How To Afford To Be A Stay At Home Mom: 18 Useful Tips

Piggy bank, calculator and coin on pink background, saving money concept

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There are so many scenarios that enable you afford to be a stay-at-home parent. Perhaps you got laid off from work, or your hubby’s income is enough to support the family.

The number of households with stay-at-home parent has increased by 6% in the past few years due to the creation of the gig economy and work from home jobs.

So whether you’re a single mom, young married mom, or working mom who just exited a full time job, we’ve got some great tips to make your thrive even on a single income.

Single moms are not left out as they will find a lot of benefits in addition to social security benefits, and health insurance.

As a single mom who doesn’t have to pay for daycare anymore, you can earn as much as $1,433 per month and still receive SSI benefits.

Also, if you get unearned income such as a pension, worker’s compensation or annuities, it cannot be more than $694 per month, as stipulated by the Social security administration.

Keep reading to discover how full time stay-at-home moms can thrive, by reducing child care costs while ensuring that you your kids get the best quality of life you deserve.

Mother and daughter putting coins into piggy bank

1. Create a budget

Even with an imperfect budget, full time stay at home moms can still thrive.

It’s best to categorize expenses and set a budget calendar for the most important family necessities and follow it devotedly, knowing that once money is finished for that group, it’s finished.

RELATED: Budget Calendar: A Guide To What It Is And How To Use It

So, if you’ve used up your grocery money mid-month, then you have feed your family from the pantry and freezer for the rest of the month.

If gas is running low, then you need to decline a date night out and stay at home instead.

Ultimately, you need to tabulate your expenses using financial tools like spreadsheets, worksheets, budget template and more apps and tools in order for you to avoid credit card debt achieve your money goals.

First, you need to calculate your net worth.

This will help you determine whether you have positive net worth or negative net worth. If you have a negative net worth, you owe more money than you own.

In this case, you and your hubby need to put a plan in place to improve your financial stability.

Allocating every dollar of your income or your hubby’s take home pay to a budget category such as food, debt repayment or entertainment helps.

Many people like to follow guide line such as the 50/20/30 budget, which means 50% of your income for essentials, 20% for savings, and 30% for personal use.

All in all, do your research and find out a budgeting system that works best for you.

2020 budget calendar

2. Non working moms work hand-in-hand with their partners

Your decision to be a stay-at-home is something that affects your entire family. 

There are key things that needs sorting out with your significant other when it comes to family finance, these include:

  • Honesty and transparency
  • Power equity
  • Respectful communication
  • Clearly stated responsibilities (work, housework, child-raising)
  • Shared responsibility for managing finances
  • Open discussions about money and how it is used

Today’s SAHMs are managing the family budget, paying bills and saving money.

And while they may not necessarily be the breadwinner, they are the financial superheroes who ensure that the mortgage is paid, and some money is tucked away for the rainy days.

couple having coffee and talking

3. Realize that saving money is making money

Staying at home is a full-time job all its own, you have to work really hard to ensure that you save funds on do-it-yourself products (that in itself is making money!).

Create a meal budget and cook at home, don’t eat out. Learn how to make homemade cleaners and save those pennies.

Some moms even go as far as homeschooling their year old and toddler children in order to reduce child care costs.

Have you considered making your own medicines, growing your own food, brewing your own drinks? Plan better to avoid credit card debt.

Saving money is making money, but it takes hard work and discipline.

The biggest areas to save money are on:

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Recreation
  • Fees, interest, service charges
  • Insurance
  • Child education

Family holding piggybank

Housing – You save hundreds to thousands of dollars on housing if you’re open to downsizing.

You can swallow your pride and move to a cheaper area to live, or rent out part of your home through Airbnb, or purchase a duplex and rent out half of the property to help you cover the rent.

Using high-efficiency (HE) appliances can cut your monthly expenses and probably earn you a tax credit.

Adjusting your thermostat to a few degrees warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter can result in huge savings which you may not realize month-after-month, but over the course of the year.

Frugal, non working parents cultivate the habit of turning off or unplugging fans and electronics such as ovens, cell phone chargers, or lamps to lower your electric bill.

