Being a single-income family in a dual-income world.

I was raised in a dual-income home.  My dad had a successful flooring business and my mom worked for the government. I was an only child most of my life until my parents started fostering children when I was 12 years old and ended up adopting my three brothers when I was a young adult. My husband came from a single-income family. While his dad worked for the government, his mom stayed home and home-schooled the four children.

Growing up, I had a lot of home-schooled friends and it had been a dream of mine to one day get married, have children and be able to stay at home and home-school my children.

I quit my teaching job when we had our first child and have been blessed to be able to stay home with our children. Now, before I go on, I just want clarify that it is God who has provided for our family. He has blessed my husband with enough work in his own business to be able to afford paying our bills. If my husband’s business hadn’t grow like it did, then we probably wouldn’t be able to be single-income.

However, having said that, I think  that living off of a single income as a family is a lot more possible than our society thinks.

Sometimes when I run into people that I don’t see often and they ask me about my work, they are surprised that I’m not going back to teaching and sometimes comment “well it must be nice to be able to stay at home if you can do that.”

I think that staying at home can mean having different expectations in life style than having both parents working.

Having a parent stay home might mean having a smaller house, or only one car, or simple family vacations instead of extravagant ones.

In the book, The Flipside of Feminism by Suzanne Venker, she writes about the difference in standard of living between American families before the 1970 (when more mothers stayed home) and after 1970 (when more mothers went to work.)

“Before then (1970), American families lived differently. They owned one car, one television, and one stereo. Their houses averaged two thousand square feet; their children shared bedrooms; and a typical vacation might include camping. Then American women joined the workforce, and their incomes slowly created a ‘new norm.’ Today, the average home has 38 percent more square footage; kids have their own rooms; each member of the family owns his own cell phone and iPod; televisions are in many rooms; toys abound; and a trip to Disney World is considered a rite of passage. How did this happen? Employed mothers caused a dramatic change in lifestyle. Families can afford posh lifestyles because both parents are producing and income…Therefore, to say dual income families are a necessity is misleading. Parents are working to support the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed.” pg. 110-111

We are pressured by our society to keep up with the proverbial Jones. Own a bigger house, buy newer cars, go on lavish vacations, keep up to date with the latest electronics.  But it seems that most of the Jones’ families have both parents working…and maybe they don’t have more than two children.

It is possible to stay home. But you might have to change your expectations.

At on point in our married life we were renting an apartment near the edge of the city that was close to wealthy suburban neighbourhood. During the day, I liked taking our baby for walks through that neighbourhood in a stroller. It looked so beautiful and perfect. The houses were all new and sat on nice big lots with meticulously manicured lawns. But I noticed that the neighbourhood was very empty. I hardly saw anyone there during the day. They were all at work so they could afford this.

There certainly are some very well-off homeschooling families who are on one income and have lots of kids. However, sometimes letting go of an income can equate with having different expectations for standard of living. It has its costs and its benefits. Those benefits are usually not in material things, but most stay-at-home parents would say they far outweigh the costs.

What do you think? Are you a stay-at-home mom? How has that decision affected your family’s standard of living?


A testimony about Zechariah’s name

I realize that it’s probably mostly my family and friends who read this blog. So I’m going to make it more personal. I’ve already switched to using my children’s actual first names in my last post. I think this blog will be a bit more random. More about our family is up to, but things that are too long to post on Facebook. 🙂

So, I’d like to share a testimony about how we picked a name for our second son: Zechariah Israel.

When I was pregnant with this baby, I was reading the Bible one day and felt an impression that we should name our baby Zechariah. At the time, I didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl. Zechariah means “The Lord remembers”. To me, this was meaningful in two ways. One was more personal, in that I felt that God answered my prayers and remembered me in my longing for more children. But I also felt strong feelings for Israel, the land and the people. Lately Israel has had a lot of negativity from the media. A lot of people have been turning against Israel -even some churches. Yet, if we believe in the Scriptures, we can see that God has not forgotten Israel. The Bible prophecies that in the end times, many nations will come to war against Israel and it will not be a good outcome for them. Right now it seems like it wouldn’t take much for the nations to turn against Israel. And when that happens…we don’t want to be in that crowd that goes against Israel. So I thought “Zechariah Israel”, “The Lord remembers Israel” would be a fitting name for a time like this.

