I often hear people asking “How can I become a stay-at-home-mom?” The answer is short and simple, sacrifice. Like many things in life, living off of one income is hard work, unless, of course, your partner makes millions.
We have a budget and we have to stick to it. We rarely spend any money unless it’s part of our budget. There are several ways to save a little on your spending but this is how we manage to live solely off of one income.
Although, we aren’t big spenders we don’t go out looking for a big deal or cut coupons. I’m sure it would save us more money but being a stay-at-home-mom is all about time. I want to spend as much time with my daughter as I can and that’s the main reason we make sacrifices.
Cutting back here and there can be tough but it’s all worth it when you are the one who gets to witness your babies first steps. Those are the things you have to remind yourself of when you are eating spaghetti for the 3rd time in a row and you haven’t had adult time in weeks! Some days are harder than others but like I said, it’s worth it.
Here is how we make it happen.
Easy choice for us! Why pay upwards of $200 for cable when you can get Netflix for $8.00 a month? Netflix has had some great original series lately that I would much rather watch than re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy anyway. Also, most of the time you can get the 15-20 basic broadcast channels with an antenna for free. So you still get your news and Bachelor episodes but now your little gets to watch The Wiggles on repeat all day, oh the joy! This one might be a big change for any sports fanatics out there. Remember though, sacrifice. You can usually watch that stuff online by using an HDMI cable cord hooked up to your laptop and your TV. Find a live play or replay of it on the internet and wallah, sports on TV!
As I mentioned to you before, you could coupon but why waste the time? All that you need here is a meal plan and a list of groceries. If you stick to your list you won’t be surprised at the checkout. Buy the knock off brands because they are usually the same thing but cheaper. Buy the produce that is on sale when you don’t need specific ingredients. Or better yet, grow your own. This also helps to keep a balanced diet to ensure you growing toddler gets their vitamins and minerals for the day (click here to see what your toddlers recommended daily allowances are).
This is a big one that takes some sacrifice. For the past 4 years, my family has only had one car or no car at all. We have always bought older cars that we could afford to buy outright. The burden of having a car loan or two, every month can easily add up. Although, it is a bit difficult at times to organize who needs to be where and when we manage just fine. Depending on the place you live a bike can be a welcomed mode of travel.
You may have seen my post about buying secondhand (click here to read more). If so, you know how you can save quite a bit of money. If you are planning for, say, a new baby you can spend thousands of dollars buying up everything you think you need (I know because I did) but even if you just buy 1/2 of it secondhand you will save hundreds! Now that our baby girl is a toddler I’m actually quite thankful my couch is secondhand. I don’t have to get frustrated at my messy toddler every time she touches the couch with jelly hands because I didn’t spend my life savings on it. Instead, I have a great secondhand, kid friendly, comfy couch that I love.
While I’d like to say pay them off and get rid of them, that’s not how the credit system works. For example, you need credit to get a mortgage for a house. If you pay off your credit cards and don’t use them you will never earn any credit. If you pay off your monthly balance your credit will go up due to on time payments, low balance, and longevity of an open account.
Here is my tip for you, get a credit card with some sort of reward programs like cash back or miles. Then, only use the credit card for regular weekly purchases like your groceries or that mandatory stop at Target. You have a budgeted amount of money for your groceries so you can pay the credit card off right after you purchase your groceries. You will receive your rewards as well as build your credit all while keeping your credit card debt to the bare minimum. This takes some self-control to not spend money you don’t have but I know you can do it.
While this isn’t for everyone, it is a very easy lifestyle to save money with. If you are a minimalist you won’t be buying new unnecessary items all the time. For instance, does your daughter really need that new doll house? Do you really NEED another pair of shoes? Even if your answer is yes, you can stick with the ‘one in, one out’ motto. If you must buy those new shoes, sell a pair of old shoes to help pay for them. Minimalism will give you the opportunity to live much more freely when it comes to finances. Learn more about minimalism here.
Besides the obvious money saver of NOT buying the brand new I Phone, you can save money with your carrier as well. This is often an easy way to save some money. Review your current plan. Do you use everything you are paying for? Do you really need unlimited data if you have WiFi at home? Slim your plan down to meet your needs. Pay as you go plans are a great way to save money and the only way we do things at this house. We went from $200 a month to $80 a month by switching to pay as you go. That is over 50% savings! Too easy.
These are the main ways our family makes it possible for me to be a stay-at-home-mom. It’s not always easy, but the time I get to spend raising our daughter is irreplaceable and I wouldn’t change that for the world.
What would you do with the money you could save from making a few changes to your budget?
What are some ways that your family saves money?
I’d love to know! Please leave me a comment below and fill me in on all your secrets. 🙂
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