I often get asked how it’s possible to afford being a stay at home mom, since we technically only have one full time income coming in. I do work from home online part time, but it’s not comparable to my husband’s income…yet. 😉
I’ve been a stay at home mom for a good part of going on six years, to three kids, and I have learned a lot.
Not only about how to keep up with the kids, surviving breastfeeding, how to stay productive as a stay at home mom, or easy ways to clean the house with kids, I’ve also learned how to make it financially possible to afford being a stay at home mom.
Being a stay at home mom is something I would never trade any job for, and I take pride in working at home with my kids by my side.
Even if I didn’t have part time income adding to our finances, my husband and I would still choose for me to be a stay at home mom and just live a little more below our means, to be at home with our kids. They are only little once, and I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want someone else raising my kids when it’s possible to make lifestyle changes to ensure that I am the one with them the majority of the day.
Here’s 7 ways to afford being a stay at home mom:
Get Out of Debt
If you are in debt, whether a little or a lot, it will make things more complicated or even impossible to live on one income.
We strive to be debt free, and I really think this makes it so possible to be at home with our kids. We haven’t had any credit card debt in years, and have very little other debt, which helps a ton and makes things more feasible.
When you have credit card or any other debt, those monthly payments make it so hard to get ahead and be able to save money, and in some situations even being able to live. Once you get out of debt, you can revise your monthly budget and start adding to your savings, which will make it a lot easier to afford being a stay at home mom.
Related: Use the Dave Ramsey worksheets to get out of debt faster!
It’s amazing how things can add up when you are not at home. Traveling, vacations, or even just unnecessary trips here and there cost so much.
Calculate the expense of traveling, which includes gas and meals, and then add the expense of eating out, plus hotels and lodging, and then add the expense of those last minute stops to Target or Wal-Mart. A two day road trip can easily add up to$500 or more in expenses.
We try to stay at home when trips or outings are not completely necessary. It’s easy to find other ways to have fun at home, and honestly, it’s a lot less stress as well. It’s fun to venture out once in a while, but if it’s all the time it will make it harder to afford being a stay at home mom.
I also plan ahead- a lot. First off, we live 20 miles from the nearest town, and driving back and forth adds up. So we only make one trip to town a week for groceries, errands, or other necessary things. I make an exact grocery list, and have learned to always prepare ahead of time to minimize driving.
Cook At Home
We used to eat out a lot, because it was quicker and easier than cooking at home, but it costs a lot and it will eventually eat your budget as well.
Since then, we make probably 90% of our meals at home (and homemade to save even more), and only eat out when it’s a special occasion.
It may sound like a lot of work, but once you get used to it, it becomes easy to cook everything at home. I sometimes even make simple meals to bring along on the road ahead of time to save money if we are traveling.
If you cut out $100 from eating out in your budget, and add $100 to your groceries budget, you will get twice or more the amount of food, and the best part is you know what’s in it and who prepared it. (I’ve had too many nasty food experiences while eating fast food and even at sit down restaurants.)
Related: Cut back your spending on groceries and get the best bang for your buck by taking the online course Grocery University.
Sometimes when we see “deals” in the store, our brains get tricked.
For example, when you see a deal that claims you can buy 3 for $5, and the price of each is actually $1.50 each, you really aren’t saving that much money. If you don’t buy any in the first place, you are saving money! 😉
I have also learned a lot about which companies and products are best. I used to only buy the cheapest item, but then I learned that if some things are bought cheaply, you will actually spend more money on replacing it because it won’t last as long. With some things, it is worth paying a little more for.
Smart shopping even comes down to: finding cheaper gas prices, negotiating with your utility bills for a lower price, and buying certain things in bulk (like beef and fuel if possible).
People are judgy, and that puts a lot of pressure on some to get the most extravagant and prettiest things, just to show them off to the judgy people. Is this worth it? No.
You have to stop worrying about what others think of you and your things and do what’s best for you. Especially if you want to afford being a stay at home mom. Your kids don’t care what brand of purse you have, and their love for you matters way more than those who judge you.
Buy clothes at second hand stores. You would be surprised how nice some of the items are! Also, try selling your old clothes that you don’t wear anymore- you will cut clutter and earn a little at the same time.
When you are in a store, it’s so easy to see something and think “Oh, I could use that!” This is why I take a strict list of necessities we need when going into a store. I make it a rule that I cannot buy anything that is not on my list, to resist the urge of buying things that are not needed and will end up sitting in my closet.
Also sit down and really think about if the things you are paying for are necessities or just wants:
Cancel your cable- we only watch local channels by antenna and Netflix, so we have basically free tv. Cable is costly and not a necessity at all.