Well, the time came to give birth and we had our baby boy. After he was born Ben and I were discussing a name for him. I told Ben about the impression I had for the name Zechariah. However, there was another boy’s name that I really liked too. So we were trying to decide between Zechariah and the other name. Ben also really liked the other name (which I don’t want to give away, in case we have another son and decide to name him that name). We decided we would make a final decision about the name when the baby would be 8 days old. After a couple days, Ben surprised me when he told me that he too was reading his Bible and also felt impressed to name the baby Zechariah. Then, on Friday, the day before we had to make a final decision, Ben’s sister Jessie came over to take newborn/family photos. She was curious about what we would name our baby. I told her we have a couple names in mind but haven’t made a decision yet but we would by tomorrow. Then, just for fun, I asked her “look at him and tell me what name he looks like”. She said “Old testament or New?” I said “Old”. Then she looked at him and said “Zechariah”. I was so surprised that she said that! It was like more confirmation.

Meanwhile, my mom had told me earlier that she thought she knew what we would name our baby, but wouldn’t tell us until after we had chosen a name. Well, by Friday night we decided we would name him Zechariah. It was time to tell our family that. I picked up the phone and called my parents and told them our baby’s name. My mom was ecstatic when she heard that we picked Zechariah because she said that that’s the name she told my dad that we would pick. By then the confirmation was overwhelming and we felt very confident that his name is supposed to be Zechariah.

Afterwards, I decided to read through the book of Zechariah in the Bible.

I was amazed at how this book is full of God’s promises to Israel, and affirmation that He remembers her…

Beautiful verses, such as:

“Proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts:’ I am zealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great zeal.” – Zechariah 1:14

“…My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; the LORD will again comfort Zion, and will again choose Jerusalem.” – 1:17

“…I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the city of truth, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts, the holy mountain.” – 8:3

“…old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each one with his staff in his hand because of great age. The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. ” -8:4,5

“…they shall be as though I had not cast them aside; for I am the LORD their God…” – 10:6

And there’s many more.

My hope and prayer for our son Zechariah is that he will take part in the restoration of Israel. May he see Messiah reigning from Jerusalem and her streets full of happy boys and girls.

IMG_8000 copy

My Birth Story: Zechariah Israel

Announcement: We have a baby boy!

On February 7th, at 7:23am our family was blessed with a new member: Another baby boy! We decided not to find out the gender of our baby during the pregnancy so it was a surprise when he was born. The labour and delivery took only 4.5 hours and it was a much better experience than with our first son, Malachi.

I was 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant when I woke up at quarter to three in the morning and noticed that I had some abdominal pain. I was very groggy and it took me a little while to realize that the pain was a contraction. It left and another one came. I told Ben “I’m having contractions”. I still wasn’t sure if it would lead into labour or not, but then the next contraction that came was more painful. Then I knew that this probably was, indeed, much-anticipated labour. I then told Ben that I’m pretty sure I’m in labour and we should start setting things up.

Since we had planned a home water birth, my midwife had given me a list of things that we needed to prepare for the birth. This included inflating and filling the birth pool, setting up a crockpot on low with water and wash cloths in it for hot compresses and some other things. Ben started setting up the birth pool and I started preparing some other things. I also wanted to diffuse some calming lavender essential oil in the kitchen, so I went about that. I had to stop every few minutes however, due to the contractions which now needed my full concentration. Ben told me not to bother setting anything up, just to focus on breathing through my contractions.

photo (23)

The birth pool


We also called both sets of parents at the onset of labour. They were all happy to hear that our baby was coming soon. Ben’s parents were on call to take Malachi if needed. At this time, Malachi was sleeping in his room and we didn’t know if we should wake him up and send him off or just let him keep sleeping. We decided to let him keep sleeping. Ben’s parents live close by and his mom said that if he wakes up we should just call them again and someone would be here in five minutes to take him.

