Wednesday, November 14, 2018

One Year Later – How We’re Doing Financially After I Quit My Corporate Job to be a Stay at Home Mom

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through or make a purchase.

This Saturday will officially mark one whole year since I quit my corporate job to be a stay at home mom.  While one of my long-term goals in life was to get to a point where I could eventually stay at home, it was not one of my goals for 2017.  Heck, it wasn’t even on my radar for 2018.  But due to circumstances at work, an opportunity presented itself, and after a lot of discussion and even more praying, B and I decided that I should take a leap of faith. 

And I did. 

And it has been the absolute biggest blessing.

This past year I have been to every single one of the kids’ class parties, I’ve been on loads of field trips with them, I spent an entire lazy summer off with them, I’ve volunteered countless times at their school, I’m rocking the room mom gig for Jacob’s class this school year, and B and I haven’t once had to scramble to figure out who was going to watch the kids on one of their many days off during the school year.  Gone is the mom guilt for missing any of the kids’ activities, and gone is the corporate employee guilt for having to take another long lunch or leave work early one more time.

Can I get an amen?!

However, along with my newfound freedom has also come new responsibility – cutting back on our spending and watching our money even more carefully than ever.  Before I get into the details, here is a little bit of background information on Brian and me…

B and I were both born with the gift of financial responsibility and both of us were well into our careers before we were engaged, so we both entered our marriage with zero debt (aside from B’s home mortgage, which is now our mortgage for the home we built together) and decent-sized savings accounts.  Because of this, we have been very blessed to be able to live comfortably since day one of our marriage.  Had circumstances been different (lots of debt, no savings, just out of college and starting our careers), I’m sure we would not have felt comfortable enough for me to take such a drastic leap like this. 

Before I quit, B and I looked at our monthly income, deducted my salary, went over our budget, decided where we could make some cuts, and we knew that we could swing it before I ever quit.  I NEVER WOULD HAVE QUIT MY JOB IF THERE HAD BEEN ANY UNCERTAINTY!! 

Now that you know a little bit about our financial background, I’m going to share all of the ways that we have cut back this past year and then I will answer the question about how we’re actually doing overall. 

How We’re Saving Money

(Please note that some of these figures are exact, but most of them are estimates and they do vary from month to month):

  1. Moved Olivia from daycare to Pre-K4 at her new school.  Her new school is a private school so we are still paying tuition, but we are saving money each month since it is no longer considered daycare. – Total Monthly Savings $323
  2. Took Jacob out of after-school care since I can now pick him up in the car line – Total Monthly Savings $112 ($135.00/month x 10 months during the school year = $1,350.00/12 months per year)
  3. Took Jacob out of summer camp since I can now stay home with him – Total Monthly Savings $108 ($130.00/week x 10 weeks during the summer = $1,300.00/12 months per year)
  4. Cut our Netflix DVD subscription to 2 DVDs instead of 3… yes, I do realize that DVDs are super old-school, but Netflix streaming doesn’t always have all the movies we want to watch, so we do still have a DVD subscription – Total Monthly Savings $4
  5. Got rid of cable and home phone and switched to Sling TV and HD antenna – Total Monthly Savings $100
  6. Got rid of Sirius XM Radio – Total Monthly Savings $13
  7. Got rid of Tivo Mini in master bedroom – Total Monthly Savings $5
  8. Brian started taking his lunch most days instead of going out to eat every day – Total Monthly Savings $75
  9. Started eating Mexican more when going out to dinner as a family because it’s SO CHEAP!  – Total Monthly Savings $20
  10. Stopped ordering drinks we have to pay for and started ordering water at restaurants more often, kids included… we still splurge on wine, beer, and margs, every now and then, though – Total Monthly Savings $20
  11. Started shopping at Walmart for certain items rather than Publix… now that I have more time I have been buying a lot of the expensive items at Walmart (Halo Top, waffles, cereal, chips, etc.) and only shopping at Publix for certain things – Total Monthly Savings $50
  12. Started shopping at Fresh Market for chicken on Tuesdays when it’s on sale… again, now that I have more time, I can go to multiple places for groceries if it means saving money.  Every Tuesday, Fresh Market puts their boneless, skinless chicken breasts on super sale and I only purchase from there now. – Total Monthly Savings $35
  13. Started shopping at Trader Joe’s for wine… we used to purchase all kinds of different brands at different price points, but now any time we’re near a TJ’s we load up on their $2.99 Charles Shaw wine so we always have it on hand.  No more spending $10-$15 per bottle. – Total Monthly Savings $35
  14. Started buying gift cards on Raise for every day use.  Raise is an app that you can use to buy gift cards at a discount and sell gift cards you are not going to use.  B has started purchasing gift cards for all of our frequented places (Starbucks, Old Navy, Carrabba’s, Five Guys, Chipotle, Chick-Fil-A, etc.) when he can get them for a good discount.  The gift cards are purchased for anywhere between 5-25% off, so we save money on the things that we’re already going to purchase.  See my detailed post about it here to see how you can get started and save $5 off of your first purchase! – Total Monthly Savings $20
  15. Started using coupons for things we already buy – Total Monthly Savings $10  (I obviously need to step it up in this department because this number could be a lot higher!)
  16. Started using cash back and rewards apps (Ibotta, Fetch Rewards, Ebates – see this post here) for things we already buy – Total Monthly Savings $20
  17. Started buying more things (stocking up) when they are on sale Total Monthly Savings (not really sure how to calculate this)
  18. We are now buying fewer nonessential items and waiting for sales/deals when buying nonessential items – Total Monthly Savings (not really sure how to calculate this either)

