June 7

Truly Inexpensive Eye Glass Replacement

OK.  I’m back from my little vacation.  I don’t know how often I will post, but I will post.  This first one is just kind of a light one; a review of Zenni Optical, an 0n-line eye glass fulfillment center.   I don’t know about where you live, but here a new pair of eyeglasses, especially bi-focal or progressive lense glasses, can cost upwards of $600.  That’s quite a hit to the pocket book when you have to replace a pair unexpectedly. And if you have kids, this can happen fairly often. Well, there is an option out there for truly inexpensive eye glass replacement.

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 9.46.40 AMYou find them at www.ZenniOptical.com and the process is simple.   You will need a copy of your eye glass lenses prescription.  Ask your Optometrist for one.  They have to give it to you.   It has to be less than two years old.  Once you have that, go create an account at Zenni.

Then upload a picture of your face looking straight at the camera, and start “trying on” glasses.

There are hundreds of options in every type of frame imaginable.  All frames that I saw were between $6.95-$45.95 with the majority of them falling right around $25-$29.

Once you have a frame you like, click forward to choose your options.  Add your lenses.13327452_10208320932874144_1657963244367896730_n  Mine are bifocal, so they cost $17.  I believe progressive lenses are $27.95.  Single vision might be $10. I didn’t check.   They automatically come with anti-scratch coating, a case, and a cleaning cloth, but you can add on tinting, anti-glare, etc.   I opted not to.  And then there is a small fee for shipping that doesn’t go up no matter how many frames you add.

My glasses, including frame, lenses, anti-scratch coating, case, cleaning cloth, and shipping cost me $41.

They came to me in about two weeks and fit perfectly.  I still swear that my prescription is even more clear than it was on my two $600 pairs.  I love them.  I rate my experience a 5 stars out of 5.

Check them out!  I think you’ll be delighted too.

(Note:  I was not paid to do this review.  I received no free merchandise.  This is a true experience.)

 

 

March 29

How to Survive on One Income (Updated)

Ahhhhh yes.   Time for  another reblog update and I’ve been wondering how I was going to approach this one this time around.   This was by far my most controversial post to date.  I get more hate mail from this than from any other.   I almost hate to change it at all.

But alas… Let’s see where I can and should update without changing the flavor of the post because that would just be such a sad thing.  Here we go.


Note! This Part 1 is ONLY for women who want to live like a 1950’s housewife. This means that if you proceed, you are saying that you want to live in an old-fashioned, admittedly probably completely sexist,  male-lead home. If that’s not you and you are just looking for tips to surviving on one paycheck, skip to Part 2. Agreed?  Again.  If that’s not you, do not proceed.  Do not pass Go.  Do not collect $200.  Had to throw in the Monopoly reference to go with the photo.  🙂

So here it is.  How to Survive on One Paycheck–1950’s style


Page_1If you want to live like an old-fashioned 1950s housewife (AGAIN..note…I’m not talking to career women. I am talking to the women who, by their own desires and choosing, want to live as housewives.  Yes I’m repeating myself), where you stay at home keeping house and tending the kids while your husband goes to work, you can. To be able to live and survive on one pay check is possible. Today we are going to talk about the two big things you must do first to make it possible. Tomorrow we’ll get to all the little details of the “step by step.” But you must be able to do these two steps first before any of the rest can succeed. You ready?

First and foremost is that you have to hand over care of the finances to your husband. Why? First, because if he is going to be solely responsible for bringing in enough money to pay all the expenses and keep a roof over your heads, he needs to see first hand where the family finances stand on a weekly basis. He needs to pay the bills. He needs to budget for the groceries. He needs to see it and experience it so that he knows if he is doing enough.

If you are controlling everything and paying all the bills, and you tell him there isn’t enough money, it is possible he won’t believe you.  Or he may suspect that you aren’t spending wisely. He may even think that you are stashing money and not telling him. He sees plenty coming in, and he will believe there is plenty to cover everything. He will likely get angry, dig in and refuse to make changes. But if he is doing the finances himself, and he sees for himself that you are sticking to a budget but it’s not enough, he will know.  He will adjust where necessary without argument or household distress.

It is equally important that you do not let him tell you that he prefers you to keep the books.  Of course he does.  It’s easier.   But it won’t help either of you.  Having him take 100% responsibility is a psychological thing for both of you.  Not a convenience thing.   He must, must, must have control over every aspect of the money.  He must understand down to the fibers of his bones that the care and keeping of his wife and children are entirely his responsibility. (And his own personal victory when he does it well!)

The second reason you need to turn over the finances to your husband is because if you want to live the life of a 1950’s housewife, you have to live all of it. It doesn’t work half way. If you want to live the gender role of a traditional woman, you have to let your man be the man. You have to step back and let him lead his home, and doing the finances is a huge part of that.   . . . . Did that sting a little?  If so, don’t worry.  You aren’t alone.  To this very day I struggle with shutting down the urge to questioning Mr. C’s spending habits, but I’m getting better.  I don’t even know why I feel like I need to question.  Everything is always paid on time.  I have everything I need and want.  I just can’t seem to get those last little bits of control freak out of me.

Eh.  I’m working on it. Anyway… Where was I?

Ah yes.  Back before the introduction of feminism, this is how it worked.  A man woke every day with just a few things on his mind. After he got that first one out of the way, his laser focus shifted to his duty to provide for his family, and that’s all he kept his attention on all day long.  It has been a man’s instinct to think this way for thousands of years. (Hunt and gather, you know?) It’s only been since after the end of WWII and into the 1970s that gender roles started to become foggy leaving most men not knowing what their role is in this world anymore.   Poor dears.  They have lots of new crazy rules of engagement thrown at them, which is confusing because for most the instinct to lead and provide is still strong.  They’re just waiting to take the reins.

Ok so before you start to back-peddle, let me add this. You have nothing to fear. Just as it was back then, it is the same now. A man not only feels compelled to provide, but he feels compelled to keep his family in the highest social status that he can afford. (The man with the most toys wins!) He will keep you in the very best house that he can afford. He will want to insure that his wife looks as pretty and is wearing the best fashions as he can afford. He will insure that his children are dressed as well as and can participate in as many sports and activities that he can afford. He is not going to short change you or his kids. Why? Because it’s his instinct.  And he wants to look and feel successful, which means you and your home have to look good.

One of the things I was most shocked to learn about is the secret life of men. Secret to women, that is. It’s a brutal, stressful world that they live in—far worse than anything a woman can imagine, simply because our brains and our thoughts don’t work the same way as theirs. But since all men wake thinking the same thing—keep my family at the top!–theirs is a world of fierce competition. They wake up ready to fight. Men spend their entire existence comparing themselves to each other and fighting for position. They fight to win women. They fight to win and then to keep their jobs. They fight for social status. They fight for admiration and acclaim. Sometimes they fight for their own (and our) lives. No matter where you look in a man’s world, there is a fierce battle going on, hence the constant need to look and feel “manly.”