Collect rain water to water your plants and garden to save you some funds on your water bill.

Transportation – economize by de-cluttering your car payment. Drive a smaller auto that uses less gasoline (more on car savings in the article).

Also, consider saving for car repairs versus trading for a new one.

And if you’re really aggressive about saving money as a one-income family, carpool to work.

That alone takes a lot of weight off your shoulders because the cost of gas and car maintenance for one trip will be slashed significantly.

Food – the most economic moms plan meals, cook at home and clip coupons (this will be elaborated further). Smaller savings are achieved over apps such as iBotta, eBates, and Fetch which gives rebates and coupons.

Recreation – find free recreational spots; sign up for Redbox to get promo codes and rent movies and games, free.

Instead of a top-dollar meal on date night why not make some homemade popcorn? You can also cook homemade food over candles to make date night with your spouse memorable.

Fees, interest, service charges – stay on top of your budget and bring your savings down to an artfully by knowing exactly how much money is in your account to avoid overdraft fees or late payments.

Servicing your debt as you will read later on will save you hundreds of dollars in interest.

Insurance – this is one segment that stay-at-home moms often neglect.

Compare insurance companies, negotiate your rate, cut off middle men, complete health insurance assessments, get healthier, stop smoking drive more carefully to avoid accidents and traffic tickets.

You also want to make sure that you have enough coverage, but not so much so that you don’t pay for what you don’t really need.

Stay at home parents cannot be turned down for coverage on the individual market no matter your preexisting condition, thanks to the Affordable Care Act Reform.

Child education

Homeschooling is a hot topic these days, and as of last year, many parents are taking their kids out of private schools and public schools due to security concerns from bullying, drugs, negative peer pressure, shootings, and struggling schools that leave some children behind especially kids with special needs.

According to a report from the national center for education statistics, 1.6 million U.S. children are currently home-schooled. That is 3.3% of all school aged children.

Research conducted by the national home education research institute found that home schooling rates vary dramatically depending on location.

Some states experienced a 3% decline in homeschooling from 2012 to 2016, while others experienced increases between 10% and 94%.

You can save big in clothing as the average parent saves up to $131 per child on back-to-school clothes each year. Classroom supplies cost families cost each family $50 to $100.

Mother and daughter drawing and having fun

4. Save money by being thrifty when shopping

Buy used items – You can hope to buy some items new, but for the most part, you have to be big on hand-me-downs.

The most frugal families go as far as furnishing their entire house on craigslist. Consider buying second-grade clothes, and consignment sale finds from for your kids.

Places like Kohls are a good start as their clothes are not shoddy. Their wardrobe comprises many name brands and they have a good number of very nice apparels.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t purchase new clothes every now and then, but do so when there is a pressing need; a special inevitable occasion perhaps.

Check Facebook and Instagram sell pages, thrift stores, and eBay for nice deals. From furniture to clothes and baby gear, buying used items can save you loads of money.

Laptop and credit card - Online shopping concept

Save money by cutting down convenient yet costly subscriptions – if you have recurrent subscriptions on any store, it is important that you evaluate the value of what you’re paying for.

A good number of times, you’re paying a huge price for a convenience that you seldom need.

Putting an end to needless subscriptions might be an area you could be saving money on each month.

Sign up for only subscriptions that will save you money. So, be on the lookout always.

Set “No Spend days” – Dedicate a streak of days when you will not spend any money. Start with one day per month and increase it to one day per week.

Now that’s four solid days of not spending a dime every month.

Wait 30 days – practice 30 days before making purchases that are not utter necessities. This curbs impulse buys and helps you stick to a budget.

In fact, chances are you’ll either forget about it or no long have the need for it.

Add a zero – Before you set out buying something major, add a zero to the price and ask yourself if you’d buy it at that price.

This number represents how much you could earn of you’d invest that same value of money in a retirement account, or how much you could save on interest if you had used it to pay off a debt.

Now, with this approach, a $50 shoe would look less appealing ($500? No, please!)

5. Free, Netflix-era cheap entertainment

family watching TV on sofa at night

Cable – Cut down cable and see the difference! You can also try Netflix, Sling, Hulu, Direct TV, as these are very cheap and give you TV and movie options so you rarely have to hit the movies.

