I am not a stay at home mom because my husbands income is so great that I didn’t need to work. I am actually a stay at home mom because when we sat down and did the math what I was making at my last job would have been just enough to cover childcare, and nothing else. I would’ve essentially been going to work just to pay someone to watch my children and nothing else. All of our expenses would have still been coming from my husbands paycheck.
Once we figured out that it didn’t make sense for me to go back to work we then had to come up with ways to make our money stretch. My husband works in the television and film industry. The hard thing about his industry is it’s either feast or famine most of the time. You may have a couple of years of straight work, and you could have months of no work. That means that while he is working we have to be saving on the chance that he may have an extended amount of time with no work.
Here are ten of the ways we have survived on one income for the last four years:
1. Every paycheck $100 goes directly into a savings account. This adds up quickly and then it is there if you need for emergencies, or times of unemployment.
2. Where I live we have Kroger grocery stores. Kroger does fuel points to help bring down your cost of gas. Essentially for every dollar you spend you get one fuel point and every 100 fuel points equals ten cents off a gallon of gas. Every once in a while they have specials where you can get two and four times the fuel points on certain items so that’s awesome too! It may not seem like a big deal, but for a family who is watching every penny fuel points are so helpful. Here is a great article about the stores nationwide who do fuel savings: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.thepennyhoarder.com/deals/grocery-fuel-rewards-programs/amp/
3. Buying and selling clothing at consignment sales. I plan on doing a separate post about consignment sales, but this is a big way I save money on our children’s clothing. Twice a year, usually in late winter and late summer, is what I refer to as “consignment sale season.” You can usually find several consignment sales around your area, and a lot of times they are at local churches. For a small fee and percentage of your sales you can sell your gently used baby and children’s clothing items, toys, furniture, and usually even maternity items. I buy the majority of our kids clothes through consignment sales. Usually if you are a seller you can shop earlier than the general public, and usually on the last day of the consignment sales many items are half off. It’s a great way to make some money to buy the next seasons clothing for your little ones, or to put in the bank.
4. When it comes to birthdays and Christmas minimal is better for us. If you read my previous post, How We Celebrate Two Birthdays the Same Week as Christmas, you know that December is a big month for us! Instead of overloading our debit card with purchases and our kids with toys we try to keep things simple. In all honesty when they were babies we didn’t really buy them presents. That may seem mean, but they had no idea! We just didn’t see the need when grandparents were buying too much, and they were just babies. Now that they are older we do two presents and a book for birthdays, and for Christmas we try to stick to the four present rule: something you want, something you need, something you wear, something to read. They also still get stocking stuffers. It has worked out really well for us, and kept us on our budget.
5. When our little ones were still eating baby food I made it. I could buy $20 worth of fresh produce and make at least two months worth of baby food. It saved us TONS of money that would’ve gone to store bought baby foods, and I knew exactly what was going into their food.
6. Ebates. I feel like most people have heard of Ebates but if you live in the dark ages like I was let me tell you about it.(not sponsored I just like it) Ebates is an app that you can do your online shopping through and earn cash back. I don’t do a lot of online shopping, but when I need to I definitely use it. For instance, my husband needed a new phone last month after making his last one last five years so we bought one from Best Buy while using the Ebates app. We earned 1% cash back on the purchase. Almost any store you can think of is on the app so it’s a great tool. Although it’s not a ton of money every little bit helps. To check it out click Here.
7. Leftovers. We eat a lot of leftovers. I come from a big family so I only know how to cook for a small army. It works out though because our family doesn’t mind eating leftovers. When we are eating leftovers there are two positives: I don’t have to cook and I don’t have to buy more food. Making a new meal every night can get costly so this is just a simple way to stretch the grocery budget.
8. We used a mixture of cloth diapers and disposable diapers. When we were home I always tried to use cloth diapers. Lots of added laundry, yes, but disposable diapers are expensive so I didn’t mind. I bought a lot of cloth diaper covers and inserts off of eBay before our son was born, and used a Walmart gift card we were given to buy a set of Charlie banana cloth diapers and inserts. When we buy disposable diapers we buy in bulk from sams club and buy the sams brand diapers. Buying them that way saves $30 a month for us. When buying diapers in bulk just make sure if your little one is about to size up you buy the size up. Made that mistake before!
9. Find free activities for the kids. Where we live our library does a program where you checkout a dvd about our local zoo and when you return it you get a voucher for free admission to the zoo. I wrote more about it here: A Day at Zoo Atlanta. Stalk your Facebook events page for free family activities in your area. That is where I find the majority of the events that we go to. Playgrounds! We are surrounded by beautiful parks and playground, and that’s where we spend a lot of time. Our kids love to be outside and I love for them to burn off their crazy toddler energy so it’s a win/win. Music/story time class at our local library is also a favorite. It’s a great way to meet new people, have social interaction, feed their minds, and have fun! It’s usually the simple activities that the little ones love the most.
10. We were a one car household for three years. We went through a very hard financial patch early on and I suggested to my husband that we sell my car. Yes, it was a sacrifice, and yes it was hard, but it helped us tremendously financially. We were able to pay off his car and not have a car payment. When I needed to go somewhere with the kids I would just take my husband to work and then pick him up from work. Although hard at times it was what worked for our family at the time.
I know that every family at one time or another can struggle financially. I am definitely not a financial expert, but these are just a few things that have helped us. Sometimes it can feel like you’re having to sacrifice a lot, but the sacrifices you make now will lead to bigger and better things. I have also found that there is a sense of comfort in leading a more simple/minimal life.
What are some things your family does to save money?
Thanks for stopping by!