One of the most stressful places for a man is in his work place. There is almost never peace and there is always a lot of back-stabbing there. There has to be. The guy on top gets paid the most. The guy on the bottom gets near nothing. To allow a fall to the bottom is not only financially disastrous, it is humiliating to a man. And to add to the humiliation is the constant, nagging fear that for most families, a fall to the bottom of the social status ladder is often a fall that will last for many generations. Once beaten down, it is nearly impossible to recover and pull out. Some families never do. The emotional burden and stress of knowing that his children, grandchildren and even his great grandchildren will be effected by how he performs today is enormous.

Tell the truth.  When you are working outside the home are you ever considering how it will effect your grandkids?  I didn’t think so.

I almost can’t stand to even think about that constant burden, yet men are designed in such a way that they have the emotional strength and physical ability to fend off the stress that comes with such a huge responsibility. They tend to think more logically and less emotionally.  They focus on only one thing at a time, not 100 like women do.  Their bodies are more rugged, more prepared to take on stress. They are literally designed to handle that type of stress better than we are.  (And we are better designed to handle other stresses better than they.) Those amazing creatures happily take on the full social and economic responsibility for their wives and children, and they will likely never speak of it as a burden because it feels natural. It feels right.

To have the responsibility to be the sole provider, however, could not be bearable or even possible unless your husband has control over decision-making. He has to have the freedom to be able to decide what job to take that will best provide, where to live, how to live, and he needs to have your 100% cooperation in allowing him to be the decision-maker. Remember that word “obey” that was taken out of the marriage vows? This is where it comes in. It didn’t have anything to do with being a slave to your husband. It had to do with respecting his decisions about how he was going to lead his family and obeying his instructions regarding those matters. You get input, of course, but whatever he decides is final. Welcome back to “obey.” If you can’t accept this, then you can try to live like a 1950’s housewife, but odds are that it will not work for long—not without a whole lot of relationship-damaging suspicion, resentment, and arguing.

Besides, why would it be so bad to just let go and let your husband be the head of the house? If you see that as degrading, ask yourself why. Why would it be degrading to be in a happy marriage where your husband feels manly and treats you like a lady and where your children feel protected and happy? What has happened to our thinking? We as women have got to stop seeing everything as a fight for equality. Despite what our generation was taught, we are not meant to be equal in all things. We, as women, are designed to excel at certain things and men are designed to excel at others. Why can’t we honor that?

Tonight sit your husband down and tell him that you want him to take over care of the finances. If it’s true, tell him that you feel like he is better at that type of thing than you are and that it’s just too stressful for you to deal with. If, on the other hand, you struggle with the idea, tell him you struggle with it but you can see how it would benefit both and you think you should give it a one-year trial–no matter what.  If you must, show him this post. Do what you need to do to get him on the same page. And then step away. Resist the urge to show him how to do it.  Resist the urge to remind him what to do. And do not check up on him.  He is capable. Let him step up to the challenge. He may shock you with his abilities. And yes, he may occasionally mess up, but so what. Haven’t you occasionally messed up? Let him be. Remember when we talked about accepting him completely, just as he is?

Watch for the updated versions of these prior posts coming soon!

Part Two — the steps to getting there.
Part Three
Part Four

February 22

Earn About $1500 a month (or more) by helping one child.

Did you know that you can earn about $1500 a month (or more) by helping one child?  Tax free, no less, so it’s more like the equivalent of say $2200ish.  Well, you can.  We did.  That’s how I was originally able to leave my corporate job and stay home with my kids back in the mid 1990’s, and those very same programs are in need of your care and nurturing today. 68280_4356183015948_534235669_n

I’m sure you have heard of foster care.  This is a little bit different.  In your state it may be called Specialized foster care or Intensive foster care.  It may even be called something else.  Google it.  See what you find.  Basically it’s just like regular state care except the children or adults that you agree to care for have additional needs. Some have health needs.  Others have emotional or behavioral needs.   You are given all the training you need by the agency that you choose, and you decide who –which child or adult–you  take in. You also have 24 hour a day support, 365 days a year.   They will even provide you with respite (babysitting) options when you need a night off or have an event to attend.

It’s pretty straight forward, and it’s immensely rewarding–even without your daily stipend of $50, but that $1500+ a month certainly helps make it all possible.  Check rates in your area.  They vary.  I was actually shocked to see that $50 a day is still the going rate for my area as that is exactly what we were allotted back in the 1990’s.  That is per child, with a few exceptions.   We specialized in taking in parenting teens.  For those, we received $70ish…per day.

So how does it work?  And what do you need to do?

It starts with a Google search.   Look for all of the agencies in your area.   In Southern New England, for example, we have several:

Devereaux,
NAFI (or NFI),
The Home for Little Wanderers,
Dare Family Services,
Kennedy-Donovan,
You, Inc.,
Mentor,
Youth Villages,

and several others.   These are just some of the ones that came up when I did an internet search for Specialized Foster Care Massachusetts.  There are many agencies and all of them have their own little corporate culture. Call.  Talk to them.  Ask questions.  Ask how their programs work and what, if anything, sets their programs apart from others.  Do they do things differently? Do they have any special programs?   If you look into one and it doesn’t feel like a good fit, try another.  There is an agency for you out there.  Once you find one you like, ask to fill out an application. Some are available on line.  Others will mail them to you.

Part of the application process includes a criminal background check.  They are looking for major offenses and anything that might put a child in danger.  If you are 35 and you stole a pack of gum when you were 18 but have had a clean record since, don’t stress about that.   They won’t stress about it either. They’ll ask you what happened.  Be honest.  Sometimes what you think is a negative is not.   Who better to teach a teen about stealing and its consequences than someone who did it and paid the price?   See.  You are an asset in this case.  So don’t let your past haunt you.  Don’t assume something will disqualify you.  Often times it won’t.   However, domestic violence, drug issues, etc. absolutely will.

Next would be what is called a home study.   A home finder will come out to meet you and your family.   They’ll look at your space and determine if it meets the guidelines set by the state.  Do you have a bedroom big enough?  Some placements can share a bedroom with another person.  Others can’t. Your space will be noted for suitability.   Are there any major safety issues involving your home? etc.  (Later in the process there will be a fire inspection as well to be sure you have the appropriate smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, that they are working properly, and that you have the furnace shut off switches required by law.)

Once all those initial requirements are met, the home study questionnaires begin.  Each person in your home will be interviewed by the home finder.   They want to be sure that everyone agrees that taking in a new person is a good idea and won’t cause family strife (beyond the normal rivalries often encountered with children.)  They also need to know a little bit about your background.  Okay.  A lot.  They will want to know everything.  They will start at birth and ask you to tell them about your life.  What  experiences have you had?  Good? Bad? Ugly? How were those experiences handled?  What did you learn?  etc.   It feels fairly invasive at the time but it’s over quickly and they will use that info to help with placement suggestions.   Maybe you have something to offer that another doesn’t because of your prior experiences.  You would get priority placement, in that case, over another.  So, again, don’t hold back.   Everything you bring to the table has value.  You are just fine as you are.   Nobody wants you to hide your past.

