think about what were needs and what were wants. We concentrated on the needs, and you'd be surprised how often the wants turned up!

    The food budget concentrated on bulk buying - and this certainly needed a better storage area - and more dishes with beans, rice or pasta and really tasty sauces. Lots of rolled oats for porridge in the winter and muesli in the summer, heaps of salads and fresh vegetables from the garden and keeping meat purchases right down. We'd buy up chickens when on special, mince etc. because you can just do so much with both and not get bored with it. When you've grown your own stuff, and your budget is $4.60, your own stuff is 'free' and you cost out the shop purchased stuff, divide it by four (four people) and presto! not much money spent!! Also, we have become so much more budget conscious as a family, we have come to enjoy the challenge and I really appreciate it when the family say to me "hey Mum, that was delicious, can we have that again?"

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  92. thank you so much for this inspiring post! im about to quit my job to become a full-time homemaker and im so excited but so nervous at the same time.

    i have 2 children and one on the way. my husband does not make a lot of money and neither do i(preschool teacher)and we are used to living frugally. but thinking of living even more frugally has me concerned.

    i know for sure we can do it but i keep stalling quitting my job because i don't have a plan in place yet. i have just stumbled upon your site a week or so ago and it has really inspired me to get going. EVERY DAY my husband tells me to quit my job and pretty soon i think i'm going to actually do it!

    THANK YOU THANK YOU for dedicating yourself to helping and inspiring others in this way. its a beautiful thing.

    crystal

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  93. I am a mum to my second baby of two and have not spent one cent on her - except for my midwife to have a magnificent homebirth. I breastfeed - was given a sling, baby sleeps with me - eats off my plate - what is to want? Any clothes were off freecycle. We could not be happier and richer in our lives. You don't need that designer cot or pram. We don't own a pram - who wants baby to be off their body? Blessings to the new mum..

    ReplyDelete
  94. Hi Rhonda
    I have been searching for your muesli bar recipe but can't seem to find it - please could you put me out of my misery?!!! LOL!
    Eve x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't remember posting a recipe, Eve. I don't make them often so I would have just got a recipe from my cook books.

      Delete

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