It’s hard to imagine seven years ago I was laid off while on maternity leave scared, as a first-time mom and terrified of how to make ends meet without my income.
It was NOT my lifelong dream to have kids and be a stay at home mom, but as soon as I became pregnant for the first time I felt the burden of needing to be home with my daughter. Part of that was the fact I hated my current job and I was a first-time mom without family around to care for her.
If you are wanting to be a stay at home mom you can do it. In our culture today it is common for both parents to work. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact, many couples NEED to both work to make ends meet.
Yet if you are willing to live in a way to make ends meet and not maintain a lifestyle you will be able to stay at home with your babies if that is your heart’s desire.
I really do believe that every person who desires to stay at home can. That doesn’t mean you won’t need to have a side hustle at home to bring in extra income, but the joy of being home with your babies is very much a reality today.
It’s hard to see things as you are going through them. When I started couponing I was in survival mode. We lived on my husbands salary and still managed to pay off our student loans, car , loans and credit card debt in two years.
We got very serious about our spending habits and became extremely frugal.
Now, this doens’t mean you have to do these things forever. It truly can be a season. The biggest thing you need to achieve your dreams is consistency.
We never gave up. We didn’t decide to stop paying off our credit cards because we were upset that we couldn’t afford to go on vacation. We stayed consistent and always ALWAYS prayed about our end goal.
Which was to be debt free and me not have to go back to work.
Our story twists and turns for sure.
The purpose of this article today is to share with you some things you can immediately try to achieve your goal of staying home.
13 Ways to Stay Home With Your Kids
MAKE A BUDGET
Make a budget. You must do this first. Nothing else can be done before this one. Think about it, if you don’t know what HAS to be paid each month you’ll be throwing money at the wrong areas. This also becomes a tough step because it will examine your needs and wants.
Be very serious when making your budget what is a need and what is a want. Example.
Needs are your bills. Mortgage, Electric, etc.
Wants: eating out, vacations, name brand clothes.
Again if you’re hurting think about your end goal. Your kids won’t be home with you forever unless you plan to homeschool. If you can give up your wants for a season, you will be blessed beyond belief. You may even realize the reasoning behind your wants was unnecessary and have a complete mindset change.
COUPON LIKE CRAZY
Don’t become a crazy coupon person that abuses the use of coupons, but get crazy.
In fact, like Dave Ramsey says when you start paying off your debt and don’t follow the norm you’re on the right path to financial freedom.
Couponing was how I cut back our grocery budget to $25 a week before we had kids. When our kids were toddlers and babies my maximum amount I would ever spend a week was $65- for everything.
For years it stayed at $45 a week. If you are wondering that’s awesome how do I get started?
Start by ONLY buying what is on sale and paired with a coupon. Pick your local grocery store that doubles manufacturer coupons. Get in the habit of buying more than one item at a time.
When cereal goes on sale for $1 or less you don’t just buy one box, you buy as many coupons you have for it so when it’s back to normal price of $3 or $4 next week you aren’t overspending.
Coupon Matchup lists are the best place to start. Once you get familiar you should pick one or two coupon blogs to follow for deals that come up throughout the week. Invest in a printer if possible.
If you want to be a stay at home mom meal planning is key. This will save you so much money and trust me it is MUCH easier to meal plan when your kids can’t really talk. Ahh the days of just shoving food in their mouth 🙂
The key to meal planning success is to always use what you already have in your pantry. Once you become a coupon pro you will start to get a stockpile going. Make a week’s worth of meals from your pantry and then go to your coupon matchup lists for meal ideas. Only buy meat that is on sale.
GET CLEARANCE CRAZY
Target clearance was there for me when I needed it the most. I love shopping. I love home decor. That is my area of weakness. Show me a cute wall decor item or a picture to hang I’m all over it. Shopping is something I truly enjoy and can even be a stress reliever to just browse- but it can also be a budget killer.
Shopping for clearance can give you the freedom to feel like you splurging but yet getting a deal. It’s amazing how things just end up working out. If you are going to shop Target there is a certain way to do it on a budget. Read that here.