After the home study is completed, there are some trainings you will participate in, and then a packet is submitted to the state for licensing.  They don’t usually take long for approval.  There are many children waiting for placements so your state won’t fool around here.   They will review and process quickly.

Viola.   You are now ready to begin looking at files.    The clinicians who have children to place will present to you files of children that they think are a good match.   The final say is yours.   You look over the file.  Ask questions.  Talk to their counselors and social workers.   If everyone thinks it looks like a match, you’ll meet the child (or adult).   There will be visits.  And then an over night.   If those go well and you are still feeling good about the match, a transition will occur.  Sometimes quick.  Sometimes a little more drawn out.  Whatever works for you, your family, and the child.

After they move in, you have constant support available to you.  The clinician will visit weekly.  You will have monthly trainings to keep you on top of the skills you need to work within different situations and populations.

Your placement may stay with you for a few weeks, a few months, or even possibly a few years.  Each state has different guidelines.  Each placement has different needs.   Some are working toward transitioning home to their biological family.  You become a huge part of that.   Some will never go home.

And while some may eventually go up for adoption, it is important to note that foster care providers should never go into foster care with the intention of adopting.   You should always be prepared to help that child go home to his or her natural parents.  Always.  No matter how you feel about those parents.  You may be asked to work with the parents who are trying to fix the issues at home and get their little ones back via supervised visits.  (Never alone.   Always supervised by a clinician or agency rep).  That’s part of your job.  You must be prepared for that and willing to do that, or you need not apply.

Mr. C and I became care providers for two very good reasons.  First, Mr. C was a foster child himself and he wanted to repay that debt to society.   I was a parenting teen.  I had my first daughter at age 17, and I wanted to teach young girls that pregnancy did not mean disaster.   They would be okay.   So we combined those two things into being foster care providers for parenting teens.   Eventually we branched out to other populations as well, once we were comfortable doing so.

And while we thought that the benefits and satisfactions would be all ours, we had no idea the effect that the entire experience would have on our children.   It was profound.  I didn’t know that until one summer day in the mid 1990’s.

I was cleaning my kitchen when the door bell rang.  We were living in a townhouse condominium complex at the time.  I opened the door and standing there was a man, about age 30, with tear-filled eyes.  He could barely get the words out when he spoke.   He said, “Hello.   You don’t know me.  I live over at number 1119.  I have the little boy you sometimes see playing with the water hose for hours on end.  He has a severe form of autism. He’s . . .  I’m sure if you’ve seen him you figured out something was different.   Well… (tears now streaming down his face)  I just want you to know that for his entire life I have looked out at the other kids playing in the neighborhood and it pained me to know that he would never play with them.  They would never have him. I just knew that he would never be accepted.  He can’t communicate at all, much less play.   I new that until today.  When your daughter rang our bell and asked if my son could come out to play.   (Now we are both crying.)  Thank you, he said.   Thank you so much.  Your children have the most amazing hearts of any that I have ever met.”

Enough said?

Call.   What have you got to lose?

February 1

Why It’s Good to be a Traditional Wife in a Nontraditional Role

Obviously not all women in the 50’s were stay-at-home moms.   Many worked outside of the home out of necessity. Some because they enjoyed it (with or without the consent of their husbands).  And others worked outside the home because their children were grown and they wanted to stay busy.   It is in that last category that I find myself.   I am now a traditional wife in a nontraditional role.   Two actually.

Found here: http://images.google.com/hosted/life
Photo Credit: Life Magazine

I have this blog, of course, which is really just a pleasant hobby.  But I also have my art.   That, too, began as a hobby but has taken on a life of its own.  I now get paid to paint and it definitely changes the dynamic at home a bit.   Although I work at home mostly, and consider myself a stay-at-home wife, I am technically a working woman.  I do own and run a business (of sorts).  And I do have my own ideas about how to do that.   So how has that effected my “traditional roles” theory of living at home?  And can one really be both a so called “stay-at-home wife” and a working woman?

Well.  Yes.  And No.  It’s very difficult to swing both.  It’s a constant juggling act.  There is the day-to-day responsibilities of both worlds that conflict at times.   But more importantly, there is an emotional and mental change that occurs when a woman begins to pay attention to something outside of her home sphere.  There is a feeling of contribution and belonging that creeps in.  I’ve seen this in the past in volunteer situations as well.   The feeling of connection to the outside world can lead to a certain degree of pulling away from the home front.  Responsibilities at home begin to take a back seat to responsibilities of the new profession or obsession.   Is that good? or bad?

I’m not sure.  I’m not sure it even needs to be labeled.

Recently a reader criticized me for maintaining this blog while I am supposed to be a stay-at-home mom and wife.  It boggled my brain.  Why does being a wife and mom who makes her home her first job and priority have to mean also being brainless and without interest in the world outside of her windows?  Does my blog take my attention away from my home and family?   Does my art?

No.  In fact, quite the opposite is true.

What I have found is that when I am maintaining this blog, I am on high alert to the things that are most important:   being respectful to my spouse and attentive to my children.   My children are grown, but they still need my presence.  As I go through my day-to-day busyness, it is this blog that often keeps me grounded.  Why do I know this?  Because I let it sit unattended for a few months and life began to become chaotic.  It is when I take time to myself to journal privately or publicly via this blog that I settle my thoughts and am then able to fall comfortably back into the roles that I choose to make priority.  Taking time to think and write calms the chaos long enough for me to remember who I want to be.

I have also found that when I paint I take care of the parts of me that seldom get attention, but desperately need it.   As moms and wives we tend to forget who we were before we had those titles.  We forget to be the girl our husbands fell in love with.   We forget about self-care.

That’s the buzz word these days, right?  Self-care?   It’s everywhere you look.  Movie stars are talking about it.  Books are being written about it.  Blogs are blogging.  Memes are being created.   And yet amazingly, as self-proclaimed stay-at-home moms, we are still attacked when we do something that is entirely devoted to caring for ourselves.  Those who choose to live differently enjoy spinning the table on us.

Don’t let them do that to you.

Ladies, it is perfectly okay and healthy to pay attention to people and things outside of your windows.  It is good for your children to see you work with others through volunteerism, hobbies, or side jobs.  It is okay to take care of you while you take care of your family.

What you choose to make a priority in your life and what you choose to pursue as secondary interests are your business.  You can do both.   You can.  As long as you realize these two things:

(1) By choosing to do both, you are choosing to do neither one as thoroughly or as perfectly as you could do if you focused just on that one thing.

Yes.  It’s true.  When I paint, my attention is not on scrubbing floors that could be scrubbed.  And when I blog, I’m not whipping up a plate of brownies that my family would enjoy.   It’s true.  In those ways my family is getting a little less from me.  But, …

(2) By choosing to do both, you are choosing to give your family, the world, and yourself a more perfectly happy you.   And ultimately a happier you means a more mindful, present, and giving mom and wife.  It means a happier husband. It means more peaceful children.

Just remember to stop each day and prioritize.  Remember who and what’s most important and attend to those things first.  That includes you.   Make sure you are on that short list, and don’t you dare let anybully (anybody) tell you otherwise.