So, Ben continued setting things up and I continued labouring. I found that I liked using my birth ball. I would get on all fours and lean over the birth ball. That was one of my favorite positions for labour. For breathing, Ben encouraged me to let out a long breath while making a low “oooooh” sound and to stretch it out as far as I could. It really helped me to relax. Ben and I had talked a lot about what we wanted the labour to be like and what kind of strategies could help me cope with the pain. Ben was really good at encouraging the low singing kind of breathing. As he continued setting up the birth pool, whenever he heard me go “ooooh” as a contraction came on, he would come behind me and hold my hips together, which really helped too. During this labour I had a weird sensation like if my pelvis was splitting apart and it felt good when Ben would apply pressure to my hips.

photo 3 (5)

A very unflattering picture…but this is one of the positions that worked best for me.


Next I decided I wanted to try labouring in the bathtub. The pool wasn’t ready yet, so Ben prepared the tub. I went in and Ben sat beside the bathtub. When a contraction would come, I’d make the low “ooooh” sound and lean over Ben’s lap. As I laboured in the tub, the song “Yeshua all for Yeshua”, or “Jesus, all for Jesus” (Robin Mark) was playing through my head so I asked Ben to sing it. He sang it and I continued labouring. Somehow, as Ben was singing “all for Yeshua”, I felt like I was labouring for Yeshua. As I was bringing this child into the world, it wasn’t just to have more children, but to have more children who love Yeshua and walk in His ways. It also made me think of Yeshua’s painful death on the cross for us. I knew my labour was so much less than what He went through to give us life. As I continued having contractions, I kept thinking about my Saviour and alternated between moaning and calling to Him for strength.

I actually found the bathtub to be less comfortable than anticipated and decided to get out and back on the birth ball. The contractions were coming every 6 minutes or so and lasting almost a minute. They were getting very painful. I dreaded each one and just focused on the low “oooooh” breathing as each contraction came. I also told myself that they’re only about a minute long so just make it through that minute and then I’ll get a little break again.

I also found that standing and leaning on Ben was a good position too. Both this position and the birth ball position had me leaning my weight on something. And for some reason that felt more comfortable than other positions. Although the contractions were getting terribly painful, I still felt like they were doable. I didn’t like them, but focusing on the breathing and focusing my eyes on something small made them survive-able.

When the contractions reached a minute long and were about 5 minutes apart, we decided to call my midwife. She came shortly after and started setting up her things. Soon after the second midwife arrived. I really like the team of midwives I had. My main midwife is the same one who delivered Malachi. She is a sweet older African lady who has a motherly kind of presence. The second midwife is probably around my age and very kind and friendly. Having her there was kind of like having a friend. They’re both very supportive and encouraging.

To my surprise, I had a break of about 20 minutes or so with no contractions. I started to worry that maybe I wasn’t very far along.  So far, the contractions were manageable, and it was strange to get a break. I figured maybe this will be a long labour and started having doubts about a home birth. I suggested going to the hospital. I was scared of being at home and facing a long labour without pian relief. Suddenly I felt like I couldn’t do this anymore and really wanted to go to the hospital. (I didn’t know it, but I was in transition already, and it is typical at this point to feel like you can’t do it anymore). I was also shaking all over and my teeth were chattering uncontrollably even though I didn’t feel cold. I remember asking “why am I shaking like this?” and a midwife told me “your body is going through some hard work.”

My midwife decided to check how far along I was. I had to lie down on the bed for this which wasn’t as comfortable. She found that I was 9cm dilated. I couldn’t believe it. That meant I was already in transition. And here I thought I wasn’t very far along. My midwife told me the baby’s just about ready to come out. She encouraged me to get up and walk a little bit to bring back the contractions. I thought to myself “but I don’t want more contractions”. However, I definitely wanted the baby to be born, so I got up.

