Being a stay-at-home seems like the perfect life, but there are many challenges that come along with being a stay-at-home mom. The biggest challenge families face is, how to live off of one income. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom now for two years, and I want to share with you how I save money as a stay-at-home mom.
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When I was pregnant with my son, there were so many things we needed to make decisions on. So many questions that needed answers. What will we name him? How will we decorate the nursery? When are we going to have a baby shower? Are we going to take a child birthing class? What brand bottles, car seat, diapers, wipes, etc. are we going to use? WHEN will I return to work?
The key word here is when. I never thought the question “WILL I return to work?” was even something we had to think about. That didn’t even cross my mind.
Fast forward some odd months, and my son was born. He was four weeks premature, and needed A LOT! Although we never spent time in the NICU, which I am beyond thankful for, the first few weeks home were exhausting.
His sphincter muscle wasn’t developed, so he screamed for hours every time he needed to have a bowel movement (In case you have forgotten, let me remind you, babies poop A LOT. Like seriously a ton). To add to this, breastfeeding was a nightmare because he wouldn’t latch. But that’s a story for another post.
A few weeks after he was born, another storm of questions started flying around my brain. How am I going to go back to work when I get two hours of sleep every night, if I’m lucky? Will I be able to leave him everyday knowing he is having issues? How will I have time for it all? Will I even be able to handle this?
One night I said to my husband, “now, I understand why people get so upset about going back to work after having a baby, this is going to be so hard.” He then casually responded, “well, don’t go back then, just stay home.” My response was of course, “WHAT??? Are you out of your mind? That is impossible!”
Could I Really Be A Stay-At-Home Mom?
In today’s world, being a stay at home mom is impossible, right? And that simple question right there haunted me for weeks.
Let’s be honest, being a stay at home mom would be beyond amazing. There are so many reasons why being a stay at home mom would be my dream.
After another couple weeks of a tug of war match in my head over the topic, I decided: it’s time to make this dream my reality.
The only thing holding me back was our financial situation. Could we really afford to live on one income? Then I realized, I needed to find ways to make this possible; I had to find ways to save money. And so our journey began…
1. Stop Wasting Money
Our biggest waste of money was eating out. This was a simple fix. We just stopped. Cooking every meal at home as saved us so much money.
We only spend money if it is something we absolutely need.
2. Grocery Shopping
I wasted so much money grocery shopping. We would throw leftovers out every week. So we decided to meal plan. I grocery shopped once a week to make sure we weren’t buying too much food.
During our weekly grocery shopping adventure we stopped buying the junk. In the long run this helped us to eat healthier anyways. There are so many online grocery services available, which really helped us control what we buying and at what cost.
I started using Ebates to get some money back.
3. Do Not Buy Name Brands
Did I really need that $15 bottle of shampoo? I started buying the $2.99 bottle instead. Guess what? I have yet to notice any difference. We did this for many things around our house including: paper towel, cleaning supplies, snacks, dog food, and even diapers and wipes.
4. Making My Own Baby Food
Making my own baby food was one of the smartest decisions I made. Not only did it save us money, but he was eating a lot healthier.
If I made him bananas…he was eating organic bananas and breast milk. Not bananas and a super long list of things I have never even heard of. I am convinced that my son is a great eater because of this one decision that we made.
The Baby Bullet was the best baby shower gift I received.
When we found out our second child was going to be a girl, of course I wanted to go buy all pink and purple dresses and bows. But babies outgrow clothes so fast, we decided everything she wore didn’t have to be new or even girly.
Most night she sleeps in her brothers hand me downs. Who cares if my daughter sleeps in dinosaur or train jammies? Not me, because guess what…it has saved us a ton of money.
6. Buy Used Items
I was weary of buying used items at first. But there are so many stores and sites online for gently used baby and kid items. Many of these items still had the original tags on them. This has saved us a fortune over the years.
Swap.com is an awesome site to buy gently used clothes for everyone in the family. They even have maternity clothes, toys, and a clearance section. Shopping at Swap.com has been the biggest way our family has being able to save money.
7. Sell Old Items
Selling old items is not a get rich solution, but it can give you some extra spending money.
If you are not going to use your old baby items, why hold onto them? Sell them to someone else that could use them.
8. Have One Car
Now I know having one family car wouldn’t work for everybody’s situation, but my husband works from home, and we only need one car.
My husband and I each had our own cars, but one car sat in our driveway unused, so we sold it. This saves us car payments and car insurance payments every month.
9. Potty Train Early
Diapers are expensive, and buying diapers for two kids was outrageous.
I did everything I could to potty train my son as early as possible. By 19 months was son was only wearing diapers at napbtime and bedtime. Yes, it is possible.
10. Free or Inexpensive Activities
If the weather is nice, take the kids to a park. Take them outside give them a ball, bubbles, or side walk chalk. If you have never tried it, you would amazed at how long a cup and bowl of water can entertain a toddler. Just get creative!
When the weather is not so nice, sign up for free or inexpensive programs and classes. Many cities offer free music or art classes. Sure my son would have loved going to the $250 music class once a week for eight weeks. But he loves the free music class our city offers once a month just as much.
When you put your mind to it, there are so many things that families can live without or cut back on to save money. If being a stay at home mom is your dream, start budgeting, and see how much money your family is wasting on things that are wanted instead of needed.
I honestly believe that focusing on what my family needs instead of wants will help teach my children about the finer things in life. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is spending time with my family, sharing laughs, and creating memories.
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