For lots of moms, the idea of being a stay-at-home parent is one that terrifies them. But for many others, it is a primary aim in life.
They want to spend more time with their kids and be on hand for everything from a cold to a new school activity.
The problem comes with money. Just how do you save money to be a stay-at-home mom? Let’s take a look and help create a plan to get you where you want to go.
Manage and simplify your finances with a budget.
Having a family budget can be a smart move, regardless of whether you stay at home, work full time, or any other variation. It helps you to be financially organized and is an easy way to keep on top of your money.
Creating a budget doesn’t need to be scary. There are three main areas you want to think about:
- Categories of things you spend money on, such as groceries, mortgage or rent, and utilities
- How much money do you have coming in
- How much money do you have going out such as household expenses, student loans, credit card payments, and your grocery budget
By having a clear picture of what money comes in and where it goes out, you can instantly see what the finances in your household look like at the end of the month.
Also, consider an emergency fund and what you might want to add to a savings account.
But it is also essential to look at some of the following tips. Because you’ll have a clear idea of what you are paying out, you can also see where you can save some money and find the best way to create monthly plans.
Shop around for unavoidable expenses like insurance and utilities
We all see the adverts on TV telling us we should shop around for things like utilities, life insurance, and health insurance. But being honest, a lot of the time, we don’t do it!
When you are looking to save money to be a stay-at-home mom, then this is the perfect opportunity to shop around. You can’t avoid these expenses because they need to be paid for. But you can usually find a better deal.
Comparison websites are a great idea as they offer a range of different products in one place. You don’t need to input your details multiple times but do it once and get several quotes.
You can then go to the individual company’s website and do some additional research to make sure it meets your needs.
Take car insurance as an example. According to NerdWallet, you can save as much as $200 a month by going from the most expensive provider to the least expensive one.
This does vary depending on factors such as your location, driving history, and vehicle. But it is definitely worth looking into.
Look at expenses you don’t need
When you create your budget, you will have a list of things you currently pay. The next tip is to look at these and see if there are expenses you are paying out that you don’t need.
Top of the list for many people will be things like subscriptions they don’t use. Many of us have old magazine or newspaper subscriptions we have paid for years.
But do you still read it, or does it just gather dust in the paper rack? If the answer is the second one, consider canceling the subscription.
Another area to look at is cell phone costs. If you aren’t in a contract, you can cancel your phone subscription and look to get a new one that’s more cost-effective.
Even if you are in a contract, look at what you use and see if you can swap to a lower-cost monthly plan by reducing some data.
Being at home means you don’t always need to use as much as you can use your home’s Wi-Fi instead.
Cut back on cable and use streaming services
Streaming and cable services are one of the main forms of entertainment, especially when you have kids. But do you use all of them? We often have subscription services that we rarely watch or sometimes not at all.
Most services can be canceled either immediately or from the next payment. Look at what you watch and where you watch it.
Then think about whether you need that service. If the answer is no, check the terms and conditions to ensure you aren’t penalized for canceling. Then get that service stopped!
Instead, think about using streaming services.
Something like Amazon Prime includes their TV service, and you get extra benefits such as next-day delivery.
Netflix is another cost-effective service that creates a lot of unique content you can’t find anywhere else.
Don’t forget YouTube! There’s a whole world of content out there, often full-length TV shows. Most of it is free, and there’s always new content appearing.
You can create playlists to easily find your favorites and use their suggestions to try something new.
Have a plan to pay off debt.
Debt can be a part of life, but as a stay-at-home mom, it can be a good idea to have a plan to pay off any debt you have if you want to save money and decrease your outgoings with the need for extra income.
There are many ways to do this, including ideas like the Snowball Method. The key is to find an approach that works for you and the budget you are working with.
Create a realistic plan to reduce your debt, even if it takes a while.
Learn to meal plan and stick to it.
Meal planning is a hot topic, particularly with the price of many staple food items. As a stay-at-home mom, meal planning is a big step in controlling grocery spending.
It also helps to be more organized around food and avoid the constant stress of what to make for any meal.
You don’t need to create everything from scratch, either. Many meal-planning tips and even very cost-effective services are available.
For a few dollars, you could get ready to go meal plan complete with a grocery list and even recipes.
Check out these tools for meal planning: Meal Planning Starter Kit
Get grocery shopping under control.
Ever gone to the store for five items and came home with ten? That’s a problem a lot of us have! But when you want to work to a budget, it is essential to work on controlling grocery shopping.
One of the simplest ways to do this is to have a list and be very strict about buying only those items. If you have meal plans and know what you need, there’s no reason to buy anything else.