Around this moment the second midwife had finished filling up the birth pool and making sure it was the right temperature. It was finally ready for me to go into it. This was my last chance to go into the birth pool if I wanted it. I stood up to walk but realised I wouldn’t be able to make it into the pool. Another strong contraction came on, and standing up, I leaned onto Ben and clung onto him while breathing low. And then, I felt the urge to push. I don’t even remember really trying, just that suddenly I felt my baby sliding down the birth canal. I pushed, and the midwives got ready to catch the baby. I remember Ben saying “the head is out”. I felt the “ring of fire” and a couple more pushes and the baby came out and someone put him in my arms. I looked at the wet, squirmy baby and couldn’t believe that the labour was over and that I had my long awaited baby. It was such a wonderful happy moment. I looked at the baby and saw that it was a boy! I had suspected a boy all along, so I wasn’t very surprised to see that. Then I got to lie down on the bed and cuddle with my baby on my chest while the placenta came out. We waited for the cord to stop pulsating and then Ben got to cut it. I got some good quality time then with just the baby on my chest and Ben beside me. My midwife said I only had a small tear, so that was good. I wonder if it helped to push standing up, since then gravity worked in my favour too. We were very thankful and happy for a good experience. We also called the grandparents and let them know about their new grandson!

baby Z with privacy

He was 8 lbs and 2 oz.

The baby was alert and started suckling. He actually had a good latch right away, too, which was nice to see. Overall we were just so happy to have a healthy baby, a peaceful labour, less tearing and that we were at home and were able to just stay in our bedroom and relax as a family. We had prayed for a peaceful, short labour and a healthy baby. I had been praying that God would give me the strength to cope with the contractions and to be able to breathe through them well. Praise the Lord!

And it was about then that we heard another little noise – Malachi had finally woken up from sleeping at night. We couldn’t believe that he slept through all that! This was also an answer to prayer because we specifically prayed that Malachi wouldn’t be away from us overnight for the birth. Not only was he there for the night, but he didn’t have to be away at all! Definitely an answer to prayer that he slept through it all.

Ben went over to his room and brought him out to meet his little brother. Malachi has been adjusting amazingly well to being a big brother. He loves the baby and likes to give him toys and touch his hands and head. He asks us to let him hold the baby, so we let him partially hold him while sitting down as one of us supports the baby’s head.

photo 4 (4)

Brothers…the day that Zechariah was born.


Ben is home for two weeks now from work and he’s being a wonderful husband and daddy, taking care of the house and Malachi while I get to mostly focus on nursing the baby and resting. Later my mom is flying in from Ontario and staying for a couple weeks to help as well.

We feel very grateful for God’s blessings and mercies, and are so excited to get to know this new little person and watch our sons grow up together as friends.


Simple Winter Crafts with a Toddler

Here are some of the crafts Mr. Monkey has done this winter. I recently hung up a string in our dining room where I can hang his crafts for display using clothes pins. I like the idea of keeping to a theme with our crafts, especially a seasonal theme. Especially in winter. It makes it a little more cheery.

IMG_7654 IMG_7655


From left to right:

A snowman painting using a sponge.

Mittens cutout from construction paper and decorated with markers and glitter. (This we made after reading the story “The Mitten” by Jan Brett).

Foam/felt sticker art. I like buying the foam and felt stickers at Michaels especially when they’re on sale at the end of the season. Mr. Monkey gets excited when I pull them out. He likes peeling off the backs and sticking them on paper.

A foam dreidel that we did at Hanukkah.

Foam snowmen (There was a big container of foam sticker snowmen parts at Michaels. You can put together the snowmen with the stickers and learn to put the snowmen together).

A cotton ball snowflake. I just drew a basic snowflake shape with liquid glue and Mr. Monkey would put the cotton balls on the glue.