When you have been obedient in your budget and you think about how bad you want an ice cream maker and you decide to walk through Target because this week you scored an extra $30 of fun money and you see a Kitchenaid Ice cream maker attachment for $30 on clearance. It’s meant to be. That is a true story and you can read more about it here.
BUY USED CLOTHING
Don’t go crazy and get caught up in all the adorable amounts of baby clothing brand new. Again they are only babies for a short time so many people are getting rid of it fairly quick.
Yard sales are a great time to stock up and hitting up your local thrift stores is another alternative. NOW you can shop online for used clothing too. It doesn’t get any better than that?
Utilize Facebook Groups for online selling or trading. Facebook now has Marketplace to search for items as well.
If you love shopping online and know how to do it on a budget utilize Thredup and Schoola.
Not sure what Thredup is? Here is my review when I tried it for the first time.
Yes, this one is difficult especially for those who grew up going on vacation every year. The best thing you can do is put aside what your family did growing up.
Giving up a vacation doesn’t mean you can’t make a family tradition each year. Consider day trips in your area where you aren’t paying for an overnight expense. The $6,000+ Disney vacation is one you will probably have to wait for.
Even if you wait until the kids are in school to do that big vacation, they will probably remember it at that point. Our kids will be 8 and 6 when they go on their first overnight in a hotel room. Did it bother them we didn’t take a vacation until now? Not at all.
Did they hear us complaining and saying how we don’t go on vacation? Nope. The end result is worth it. Now when we are planning a short two day trip, its paid for, isn’t breaking the budget and our kids will remember it. So we hope right?
AT HOME DATE NIGHTS
Date nights can add up so quickly. If you do not have family living close and need to pay a babysitter your best option to save money will be to have a date night once the kids are sleeping.
It’s just easier too when your kids are so young. As long as you can stay awake for it. The Dating Divas site is filled with cute ways to inspire a fun at home date night. Use Pinterest as well and search for at home date night ideas.
Those planned date nights at home were some of my favorites and we really started looking forward to them. Make sure to plan and write schedule date nights on the calendar otherwise life gets in the way.
CLOTH DIAPERS OR WHOLESALE CLUB DIAPERS
Consider using cloth diapers to save money. This was something I just couldn’t bring myself to do. I found the BJs brand diapers were worth every penny. Especially at the cheap price of 10¢ per diaper.
The cable bill can add up. Take a good look at how often you are watching the TV shows. Consider cutting cable and using one streaming service such as Hulu which is offering a 30 day free trial here and then $5.99 per month. You can watch your favorite TV shows the day after it airs.
Youtube, Netflix, Amazon Prime are all other options to stream services.
If you want the cheapest alternative to cable an HD Antenna is it. Here is an article I wrote about how we use ours.
GET A PREPAID PHONE
This was something I did seven years ago and haven’t gone back. I’ve tried Straighttalk, Verizon Prepaid and now I’m with Total Wireless. The phones are cheaper to buy up front and the monthly plans are as low as $35. Always connect your phone to wifi at home, and if you are staying home you’ll be able to save on data too.
When you aren’t going to work everyday you don’t have to keep up with a dress code. Bring on the yoga pants! Seriously though, when you are staying home you can save a big expense on buying new clothes.
LOOK AT WHAT YOU WOULD SPEND
After considering some of the ways to save money to be a stay at home parent, look at what you would spend if you were to go to work.
How much would you spend on gas for your commute? How much would you spend on daycare? Can you afford to take days off when the baby is sick?
CONSIDER MAKING UP INCOME LOSS
If you are still hesitant and feel like you need an extra $200 a month and can’t cut back any more expenses consider looking for part time work at home. The amazing thing about 2019 is working from home is continuing to grow.
You could consider any of these work from home jobs. It was when I had our second daughter I left my job and stayed home and decided to start a coupon blog! Today it allows me to stay home even while both kids are in school all day!
I encourage you to really consider what your heart is telling you to do and put fear aside. This can be done and it’s only for a season! You got this.