Call your cable service provider and ask for a deal otherwise and if they don’t match it, you’ll cancel and go to those that can match your price.

Old school antenna – Make use of bunny ears’ antenna to get basic channels.

You can still get them online and catch the basics like your local NFL games to potentially save hundreds of dollars this month and thousands year over year.

Use free Wi-Fi – You may be able to get by without the full monthly Wi-Fi expense.

Target local establishments like libraries, coffee shops, and tabulate changes at the end of the month.

Outdoor recreation – When it comes to birthday parties, you can have it over your grandparent’s house or at free parks.

Set up play dates. It can be a blats for everyone if things go according to plan.

Consider going to the library or in other cheap activities in the local recreation area. Check out what your local library has on offer this month and you’d be surprised how much money you can open up and save if you keep your wallet closed.

Local libraries offer freebies like toddler yoga, toddler story times, Pokémon club, popcorn nights, and reading to therapy dogs, family trivia nights, potluck picnics, summer reading programs, picnics, book clubs, summer reading programs, allow for playdates, and lots more.

Borrow – there are still tons of exciting movies you’ve not seen. And you don’t have to purchase any!

Just borrow from your neighbors, family, friends, or the library. Allow them to see your catalog so you can do a swap.

Enjoy what you already have – especially if you’re drawn into the habit of discarding movies once you’ve seen them.

Being content with what you already have is a huge part of disciplined, frugal living. Watching a movie you saw last year is not going to conjure the same feeling it created this time around.

Get free audiobooks – did you know that by signing up for Amazon’s Audible, you get a free 30-day trial and two free audiobooks.

Audiobooks are a good way to pass the time and learn while doing chores or when you’re on the go. You get to keep these books forever.

6. Put your skills to good use

Living frugally means maximizing every money making opportunity. Be counted among the growing number of moms that know how to make $50 a day while being a stay at home mom.

The fact that you’re a SAHM and wife does not mean you can’t use your skills to earn extra income on a part time basis while the kids are napping or after they have gone to bed.

You can work as a writer for your local newspaper or a blogger and earn money via advertising revenue.

There are so many options out there in our tech-driven world. Career women with 9 to 5 jobs and lucrative salaries who crave to be SAHMs can also achieve this.

Yes, there might be a revenue dip, but many of these tasks are really sustainable and do not require commuting.

You can also serve as a freelance editor for eBooks or provide some value using your college degree. It’s doable and rewarding; you just need to make up your mind today.

woman looking at laptop

Freelancing jobs you can do online include

Writing – market research, eBook writing, web content writing, business plan writing, transcription and lots more

Blogging – Blogging can be a good moneymaking vehicle if you have experience in cooking, sewing, traveling, landscaping, interior decorations, parenting to name a few.

Bloggers need to have great grammatical competencies as well as an understanding of self-publishing platforms like WordPress or LinkedIn and then you can work towards generating traffic that you can monetize.

Video/audio editing – cutting and polishing video footage, adding captions, special effects, montage creation

Product testing –  Companies don’t launch new applications and websites without finding out its possible acceptability in the marketplace.

And that’s why they go out and solicit feedback on the user experience of the services. Get Fast, easy money by testing websites, apps, and games.

Teaching – creation of online courses, translation courses, “How to” book creation, life coaching

Bookkeeping – You can record financial transactions for small business owners and can be done remotely for a company or as a freelancer.

Virtual assistant – telemarketing, customer service, deal brokering, and escrow services

These services can be rendered on such platforms as

  • Fiverr
  • Upwork
  • Peopleperhour
  • Udemy
  • Skype
  • Linkedin and lots more!

RELATED:

7. Distinguish between wants and needs

No matter who you are, what you do, and whichever epoch you’re from, you are limited by food, potable water, shelter from the elements, and cannot do without interrelationships, freedom, and security.

When one of these needs is not satisfied, feelings of discontent, unhappiness and frustration creep in, and we are tempted to fill it with something else.

The need to fill that void is the reason for our consumer-driven culture, which has made us derail from identifying our wants and our needs.