Another idea is to do a little research first. See what items are on sale in what stores each week and plan your shopping around this.
You can also compare prices online if you have a few options for what store you can visit, as a bit of time spent shopping around can save a lot of money.
Use online shopping to stop overspending.
If resisting those bargains in the store is tricky, consider online shopping. Grocery stores offer delivery, so you can select what you need and have it delivered to your home at a time that works for you.
Sometimes, searching for each item, adding it to the basket, and checking out can reduce overspending. Resist all those offer screens that can pop up to tempt you to buy more and stick to your list.
Buy in bulk if you can
Spending more money than you need to might seem strange, but buying in bulk can save a lot of money.
If the item is something you know you will need, then it can be a worthwhile idea if you can save money buying it in bulk and if you have somewhere to store it.
Shops like CostCo are ideal, but even Amazon will have bulk buys on a wide range of products. Amazon Family offers discounts on family products, such as discounts when bulk buying diapers.
Shop online to get cashback.
Shopping online is very convenient, and you can find some real bargains. But you can also save money by shopping in stores that offer cashback.
There are lots of schemes that offer money-back in different ways when you spend online. Examples could be something as simple as if you spend $100 in a store with a 1.5% cashback rate, you would earn $1.50. While the amount is small, it can build up over time.
There are different forms of cashback, so understand what these are and how they benefit you. Some of the most popular include:
- Flat rate – this remains the same no matter what you spend money on
- Tiered rate – this changes depending on annual spending, so the more you spend, the more cashback you can make
- Different rates – the rate depends on what you buy or where you buy it; such as fuel may have a different rate than groceries or clothing
Also, examine how to redeem the cashback. Bank deposits are one option as well as a paper check. Finally, a gift card for use in certain retailers may be how you receive the cashback.
Look to buy used where you can
Buying used is a great idea when you have kids. From toys to furniture and even clothes, there are many great places to find gently used items that can save you a lot of money.
And many of these second-hand items don’t need to be new things to do what the kids want.
Thrift stores are a popular choice, as well as flea markets. You can grab a bargain and pick up something you wouldn’t have bought new due to the cost involved, such as designer clothes. Consignment stores are also worth checking.
As with many things, there are now apps that offer ways to buy used stuff.
These can also be a great way to sell items you no longer need and pass the benefit of buying used on to someone else. While eBay may be the best-known marketplace for used items, many different apps exist.
Find the best free or cheap family activities.
What’s more fun than doing something with the kids? Doing something with them that is free or doesn’t cost much! There are loads of free or cheap activities you can do with kids of all ages and have a fantastic time.
Think about simple things such as a trip to the local park or storytime at your local library.
There are also nearly always free community events and activities taking place at different times that you can get involved with.
If there is a cost involved, look online to see if you can find deals or special offers that reduce the cost.
Many venues will offer a range of deals, sometimes even things like two for one, particularly outside the kid’s school vacations.
So if you have preschool kids or homeschool your children, then making use of these can save a lot of money.
Try to do date night at home.
Date nights are essential to relationship building, especially when you have kids. And as a stay-at-home mom, you may need a break from the kids! But date night doesn’t need to be expensive.
Going to the movies or out for a meal can be expensive.
Try alternatives you can do at home. Look for the latest movies on streaming services, then arrange for the kids to go to your favorite babysitter and have the place to yourself.
Look for meal deals and special ‘2 dine’ style offers in stores to find something a little bit special to make for a meal. It will still cost a lot less than a restaurant visit, and you can relax at home afterward.
Try ‘grow your own food’ if you have the space.
If you have a backyard, it can be worth dedicating some space to grow your food. Don’t worry; you don’t need to be a master gardener to grow a few simple vegetables.
Think about the kind of ingredients that you often buy at the supermarket. Then look at what grows well in the area you are in.
Hardiness zones will tell you what kind of plants will naturally thrive in your location and give you a starting point to plan your veg patch.
Plants such as tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, beans, and peas are all relatively easy to grow with a bit of space.
You can often find seeds or small plants in garden centers and other stores, and then you simply need somewhere to plant them and a regular schedule of what you need to do to get them to grow.
Harvest your crops and then look at how to store them. Canning is a good idea for some vegetables, while others can be frozen and last through winter.
It cuts down on the spending in the grocery store and is also very satisfying. You can even get the kids involved and make it a family project.
Final Thoughts On How To Become a Stay at Home Mom
With some planning and preparation, you can become a frugal stay-at-home mom without being constantly stressed about your finances.
With a tight budget behind you, these money-saving tips, and a plan to save money, you can fulfill your wish and be at home with the kids full-time for the long run.