August 11

Free Products in Exchange for Your Honest Review (It’s not just for bloggers!)

Good morning to my favorite people!  Have you ever seen a blogger review a product in exchange for getting a sample of that product for free?
IMG_0983Did you know that you have those types of opportunities available to you as well?  That’s right.  You, too, can get free products in exchange for your honest review of those products on Amazon.com .

Right now I know of these product review opportunities:  (I’ll let you know when more pop up.)

Ashwagandha by Zenwise Labs
or
Joint Support by Zenwise Labs
or
Age Defying Skin Clearing Serum
or
Hyaluronic Acid Serum

(click on each product name above to go to the Amazon product description)

IMG_0984If you would like to participate in the review you must be US based, have an Amazon account, and be happy to leave a review for each individual product (disclosing that you received your sample for free).

To inquire, contact Sylvie@fuelmyblog.com

She’ll hook you up.   Tell her I sent you.  🙂

June 18

Dollar Saver Newsletter– June 2014 Edition

This is first of our monthly Dollar Saver Newsletters.   Don’t forget to send your ideas over for how to save money in and around your home and we’ll be sure to include them in an upcoming edition!  Get creative.  We look forward to hearing your ideas.   Also, don’t forget to Like us on Facebook to get all of our Exclusive Facebook Fans only tips and tricks.  Click the Like box in the side bar over there——–>  And now, without further delay, here is your Dollar Saver Newsletter– June 2014 Edition

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Here are 25 More ways to save money today.

1.  Almost every community has a Free Home Energy Audit program.   You generally are paying toward it in your monthly electric bill.  You just don’t know it.  So don’t be shy about taking advantage of this service.   A home energy checkup helps energy users determine where their house is losing energy and money – and how such problems can be corrected to make the home more energy-efficient. A professional technician — often called an energy auditor — can give your home a checkup. Items include checking for leaks, examining insulation, inspecting the furnace and ductwork, performing a blower door test and using an infrared camera to check for heat loss.

Last time Mr. C and I had them come in, they installed $1200 worth of insulation and a sealed attic door box and they sealed the attic and basement– all for free.   In addition they installed 27 fluorescent bulbs throughout our home, 2 programmable thermostats, and 2 “smart” power strips for no cost.   Google “Free Energy Audit” for your state, and set up your evaluation today.

2. Add a phone back to get a Cable/Internet/Telephone “bundle”.   Even if you no longer use a home land-line, check out the specials on cable/internet/telephone bundles from your cable t.v. provider.    We were able to drop the cost of our services by $40 by ADDING a phone line so that we could get the bundle, and in the process we also upgraded our internet speed for free.   We still don’t use the landline.  We just don’t plug a phone into the wall.   We only use that line occasionally for the fax machine.

3.  Locked in Cell phone contract.  With cell phone contracts changing all the time, competition between the four big carriers is fierce.   Even though we were locked into a contract for another year, we were able to drop the monthly fee for our cell phone service by $60 by calling to inquire about our early termination fee.    When asked why we were thinking about terminating, we told them that we could get the same service for $60 cheaper at another carrier and it made sense to switch even with the early termination fee.    Our carrier matched their offer and we didn’t have to change a thing.

4.  Septic Pumping.  Coordinate with our neighbors to have septics pumped the same day then negotiate a cheaper price with the pumping company.   They will agree because they are saving on fuel by being in the neighborhood already.   Sometimes this can save as much as $15-25 each on the cost of the pump!

5.  Summer treats for the kids.  Sometimes going old school is still the best option.   Popsicles and Fudgesicles can cost upwards of $6 a box, and if you have more than one child the box doesn’t last very long.    You can make your own and you can even make them healthier if you’d like.    Pour your own pops using:  Apple Juice (as low as 5 cents each!), lemonade mix, apple sauce, yogurt, jam, leftover Jell-O, the juice left over from canned fruit, fruit or chocolate syrup, ice tea mix, or any other liquid you can think of other than alcohol.  Add in bits of fruits or sprinkles to make them more enticing to the kiddos.

6.  Eat meatless as often as you can.   Use chopped cauliflower to replace the beef in your chili, use beans to make meatless loaf.  Load your pasta with garden veggies instead of meat.  Get creative.   You can shave $30+ a week from your grocery bill by going meatless for 3-4 dinners a week.

7.  Haircuts and color or permanent waves at your local cosmetology school are very inexpensive and fully supervised by the instructor.   You can get the same hair treatment for about 1/4 the cost of a salon.

8.  Department store purchases.  Before you go to the register at any department store, google to see if there is a sale.  Even if you didn’t know you were going to be stopping to shop, you can usually use the store coupon right on your smart phone.    Last time I did this was at Kohl’s and I saved 40% on my entire purchase!

9.  Hot Water Heater.  In our house we really only use hot water at night for washing the dishes and bathing, so there’s no reason to have the furnace/ water heater continually heating and reheating the water all day or all night while we sleep.  We turn off the furnace by flipping the main switch (the red one on the wall) all day long, and all night long, and we only flip it on from 4 pm-8 pm.   (It takes ours only about 15 minutes to get completely up to temperature when we turn it on.)  This saves us a lot of oil and electricity.

10.  Buyer’s Remorse.  All too often we get caught up in the excitement of shopping and of “keeping up with the Joneses.”  Make it a policy to keep every single receipt for 14 days no matter how much you think you love your purchase.  Then any time you have a problem with an item, it breaks or shrinks or even if you just regret buying it, return it.   Period.   Do not be embarrassed to do so provided the purchase is still in new, salable condition.  Soon you will learn to delay purchases all-together to avoid having to make a return in the first place.

11.  Contact Lenses.  Our daughter saves 70% on her replacement contact lenses (she wears the 14-day version where you use them for 14 days then throw them away).  She orders them, using the prescription given to her by her doctor, by mail order using one of the services available such as lens.com or 1-800-contacts.com  Check pricing and specials on all the main sites before you buy as they change frequently.   No matter where you buy them, you will be ordering the same brand and prescription that you would get at your eye doctor’s office.

12.  Prescriptions.   Did you know that Wal-Mart has hundreds of prescriptions that you can get for $4 for a 30-day supply?   These are the same prescriptions that cost much more at your local pharmacy.   Check Wal-Mart first by going to their website and downloading the current list of available prescriptions.

13.  Replacement Parts for almost anything.  No matter what you have that breaks, you should always check the manufacturer’s website for replacement parts before you throw the item away.   Often times you can fix an expensive item for just a few dollars.   There’s also usually an 800 number that you can call if you can’t find the item list on line.   That 5-minute call could save you lots!   As one example, my middle daughter called about her Kitchen-aide mixer.  A small ring had fallen off of it and even though the mixer worked fine, the missing ring left some areas open where food particles could enter making it unsanitary.   Kitchen-aide sent her an entirely new mixer (a $300 item at the time.)

