I grew up in a family that had enough money for our needs and even some of our wants. However, the mind of a selfish child is to desire enough money for all of her wants. I remember going school shopping each August and hating the fact that I had to choose between which pair of new school jeans my mom would buy. Why couldn't I have both? I swore that when I grew up and got a job I would make enough money to not have to make choices. I would be able to buy everything I wanted.
And so I went to college and sought out a job that paid good money. I worked hard and married someone who worked for the same company. We both made good money. Thank goodness we both think similarly when it comes to spending money so although we were doing well financially, we never went beyond our means or saddled ourselves with debt (other than a house). Ten years into my great paying job, though, and pregnant with my second child my heart just wasn't into the role of working mommy anymore. I wanted to quit and stay home with my kids.
Since we didn't have gobs of money left over at the end of the month (even with our great paychecks) I decided to sit down with our bank statements and actually figure out exactly where all of our money was being spent. I wanted to find out where we could cut back so that we could become a one income family. Ho-lee mo-lee were we blowing some cash. As I said, we weren't in debt but man did mama like her some Target shopping.
I worked and re-worked that napkin math until I figured out exactly how much money we would need to get by every month. That's when I discovered that just canceling the health club membership wasn't going to cut the mustard. I needed serious money saving techniques. So I researched and read and tried and fought with my budget until I figured out a way we could live on one income.
Thus, a Cheap Mama was born. It wasn't overnight, but almost. My idea of "needs" changed. My idea of "expensive equals better" changed. I found that with a little extra work I could live a stylish life but do it on a lot less money. I am now almost 2 years into my stay-at-home life and being a Cheap Mama isn't always easy...or fun. But I have found a lot of other moms out there in the blogosphere that are working hard to live a chic, cheap life and I know I'm not alone. And that makes the journey so much sweeter.