In the next few months my husband and I will be moving to the other side of the world because of his job in the Army. Now, I’m an accounting clerk, so chances are I will be able to find work if I want, but it will take a while still. Because of this, and my own inclination towards reducing my time spent at work anyway so that I can spend more time managing the home, my husband and I are discussing the possibility of me being a housewife.
Keep in mind that the decision for one spouse to stay at home is something that needs to be discussed and agreed on by both of you. There’s all kinds of reasons to make this decision. Maybe you have kids and want to spend more time with them. Maybe you’re sick of working both inside and outside of the house. Maybe you want to reduce your dependence on services outside the home. Maybe you’re moving somewhere for one persons work, and the other doesn’t have a job opportunity available, either short term or for the foreseeable future. Whatever your reasons for wanting to work primarily in the home, it’s a big decision.
If I’m to be completely honest, this is both exciting and scary for me. I needed a plan, and a clear understanding of why I’m making this change, and I needed to make sure my husband on was board. I didn’t want him to end up resenting me for this if I did it when he wasn’t 100% in agreement. It made it easier to discuss because my work outside the home options at our new base are going to be limited. Which moved us to the planning stage, so that’s what this post is, it’s me going over my plan and discussing what I’m doing to prepare to be a housewife.
Step 1: Cut Household Expenses
Going from a two income home to a one income home is probably the scariest part of this process. I’ve worked since I was 17, and I’ve paid my own bills since then too. When I got my first job so I could start saving for university, my dad started charging me rent to teach me financial responsibility, and he also told me that I would be responsible for my own cell phone. I’ve been the one making and paying my own bills for 13 years. So the idea that I’m going to loose my income, or a large portion of it, is a bit scary. Not because I don’t trust my husband to take care of me and provide for me, but because I’ve gotten so used to taking care of my own expenses.
When I started looking at what the reduction in income was going to mean for our household, I also found myself wondering how we were going to afford everything. That’s when I started looking, really looking, at what I needed and what could be cut back.
My husband and I both have a lot of subscriptions that we either don’t use or don’t need. We each have our own Spotify account. We both have gym subscriptions we don’t use. He has Netflix and I have Hulu. I think you get the picture. So we started discussing which services we didn’t need, and addressing which expenses can’t be shaved down.
Our credit cards are fixed expenses, we have to keep making those payments. Utilities, rent, internet, and phone, those are expenses we can’t cut. But there are other things we can reduce. We both have subscriptions for online games we haven’t played in a few months. Those are $14.99 each, and we decided to deactivate those since we’re not playing right now. We cancelled our gym subscriptions because we have exercise equipment at home, and really only go to the gym once a week or so to use the treadmill. We both agreed we could switch to a running path through the park instead. That was another $25.00 each that we shaved off from our expenses. We only need one Spotify account, especially since we have similar taste in music so it’s not like we’re going to mess up each others algorithms, and since I have the student discount we decided to keep my account, saving $10.00 a month (every penny adds up). We cut another $7.99 a month by dropping Hulu and sticking to Netflix because we like the selection better. We saved another $6.95 a month by dropping the CrunchyRoll subscription we hadn’t watched in three months. He dropped his ink of the month subscription, saving another $39.00 a month. Just by cutting subscription we didn’t need we removed $173.91 from our monthly expenses.
Next I looked at lifestyle changes we could make. The biggest one, was eating out. We both enjoy going out regularly. I’ll do breakfast on Saturdays with my brother, and again on Sunday with my husband. I’ll get drinks on Friday night with the girls from the office, have dinner with a friend on Tuesday, and Monday nights are date nights. My husband will have lunch with his friends on Saturday, coffee with his aunt on Friday night, dinner with coworkers on Tuesday. Between the two of us, we were easily spending $175.00 a week on eating out. That’s $700 a month!
Just by cutting unnecessary subscriptions and agreeing not to eat out until we know exactly what our finances look like and what our new disposable income is we’re saving nearly $900 a month. Suddenly figuring out how we can afford for me to stay at home on a single income doesn’t seem as impossible. Especially when I stop and think about the fact that part of the reason we eat out so much is because we feel like we don’t have the time to cook at home. If I’m not working 8 hours a day, I have more time to actually use our kitchen!
So in summary for cutting household expenses:
- Drop unnecessary subscriptions
- Cut out unnecessary lifestyle expenses such as eating out and getting Starbucks
Step 2: Produce What You Can Inside the Home
Another way that I’m preparing for being a housewife is to look at what I can do inside the home to save time and money. Cooking at home, instead of eating out, is going to be a big one. I can also look at things like laundry, sewing, gardening, and switching from disposable to reusable products for our home.