14.  Car and Home Insurance.  Have an insurance agent review your insurance policies yearly.  It only takes a few minutes of your time to hand a copy of your current policies to them.  We did this last year and were shocked to hear back that our home owners’ insurance wouldn’t have covered us in the event of a fire because of two things that had been entered incorrectly, both would have been deemed insurance fraud had we attempted to file a claim.   We were able to get corrected insurance and still save hundreds of dollars.   Now that was time well spent!

15.  Baby Items.  Most of the items you feel you have to have for your baby will be used little or not at all.   My third grandchild never once slept in his very expensive crib, for example.  If you are expecting, get the bare essentials– 8 bottles (if you are not nursing), a car seat (Non-negotiable!), a FEW clothes (mostly PJs.  You won’t use all those frilly outfits!), one or two packs of cloth diapers ( Don’t buy more until you are SURE you are going to stick with cloth) or a pack or two of disposable diapers, and a bassinet or inexpensive crib.   You don’t immediately need a changing table, swing, high chair, walker, or any of those types of items.  In fact you  will more than likely be given those items by someone else looking to get rid of theirs or  you will find them  free or very inexpensively when the time comes that you need them–IF you need them.  You can use a regular big bag as a diaper bag.  You can use wash clothes instead of wipes.  Shoes are unnecessary until your baby begins to walk.  Use socks.

16.  Defrost your freezer.  When the frost built up reaches 1/4 inch, you need to defrost.  Allowing it to go further will cause the freezer to use a lot more electricity.

17.   Use the Grocery Store scale!  I don’t know how many times I thought I’d be spending $4-5 dollars on something (like grapes, for example) and when I weighed the package it was more like $11-12.  Needless to say, I skip those and choose a cheaper option.    If you wait until the items are wrung up at the register, you might not notice or you might not care because you are eager to leave.   Check the scale!

18.  Label your towels.  If you have more than one child, label two bath towels with each child’s name.   Then tell them they must re-use a towel 2 or 3 times before it can be thrown in the laundry.   This is also a great method because you will know who left theirs on the floor!

19.  Socks.  Buy all identical socks for each child.   You never need to sort and you never have to throw a pair away because one is missing or torn.

20.  Caramel Popcorn.  Make your own cheaply and easily.   Ingredients:  3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 3 tablespoons corn syrup, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 8(ish) cups popped popcorn (use a bowl and plate in the microwave or an air popper), 1 cup peanuts (optional).   Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt over low heat until butter melts.   Cook for 3 more minutes.  Add baking soda and vanilla.  It will “foam” up.  pour immediately over popcorn and mix. Mix in peanuts too.   Press into single layer on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 300 degrees.   Viola.  Yummy.

21.  Postage and mailing supplies.  Did you know that you can mail any sturdy, unbreakable item you can stick a label on without boxing it?   I work in the Direct Sales industry and at times when we are doing promotions for our teams we have mailed flip flops, coconuts, and other crazy items just as they are.   We wrote the addresses directly on the bottom of the flip flops and we stuck labels on the coconuts.    You can also use plain brown lunch bags as mailers.  You don’t have to spend a fortune on fancy envelopes.

22.  Free Attractions.  Watch the calendar section of your local newspaper for free attractions coming to your area where you can bring the family.  (You may even be able to view these on line.)

23.  Protect your car seats from food and spills from the kiddos by tossing old crib sheets over them.  They usually fit neatly over the back seat.

24.  Windshield Wiper blades.   Soak briefly and clean in vinegar and water and often get several more months use before you need to replace them.

25.  Bathtub stains.  Before you spend a lot of money to refinish a stained bathtub, try this:  Wet the surface and sprinkle with cream of tartar.  Rub all over with the cut surface of a lemon.  Wait ten minutes. Then scrub as usual.

That’s it for this edition!  Don’t forget to send us your ideas!

 

 

June 17

15 Ways to Earn Money from Home (Part 4–How to Survive on One Paycheck 1950s Style)

Welcome back to our How To Live on One Paycheck –1950’s style! Series. Today, 15 Ways to Earn Money from home.

If this is your first time here, let me recap briefly what you’ve missed (and provide links if you want to check them out):

Part 1–for the die-hard “I want to live like a 1950’s housewife” woman only.  This post talks about getting your mind right around living in a husband-lead home, if that is the type of lifestyle you want to lead.  If you are just looking for tips and tricks, skip to Part 2.

Part 2–The basics.  Preparation for the switch to 1 income.  And How that 2nd income really wasn’t a second income, and why you shouldn’t worry too much about losing it.

Part 3–the first of many “Money Savers” posts.   We’ll be posting a Money Savers newsletter every few weeks outlining lots of different ways to pinch pennies and save dollars.  You don’t want to miss any of those so like us here:  https://www.facebook.com/ModernDay50sHousewife

And now Part 4.   How to earn a little extra cash from home.   This is not your “Babysit the neighbor’s kids” post.  We’ve researched and combed the internet and dug up lots of ideas that will be new and exciting for you.  So grab a coffee and a notebook and settle in!  Here we go.

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There was a time that if you wanted to earn money while being a stay-at-home wife and mom your options were few.   You could babysit.  You could sew.  Maybe you cleaned other people’s houses, and while those are all still very good options, we’ve brought this list up to include Modern-day options as well.   There may be some that delight you, and others that surprise you.   Please note that we have not tested these, so we can’t give personal feedback, but if you do, please feel free to let us know how they worked out!

1.  Offer your random services:  Do you have a talent like sewing or teaching drum lessons that other people might find useful?  Or are you available to offer your services to people who need them?  Like walking a dog? or secretarial services?   Google this type of thing.   Zaarly.com and www.u-exchange.com/barternewengland connect people who need services with people who are offering them in different areas of the country and there are similar website all over.  Check them out.

2.  Do you like to write?  There are websites like Examiner.com, thebarefootwriter.com, and ProBlogger that pay people to write things like reviews or blog posts.

3.  Do you like trying new products?  You could become a paid product tester.  Some companies offer free samples or discounts. Others will actually pay you.   Look up some of these companies for info:  Houseparty.com, Shespeaks.com, Vocalpoint.com, Crowdtap.com

4.  Teach English.  Or some other language.  There is a high demand for people who can teach English using websites like Italki.com (an online classroom).  Anyone can offer lessons (and set their own price).  The average is $15-$20 an hour!

5.  Do you love taking photos?  There are lots of websites that need photos of anything from every day objects to conceptual ideas.  Each site works differently but here are some to check out:  Crestock.com, BigStockPhoto.com, and iStockPhoto.com

6.  Make a quick $5 doing almost anything.   Fiverr.com is a crazy site.  People need things done and it could be anything.  Take a pic holding a sign.   Make a phone call.  You have to just go check it out.

7.  If you are creative, crafty, or artistic, make something!   Then sell it on sites like Etsy.com, Zazzle.com or CafePress.com  (You can even design things right on some of those sites.)