Total Savings Each Month – $950 (+ whatever we're saving on the last two items)

How We’re Making Extra Money

  1. We got lucky with the timing of the raises at Brian’s job because they switched from giving raises in the fall to giving them in the spring this year, so he got two back-to-back raises, one in fall 2017 (right before I quit) and one in spring 2018 (right after I quit).
  2. If we’re not using gift cards from Raise, we pay for every other expense with credit cards that earn points and give cash back.  This can be a dangerous game for anyone who is tempted to spend beyond their means, but B and I are always very careful to only spend what we can pay off each month and therefore, we don’t ever incur interest.  Instead, we pay every balance in full each month and accumulate points that can be redeemed for cash back.  We don’t use any credit cards that don’t have some kind of cash back or rewards program.  If you do, you’re leaving money on the table! 
  3. I have more time to focus on my blog now, so I’ve started dedicating more time to affiliate marketing and sponsored content.  This blog post has been viral on Pinterest for several months and it has been generating a decent income in affiliate sales, so this has been very helpful financially.  Other collaborations with brands also bring in income and/or save us money on the things that we would have needed to buy anyway.  For example, this month we are saving almost $250 because we’re getting our Christmas cards for free due to a collaboration I was able to snag.  Post is coming soon!
  4. I was also recently accepted into the Mediavine family.  In case you’re not familiar with them, they are a full service ad management company for content creators like me.  All of the ads you see on my blog are now managed by them and I am now making more money per day with Mediavine than I made in an entire week with Google Adsense.  Fingers crossed that my passive income continues to grow each month!
  5. We had a yard sale back during the summer that generated a nice lump sum for us to put away.
  6. Brian has been focusing even more on stocks/trading/investments and they have been generating a decent income although there are no guarantees for the future.
  7. We switched banks for a higher interest rate on our savings account.
  8. We started selling things we don’t need on ebay and FB (CDs, toys, various household items) which has generated a small side income.

On Travel, Experiences, and Other Frivolous Purchases

Vacations and experiences (concert-going, football games, date nights) are very much a priority for our family so we make sure to set aside money each month for those.  We made it to several concerts this year (Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Dave Matthews Band, Ed Sheeran, etc.) and continued to purchase season tickets for the Georgia football games as we always do, so our experiences were not compromised when I quit since they have always been factored into our budget. 

With regard to our Disney World trip earlier this year, that trip was already paid for before I quit my job, so that didn’t affect our budget for the year at all.  We all know how expensive a Disney trip is, so that would have been a tough one to budget for, and that’s why we are already thinking about a 2020 Disney trip.  It’s never too early to start saving! 

With regard to our beach trip, we still went and did everything we would have done before I quit my job, but we did try to save money where we could.  For example, we did downsize our condo for the beach this year to save money.  Instead of getting our usual two bedroom condo, we just booked a one bedroom and the kids slept on the living room floor in sleeping bags.  They’d prefer to sleep in sleeping bags anyway, so it just made sense, and it didn’t decrease our overall experience in any way.  As a matter of fact, I think this was one of my favorite beach trips ever!  And we were still able to save a good chunk of money!

With regard to our mountain trip that we take every year, we are very fortunate to have family members who own a house in the mountains and they graciously let us stay there for free.  Therefore, we were able to take a trip this fall and not have to pay for a place to stay.

How We’re Actually Doing

While making all of these changes has saved us a decent amount of money each month, it honestly hasn’t affected our overall quality of life very much.  We are still going out to eat, attending concerts, going on dates, traveling, and having fun… we’re just being smarter about saving money wherever else we can.  I honestly don’t miss that third DVD from Netflix, the Sirius XM radio, the Tivo Mini, the more expensive wine (TJ’s is the best anyway!), or any of those other things we cut back on… well, maybe I miss having cable a tiny bit.  But only this time of year because I can’t watch Hallmark Christmas movies.  Haha.  I’m perfectly content with my Christmas music or Christmas movies on Netflix anyway!  Don’t ask me to give up Netflix! 

