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12 Money Saving Tips for Stay at Home Moms
Tips to Save Money For At Home Moms
When my husband and I decided I would be a stay at home mom, we knew that money would be tight. There were many sacrifices we had to make, and it wasn't always easy, but now as a family we have become accustomed to going without certain things and it has been well worth it. When the economy began to take a downside turn, my husband was furloughed three days a month, and things began to look a little dreary. I no longer felt as comfortable with our "one" income household, and it looked like I was going to have to re-enter the working field. However, with a little creativity we were able to find more ways to save money and make things a little easier on our family. One very important lesson you learn when you are making cutbacks is that every little amount adds up. You can justify a dollar here and a dollar there, but when it happens every day that becomes the amount of a utility bill. Most moms who stay at home know how it feels to have to pinch pennies, especially right before payday. Here are some creative ways that may not have crossed your mind.
1. No driving days. We chose two days a week to not have any activities and any driving of any sorts (this excludes my husband going to work, or getting the kids to school). We don’t plan activities that we couldn't walk to, which where we live usually means stay at home. I wasn't sure how much money this would save us at first, but the gas bill has been cut by $50-100 dollars each month. Plan your grocery shopping, activities and errands on the other days of the week and stay at home on your no driving days. It also has the added benefit of slowing you down, sometimes we let things become to crazy and chaotic. A day of no driving means a slower day for everyone.
2. Cancel that gym membership.With all the new tapes you can do from your home (Jillian Michaels, p90x, insanity….etc) you can get a workout at home just as well as the gym. Those memberships add up (not to mention the gas to actually go to the gym). If you really need to cut your bills the gym membership should be one of the first things to go. This doesn't mean you need to sacrifice your fitness, but get creative. Go for a run, put in an exercise tape (most can be found online for free) and invest in some weights. Check craigslist or your local newspaper for discounted home gym equipment.
3. Don’t eat out- have a picnic. Eating out is something my family looks forward to. It’s a nice excuse to get out of the house and just sit and be together. It can also be very expensive, so instead of eating out we go for a picnic. The kids love it. Pack a picnic basket or bag, a blanket and maybe even a fun game to play. This can even be on one of your non-driving days in your own backyard. When the weather isn't cooperating, lay out a blanket on your living room floor and have a feast!
4. Free activities. Instead of taking the kids to the movies or another expensive activity, look into the things they can do for free. The park, the beach, a walk, the library. Depending on where you live many places offer free fun activities for the kids to enjoy. Check with your local child care center for more information.www.gameideasforkids.com has some amazing ideas as well.
5. Potluck entertainment. Having friends over for dinner doesn’t have to be costly. My friends and I always make sure everyone brings one dish and one drink. It cuts down on the cost and we can still enjoy each other’s company. It gives the kids a chance to play with their friends and some much needed adult time without the cost of hiring a sitter and going out.
6. Toy/clothing Exchange. Buying kids toys can put a dent in the pocket book. One thing that many stay at home moms will do is organize a toy exchange. Get together a couple of your mommy friends and have everyone bring 5-10 toys their kids no longer play with. I can guarantee you that other kids will be interested in those toys. Lay the toys out and let the kids take turns picking a toy they would like to bring home. This can also work with clothing for kids and adults. It’s a fun way to save money and get together with your friends.
7. Cut Back on Extra Curricular Activities. Many times local sports will be much more budget friendly than a monthly class such as dance or karate. Keep your kids involved by signing them up for baseball or soccer instead. This will keep them active and socialized but also be more cost efficient.
8. Meal Planning. I never knew how much money I would save once I started actually planning our meals. I had a friend who swore by this and I kept telling myself that it wasn't really an efficient way to save money, but it is. The less you go to the store the less money you spend. It is as simple as that. I try to limit my entry into a grocery store to once a week, sometimes even longer. This really works if you have an extra fridge/freezer. Plan your meals for the week and get all the things you will need with one shopping trip. There are some wonderful websites to help out with this type of planning such as mealsmatter.org.
9. Get rid of your house phone. My husband and I each have a cell phone and we were paying for a landline as well. Once I got rid of my house phone I didn’t miss it, except for talking on an actual phone (face it the cell phones aren’t as easy to hold to your ear as a regular phone). I invested decided to invest in an Xlink, this product allows you to use a regular phone via a bluetooth connection. It is crystal clear and very easy to use. I still don’t pay for a landline but it feels like I have one and its way easier for the kids to learn to use.
10. Carpool to school and or work. A friend and I take turns taking each other’s kids to school and activities. This saves time and money.
11. Babysitting swap. My friends and I watch each others kids instead of hiring a sitter. If you can form some sort of agreement with your other moms you will eliminate the need to pay someone to watch your kids when in need of a sitter.
12. Get rid of satellite/cable. We found it was more efficient for us to keep internet and get rid of our satellite service. You can save between $50-100 dollars a month and watch tv online for free. Netflix and Amazon Prime provide wonderful alternatives to satellite and cable and cost a small fraction of what they charge.