8.   Do you have great administrative skills?  Offer your services at virtualassistantjobs.com

9.  Do you enjoy doing research?  Or are you a bit of an expert in a certain area?  Sites like ChaCha.com and LivePerson.com need people like you to help them by being a virtual question answerer. 🙂

10.  Problem solver? Be an at-home customer service agent.    Many companies like JetBlue Airways (as one example) hire staffing companies who have people who work from home as customer service agents.  You can even make your own schedule.   Some companies to check out are:  www.arise.com, www.workingsolutions.com, and www.alpineaccess.com

11.  Rent out your car.    If you are still holding onto that 2nd car, at least earn some money from it.  Check out RelayRides.com

12.  Open a full-on home daycare.  This is a big commitment, but can be a very fulfilling one.  Every state has different licensing requirements.  Be sure to research this one before you jump in.  Check out all the pros and cons.  For some, it’s a God-send.  For others, not so much.

13.  Like to shop? Be a professional Yard-saler.   You get to shop and find great buys and then sell them on Ebay.com, Craigslist, at your own yard sales, or even on Amazon.com  (BE CAREFUL with this.  You have to remember that you are shopping to buy low and sell higher.   You are not shopping to keep!)

14.  Start your own part-time business from home.   I have an art company Blue Hasti (you can find me and like me on Facebook right here:  www.facebook.com/BlueHasti and I’d love you forever and ever.)  I paint pet portraits and custom art.  Sometimes I do murals.   What do you love to do?  Can you turn it into a business?   Be sure to check out your local licensing laws.

15. Do odd tasks that machines can’t do.   This one varies greatly in pay.  You’d have to check out for yourself if it’d be worth your while.   This is a program through Amazon called Mechanical Turk.  Find it here:  www.mturk.com

and lastly but certainly not leastly:

16.  Become a Direct Seller.    There are hundreds of kinds of Direct Sales companies.  You can open your own home-based business promoting anything from mascara, to children’s toys, to home goods, to candles, to body wraps, or 100s of other products and services.    The start-up costs are usually very low, and everything is provided for you.  It’s a business in a box.

If you want to see the list of all the companies, DirectSelling411.com  is an AMAZING resource.   They have all kinds of information about finding a good company and how to get started.   Also be sure to check out the Direct Selling Association at dsa.org for important information.  ALWAYS be sure to research your company.   With over 15 million people working in Direct Sales, you can be sure that it’s a business model that works if you do!

Update:  Mr. C and I were customers of Evolv Health and fell in love with these anti-inflammation products so much that we became distributors.   If you would like more information about these all-natural products or about joining our team (and being coached by us) please visit:  http://hollyconnors.myevolv.com/#/Home 

Alright, that’s 15 to get your started.   Did you find some that work for you?  Keep us posted on the things you try and how they work out for you.   Sharing of information is key in helping each other succeed.    Good luck!

June 15

Part Three–How to Survive on One Paycheck–1950’s style!

Part Three–How to Survive on One Paycheck–1950’s style! When you choose to be the stay-at-home spouse, saving money and figuring out how to keep the family living within its means becomes part of your new job.  Rather than working outside of the home to earn more, you are working inside of the home to save more.   In the long-term taking the step to stay home can actually increase the quality of living for all members of your family.

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In part 1 and part 2 of this series we talked about the practical steps to preparing to live on one income and how to get your mind right.  Today we begin what will be a series of posts–one every few weeks– showing different ways to cut spending and save money.

There are literally thousands of ways to save a dollar.   Most are ignored because it’s “just a dollar.”  But when you condition yourself to do many of these things, you can reduce your annual spending by thousands–sometimes by many thousands–of dollars.

There are really just a few core ways to save money.

1.  Do without a product or service
2.  Use less of a product or service
3.  Extend the life of a product or service
4.  Find a less expensive replacement for a product or service

Every form of savings begins with these concepts.  As you go throughout your day working with products and services, ask yourself these questions.  Could I do without this item or service?  Could I use it less or use less of it and still have satisfactory results?   Is there some way I can extend its life or usefulness?    Is there a cheaper alternative?     Then share your ideas on our page!  We’ll take the best ones and include them in our monthly “Dollar Savers Blog.”

Here are 20 ideas to get you started:

1.  Disposable Razors.  One of the new trending services is the Dollar Shave Club.  Not only can you save money on razors, but you get free razors for referring friends.   Check it out.  You can save even more money by googling to see if there is a current discount code before you sign up!

2.  Baby Formula. This one always peeves me.  Did you know that generic baby formula, by law, has to meet the same standards as name brand formula.  In fact, many are exactly the same formula as the expensive brands without the fancy label.   Experts agree that you can safely and sanely save a small fortune by making the switch!

3.  Cell Phone Service.   There are many, many options available to save money on your cell phone.   Rather than jump right into the big named carriers, check out lesser known services like Republic Wireless, Consumer Celluar, and Metro PCS, or Go Smart Mobile.  Many of these plans start as low as $5 a month!


4.  Ditch the 2nd Vehicle.  Yes you can live with just one family vehicle.  You have been conditioned to “keep up with the Joneses.”  You have been conditioned to think that you must have a second vehicle by commercial ads.  You have been brain-washed.  Sell your second car and use the money to pay down debt or invest in building your emergency fund.  Then get continued savings on reduced insurance costs, fuel costs, repair costs, registration costs, maintenance costs, and car payments (if applicable.)   Your savings will actually extend further because you will also find yourself going back to good, old-fashioned home entertainment for the kids, like playing under the garden hose rather than trekking to the local beach (saving you from using fuel, buying concessions, etc.)

Life will immediately become simpler and I promise that you will adjust to planning for the occasional “drive your spouse to work” so you can have the vehicle for the once per quarter (or year) doctor visit, or other rare daytime vehicle need.  An added benefit, you will walk more–keeping yourself and your kids fit.

5.  Quilters take note!  Years ago when I was preparing to wed, my mother told me it was time to make my marriage quilt.  We planned out all the colors, pieces and design and then it was time to buy the materials.  HOLY COW I was shocked at how expensive fabric, thread, and a batting (the filler between the fabric layers) was.    I have never since paid full price for any of those items.    If you are preparing to quilt, ask your friends if they have an old, stained, faded, factory-made quilt that they are looking to dispose of.   Use it for your batting.  They are simple to re-cover.  Use a sheet for the backing (purchased on sale or at a discount store, of course!)  And save clothes that in a bag in the attic or basement.   You can usually cut pieces out of them that are big enough for your quilting needs!

6.  Coffee.   This is one of those examples on how to save money by combining methods–use less/extend the life.   If you make more than one pot of coffee in the morning, try this.   Don’t throw the grinds away after the first pot.   Simply add 1/2 the usual amount of grinds on top of the once-used grinds and continue as normal for a full pot.  There’s enough flavor remaining in those first batch to replace half the grinds in the 2nd batch.

7.  Dryer Sheets/ Softener.  You can get the same results that you get from dryer sheets or softener by simply applying one to two tablespoons of softener on a washcloth and throwing it in your dryer with the freshly-washed clothes.  Reuse that washcloth for a few loads then switch for a new one.   OR, if you love your dryer sheets, cut them in half.   They work just as well!