For me, one of the harder things has been curbing my shopping.  I definitely wasn’t a shopaholic or anything like that prior to quitting my job, but when I saw something I wanted I would buy it without thinking twice.  Now that I’m not working, I’m way more intentional with my purchasing. 

If you’re a long-time reader, then you know that 2018 has been the year for me to simplify, and even if we hadn’t gone down to one income I had already planned to be more intentional with my purchases.  Not buying tons of new stuff has significantly cut down on clutter and excess, and this whole experience has changed my overall mentality for the better.  There is less to tidy up each day and I feel like we’re no longer drowning in clutter.  That has done wonders for my mental state. 

And let me go ahead and say, I haven’t stopped shopping altogether.  I will always and forever love fashion and I will always and forever buy a few new pieces each season, but putting this simplifying mentality in place has helped me to realize that I should only purchase things that I absolutely love.  I no longer purchase anything if I just kind of like it or am on the fence about it.  If I don’t love it to pieces, then I do not waste money on it.  Simple as that. 

My biggest struggle overall has been just knowing that I’m not contributing as much financially as I used to.  I’ve always been a very independent woman.  I have had a job since I was 16 years old and I have never relied on my parents or a man for money, so sometimes that guilt does creep up, but that also adds fuel to my fire to continue pursuing my blogging career.  I’m making more money as a blogger now than I ever did when I was working full-time at a corporate job, so having this extra time has literally paid off.  And let me also say that starting your own business from nothing and actually figuring out how to make your own money from it is so much more rewarding than making money at any corporate job!!  Or at least that’s how I feel, anyway.  :o)

Bottom line, I’m loving this opportunity to stay at home and I thank the Lord every single day that I was given this chance.  I feel like my sanity is more in tact because our house is cleaner than it’s ever been, B and I no longer have to waste precious weekend hours cleaning and doing laundry, we no longer have to scramble constantly to find someone to watch the kids when they’re out of school or unexpectedly sick, and I’m no longer in a CONSTANT state of rushing. 

I feel like I’ve been given the gift of time – more time with Brian, more time with my babies, more time to get things done around the house without sacrificing time with my family, and more time to pursue my dreams – and to me, that is the ultimate gift.  

Now if I could just figure out how to replace my entire corporate salary with blog income I’d be a happy, happy girl! 

Baby steps… :o)

Don't forget to link up with us below!  

Your Hosts! 

Whitney at Polka-Dotty Place / Bloglovin / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest / Twitter 
Keri at Keri Lynn Synder / Faceobok / Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest 
Sarah at Sarah E. Frazer / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest 

*Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I What I Wore, Pumps & Push Ups for Oh, Hey Girl! Link-Up, The Mummy ChroniclesTucker UpShopping My Closet for Style Me Wednesday, Classy Yet Trendy for Trendy Wednesday Link-Up, The Blended Blog and Jessi's Design and Going the Distance for What's Hap-"Pinning" Wednesday.


  1. That is so awesome that y’all are doing so well! Plus, no amount of money can replace your kiddos childhood’s! Enjoy this time.

  2. We still do the Netflix DVDs too! Man I thought we were the only ones! ;) Great tips on saving money!! I really wish I could get some of my affiliate sale posts to generate some income. I should look more into how to successfully do that.

  3. I just loved reading this. Early retirement has been such a blessing for me and my family and wished I would've been able to do this when the kids were small, and truth is I could've done it years ago, I just stayed out of loyalty. I am blessed with this chapter in our lives and a husband who has worked hard to get where he is. I am soooo happy for you, you were made to have this opportunity! xo

  4. This is great! I love how you listed what you cut and how much you saved each month. We've done a very similar thing too with the adoption, and it's not that hard to cut back on stuff when it's for a good reason!
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

  5. Great post, Lindsay! This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. Even today, I have to figure out how to juggle a sick kid and deal with deadlines at work.
    The guilt on both sides is strong!! Congrats and I am glad you are happy about your leap of faith!

    1. Thank you so much, Natalie! Yes, when I was working I had SOOOO much guilt and it pretty much ate away at me all the time. I hope that you can find a way to stay at home, too, someday. <3

  6. Ok can I just say I did the same with my Netflix subscription and ppl were like ew you still get DVDs and I'm like EW, you realize you can only watch a very limited selection of things on streaming? DUH! lol

  7. It's amazing when you trust God with the decision how He helps you work out the plan for everything else! I'm so glad you have this opportunity and that things have worked out so well as to not be stressful. So impressed with all you guys have be able to do to make the best decision for your family!