I also found these cute little foam gingerbread men at Michaels:



Mr. Monkey had so much fun decorating them with beads, sequins and glitter glue.



I think I have a weakness for kids craft supplies, especially when they’re on sale. But seriously, they don’t get all used up in one season and can be stored for next year!




Easy DIY Maternity Skirt

This is an easy sewing project for a beginner sewer. I’ve recently taken up sewing and enjoyed making 2 maternity skirts for this pregnancy. I wear skirts every day, and in my experience it’s been hard to find long maternity skirts, especially winter ones. I’ve found lots of skirts to work well for maternity in the summer. All you really need is a nice skirt with an elastic or drawstring waste-band and you can just wear it under the bump. But in the winter it’s harder to find maternity skirts. Most regular skirts won’t work because they don’t have adjustable waste bands. In maternity stores, there is a very small selection of skirts in the winter, and they’re usually really expensive. So, I made some myself.  The one on the left is a casual skirt and the one on the right is more dressy.

IMG_7666 IMG_7667

These are really easy to make because you use the top part of an already made piece of maternity clothing.

You will need:

1. A pair of maternity pants or mini-skirt

2. Fabric of your choice (about 2 metres)

At my local thrift store there’s usually lots of maternity pants and also some maternity mini-skirts. It’s the long winter maternity skirts that are hard to find. For the skirt on the left I used the top part of a denim maternity mini-skirt. For the skirt on the right I used the top of a pair of black maternity pants. This way the waist of your skirt with a maternity band is already pre-made for you.


For the denim/grey skirt I found the grey corduroy fabric at the thrift store. I specifically wanted a warmer fabric for winter and found 2.3 metres of grey corduroy for only $2.50. The denim mini skirt was $5 so altogether this skirt was less than $10 to make. A lot cheaper than at a maternity store and a lot cheaper than ordering online from a maternity boutique. For the black skirt I also found the black pants at the thrift store but I found my black fabric at the fabric store in their clearance section. It is actually a type of “suit” fabric with vertical pinstripes so it is more dressy.

So, here are the steps to make these skirts:

1. Cut off the top part of your pant or miniskirt at the length where you want it. You can cut it off right below the maternity waste-band, or if you want it to be a bit longer and have some contrast with your other fabric then you can cut it several inches below the maternity band.

2. Measure the circumference of the bottom of your cut-off pants/skirt. Mine measured 42 inches. Add 2 inches for a generous seam allowance (44 inches). This is measurment “A”. (If you’re a newbie like me, you want a generous seam allowance for mistakes…always better to have a little too much fabric than not enough!)

3. Now you’ll want to find out how much length you need to add on. To do this, put the cut-off skirt/pants on yourself and measure from the part it is cut off to the length that you want it to be (mid-calf, ankle, etc). My measurement was 26 inches. Add 2 inches for hem and seam allowance (28 inches). This is measurement “B”.

4. Now you’ll want to decide how full you’ll want the bottom of your skirt to be. For this part, I picked a skirt from my closet that I liked and measured the bottom circumference of the skirt. It was 70 inches. I like my skirts full and roomy. Add 2 inches for a general seam allowance (72). This is measurement “C”.

5. Next, you’ll want to lay out your fabric on the floor and draw your skirt panels. I made mine really simply and just did 2 panels. You can do more panels if you like, and adjust your measurements accordingly.

6. To draw your skirt panels, you want to start with a straight line going down what will be the middle of the panel. It should be the length of measurement B.

7. Since each panel is half the skirt, you want the top horizontal line to be half of measurement A and the bottom horizontal line (the hem) to be half of measurement C.

8. Here is a little diagram I drew on paper to illustrate a panel. You would make 2 panels that are exactly the same. The line down the middle helps to divide the top side and bottom side evenly so that you have your diagonal lines at the proper angles.