I’ve talked before about my love of sewing. I like to make dresses and skirts the most. Another really good advantage to knowing even just basic sewing skills though? I can mend clothes to make them last longer. A popped seam doesn’t have to be the end of a garments life with the help of needle and thread. That can save me from replacing clothes, or from taking them to tailors for basic repairs. Speaking of tailors, another benefit of sewing is that I can tailor our own clothes. This means my husband can look amazing and professional for work, without having to go to the tailor.
One skill that’s not actually related to sewing, at least not directly, but that I did pick up because of my sewing, was knowledge on properly caring for and cleaning different fabrics. This translates into another skill that’s useful in the home. Again, extending the life of your clothing through proper care can reduce costs. Another bonus, is that you may find that some of the laundry you’ve been sending to the dry cleaners is well within your own capability to do. I also recommend looking up how to make your own laundry detergent (I’ve linked my favorite recipe), and looking into replacing fabric softener with white vinegar. The stuff I got to make my own detergent lasted me for a year before I had to buy more stuff. It is well worth the time to save the kind of money you do on this. This ties nicely into my next point too, reducing disposable items within the home.
Plastic wrap and ziplock bags may not seem very expensive, but how many do you go through every month? How many empty containers of laundry detergent have you thrown out this month? What about paper towels? Not only can switching these items out for reusable alternatives reduce waste in the environment, but it can save you money too. I’ve linked some of my favorite posts on DIY reusable alternatives for you to check out, so be sure to click the links.
Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies, but I will be honest with you, not everyone can garden to supplement their household groceries. It takes a lot of time and work to grow enough produce to use reliably. It takes less space than you’d think if you’re smart about the space you have, but it still takes a lot of time and effort. It can also be expensive if you are buying plants instead of starting from seeds, or need to use planters and raised beds in order to get started. All of that being said though, herbs are almost always a safe bet for the beginning gardener. Tomatoes are another plant that is kind of hard to kill and will usually produce more fruit than you know what to do with. If you’re interested in gardening to supplement your grocery bill, consider starting with hardy plants that are good for beginners, and expanding your garden as you learn more and get better at it. This will also spread the cost out over time so that it’s not one big lump investment. If you’ve got the discipline to stick to it though, gardening can save money, make you friends, and be a genuinely fulfilling experience.
Ways You Can Stop Outsourcing from the Home:
- Repair and tailor your own clothes
- Learn to wash and care for things you previously were sending to the dry cleaners
- Switch to reusable products instead of disposable
- Start a garden
Step 3: Make a Schedule
I am one of those people who needs a schedule. Plus, studies have shown that having a schedule can help you to be more productive throughout the day. That’s why, looking at my own day, I’ve put together a schedule of what my day as a housewife will look like. This can and probably will change over time, but it gives me an idea of what I’ll need to do each day, and gives me an accountability method.
- 6:30AM Get up, start breakfast
- 7:00AM Serve breakfast and coffee
- 7:30AM Clean up dishes from breakfast
- 7:50AM Make Bed
- 8:00AM Morning run w/ time to get cleaned up after
- 9:00AM Start Laundry
- 9:15AM Dust
- 9:30AM Move laundry to dryer, start second load (if needed)
- 10:00AM Weekly Cleaning Project (different task each day of the week)
- 11:00AM Vacuum & sweep/mop
- 12:00PM Lunch
- 1:00PM Study
- 2:00PM Fold laundry
- 2:30PM Nap
- 3:00PM Gardening
- 3:30PM Blog/write/respond to emails/ect
- 4:30PM Start dinner
- 5:30PM Serve dinner
Weekly Cleaning Projects:
- Monday: Clean all mirrors and windows
- Tuesday: Scrub tubs/showers and toilets
- Wednesday: Wash bedding
- Thursday: Free day/work on whatever needs my attention
- Friday: Stove top, microwave, and oven
I figure this will keep my Saturdays and Sundays free to do whatever I want and enjoy time with my husband, it leaves my evenings free for quality time with friends and family, and keeps my day scheduled out so that I don’t fall behind on anything. Looking at it laid out, it’s actually less time dedicated to working than what I’m doing right now with a full time job. This is because now my schedule looks the same until about 8:00AM and then I’m going to work. I get home at 5:30, and then my day picks up with making dinner before I try to squeeze in chores and studying at the end of the night.
Step 4: Communicate
As with all things in marriage, communication is important. Talk to your spouse. Tell them where you’re at on things. Tell them if you need help with something. Talk to them about what stresses you have and what could make your work in the home easier. Share your goals with them so they know what you want to accomplish and can support you. Don’t stop talking to them about work, just because you’re working inside the home.
Are you making the transition into being a housewife? What did you do to prepare for the change? What were your reasons? Share your story in the comments!