“Just go buy something bigger and fancier, it will make you feel better,” summarizes the marketing message of modern life.

But in reality:

  • You don’t need a bigger house or car, you need respect
  • You don’t need the latest cosmetics, you need to feel attractive deep within
  • You don’t need a closet full of clothes, you need variety and beauty
  • You do not need to stuff your home with brand name electronics, you need a life project
  • You do not need material things; all you need is a sense of identity, challenge, acknowledgement, joy and love.

The average person in the United States has a lot of debt. It might be in the form of credit card debt, mortgage payment, student loans, new car payment loans on furniture and lots more.

To improve your financial situation, get out of debt and stop wondering where did your money go and living from paycheck to paycheck, you must make that much-needed distinction between needs and wants.

woman calculating budget

Be happy with what you have

If you’ve read this post up to this point, it’s because you have a better life than a lot of other people in this world.

It’s vital to realize that not everyone has access to a mobile device, computer, or internet connection, or even a comfy spot to read from.

So next time you feel that you can’t survive without something, be honest with yourself and give thanks.

The power of frugality means that you can live a great while on a budget. Extra cash and excessive possessions do not dictate how much fun you have.

“True success is achieved when all you really want is all you really need.” – Vernon Howard

How To Afford To Be A Stay At Home Mom 18 Useful Tips

8. Gather coupons

Cut coupons and gather them, look for online specials and read sales flyers, but makes sure you don’t buy unneeded items just because they are on sale or because you have a coupon.

Many online stores have downloadable coupons and saving programs.

Woman using online discount coupon

To save some extra cash, shop at discounted rates for food clothing and other household essentials.

Also, consider buying groceries in bulk and share the cost with friends and family. Tailor you meals around food in season and on sale. Don’t be shy when it comes to negotiating prices.

Shop during super doubles

Now, with the coupons you’ve clipped, watch out for when your local grocery stores double coupons (double the coupon amount) or triple coupons (triple the coupon amount). Where you have a $1 coupon for toothpaste, they’ll up it to $2 or $3.

Doing this will save you a sizable amount of money by the end of the year.

With this you can stock up on toiletries, baby wipes, snacks, cereals, fruits, juice completely free.

woman looking at her bills

Stacking coupons

You can also stack savings to get three times the savings in a single item of choice.

Target and some grocery stores for example are notorious for placing its own coupons on items it wants to encourage consumers to buy.

These coupons usually come in the mail and other times, they are printed out for you at the register.

Keep these in a separate envelope in your purse so that you always know each one’s position.

At grocery stores you can often load virtual coupons into your customer loyalty card, and redeem those savings by scanning your card at checkout.

Make use one specific coupon or deal in addition to your manufacturer-given coupon. Next, use the iBotta app to redeem cash back.

iBotta is a very easy-to-use app. And once you use it once, you’ll become good at it.

iBotta is simply a way through which food companies get you to try their products. The beauty of this app lies in double savings on the same item.

You get iBotta rebates after normal checkout, as well as rebates from a third-party manufacturer coupon.

woman scanning barcode in supermarket with her smartphone

9. Spending some time alone

Stay-at-home moms need time for themselves.

You might feel worried that as a mom you don’t deserve some “me time” because your husband works and you stay at home. You find yourself in an unending loop of child caregiving.

It’s time to ditch that notion and steady your ship by giving yourself time to do the things you love to keep your physical and mental health intact.

Time to yourself makes you feel better and enables you to dispatch your duties as a mother excellently.

Take time out to have a cup of coffee, jog, check videos on social media, or read a book. Make time for activities that make you feel refreshed.

woman drinking coffee in morning with sunshine

10. Wear outfits that you feel great in

It’s time to discard those pre-baby pants that won’t fit after all these years.

Toss them out, go to your local goodwill and get something you feel great in. It may sound counter-intuitive to the miserliness we have being advising but every achievement begins from having the right mindset.

You don’t even need to be spending money really; you can swap with a neighbor friend or someone in your social network.

Many moms feel that yoga pants are a staple with nothing fashionable about them.