Stop getting your nails done– I haven’t gotten my nails done since I was in highschool. I’m not much of a girly girl, so that helps, but either way it saves a lot of money and things like that are not necessities. Getting your nails done is just an example, but this would include things like hair, massages, spa days, or tanning. Sure, you need to take care of yourself, but you can do all of these things at home for way less money.
Find a cheaper hobby- It’s good to have a hobby, but they can add up quickly. If you are paying for gym memberships, try working out at home. It’s easy to find a free or really cheap hobby and still have just as much fun.
Stop eating and drinking junk- Save your wallet AND your health by eating and drinking healthier. Make your own food, buy fresh food, stop buying processed freezer foods, and stop drinking pop! It might be a good idea to quit the Starbucks habit, too. Drink water! I also have started saving a lot of money by always taking a few water bottles from home whenever we go anywhere, this way we don’t have to stop and buy drinks for everyone.
Related: Start a healthier lifestyle AND make money from home at the same time with essential oils.
Make Your Own
There are so many household items that cost a lot of money for store brands, but in reality you can make your own.
A prime example- laundry soap. You can make your own for cheaper and it lasts longer than almost any store brand. Also, did you know you really don’t need to use as much as recommended on the laundry detergent labels? Sometimes they put those recommendations so you use more and they can make more money. Be careful.
This also ties into the tips about making your own food, but I take it a step further. I barely buy any “pre-made” foods, whether it be freezer, boxed, or canned. Those items are more expensive because the work has already been done. There are easy ways to make your own Hamburger Helper, lasagna, sweets, and especially canning your own vegetables by growing a garden. Plus- if you make your own, you cut out the processed chemicals and yucky additives.
I also have found that it’s easier to afford being a stay at home mom by mending and patching my husband’s jeans instead of just buying new, crocheting simple items like hats and scarves instead of buying them in store, and even having our own chickens that lay eggs instead of having to buy them at the store.
Related: Frugal Copy Cat Whiskey Creek Southwest Tootsie Rolls Recipe
Create An Additional Income of Your Own
Let’s say you’ve cut down your budget and simplified your living expenses, but still can’t afford being a stay at home mom. Don’t fret yet! There’s still options to make it possible.
There are so many different ways to supplement your family’s income by finding little odd jobs or even creating your own business. I have many different sources of income that I bring in from home such as: blogging, having my own business, and selling products online.
In my opinion, the easiest way to make money from home these days is to create your own online job. You can do almost anything online and eventually get paid for it. There are websites such as Textbroker and oDesk.com that will pay you to write articles or perform other simple tasks. You can also get paid to take surveys, be a mystery shopper, or even be a ghost writer on big blogs.
Starting your own blog is a great way to make an income, but it’s not something that will bring in the bucks right away. Blogging takes time to build a following and to grow your blog to receive paid sponsorships, but when it does happen, it’s an amazing thing!
Think about starting your own business, like I have with essential oils. My family is basically getting paid to get healthy and go green, plus I have been able to help pay our bills and actually have extra spending cash for the family thanks to my business. I encourage you to do your research before joining any type of new online job, but this one has been more than worth it for me! Learn more about my essential oils business here.
*For a limited time, get $20 off of the Premium Stater Kit through me! That’s only $140 for an overall value of $300, plus you get all the essential oils you need to get stated with plus a diffuser and samples! No selling requirements, no monthly purchase requirements, no membership fees! NOW IS THE TIME!* Email me at jessiejoathome(at)gmail(dot)com for more information and to claim the discounts!
If you don’t want to start with an online job, try something like opening your own in home daycare, or offering to clean houses, or maybe even turning your crafting hobby into sell-able products.
When we had our first daughter, I was blessed to have a part time job that I was able to take her with me to work. I wasn’t exactly staying home, but I was still with Charlie and that was the important part.
It’s possible to afford being a stay at home mom, even if your family only has one income and a strict budget. I believe that if it’s important enough to you and your family, you will eventually find a way to make it happen.
It will take a lot of self discipline, money smarts, determination, and cutting back to afford being a stay at home mom. But, it’s worth it! I promise!
In the mean time, I encourage you to set realistic financial goals, pray about it, and don’t give up!
Are you a stay at home mom? How do you afford it?
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Here’s some inspiration and knowledge that has helped me tremendously to afford being a stay at home mom:
The Money Saving Mom’s Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year
Check out these posts about being a stay at home mom:
Being A Work At Home Mom + Money Making Mom Book Review