What a title, huh?! Finances have never been my strong suit, but I’m learning that in order for me to stay at home I better crack down on our spending habits and be smart about how we can save money. Before I dive into my list let’s talk about the 4th of July weekend festivities! Sunday afternoon was a beach day for the Florida Morehouse Family. We arrived at the beach around 3:30 (Cherie Down Park is one of our favorite spots in Cocoa Beach!) and didn’t get home until 11:30pm! That’s probably the latest Little Johnny has ever stayed out, and boy was he a party animal! We decided to venture over to Cape Canaveral’s Harbor to see the firework display.
Okay, let’s talk $avings now!
The decision to stay at home and cut back to one income these days is extremely rare and a very difficult decision to make. On those circumstances though, you have to make sacrifices and realize where in your monthly expenses you can cut back. While being a stay at home mom I have moments where I feel helpless because I’m not “contributing” financially, but now that I look at it I really am doing a whole lot to help out with our finances. I have learned that here are other ways to help out with saving/ contributing to the everyday finances. Making a list always helps to visualize exactly how that’s happening, so here’s the list!
10 Ways to $ave Money & Contribute to Finances
as a Stay-At-Home-Mom
1.Cut Cable Completely – We have been using hulu for a while now, and quite honestly all the shows that we watch are on there. I have no complaints. We have a very busy schedule and sometimes we don’t even have time to watch tv…so why waste money, right?!
2. Home Cooked Meals- While we love to eat out (the convenience is so nice, isn’t it?) we just don’t have room in our budget to do so. When cooking meals at home it saves us so much money! I try to plan out our weekly menu with a variety of foods that we would like to order in restaurants. (I get a lot of my inspiration from other blogs as well!) I even made homemade tortilla chips one day and they were so easy & delicious! It can be something small as well, like making your own brewed sweet tea and drinking it out of a Mason Jar! It’s the little added touches that make the experience at home fun! 😉
3.Shopping at Aldi- I would love to get into couponing someday, but man that seems like so much work and dedication! I applaud all those who are true couponers! Way to go! My way of saving on groceries is by shopping at Aldi. We save so much here and they range in a variety of foods, plus they also have an organic selection and some name brand items. Before I go I try to always meal plan and use the most recent flyer as a guide. It’s definitely a process, but it saves a ton of money along with writing out my meals for the week.
4.Driving Less- We try not to venture too far during the week, and occasionally we’ll drive out to the beach on the weekends, but that’s about it. We have a park close by that we can walk to and other close things nearby as well (I am so thankful for the location we are in.) I have learned to adapt to hobbies at home such as cooking, reading, art projects with Little Johnny, and just enjoying our home.
5. DIYing- This one is fun for me! While some DIY projects can be expensive, not all of them are. DIY projects range in all sorts of categories from sewing your own clothes to family pictures and home decor projects. (I also include food in this topic as well.) Whatever it is that you would love to go out and purchase, try creating it yourself first. It doesn’t have to be anything huge either. We don’t own a home, but I know that home repairs are always the cheapest way to go for most projects. (YouTube is a great friend for that!) It may take more time, but the amount you’ll save is worth it.
6. Consignment Store Shopping- We have bought most of Little Johnny’s clothes (and toys) at Once Upon A Child. Their clothes are at a really great price, but the best part is the quality is amazing! I have bought so many clothes (name brand too) that still have the price tag on them. The best part is we actually get compliments from others about a certain outfit that looks cute on Little Johnny.
7. Clothes Shopping is put to a STOP- While I seriously love to shop for clothes, it’s been almost one year since I purchased any new clothes item for myself and Big John. Of course when we do need something we’ll go out and buy it, but for now our clothes are still in good shape and I’m finding things in the back of my closet I can fit into that I couldn’t wear after having a baby (although we’re mostly in our gym clothes anyways with running a Martial Arts gym).
8. Barter System- We’re going back to the olden days where this is what women use to do. “I’ll give you something in return for something I need”. Whether it’s helping out in doing a babysitting swap or a switch out of toys, this is a great approach to save money. If you want to take it a step further, managing a blog can be a great bartering tool for entertainment and children activities that you would like to be involved with.
9. At Home Date Nights- While it’s nice to go out and get away from the house, but when you factor in the cost of a babysitter, plus the expense of entertainment for the night…it adds up quick! We have yet to try this one as our schedules are so busy, but I would love to set up a date night in our house as it’s so important to stay connected and have one-on-one time in a marriage, even when schedules are busy! It can be simply just making a favorite meal together and watching a movie with your favorite treats. If you want to really take it to the next level, here is a post I found on some unique “At Home Date Night Ideas“. (Now, the trick is convincing your husband to do some of these! 😉 ) You can also do “at home happy hours with friends!” how fun, right?! Remember it’s all about the ambience!
10. Develop a “Turn it off” Rule-This one seems like a no brainer, but there have been so many times in the past where I just leave lights on when no one is in the room. Now I’m becoming more conscious and trying to turn all electricity off (including fans) when no one is using them. These are just small ways to cut back on the utility bills. If you want to know more easy money saving tips on utilities, click here.
Freelance Work- Finding something that can bring in a little extra money can be a huge help! Even if it’s just paying one bill. Recently I have been working for VIP Kid and with the amount of classes I teach I am almost at my monthly goal with being able to pay our rent! (So far I have also helped 2 other moms to reach their goals of earning money while staying at home too! I find so much joy from that!) There are many types of small jobs you can do from home, although the tricky part is finding one that fits your schedule along with something that isn’t sketchy…
Recently I have been looking into the Dave Ramsey system, have you hear of him? He’s the one that guides millions (maybe billions, I’ll have to check into that) of people to become “debt free”. He has a talk show that I have been listening to and I was skeptical at first about becoming debt free on one income, but I have heard so many positive stories, and it can be done! This is a goal of ours that I have now come to terms that we can start working on, even with living on one income. We will work on the baby steps of becoming “debt free” so that one day we can live a less stressful life where we are not tied down to “bils”. It won’t happen over night, and that’s something I think I had to come to terms with…we need to just “buckle down” and realize that with time and determination, it can happen.
One thing that helps to keep track of finances and not indulge in over spending is keeping track of your budget. I’ll be honest, we have never been the best at this, but you have to start somewhere, right?! There are so many different apps and ways to go about this and I have recently found everydollar budget system that we really like (I actually found it on the Dave Ramsey website). Right now we really don’t have any wiggle room, which is why it’s so important to constantly keep track of our spending. We have never been really good with sticking to our budget, but now we’ve come to terms and are maturing with our financial decisions.
Right now we are living a frugal and simple life (although don’t get me wrong we still have very stressful days). It’s been a long and difficult road, but I’m finally learning to show gratitude and contentment in where we are (even if we’re not the richest folks on the block). Learning to be happy with what we have now and not always want more is helping to provide us with a simplier lifestyle (even during one of the hardest times of our life, and man was that a difficult lesson to learn).
The reality is this is a different type of lifestyle and with all things it takes time to change your spending habits over the years. Focusing on one thing at a time and evolving into multiple tactics have helped us to stay on track, basically getting into a routine of things. Focus is key, and also wanting it to work, because if you’re not all in it’s very difficult to stay on track.
“The less you need, the happier you’ll be. Less is always more.”
Not everyday is easy, it takes a lot of self- control to stick to these tactics, but it’s well worth it. What are some ways that your family has been saving money?
Wishing you well,