From day one in our relationship, my husband and I made it a top priority that when we had children, I would be a stay-at-home mom. We started out in a small trailer, because it was what we could afford. As job changes and different income streams were created, we slowly expanded our lifestyle. But even as we followed a budget and paid bills, we've made sure not to put ourselves in a position where we can't get out of debt. We don't eat out, buy expensive coffees, or put our kids in activities that cost a lot. We would rather shut off the phone and internet, drive one "paid in full" car, and eat rice and beans rather than have to send our kids to a daycare in order that both of us could work.
My husband's job income dropped by a third this year, so I temporarily picked up some babysitting and home care work. All my work is scheduled when my husband is home, so one of us is there with the kids at all times. The best reward of living like this? Hearing our 17 year old son say "I would rather get a job than you, Mom, because you need to be at home!" So, no, I don't have monthly manicures or other fancy things. But I do have kids who are being raised with my husband's and my values. And that is worth it all.