  8. Thanks for the update, great ways to save money! I think the shopping thing would be the hardest on me, not being able to get what I want when I want it :) You guys seem to have the whole financial thing under control.

  9. Thanks for being so open! I went years without cable and finally went with DirectTV now this year and it has been great to get in some Hallmark. Maybe you can have a girls night with friends at someone's house watching the Hallmark movies you are missing. Also, I love SouthernSavers and Hip2Save for coupons and sales.

  10. Some of the savings that you are implementing we've done as well and it has been amazing!! Especially cutting cable tv! I'm so glad that you've been able to enjoy this season of your life! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  11. I love the savings you've implemented through little things! We talked about cutting our cable and going to sling tv but we haven't done it yet! I make a small amount through my blog, not enough to be an income, but enough to supplement when I want to buy myself something special, so that definitely helps!

  12. Lindsay, this is full of wonderful tips! Love how transparent you are, it's really helpful. Glad you're loving the SAHM gig! :)

  13. Way to go!! (We do SlingTV as well and def no regrets!)

  14. This is awesome! Such great tips for anyone too! Always pray and trust in God and things will always go exactly how the creator has planned! Hugs

    1. YES!! He has provided this last year, for sure! Thank you so much, Ann!

  15. Love this. here are parts of me that want to stay home so much, but I am not sure we can swing it. I have a shopping problem and that is my goal to curb in 2019. And I just learned a ton about ways to save from this post! But no clue about the ad thing on blogs...

  16. Thank you for sharing all of your ways on how you have saved money this last year. I have wondered and I am glad you laid it all out. I need to do more to cut the fat from our lives. I do sell a lot online, we are having a garage/yard sale this weekend and I want more info on this sling tv. Our cable bill is crazy.

  17. Hey Lindsay! What an awesome post, and thank you for the shoutout. We are so happy to have you as one of our publishers and are proud to play a small part in your success this year.
    — Susannah at Mediavine

    1. Thank you so much, Susannah! I have nothing but wonderful things to say about you guys so far! Y'all have been amazing to work with!

  18. This post is awesome!! I love how honest you were, and the very specific details you provided. I am still so happy for you that you were able to do this - I KNOW how much it means that you are able to be home and be there even more for the kids and B. And I think one of the benefits that you touched on that doesn't get talked about as much is just the pure fact that you are in a better state overall - not rushing, able to get things done so that you are really able to enjoy the time you guys do have together!

  19. this post made me SO VERY HAPPY for you. You guys did terrific in all the montly/yearly savings, so impressed and the fact that life is just better all around. WIN WIN WIN!!!!!! Happy Holidays to you!

    1. Aw thank you so much, Donna. Your encouragement means a lot to me! Happy holidays to you and your family as well!

  20. Thanks so much for linking up with Jessi and me today!

    We cut cable when we moved and now do YouTube TV (plus Netflix and Amazon Prime) and it amazes me that we used to pay $120+ for DirecTV each MONTH!

  21. I did a lot of those things you did to cut back when my ex and I split up and it is so amazing how the little things add up! I do not miss cable, Sirius, Starbucks, manicures or eating lunch out at all anymore. Y'all are doing great, and it must be so rewarding to get the extra time with the kiddos! So true about the credit cards. I do the Citi double cash and pay it off every month, such a no brainer! Thanks for sharing!

  22. Fascinating post! Thanks so much for sharing your experience and all of your great tips. I'll definitely be looking more into a lot of them! Good for you for making it work so well! xo

  23. Lindsay I absolutely love and admire this post so much. I am just trying to think of ways to get my blog more out there. I would love to be able to stay home, but I guess if I can't, at least I love what I do and I am able to be at the school with them. I do have a lot of mom guilt though. I just loved this post and I am so happy for you and for your family. What a blessing!

  24. It's so amazing the areas we can cut back in. I can't believe it's already been a year! I'm so happy things have worked out for you and you've been able to do so much with the kids. The before and after care, along with camp is a huge savings right there. Sierra Beautifully Candid

  25. It really all adds up when you cut back. We have had to do that with the adoption but I always think a little short term pain is worth the long-term gain. We have cut out eating out the most especially the little drinks & quick snacks during the week!


Thank you for taking the time to comment... I read and respond to each and every one! However, if you are a no-reply blogger (meaning that your email address is not connected to your Blogger account), I will not be able to reply to you directly via email... you will have to check back on the blog post for a response!