9. Cut out your two panels.

10. Sew together the two sides.

11. Pin the top part of your panels to the bottom of  your cut-off skirt/pants. Now sew them together.

12. Hem the bottom of your skirt with a double-hem.

Here is what the skirts look like on me, when I’m 37 weeks pregnant:

IMG_7682 IMG_7681

IMG_7686 IMG_7685

When I first finished the black skirt, it was actually not long enough for me, it was at that awkward length above the ankles where it looks like it’s made for a petite person. So, I added a ruffle to the bottom.


If I were to make it again, I would’ve added more fabric to the ruffle horizontally so that it’s more ruffly. Now I know for next time.

There it is, an inexpensive way to make easy maternity skirts!


Our Second Busy Bag Exchange

In March last year my friends and I did a busy bag exchange. We’ve enjoyed using our busy bags with our little ones for quiet play at home and to keep them quietly busy at church. Well, now it was time to add some more busy bags into our collection. We went along with the same guidelines as last time. We wanted the busy bag activity to be contained in a ziploc bag, to be non-messy so we can take them along to places and of course to be appealing to our children. There are 5 of us in on this so we made 5 of the same busy bag that we then exchanged with each other when we got together.

Here are the busy bags that we made:

S made two busy bags. The first one was a magnetic dry-erase board with foam magnet shapes.


The second one was buttons and string. This could be to practice lacing buttons, but Mr. Monkey also enjoyed using it to sort the buttons by colours and shapes as well as to practice counting the buttons.


J made worm pick-up. It’s a fine motor activity. The goal is to try and pick up the “worms” off the “grass” using the clothes pin.


C put together a set of squares made from foam and felt and alphabet stickers. You can re-stick the stickers on the squares and try matching upper case with lower case letters.


D made felt rings. The rings stick together with velcro on the ends and can be put together to make a colourful chain.


I made a pre-printing activity with Wikki Stix. You can manipulate the Wikki Stix to make the shapes or letters on the laminated cards. Wikki Stix were a popular manipulative when I was teaching in elementary school.


For our busy bag exchange day, we rented a gymnasium for a couple hours. We brought ride on toys and balls as well as snacks. The children had lots of fun playing in the gym, and we had fun too!


Our frugal tips.

We are a single-income family. I have a degree in education and taught in public school for the first 2 years of our marriage, until our son was born and I went on maternity leave for a year.  After that, we’ve been single-income. I have never regretted the decision to quit my job. It has always been my dream to one day be a stay-at-home wife and mommy and to home-school our children. So in the first two years of our marriage, while I worked full-time in a professional career, my husband and I both had the goal that I would stay home when our first child would be born.

With that in mind, we prepared for being a single-income family by living as much as we could like a single-income family while we were dual-income. That means that we tried to live off of my husband’s income. My income went into paying off our school debt, and when that was paid off, it went into savings.  That way, when the time would come to make the big financial change, it wouldn’t seem as much of a shock to go from two incomes to one.

Now that I have the “career of my dreams”, here are some tips that I’ve found helpful to save money in little ways here and there:

Buy used The Duggar family, from TLC’s show, 19 Kids and Counting have a financial motto that says “buy used, save the difference”. We save a lot of money buying things used. Most of our furniture is used, as well as most of our clothes (except for shoes which I usually buy new, and here is a blog post on that).  My husband is in the music industry and he found an amazing deal for our used piano. Most of Mr. Monkey’s toys and books have been gifts or bought used as well.

Rental Income When we looked to buy our first home, my husband specifically wanted to find a house that has a separate basement suite included, with a separate entrance. This way, we have an extra rental income that helps pay off our mortgage. It’s nice having a rental income because it’s one of those incomes where you don’t really have to “work” for it. Financially, it is really helpful. The downside is that it’s sometimes hard to find good tenants that we trust enough to have in our basement, and also this way we have less space as we can’t use most of our basement for storage or extra room.

