As a stay at home mom (some would say I am a Work at Home Mom- my kids say Momma- pick your poison), I do everything in my power to spend as little money as possible on a daily basis. I feel like this is the least I can do for my family in exchange for the privilege of being at home with my children. I know many SAHM feel this way, though I’m pretty confident that working Mom’s want to do the same for their family too. Alright then, Moms (and Dad’s, we share the love here) let’s talk about saving!
Top 12 Ways Stay At Home Moms Can Save Money
1. Make LIST! Write down everything you’d like to buy and do with your money. Keep a master list for house and garden projects. One for children buys. And of course a grocery list. As things you need to buy pop into mind write them down. I have different note books that I keep in my kitchen drawer to write things down. (We also keep a “to do” book).
2. Prioritize. It’s important to be cautious with your money. One way to do this is to look through your lists and figure out what’s the most important thing to buy and when. For example, if an organic diet is important to you, go for it, just make sure you have enough for the house payment too.
3. Budget. So now you have an idea on what you need to buy, now it’s time to work those items into your monthly budget. When making your budget, include ALL of your monthly bills. You want to make sure you first pay for home, food, and utility bills. Once all the bills are pay you can assign those extra dollars to items on your list. (Like retirement and education accounts). If you have a lot of debt you should think about paying extra on that.
4. Don’t Use Credit Cards. Speaking of debt. Stay out of it. Cut those credit cards in half and put them in the trash.
5. Use Cloth Diapers. The up front cost of these are a little pricy, about $17 a diaper. (Put them on “the list” and you’ll be able to work it out in your monthly budget). Cloth diapers are a great way to save in your monthly budget and to help the environment.
6. Go to the Library. Children LOVE this simple act of just going and checking out a book. It’s a great free activity for children that really helps in their long term learning. Plus, it a great way to meet other people in your community!
7. Grocery Shop ALONE! Yeah- I said it! Momma’s, do your grocery shopping alone (at least once a month). What fuels your family is SO important, and thus purchasing those items is truly an act of love, but it takes concentration. Of course you’ll shop armed with a very detailed list and a strict money budget, and that takes concentration.
8. Be A Mom2Mom Sale Shopper. Learn when the great Mom2Mom sales are in your area. Plan out your monthly budget to reflect a little second hand shopping. In the spring time I usually hit one or two Mom2Mom Sales to purchase summer clothes and winter jackets for the children. Expect to get their new wardrobe for about half what you’d pay retail. Also, there are great deals on toys here too!
9. Play At Parks. Ok, so this one may seem like a no brainier. But this is a great way to get out of the house, meet other, and stay connected to other Moms. You can pack a lunch and have a picnic. It’s great for exercise, play and imagination too.
10. Save A Little For The Holidays. Figure out who you plan to purchase gifts for during the holiday season. Assign each person a dollar amount. Tally that up. I always add $200-$300 in my calculations for gift wrap and unexpected items. Get your grand total and divide it by 12 months. Put that cash away every month in a special “Holiday Money” wallet. Then when Black Friday comes around you can hit the stores with cash rather than a credit card!
11. Mind Games. I have three children. That means I have a lot of college tuition, weddings and what-nots to pay for in the future. Before I purchase ANYTHING I ask myself is this more important than my children’s future? I DARE YOU to try this. Before you place $50 serving plate into your cart ask yourself ”How will this help my family’s future? Is this more important than my child’s education”. I bet you end up with a light cart and a fat bank account.
In no way am I saying that you should NEVER EVER buy anything fun. But just make sure it lines up with your budget and future goals. And only do it once in a great while. ;-)