Choosing to be a full time stay at home mom is a complicated decision, with multiple emotional and financial factors at play. Before you weigh the varying pros and cons of becoming a stay at home mom, you have to answer one basic question: Can your family survive on one paycheck? Many families with stay at home moms make it work with the following saving strategies.
Be disciplined about grocery spending
Most articles about saving on grocery bills focus on coupons these days. There is nothing wrong with using coupons, but it can’t be the only tactic that you’re using to save on your groceries. Start with menu planning. At the beginning of each week, make a rough menu with several ideas for lunch and dinner. Then make a list of what you need for the following week and stick with it. Write the list in the order that you’re picking up the items in the store to save time and to avoid buying unnecessary items. Whenever possible look for store brand options. Be careful when shopping sale items. Do the math to determine whether or not you’re getting a better deal.
Related Article: Saving Money On Groceries
Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk may seem silly when you have a small family. However, the bottom line is that you can save money on many items you buy repeatedly by shopping bulk. Get a membership at a warehouse store (i.e. Costco, Sam’s Club), and do your research about grocery store and big box store (i.e. Target, Walmart) prices versus warehouse prices. You may also be able to save by buying in bulk online through Amazon and other large retailers. Consider items that don’t expire (i.e. diapers), that you cook with on a weekly basis (i.e. cheese), and that you can freeze (i.e. fruit, meat).
Practice electricity saving tactics
Items that plug in pull electricity even when they’re switched off. Unplug items any time they aren’t currently in use, including coffee pots, toasters, microwaves, and lamps. Think about using strip plugs for appliances that you use every day, such as phone chargers and computers. Simply turn off the strip switch when you’re not using those appliances. You’ll also save electricity by running full dishwasher and washing machine loads, turning the lights off when you leave the room, and using your curtains and blinds to cool down and warm up rooms as needed.
Shop for used kid clothing and toys
It’s fun to shop for brand new kid clothing and toys from the hottest stores, but it’s also expensive. As children outgrow their clothing and toys quickly, it’s not hard to find used items that are in great shape. You can save anywhere between 30 to 90 percent off store prices by shopping used. Look for consignment stores in your area, such as Once Upon a Child, and scout the weekend garage sales and local thrift stores. When your kids are finished with their clothing and toys, you can even sell them back to the consignment stores or sell them on eBay to make a few dollars.
Cut cable and other common household expenses
Many people look for small ways to save around the house without considering some of their substantial monthly bills, such as cable. Cutting cable and signing up for Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu Plus can easily save your family $50 per month. Are there other monthly expenses that you can cut? For example, maybe you can’t remember the last time that you used your gym membership. As none of these cuts are permanent, it’s worth giving them a try.
Reevaluate your insurance
When was the last time that you sat down and went through your home and car insurance plans? Have you ever shopped around for a better deal? Start by getting quotes from different companies to see if there is one option that is considerably better than the others. If you can’t find a great deal that way, look through your plans, line by line. You may be paying for services that you don’t really need.
Make an extra mortgage payment each year
Making extra mortgage payments doesn’t offer immediate savings. However, if you’re planning to stay at home with your kids for a number of years, it is worth the investment. By making an extra payment on your home each year, you’ll cut eight years off of your mortgage. This means that if you have a 30 year mortgage, you’ll pay the house off in 22 years.