Homemade laundry soap. There are lots of tutorials online to make your own laundry soap. I’ve made a few different kinds, and haven’t had to buy laundry detergent in a long time. The ingredients for most laundry soap recipes are usually: borax, washing soda and some kind of soap (Fels Naptha, or a castille soap or even Blue Dawn). Currently, I’ve been using the Duggars’ recipe for laundry soap made from a bar of Fel Naptha soap. This soap is only sold in the States. When I was visiting my parents in southern Ontario, I went for a fun road trip with my mom to Michigan. I got a few bars of that soap there, they are only $1 each, and compbined with borax and washing soda, I think my batch of laundry soap cost around $3 or less. I started using it in September and am about halfway through it. Since I’ve been making my own laundry soap I feel like I just can’t buy the stuff from the store anymore. It’s so much cheaper to make your own. And it works just fine.

Haircuts at home. My dear husband has wonderful curly hair. I once suggested to him that he should let me try to cut it. And he did! (Even with me having no experience in this department…he must really trust me…). We liked the results, so since then I’ve been cutting his hair. We also cut our son’s hair. This saves us some money from going to the barber regularly. I rarely get my haircut, but when I do I like to get layers so I go get it done professionally. I’m wondering if maybe there are tutorials online on how to cut layers and then my husband could try it.

Budgeting I’m not very good at numbers and things like that, so my husband comes up with our family budget and reviews it with me and we both decide if it sounds reasonable. In our budget, we have an amount designated for groceries, fuel, household things, utilities, and other necessary categories. We also each have an amount of money every month that we can spend on whatever we personally like.  I found this to be very helpful. Before we started this, I always wasn’t sure if I should buy something that I wanted and sometimes wondered if I spent too much. With our personal spending budget, I now know how much I can spend and I can enjoy it. This also helps me not to feel “financially tight” because we can still buy little extras. My husband usually spends his money on books. I usually spend it on crafty things. Mr. Monkey has his budget too, which I’m in control of, and it’s used for extra things for him like books, toys, or craft supplies.

Eating at home This comes with being a stay-at-home mom. I see it as part of my “job” to make nutritious and delicious meals for our family that we enjoy. When we were both working full-time, we ate out more often because we would be so tired and rushed getting home from work. Now we rarely eat out. It saves us money and it’s also healthier.

Buying in bulk One of my new favourite stores is Costco. Although you have to pay for a yearly membership, I find that prices there are a lot cheaper than the regular grocery store because you buy in much bigger packages.

Entertainment We don’t have cable. Actually we don’t even have a TV. Or Netflix. Sometimes we buy good-quality appropriate movies. Our date nights are usually my husband and I at home curled up on our  couch with a hot drink and talking our hearts out to each other. Just like when we were betrothed.

Free Fun Since I’m home all day with Mr. Monkey, sometimes we can get into a bit of a rut. Mr. Monkey doesn’t have any siblings he can play with – yet. So instead of spending money on expensive toys (that he may or may not play with), or taking him to programs that you have to pay for, I’ve found some free alternatives. Of course, we spend most of our time at home, and I find that Mr. Monkey is more content and entertained when I involve him and myself together. So sometimes I play with him with his toys. Or make crafts with him. Or I involve him in my chores.  I’ve also been happy to discover that the community centre close to our home offers free play events for parents with little ones. Our favourite is the Monday morning jungle gym. It’s basically a gymnasium full of ride-on toys, push toys, tunnels and balls. Mr. Monkey has so much fun there, and it’s great for him to burn off his energy in the wintertime when we can’t always go outside to play. And then there’s the library. Our local library is a 10 minute walk away. Not only are there books but you can also ask for “story bags” that are themed bags of stories and toys or puzzles that go together in a theme.

Cloth diapers We’ve saved some money by using cloth diapers instead of disposable ones.

Cloth tissues Instead of paper tissues. Also relying more on towels and dishcloths instead of paper-towels.

So, those are some ways where we try to save money and be good stewards of our resources. There are areas where we can’t be too frugal. Food for example is one of those areas for our family. We really try to eat healthy. Processed packaged food is generally cheaper than whole food, but that is an area where we don’t want to compromise, so we choose healthier food even though it’s more expensive.

What are some ways that you save money?