Always having to watch your money as a Stay at Home Mom is one of the hardest parts of staying home for me. It is hard to watch friends and family go on trips. To watch them buy new things for themselves and their homes, knowing that it is not a reality for you. I have compiled a list of all of the ways that I save money on a tight budget. As well as how to find some money that you didn’t even know you had.
USE WEBSITES AND APPS TO SAVE MONEY
11) There are quite a few websites and apps out there that can help you find good deals and save money. Whether they do cash back, price comparison, or upload receipts, there is a program to help you save money. Some examples are BradsDeals, DOSH, Ebates, SwagBucks, and ShopSavvy but there are many more out there. A quick internet or app store search will help you find the ones that work best for you.
FREE PLACES SAVE MONEY
1) Find free or cheap things to do with your kids. When finances are tight, it can seem like you can’t go anywhere or do anything. But that is simply not true. There are so many things to do inside and outside for little to no money. Here is a list I have made with all of the things I do with my kids or tell them to do when they are bored. (If I were to put the list in the post, it would be a really long post!) GET THE LIST HERE!
PASSES SAVE MONEY
2) Go places with people who have passes or memberships to the places you want to go. Establishments that require memberships or passes may also have dates that allow their members to bring a guest. fPossibly for a cheaper price or no price at all. These places can include Swim and Tennis Clubs, Amusement Parks, Nature Centers, and many more. Another idea is to split the cost of passes with another family. If they buy a pass to the amusement park and take your family for the discount price, then you will buy the passes to the nature center and take their family for the discounted price. When we all work together, we can save money!
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GIFTS SAVE MONEY
3) Ask for gifts. Around Christmas when your parents or your in-laws are asking what everyone in your family wants. Try asking for one big gift, like a children’s museum pass or amusement park passes. The beauty of this is that it is free for you whenever you use it, but provides loads of things for you to do all year! These passes may also get you discounts on other things such as food or gift shop purchases while you are in that membership’s location.
HAND-ME-DOWNS SAVE MONEY
4) Hand-Me-Downs. I realize when you have your first child that the thought of putting them in handed down clothing may not be what you wanted for them. But you will soon come to find that babies and toddlers grow so fast that they wear their clothing for little to no time at all. Most of the used clothing is still in great condition.
My daughter and I used to “shop” the handed down clothes from her cousins and she loved every minute of it. If you don’t have family that can give you clothing, you can always set up clothing swaps with friends or neighbors. And if you really want, you can use sites like eBay, Rehashed Clothes, and Swap.com where you can get clothing that others post online for a great low price.
5) Furniture Hand Me Downs. Many of the pieces I have in my house have been handed down to me from family or friends. Make sure to ask around if anyone is getting rid of any furniture before you decide to pay the big bucks for something new. A piece of furniture that you disliked at your mother’s house could turn out to be your favorite furniture piece in your own house after a little paint makeover.
Chalk paint is the most user-friendly way I have found to change up handed down furniture for cheap. But if you are up for it you could always try your hand at re-staining or even re-upholstering if that is what you want. The picture of the grey table is a table I got from a neighbor and repainted with chalk paint. I think it turned out great and really matches my decor.
GET THRIFTY TO SAVE MONEY
6) Get Thrifty. Thrift stores can be great for things like the perfect costume for a school play or Halloween party, which is what I use them for a lot of the time. But I know many people who find more there. They find furniture to make over and even picture frames that just need a new picture. The sky is the limit if you can use your imagination, so visit your local thrift store and see what treasures you can find.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT STORE CAN SAVE MONEY
7) Choose Your Stores Wisely. Department stores and specialty stores are great when you have the money! But when you are trying to live on a budget, those prices may get in the way of your financial goals. Don’t fret! There is no reason to give up your dreams of redoing your house or buying some new clothes. You just have to get creative.
There are always stores like Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls if you really like name brands. But if you don’t care about that, then Walmart and the Dollar Store could be your best bets. If you want to do a collage wall in your family room, you can find some great black frames in any size at either one of these stores. They may not be wood, but nobody will know but you, I promise. Do you need a new cami? Walmart sells camis for around $2. If you are just wearing it under things, that could be a perfectly great buy!
DIY SAVES MONEY
8) DIY. I have already mentioned a few DIY’s for furniture and decorating, but this DIY is for home improvement. If you have a faucet that needs to be changed out, a bathroom that needs tile, a drain that needs to be unclogged, then get online and look up how to do it. There are so many videos on YouTube that teach you how to do anything you need to be done. You will save hundreds of dollars by doing the labor yourself, so try it out before you call someone to do it for you.
PLANT A GARDEN TO SAVE MONEY
9) Plant a Garden. Do you love tomato sauce, salsa, or just vegetables in general? Why not grow your own veggies instead of buying them? Canning or freezing vegetables you grow or sauces that you have made from your garden is a great way to save money.
Added Bonus: Your kids will learn about gardening and maybe even try some new vegetables!
SHOP SALES TO SAVE MONEY
10) Shop Clearance and Off Season Sales. When my son was little I went to Target and found that they had shorts on sale for a little over a dollar. It was the end of summer and they were clearing inventory. I was so excited that I stocked up on shorts of every size! There are plenty of times when I find great deals on items that are being clearanced out at the end of the season. Just be sure that you are only buying what you need and not everything you want! Or you could defeat the purpose of shopping clearance in the first place! Which is to save $$$.
DECREASe MONTHLY PAYMENTS TO SAVE MONEY
12) Find ways to decrease the amount you pay on your monthly bills. There are ways to save on energy and water bills such as turning off the lights and water when you are not using them. But to make a bigger dent in your bills, you need to call people. Call around to insurance companies to see if you can get a lower rate. Contact energy providers to get lower rates. Talk to hospitals and doctors offices about how you can lower your bills. Find alternatives to cable that are cheaper, like Netflix or Hulu. Calling about these bills can make a huge impact on your savings from month to month.
EATING MORE MEALS AT HOME CAN SAVE MONEY
13) Stop eating all of your meals out. This will fatten your wallet and maybe even whittle your middle! But all joking aside, eating out can be a real drain on your finances. The meal that you just paid $30 for at a restaurant can easily be made at home for $15 or less. I realize that part of that restaurant price goes toward the fact that you don’t have to make the food and you are getting out of the house. But if that is the case, then try these tricks.
When you go out to a fancy dinner, don’t take the kids. Make it a special night for you and your husband where you are not having to pay for child meals that are overpriced and probably won’t be eaten. On days that you do go to eat with the whole family, make sure that it is at a restaurant that is affordable for the whole family to eat and you know your kids will actually eat the food. Another great tip is to check out which restaurants in your area have a “kids eat free night”. I know O’Charley’s has that promotion now and again.
STOP THE EXPENSIVE PERSONAL PAMPERING TO SAVE
14) Stop the personal pampering! This is the one that is hardest for me! Most women like to shop or get there hair and nails done. Maybe get a massage after a long hard week with the kids. But on a budget, these extra pamperings are hard to come by. Although, with a little creativity, you can still get the things you love.
Instead of paying your favorite masseuse to massage you, you may find out that your significant other gives an excellent massage. You also may find that you are great at giving yourself a mani/pedi. When you look in the mirror and see your natural hair color and non-facialed skin, just remember that you are doing it all to realize your dream of staying home with your kids.
Overall, the main goal is to realize that you can still get out of the house and do things with your kids or your husband, you just have to cut back in other areas to make that happen. Then you can feel a little more like yourself while you are working your dream job of being a Stay At Home Mom!
Thanks for reading and I hope you got some great tips!