How to save money as a stay at home mom.
Have you wondered how to live on one income? I’ve been doing it with my family of 5 for over 15 years now. It’s definitely not easy, but it’s possible!
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a stay at home mom. I struggled choosing a career path in high school and college because I only had dreams of being a mom.
I have been living my dream for 15 years now and am so grateful. My husband is a good and hard worker, but he is also a blue collar worker and he does not earn a large paycheck.
It’s not always easy to be a stay at home mom when I know that our financial situation could be much better if I would go to work.
We have had many financial ups and downs and I have had to learn to change from a natural SPENDER to a SAVER. It has not always been easy, but I have learned a few things along the way to make it more doable.
Today I am sharing my secrets for how to live on one income!
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How To Live On One Income
Here are a few tips I have learned to save money as a stay at home mom. I hope they help you learn how to live on one income.
Secret #1: Stay at Home Moms Contribute To The Family Finances
As a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM), I do not earn a physical paycheck, we are living on one income after all. But, that does not mean that I don’t contribute to the family finances.
I consider it a large part of my job to stretch my husbands paycheck as far as I can. A stay at home moms paycheck comes in the form of saving money, budgeting smartly, spending less instead of more. Taking this part of my job seriously has helped us to save more and live more contently.
Secret #2: Make a Budget and Stick To It
One of the most important parts of saving more money at home is by making a budget. This budget will help you keep track of your income and expenses. It’s important to refer to it often to be sure you are not over spending.
At the end of every month we have a “Budget Meeting” where my husband and I sit down and discuss our finances and make our budget for the next month.
It is not always easy to stick to this budget (especially not at first). But the more we kept working on it, the easier it has become and the more freedom we have felt.
Having this budget keeps my money in check AND gives me freedom to spend without feeling guilty. We prefer to spend most of our money using cash, and that has helped us spend so much less!
Secret #3: Do NOT Spend A Lot Of Money On Kids Clothes
As a new mom I use to love buying cute dresses, outfits and accessories for my baby girl. There are so many colors and fun items to choose from, I mean who wouldn’t get a little carried away?!?
But, when living on one income I learned quickly that my money is not going to go far if I continued with that habit. Once I actually looked at my budget, I couldn’t believe how much money I was wasting on kids clothing.
Kids grow out of clothes so very quickly, they spend most of their time playing outside getting their clothes dirty…..and honestly, most kids (especially younger kids) do not care how much their clothes cost or what brand they are wearing. So why spend the big bucks on them???
Here’s a few ways you can save money on kids clothing:
1. Save Everything
If you are planning on having more children, save all of your kids clothes. That way when the next child comes you will already have plenty of clothing that you can use again.
I organized all my children’s old clothes into boxes (diaper boxes work great for this!). If you are concerned about storage space try this under bed storage and keep the clothing under your child’s bed. To keep the clothes organized label each box by the age and gender of the clothing.
2. Buy USED!
There are so many high quality, gently used kids clothing options available. And buying used is usually less than half the price of buying brand new.
My favorite option is a local children’s consignment store. Check to see if you have one in your area and stop by regularly. Some days I leave without buying anything, but other days I leave with a bag full of like-new name brand items.
A few other places to find used kids clothing are thrift stores, garage sales, Facebook marketplace and eBay. Remember, when shopping used, check often!
3. Shop off Season
New clothes will be heavily discounted at the end of each season.
In the spring you can find winter clothes for cheap and in the fall summer clothes have big discounts.
Buy a size up from what your child is wearing currently and save it for them to wear the next year. It’s always fun to pull these out each season.
4. Sell Clothes That Kids Grow Out Of
If you aren’t planning on having any other children and your kids have grown out of their clothes, SELL the clothing.
I have had a lot of luck selling kids clothing at consignment stores, Facebook marketplace and garage sales. If you are going to get rid of them anyways you might as well make a few bucks right!?!
5. Shop at Discount Clothing Stores
Shopping at these stores is a bit like a treasure hunt, you never know what will be in stock, but there is no better feeling than finding the perfect outfit for the best price!
Secret #4: Meal Plan
Every week on Sundays you will find me with my pen and paper and planning out our weekly menu. A meal plan will help stop the temptation to buy take out, and encourages eating at home, which is much cheaper than eating out.
When making your weekly Meal Plan look through ads at your local grocery stores to see what the stores have on sale. Try to plan your meal plan around those sales. It takes time, but it saves a lot of money. You know the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Make a plan!
Secret #5: Cook from Scratch
Another tip for learning how to live on one income is to cook from scratch as often as possible. I still throw a frozen lasagna into the oven occasionally, but I have learned that the more I cook from scratch, the more money I will save.
If you struggle having enough time for cooking, browse pinterest for instant pot recipes and crock pot recipes. I use these regularly and they have stopped me from buying take out food many times!
Encourage your kids to help in the kitchen. It makes it a little more fun and easier if the kids help out too. We love to turn on some tunes, dance and laugh together while we cook.
- Related: Easy Pasta Dinner Recipe
Secret #6: Travel Frugally
Traveling is a fun way for families to build bonds and make memories. But, you do not need a fancy expensive vacation to make memories. Explore areas nearby for your family vacation. Become tourists in your own area.
For example, you could go camping at a nearby National Park, spend a couple of nights at a hotel for a “Staycation”, or explore a few local museums.
Join Groupon and look regularly for deals that you can use as a family. Your town just might be more interesting than you originally thought, and your kids will appreciate the extra time spent together.
Secret#7: Consult Pinterest Cautiously
As a mom Pinterest is my go-to resource for finding kid activities and recipes. However, if you are trying to save money you should view Pinterest cautiously.
Pinterest is full of wonderful helpful ideas, however it can also be far to easy to get swept away with the fancy home décor and lavish birthday parties. The “keeping up the Joneses” can come out strong on this website.
Enjoy your time browsing Pinterest, but be careful not to get swept away in the pins that will end up only costing you more money.
Secret #8: The best things in life are actually free
Sometimes it’s hard to see others going on exotic vacations and buying fancy new vehicles. But, I have learned that the best things in life are actually free.
Try to find joy and contentment in the simple things in your life. Going on a family bike ride, dancing in the kitchen, and snuggling with my kids while reading books are all moments that I will treasure forever.
No amount of money is worth more than these quiet times with my children. When we learn to find joy in these special free moments (something I am constantly working on) those lavish experiences won’t seem near as tempting.
Living on One Income Conclusion
It is possible to be a stay at home mom and live well while only on one income. It will require some sacrifice and extra work, but it has been so worth it in my life.
Being able to be with my kiddos every day, reading them books, packing their lunchboxes, helping in their classrooms, playing with them at the park, has been a dream come true.
I understand that this way of life may not be the best fit for everyone, but it my dream and my heart. And I’m so glad we have made the financial sacrifices to make it happen!
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