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Miserly Moms > Columns > Miserly Moms

Reasons for being a SAHM, Older vehicle/new vehicle, Baby food recipes, Using a whole chicken, Stopping the shopping habit
by Jonni McCoy

Q. I am longing to be a stay-at-home mom. I am pregnant with my fourth child in addition to having an 8,7, and 5 year old. I am determined to not put this child in daycare at six weeks like the other children. The problem is my husband won't let me quit my job. I have done all the figuring and we can afford this option on one income. Things may be tight on occasion, but our monthly bills can be paid. My husband just can't let go of all the extra income. What can I do? Any suggestions? I would greatly appreciate it.
Cindy, in Ohio

A. You are going to need to get to the bottom of his reasons.

Is it the security that your job provides him, knowing he isn't responsible for it all? Then he needs to decide whose job it is to support the family. Should it be yours, or should your main job be to focus on your family, care for them, provide stability at home, provide emotional support for the kids, and be the nurturing one.

Does he want your income so he can have some financial perks, or more toys? Then he needs to make sure the toys aren't more important than the kids' needs.

Then there are your needs. You may need to be at home due to the demands on you. List all that you do for the home and kids, and list what he does. Is it equal? If he expects you to work away from home as much as he does, then he should do as much as you do at home. Or he should let you cut back on work so that you can do what you need to at home.

And, finally, there is the question of what is best for your kids. Do some research on child-care issues, and the long term results it has on kids. Ask him if that's what he wants for your kids.

Q. I have an older van that really needs to have major repairs, such as brakes and possibly a new/rebuilt engine. We put a new transmission in it before Christmas while I was still working. I am at home now and use the van primarily for carting the kids to the store and to the pool, etc. My husband has the "I want a new car urge" and keeps talking about using my van for a trade-in. We figure that we could "afford" payments of $200.00 a month but that would be all of our discretionary budget. How do we decide which is the best use of our money? Fix the old or invest in a newer vehicle?
Michelle Raytown, MO

A. There are several questions to consider.

I doubt that you can get a brand new car for your trade in plus $200 payments, so you will probably get another used one. Is that going to be any better than the one you have?

Do you want to have NO discretionary money? Can you or your husband really live without any "extras" for a few years?

Can you and your kids live "bone dry" financially just so you can have a newer car?

The $200 per month comes to $2400 per year. Do you think you would spend more than that on repairs?

These are just a few of the questions that you should ask yourselves before making that decision. I am sure that you have other issues to consider in addition to these.

Q. I am SO excited I found your web site. I am a soon to be SAHM and we will be on a serious budget. I would like to make my own baby food to save money. Do you have any suggestions on web sites or good cook books for baby food recipes? Thank you for your help.
Kristy Tolley, Charlotte, NC

A. Making your own baby food is a great way to save money. Prepared food is so expensive. And they sometimes have added salt and even colorings and preservatives. So making it yourself is less expensive and healthier.

When I had babies, I cooked whatever foods we were eating for that meal, but cooked the baby's separately without any spices. Then I put the food in a blender or food processor, added some liquid (water, formula or milk) and blended. I usually had too much baby food, so I froze the extra in an ice cube tray. Each cube was about a meal's portion.

For more recipe ideas, there are several cookbooks on baby food recipes available at the library. One of my favorites is "The Complete New Guide To Preparing Baby Foods" by Sue Castle.

Q. My husband and I are trying to budget very carefully so I can quit work to stay home with our 18 month old daughter. I know that buying a whole chicken is cheaper than buying the "boneless, skinless" breasts that I'm used to. I need some tips on using as much of the whole chicken as possible! Any tips or recipes would be a great help. I've found lots of recipes for chicken casseroles, but most use canned creamy soups, which I'd like to avoid. Thanks for your tips!

A. The whole chicken is a great way to buy and cook chicken. There are many things that you can do with it. Here are a few ways to use the meat:
     roasted chicken
     chicken salad with diced vegetables
     stir-fry chicken with vegetables
     chicken tacos
     chicken burritos
     chicken enchiladas
     chicken fajitas
     chicken with noodles/skillet dinner

And then there is the carcass that is usable. After you have taken off the meat from the bones, boil the bones with some celery, onion rice/noodles and spice and make chicken soup. Serve with homemade biscuits.

Q. I am looking for suggestions as to how to "reprogram" myself to stay out of the stores, mainly Wal-Mart, and the malls, so that I will have at least some of my spending money left at the end of the week! It seems as though every time I turn around, I'm dropping $25.00 here, $30.00 there, etc. I really want to become more frugal so that we can have a heftier savings account, contingency account, etc., but it seems as if shopping is one of my life's greatest pleasures. Please give me suggestions as to how you have overcome this "burning desire", or at least learned to tame it! Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions you continue to give.

A. America has turned shopping into a recreation. We use it for fun rather than for necessity. The best way to stop your habit is to realize that your shopping is hurting other areas of your home. It may be causing debt, which is a burden to your family. It takes away from productive time with one another. You could be spending time together doing other things. Not to mention that you end up with many products that are totally unnecessary.

Make a list of the harmful effects that your shopping has, and of the positive effects that your not shopping will have. Post them on your refrigerator or in your car to remind you.

Studies have been done on the shopper. For every minute that we are in a store or mall, we spend $4. So the best way to save, is to stay out of the stores.

Jonni McCoy is the author of "Miserly Moms-Living On One Income In A Two Income Economy" and "Frugal Families-Making The Most Of Your Hard Earned Money!"

Visit the Miserly Moms Website at

Our sincere thanks to Jonni for allowing us to reprint her wonderful work!

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