My husband and I got married 3 years ago and knew that we both wanted me to stay home with our children. We knew as well that it wouldn't be financially amazing at first because we had also decided to start our own businesses and work for ourselves, all the while building our house! Yeah, we put a lot on our plates, but it was and is still totally worth it!
I understand that many women must work full time and that just isn't an option. But, I feel like there are so many of us that maybe haven't considered it due to thinking that staying at home just isn't financially possible, though we might not have actually run the numbers. I would like to encourage y'all that there are some great ways to cut down costs and in the end being able to stay home and raise your kids is such a huge and very important responsibility that is totally worth the effort, time and energy that it takes to figure out how you can financially make it work!
At first I was working side by side with Jesse in our business and I still do as often as possible, but once Gavin was born, I became a little more of a full-time mom. So how do I afford to stay home with our not-so-large-yet self-employed income? Well here are 8 creative ways that I've done to save money and cut expenses:
Potty Train Early: I potty trained my son right before his 2nd birthday (Click here for a post on how I potty trained him in 3 days), but wish I had done it as soon as he was obviously ready. Every child is different, but for him that was at about 14 months. We spent roughly about $30 a month on diapers and wipes (buying the cheapest diapers available) which was not a necessary expense. We could have saved $810 by now if I had just taken the time to go ahead and work with him on using the big potty and swapping to big boy underwear!
Daycare: By staying home this is a huge cost that is totally eliminated! Plus you get to be the one to take care of your child during all of his/her early developmental years.
Breastfeeding: I did not breastfeed Gavin to save money on buying formula, but that is another cost that can be eliminated by staying home with your little one or by pumping. Breastfeeding is much more convenient when you're home and your baby is with you most of the time. There are many exceptions for moms not being able to breastfeed, but for those of us that can it is such a beautiful, special bonding that I truly loved with my little guy and hope to do again with Garrett when he's born. Breastmilk is also so natural and healthy for your baby too!
Meal Planning: Write out a menu. Make a list. And...Stick to that list! Meal planning is one of those things that I super avoided after we first got married because it seemed so overwhelming to me, but it really isn't. I save sooooooo much more money by having a plan and sticking to it instead of just buying what I want to eat while I'm at the store. ;-) Our monthly grocery budget right now, with the three of us, is $350. That also includes me planning and buying a little extra "guest food" for when we have company over. It's hard to feel very hospitable when you're scraping the last bits of your food together for a meal, and wondering what your gonna feed your family for the next few days, 'til you have grocery money again. :-/ Take the time to look at the month ahead, plan out your meals, and extra meals for having friends and family over, make your grocery list, then make sure to take the time to
- find foods that are the best deal,
- use coupons,
- buy the store brand,
- check out your local discount grocery (just be sure to check the dates on the food!),
- also see if there is a discount bread store near you.
Being on a budget and planning out your meals doesn't mean that you have to eat bland, nasty food. Actually I've found the opposite to be true! By taking the time to plan out what you need to spend where, and cutting down on all of the spur-of-the-moment-expenses, I have more money to buy the delicious, healthy, or pricier items because I didn't blindly spend it elsewhere!
TV: This is one cost we don't have at all. We actually don't have a tv or really have the time to watch it anyway. Instead of all gathering around and staring at the screen, we talk to each other, play, and dream together as a family! If we do want to watch a movie, video, or show of some kind though, we use the internet to stream it.
Kid's Clothes: I love Carhartt, Carter's, and Children's Place brand clothing, but it just isn't reasonable for me to spend $10 or more on Gavin's jeans that he'll only wear for 3 months. Instead I try to buy consignment, thrifted, or clothing that is on clearance. I buy many clothes at thrift stores that are barely used or still have the original price tag on them and have never been used!
Free Dates With Your Husband: Date nights are my favorite!!! But they don't have to cost a fortune at the most expensive restaurant that you can find. Put the kids to bed early and sit outside talking and watching the stars (while eating ice cream!!!). Just get creative. There are tons of options for fun, money free things to do that are quite romantic and still give you both the quality time that y'all need together.
Start Your Own Home Business on the Side: It is so easy these days to use your talent (whatever it may be) and make some extra income on the side. You could teach music lessons, start a small photography service, build up your own etsy shop selling cute, homemade products (our etsy shop is WrightsTradingPost). The opportunities are endless!
- Learn to cut the kids' hair yourself.
- During one of those extra tight months, get creative and use up all the freezer food and leftover pantry food before going to the grocery store. Or incorporate meals that use them majorly in your meal planning.
- Make your own DIY cleaners for around the house instead of buying them (water, vinegar, and baking soda can clean a LOT!)
Well these are just a few of the ways I try to cut down costs and save money. When things are getting tight or tough, take a step back, a deep breath, and remember why you're doing this. I am blessed to have a godly example of a mother who stayed home to raise my older brother and I and I'm so happy that I get to be there for all of my children's "firsts" in life too. I love having so much time for the ones I love; being able to be there for them and care for them is such a joy. Being a stay-at-home mom isn't the most glamorous, or well respected job, but it is a very important one! Don't give up! You can do this! :-).
What are some of the ways that you save money or cut down on expenses?
Why do you want to be a stay-at-home mom?
Why do you LOVE being a stay-at-home mom?