8.  Shoes, luggage, purses, and broken zippers.  Find and use your local cobbler.  They can repair and make old shoes look shiny new.  They can fix and clean luggage and leather purses.  They can even repair broken zippers on your boots, purses, backpacks, and bags.   Often times this alone can save 90% of the cost of replacing with new.

9.  Fuel for your Vehicle.  Download any of the smartphone apps that can tell you instantly where the cheapest gas is in your area.  (You can also look these up on line.)

10. Groceries.  Always, Always check the damaged goods rack first.   Any time a box is accidentally slashed with a box razor, that perfectly good merchandise is often available for less than half AND you can still use a coupon.  I’ve gotten lots of free merchandise this way.

11. Bank fees.  Many banks charge fees for checking, ATM use, check-cashing, and more.   Switch to a credit union or co-op. Many of these institutions have no fees and even pay you a small amount for using your ATM card!   Additionally, credit Unions are usually networked together so that you can use any credit union ATM machine without paying a fee.

12.  Clothes Drying.  Electricity charges are skyrocketing.  Electric dryers use an enormous amount of power.   Get back to basics with the old-fashioned clothes line.   You can install one outside and install one in your walk-up attic for rainy days.  (It’s usually hot up there so clothes dry quickly.)

13. Popcorn.   Don’t buy microwave bags of popcorn.   Buy the jugs of kernels.   Cover the bottom of a large glass bowl with a single layer of popcorn then cover with a plate.  Microwave until pops are 2-3 seconds apart.   You can make about 75 cups of popcorn for the same price as 6 cups of bagged popcorn, and there’s no preservatives, fats, or oils added.

14.  Bar Soap.  When your bar of soap gets too small to use comfortably, open a new bar.   Use both and while still wet and lathery, stick them together.  When they dry they will stick together. Never throw away those soap bits again!

15.  Anything in a tube.  When you think it’s empty, cut off the end of the tube.  There is often another 5-10 (or more!) uses in there.   Seal with a clip between uses until completely empty.

16.  New Car.  Try not to ever wait until your old car dies and you are desperate to buy a new one.  You need time to shop around.   Then never ever buy a car brand new.  Ever.  Both frugal and wealthy people agree that you should buy cars that are about two years old.  This is your best value age.   You can also look into buying Repos and you can contact car rental companies and ask if they are looking to sell any of their vehicles.  (They replace them every year or two and sell them for low, low prices!)

17.  Liquid Dish Soap.  When the bottle is approximately half empty, remove cover and fill with VERY COLD water.   It will immediately gel into the original consistency.  You now have a full bottle of dish soap.

18.  Active Dry Yeast.  When making breads or other recipes that call for Active Dry Yeast, do not buy those small 3-serving packs of yeast.   For about $2- $5 you can buy two POUNDS of active dry yeast at any Costco, BJ’s, or Sam’s Club.  Store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.

19.  Baby Wipes.  Make your own by cutting a roll of paper towels in half and then removing the cardboard core.   Put 2 1/4 cups water, 2 Tablespoons baby shampoo, and 1 Tablespoon of baby oil in the old, empty baby wipe container and mix well.  Put paper towels in and allow them to completely soak up the liquid.   Keep covered between uses.

20.  Cleaning Products:  We often blindly use enormous amounts of cleaning products.  Try using much less in your next bucket.  Pour half what you usually do in the dishwasher.   Cut the amount you use in the washing machine in half.   You will find that your cleaning does not suffer in the least.

Watch for our Dollar Savers Blog every few weeks for more tips and tricks!   Don’t miss a single post by liking us here:  www.facebook.com/ModernDay50sHousewife

And don’t forget to send your ideas over as well!

Go to Part 4 now—15 Ways to Earn Money from Home

 

 

June 13

Part 2–How to Survive on One Paycheck–1950’s Style

Ready to take the next step to being a stay-at-home mom or spouse living on one income? Here is Part 2–How to Survive on One Paycheck–1950’s Style

Or maybe you already have gone from two incomes to one due to layoff or illness?  Either way, the idea of living on one paycheck can be daunting.  For the purposes of this article I am going to assume that the decision has already been made, one way or another, that this is going to be the case, and you just need to know What now?  If you’ve read Part One, we’re ready to move on.

First, take a deep breath.   Yes it’s scary, but it’s really not as bad as you think.  People all around the world find themselves making this transition every day, and they survive and often thrive!   Obviously, if you aren’t thrust into being a one-income family due to job loss, illness, or injury, it’s easier because you can plan for the transition.   So let’s talk about that first.

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1. When possible, plan for the transition to one income.  Ideally you will have time to plan ahead and if so, there are things you can and should do before leaving your job.  First, talk to you financial planner and tax professional.  Tell them your goals and ask them the best way possible to make the transition.  Second, start living on one income immediately and use the second income in whatever way your financial planner suggests.  That may be to pay off debt.  It may be to invest and build up an emergency fund.  It may be some other option.  Only you and your planner will know that answer.  Make a plan and stick to it.


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The remainder of this list applies to all families who are making the transition, be it planned or otherwise.

2. Know your “Why”.  You have to not only know why you are making this change, you have to believe to the level of conviction in the reasons why you are making this change.  It is those reasons that you are going to think about when you are having a tough moment.  Your Why will get you through.   Some common reasons are:

1.  You want to raise your own children (or be there to help with grandchildren).   There is much debate about whether putting children into daycare at a young age is harmful or beneficial, but you don’t want to take any chances.  You want to be the one to witness all of your children’s “firsts” and you want to be the one imprinting strong life values into their little brains.

2.  You want and need to be home to care for a sick or aging parent or relative.   Their quality of life is paramount, and you want to wait as long as possible before you have to place your loved one into an institutional setting.

3.  You or your spouse has suffered illness or injury and you must make this change.   On the list of life’s most stressful events, this is up there with death of a spouse.

4.  You or your spouse are starting your own business, and it will take time to turn a profit.

5.   You and your spouse have decided to live traditional gender roles, or you’ve decided to reduce your impact on the environment, or any other values-associated reason.

Whatever your reason, you must frame it in your mind in such a way that the importance of it is greater than your desire to run from the challenges of living on one income.

3. Learn to live without comparing yourself to the Joneses.   You will need to learn how to be content with less.  You will need to learn not to compare your home, clothing, cars, vacations, meals, and anything else to anyone else’s.   But don’t worry.   You will soon discover that less really is more.   When you remove the stress and chaos of trying to keep up with the Joneses in the first place, you may discover that you find joy standing in its place.

4. Understand that you aren’t really losing an entire income.   You never really had that full income in the first place.   Who had it?   Travel costs (bus, car, fuel, tolls), daycare costs and “guilt gift” costs (those toys and treats you buy because you feel bad that you aren’t there all the time), career-related wardrobe and dry cleaning, the daily coffee on the way to work, purchased take-out lunches, the afternoon vending machine pick me up, outside gym costs, higher grocery-related costs (because you don’t have time to cook from scratch), convenience take out dinner costs (because you’re too tired to cook), parking fees, higher insurance (due to mileage to work), health-related costs (due to exposure to more illnesses), landscaping company fees (because you never had time to do it yourself), the dog groomers, and so on.   All of this and we haven’t even discussed the fact that a second income may even be taxed at a higher tax bracket than you realize.

