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                                                                                 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #MyDataMyWay #CollectiveBias

When my husband and I decided that I would quit my job as an elementary school teacher to stay home with our children, we had to transition from two incomes to one. This was tough at the beginning and a lot of friends have asked me about this. I now have a one-morning-a-week job as a play therapist, but for years I was a full stay-at-home-mom.  There isn’t really an easy way to do this. You have to limit your spending & start saving!  The biggest thing that you have to do is PRACTICE!

A group of people sitting at a breakfast table with text above them.

Rule # 1- Six months before you are planning on doing this (going from 2 income to 1), practice it! Put all of your income into a savings account. Do not touch it. This will be a great test!  This will help you to really build up your savings (have at least $1,000 in there for an emergency fund, but $10,000 is better.)   It really isn’t a question of IF, but WHEN you will need that money- There will be an emergency in your future & you will need to take from it. (Flat tire? Birth of a baby? Whatever it is, it will cost & you need to make sure that you have extra money to cover it). Just start saving as soon as you can!

Rule #2- Pay yourself first!
My husband and I put as much into his 401K plan as they will allow. The company will match up to a certain percent, as well. This is paying ourselves first. We don’t ever see this money because it comes out before we can use it. We will be happy that we did this some day. 🙂

Rule #3- Shop smart & cut your spending!   Try to buy what you need for better prices!   So a great example is that we recently bought the Alcatel Fierce 2 with the Walmart Family Mobile plan.  We use the Walmart Family Mobile’s 4G LTE  because the savings is huge.
walmartIt is $29.88/month (for the first line) Unlimited Talk, Text & Data service plan which includes up to 500MB of 4G LTE data.  We found that just by using this phone, we were able to save money to use in other areas (like towards our mortgage!)

It was the perfect time to switch over to Walmart Family Mobile, because it is spring and we are doing a full “spring cleaning” of our house and our finances.    (Not to mention that we love the actual phone, too.  The camera is great!)


So when you go shopping (for a phone, clothes or whatever it is you are looking for), here are the questions that I ask myself when I go out shopping:

1). Do I really need this? Or will it just sit in my closet? Does it just feel good buying it now or would I regret not getting it? (Remember- every time that you SAVE money, you are investing in your future! Save money now- have it later!)
2). Will this go on sale even more? If the answer is yes, I will wait.

Rule #3- At the grocery store, look for discounted items. When you go to the grocery store, do you look for sales? Do you use coupons? I do both. I ALWAYS check for the yellow-sticker items at Harris Teeter.  Example: Day-old bakery bagels will be $1.69 with a $1.00 off sticker on it, so I will get 5 bakery bagels for 69 cents. They will only last one day in our house, so the day-old part won’t bother us at all, since they get eaten quicker than most people eat the fresh ones.  Pork-chops that were $10.00 will be marked down to $5.00 on the “sell-by” day.   If I am not going to use them that night, I freeze them.  This will save you at least half on your grocery bill.
Don’t forget to check the day-old produce rack, too. I get our spinach (in the bags) for less than a dollar. We use about a bag a night for salads (we have spinach salads often!) so again, they “day-old” part isn’t an issue. Most grocery stores get new produce on Tuesdays, so go out Wednesday morning for the day-old produce to get marked down.

Rule #4- Don’t use coupons if you don’t need the product.
My mom taught me this one, because I was buying things just because I had the coupon.   If I buy a bag of chips for $1 (normally $3) because I had a coupon for $2 off – I am really wasting that $1, because without the coupon, I would never have spent any money at all.   Save only the coupons that you will use or that you can get the items for free or very close to free.  I  normally wait to use my coupons until it is Super doubles or Triple Coupons, but using coupons would save you even more! I normally save 80% or more on my groceries when I shop during these times!  I use my Alcatel Fierce 2 with the Walmart Family Mobile’s 4G LTE (that I mentioned above) to compare coupons to deals while I’m shopping.   I don’t mind using the data when it is so cheap! 

Rule #5- Now, you will have to stop going out as much. This one was probably the hardest for us. We used to love going out to eat. We went out to eat several times a week. Now we go out about once or twice a month. Not often at all.  Partially because it is hard to take four kids out to eat, but mostly because it is just not worth it financially.   If we go out, I look on my phone for great deals through places like, Living Social & Groupon.
For special treats, we will go somewhere like Brusters: where the kids will get free ice cream or to places where kids eat free.

Rule #6 – Live within your means. My husband and I believe in living within our means. We do not spend money that we don’t have. We don’t put purchases on credit cards. We don’t buy cars that we can’t pay off in a short amount of time (3 years or less). We wouldn’t buy a house that we couldn’t pay off years earlier (10-15 years). We save money when and where we can.

Rule #7 – Tell them no. Our kids will hear us say “No, you can’t have that.” Many times it will be because it is just too expensive, but many times it will be because we are not going to raise entitled children, if we can help it. I want them to be hard workers (see my “age appropriate chores” here) & understand that they can’t have it all now because I don’t want to see them going into debt trying to have it all when they are adults. I want them to understand that money isn’t something that we “will get” – it is something that they have or don’t have. If they don’t have it now, they can’t buy it.
Living debt free is also living stress free.

Rule #7- Supplement your spouse’s income.  You might have to do something to bring in a little bit of money.  Find your niche. I was a teacher, so being a play therapist was perfect for me. Our son received therapy for years and I watched as our wonderful therapist & friend, Lauren, helped him. I loved what she did and wanted to do the same. I became licensed in play therapy and used my teaching license and I love it.  I am able to work part time, one day a week, but it is enough to pay for preschool for our kids.
For more info… check out my book – you can be a stay at home mom on one income:
You can be a stay at home mom

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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