In reality, yoga pants are fashionable and people now wear them to work because it inspires confidence and improves mental outlook and attitude.

So get up, get dressed, show up, make your hair, spritz some cologne, and put on a little swipe of makeup, while taking pride in your look.

You’ll find that you’ll be able to control all your financial concerns with a cool head.

mother and daughter wearing the same outfit

11. Free food for kids

Take advantage of KIDS EAT FREE restaurants, if there is one in your area.

Just type “Kids eat free restaurants in my city,” on Google.

mother and child in summer outdoors cafe

12. Free activities

Local libraries offer a lot of great activities for children. Some libraries offer Mommy & Me Classes, as well as “drop off your child for an hour classes.”

And while you may not actually see ones named like so, always look out for opportunities that offer learning and socialization your kids.

Two toddlers playing together

13. Time for a new car? Buy cars that are only on sale

If you and your husband are looking to buy a new car, look for a deal on a base model –not name brand.

Also consider manual over automatic as a stick-shift is not as difficult as most people imagine.

Getting a manual transmission car will save you thousands of dollars on an automobile purchase.

Transportation expenses concept

14. Network with other SAHMs

Community and online forums for stay-at-home moms are heavy with play date schedules, coupon cutting tutorials and frugal living advice.

This resource is just one of them. so try to find an online buddy and keep tabs on their progress, placing it on par with yours.

Three women in a coffee shop

15. Pay off debt

Saving and living frugally is important when you’re an SAHM, but servicing debt is just as important and should be high up your list.

The more debt you pay off, the more wriggle room you gave in your budget.

You can service debt through a variety of methods. Choose the one that works best for your family.

Start by paying off small debts first, that way, you’ll get excited and motivated to pay off the next one, even if it is bigger.

Trying to tackle a huge debt first might look difficult to pay off.

It is also important to try not to acquire new debt.

For example driving very old cars with over 200,000 miles on them is a good trade-off especially if driving newer cars would affect your ability to comfortably live as a stay at home mom.

RELATED: Mistakes When Getting Out of Debt: 9 Mistakes To Avoid

pencil erasing credit card _debt_

16. Set aside an emergency fund

Setting funds aside is a great way to handle the travails of being a stay-at-home mom.

The rough financial months and unexpected expenses will surely come despite your best-laid and your penny-pinching ways.

With some of the money, you’ve saved via working as a stay at home mother, you can create an emergency fund to help avoid getting into debt and lagging behind on your bills.

Emergency fund concept

You should use that money for emergencies and emergencies only. If you want to save for a particular expense, set up a sinking fund.

17. Don’t forget to plan your retirement

If your partner is working, you can have an IRA even of you’re not working and you’re an SAHM.

You can live on your spouse’s retirement funds, but this can backfire if you end up getting divorced or something terrible happens to you.

One way to safeguard you future is to increase the amount of money you can contribute to your retirement account is to get a spousal IRA created for you.

This will go with you in event of a divorce, and it will serve as extra money to draw from when you retire.

It will be of benefit to you no matter what happens.

retirement savings in a jar

18. Tweak your plans as needed

We all know from experience that even when you’ve laid a solid blueprint, life just tends to happen.

There will be unexpected emergencies; contingencies that will lead to more expenses.

But the bright side to this is that so long as you have a solid savings base, you can tweak and adjust your budget. There’s always some extras left to cut your budget.

RELATED: How Do We Cut Our Budget When There’s Nothing Left To Cut?

Keep in mind that managing your affairs as a stay at home mother is not a one-size-fits-all ordeal.

What works for one family may not work for yours.

Being a SAHM will give you peace of mind and fulfillment if and only if you’re focused and determined.

While you’re trying to be more financially responsible, why not start early and teach your kids the same? Who knows, you might learn a thing or two yourself!

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Written by Christine Carter

Hey, everyone! I'm Christine, a finance expert with a diverse background in the world of numbers. I put my career on hold until I balance family life with business life and I'm here to provide advice around anything to do with family finances for all of you.

One Comment

  1. What an amazing list! We do a lot of the things on this list, although I struggle with our budget at times. But, what a blessing it is to be able to stay home with my daughters!

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