When it comes down to it, there are a number of different statistics but just the expenses related to having any job can account for up to 30% of your income, not including daycare and all of the other extra convenience expenses you accrue along the way.  Add those in and you are likely spending upwards of 50% of your income just to maintain your job–before the additional tax exposure due to a second income.

The savings associated with one spouse staying home doesn’t stop at these either.   Often the expenses related to the remaining working spouse reduce because there is someone home to make that morning coffee, prepare and pack their lunch, clean and iron their clothes rather than send them out for dry cleaning each time.   Even simple things like eliminating late fees because someone had the time to pay attention can add up.

As you can see, the impact on your family is not going to be as dramatic as you expect.   Plus there are ways to save money that we haven’t even begun to discuss.

Now don’t miss Part 3–Money Saving Ideas   or Part 4—15 Ways to Earn Money from Home

To get all of our updates and Money Saver Newsletters, like us at www.facebook.com/ModernDay50sHousewife

 

June 12

How to Survive on One Paycheck–1950’s style

(Note!  This Part 1 is for women who want to live like a 1950’s housewife. Meaning you want to live in a male-lead home.  If that’s not you and you are just looking for tips to surviving on one paycheck, skip to Part 2.) How to Survive on One Paycheck–1950’s style

If you want to live like a 1950s housewife, where you stay at home keeping house and tending the kids while your husband goes to work, you can. To be able to live and survive on one pay check is possible.  Today we are going to talk about the two big things you must do first to make it possible. Tomorrow we’ll get to all the little details of the “step by step.” But you must be able to do these two first before any of the rest can succeed. First and foremost is that you have to hand over care of the finances to your husband. Why? First, because if he is going to be solely responsible for bringing in enough money to pay all the expenses and keep a roof over your heads, he needs to see first hand where the family finances stand on a weekly basis. He needs to pay the bills. He needs to budget for the groceries. He needs to see it and experience it so that he knows if he is doing enough.

If you are controlling everything and paying all the bills, and you tell him there isn’t enough money, it is possible he will suspect that you aren’t spending wisely. He may even think that you are stashing money and not telling him. He sees plenty coming in, and he will believe there is plenty to cover everything. He will likely get angry, dig in and refuse to make changes. But if he is doing the finances himself, he will know.

The second reason you need to turn over the finances to your husband is because if you want to live the life of a 1950’s housewife, you have to live all of it. It doesn’t work half way. If you want to live the gender role of a traditional woman, you have to let your man be the man. You have to step back and let him lead his home, and doing the finances is a huge part of that.

Back before the introduction of feminism, this is how it worked, and men woke every day with just a few things on their minds. After they got that first one out of the way, <wink> his focus shifted to his duty to provide for his family. It has been a man’s instinct to think this way for thousands of years. It’s only been since the 1970s that gender roles became foggy, but rest assured, his instincts to lead and provide are still strong. He is just waiting to take the reins.

Before you start to back-peddle, let me add this. You have nothing to fear. Just as it was back then, it is the same now. A man not only feels compelled to provide, but he feels compelled to keep his family in the highest social status that he can afford. (The man with the most toys wins!) He will keep you in the very best house that he can afford. He will want to insure that his wife looks as pretty and is wearing the best fashions as he can afford. He will insure that his children are dressed as well as and can participate in as many sports and activities that he can afford. He is not going to short change you or his kids. Why? Because it’s his instinct.

One of the things I was most shocked to learn about is the secret life of men. Secret to women, that is. It’s a brutal, stressful world that they live in—far worse than anything a woman can imagine, simply because our brains and our thoughts don’t work the same way as theirs. But since all men wake thinking the same thing—keep my family at the top!–theirs is a world of fierce competition. They wake up ready to fight. Men spend their entire existence comparing themselves to each other and fighting for position. They fight to win women. They fight to win and then to keep their jobs. They fight for social status. They fight for admiration and acclaim. Sometimes they fight for their own (and our) lives. No matter where you look in a man’s world, there is a fierce battle going on, hence the constant need to look and feel “manly.”

One of the most stressful places for a man is in his work place. There is almost never peace and there is always a lot of back-stabbing there. There has to be. The guy on top gets paid the most. The guy on the bottom gets near nothing. To allow a fall to the bottom is not only financially disastrous, it is humiliating to a man. And to add to the humiliation is the constant, nagging fear that for most families, a fall to the bottom of the social status ladder is often a fall that will last for many generations. Once beaten down, it is nearly impossible to recover and pull out. Some families never do. The emotional burden and stress of knowing that his children, grandchildren and even his great grandchildren will be effected by how he performs today is enormous.

I almost can’t bear to even think about the burden, yet men are designed in such a way that they have the emotional strength and physical ability to fend off the stress that comes with this responsibility. They tend to think more logically and less emotionally. Their bodies are more rugged, more prepared to take on stress.  Those amazing creatures happily take on the full social and economic responsibility for their wives and children, and they will likely never speak of it as a burden because it feels natural. It feels right.

To have the responsibility to be the sole provider, however, could not be bearable or even possible unless your husband has control over decision-making. He has to have the freedom to be able to decide what job to take that will best provide, where to live, how to live, and he needs to have your 100% cooperation in allowing him to be the decision-maker. Remember that word “obey” that was taken out of the marriage vows? This is where it comes in. It didn’t have anything to do with being a slave to your husband. It had to do with respecting his decisions about how he was going to lead his family and obeying his instructions regarding those matters. You get input, of course, but whatever he decides is final. Welcome back to “obey.” If you can’t accept this, then you can try to live like a 1950’s housewife, but odds are that it will not work for long—not without a whole lot of relationship-damaging suspicion, resentment, and arguing.

Besides, why would it be so bad to just let go and let your husband be the head of the house? If you see that as degrading, ask yourself why. Why would it be degrading to be in a happy marriage where your husband feels manly and treats you like a lady and where your children feel protected and happy? What has happened to our thinking? We as women have got to stop seeing everything as a fight for equality. Despite what our generation was taught, we are not meant to be equal in all things. We, as women, are designed to excel at certain things and men are designed to excel at others. Why can’t we honor that?

Tonight sit your husband down and tell him that you want him to take over care of the finances. Tell him that you feel like he is better at that type of thing than you are and that it’s just too stressful for you to deal with. If you must, show him this post. Do what you need to do to get him on the same page. And then step away. Resist the urge to show him how to do it. Resist the urge to remind him what to do. And do not check up on him. He is capable. Let him step up to the challenge. He may shock you with his abilities. And yes, he may occasionally mess up, but so what. Haven’t you occasionally messed up? Let him be. Remember when we talked about accepting him completely, just as he is?

Don’t miss

Part 2–Preparation and Why that 2nd Income wasn’t helping as much as you think.

Part 3– Money Saving ideas

Part 4–15 Ways to Earn Money from Home.