Maybe you are wanting to be a stay-at-home mom and you haven’t taken the plunge yet or maybe you already are a stay-at-home mom. Either way, finances could potentially be tight or already tight. You might be wondering how to save money as a stay-at-home mom. Wonder no more.
Why is Saving Money as a Stay-At-Home Mom so Important?
When you live on two sources of income, you can afford things that aren’t possible on one income. When you switch over to one income you no longer can afford those things. You have to make sacrifices.
Those sacrifices can look different for every family. Maybe for yours, it means instead of eating out every week, you cut it down to twice a month. Notice I didn’t say, cut it out completely.
I think if you deprive yourself of everything you used to do, it will be harder to maintain your new lifestyle. Plus, it just won’t be fun.
Saving money isn’t about depriving yourself of fun, it is about cutting back or letting go of things that don’t mean as much to you, so you can pursue your dreams. You know like being a stay at home mom. Or saving for your dream vacation. Or finally getting out of debt.
Not saving money and spending like you still have two incomes can wreak havoc on your finances. You might find you run out of money before the month is up.
You might have to start using credit cards to pay bills or rent. You can save money in a myriad of ways and they can be small things.
- The Ultimate Stay At Home Mom Guide
- 11 Amazing Benefits of Being a Stay At Home Mom
- How to Beat Stay At Home Mom Boredom
- How Can I Afford to Be a Stay At Home Mom?
8 Tips to Saving Money as a Stay At Home Mom
1. Create a Budget
This is the #1 way to save money. The reason why is because it allows you to see exactly where your money goes. You can tell how much spending you can reduce when it is laid out in front of you.
Budgeting can seem scary. But it doesn’t have to be. There are many different budget systems you can use, and they can help you make your budget. I personally like the envelope system.
Budgeting is really quite simple. In a nutshell, you list your income and your expenses and adjust everything until your expenses are less than your income. This can take some finagling and if you have a low income, it may require you to cut things you would rather not cut.
2. Start a Grocery Budget
This could be a part of tip one considering it has the word budget in it, but I think it is important enough that it should have its own number. Grocery shopping is one of the categories, if not the category, where people tend the spend the most and break their budget the most.
There are so many ways to cut your expenses at the grocery store. It doesn’t matter how many people are in your family.
The first thing you should do is figure out how much money you can spend at the grocery store. Figuring out this number can be hard. A possible way to do it is to spend $100 per person in your family.
This might not be feasible if you have a family of 6, for example, but it at least gets you thinking about how much to spend on groceries. When you are budgeting for the month, pay particular attention to the grocery category.
Another thing that can help with your grocery shopping is meal planning. There are many ways to do this is. You can use an established meal planning service. Or you can figure out your own meals.
There are apps you can use to help you save money at the grocery store. One of my favorites is Ibotta.
You scan your receipt after you shop and any qualifying items will give a certain amount of cashback. That cashback can then be redeemed for gift cards.
3. Learn Basic Skills and DIY
You can pretty much learn anything through Google and YouTube. Knowing how to do something yourself can save you lots of money.
- Do your own manicures and pedicures.
- Mend your own clothes.
- Darn your socks.
- Change your own oil.
That being said, there are certain things where you should hire a professional because if you do it yourself and do it wrong, you’ll have to hire somebody anyway and could potentially pay more money. Unless of course, you are one of these professionals, then ignore this advice. I’m talking about electricians, plumbers, and mechanics.
Your home payment or rent payment is usually the highest expense that you have. It doesn’t have to be a fixed amount. Look into cheaper apartments in your area. Maybe you can downsize your home.
There are also ways you can save money inside your home as well.
- Turn down your heater.
- Buy and use a crockpot.
- Use your air conditioner sparingly.
- Get rid of cable. Use Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and/or Disney+ instead.
- Unplug unused electronics and appliances.
- Give up your landline phone.
- Pay your bills on time.
- Change your own oil.
- Make your own coffee.
When you have to buy clothing every month for your growing child, it can add up fast. There are ways to minimize these costs.
- Buy clothes for your kids as well as for yourself on clearance.
- Buy at thrift stores and just wash everything before wearing them. Or buy at garage sales.
- If you know someone that has kids that are slightly older, ask if you can have their older clothes, so they would fit your kids now.
- Have a clothing swap with your friends. This could be done for you and your kids.
- Make a capsule wardrobe for yourself and your kids.
- Use old shirts as rags
- Turn old jeans and pants into shorts.
- Patch up your own clothes.
Having only one vehicle can save your family a lot of money. But it isn’t always practical to have one car. As a stay at home mom having your own car can really come in handy when you need to run errands.
To really save money on having more than one car, don’t be afraid to run it into the ground. What I mean by this is to take care of it and drive it until it dies.
It might seem impossible to travel with kids and stick to a budget. It is totally possible. (And if you thought I was going to say it might seem impossible to travel with kids. Again very possible. Will save it for another article.)
First of all, figure out how much you can spend and where you are going. Next, decide how you are going to get there. Is it possible to drive or is too far away and you need to fly?
Then you need to figure out accommodations. Do you have family or friends nearby that you can stay with?
If a hotel or motel is not an option because it would blow your budget in its entirety, look into Airbnb.
I personally love Airbnb’s because you have a kitchen so you can cook your food, which saves you money. They usually give you more room.
There are many ways to have fun with spending little to no money.
- Have a Netflix movie night complete with popcorn.
- Camp out in your backyard with your kids. Let your kids build a blanket for in the living room and have a sleepover out there. When I was young, my sister and I loved to do this all of the time. It eventually drove our mom nuts.
- Go to a park and have a picnic.
- Or have a picnic in your living room. (Are you starting to see a theme here? Apparently a lot of fun and cheap activities take place in the living room).
It can be overwhelming to save money when you have kids and are dealing with all of the responsibilities of being a mom. Sometimes I feel like in hanging on by a thread.
Some days we eat out, I go to the store just get out of the house and I spend money that shouldn’t be spent. Some days I completely fail at my stay at home mom budget.
Fortunately, most days I am able to stay on track. I focus on the little things to help me save money as a stay at home mom.
If you are struggling to save money, then start small. And don’t beat yourself up if you struggle or fail. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again.
What tips do you have for saving money as a stay-at-home mom?