Deciding to stay at home as a mom is a huge undertaking, and not one taken lightly. Many are just not able to accomplish it financially, and not everyone wants to, but if you are already a stay-at-home mom or think you might want to be and may possibly be able to swing it financially, consider that there are quite a few ways to save money.
In my career, I have been a full-time worker, part-timer, and freelancer, and I’ve also been a stay-at-home mom, too.
Here are some of my tips to help you save money:
Plan to spend some time planning to shop. Every time I plan out exactly what I will purchase and do my homework by staking out the best deals at the stores, I save money. You can learn a lot of stuff just browsing circulars and websites. For example, did you know that Toys ’R’ Us has a “price match guarantee” that not only says if you find an item cheaper at another store, it will match that price, but also if you find it cheaper on ToysRUs.com or BabiesRUs.com, it will also match.
Last-minute shopping equals paying more nearly every single time. When I was working full-time, I lost a lot of money that way. Now that I freelance, I have more time to pick and choose and plan ahead for every holiday and occasion. It also helps to get those reward store cards, and it’s only an extra five minutes to fill out the application for them. The next time you visit that store, you’ll already have the card and be on your way to earning reward points.
Another tip? If you buy a blouse, shirt or bag you love, ask yourself if anyone on your birthday or holiday gift list would also like it. Then buy another at the sale price. Even if the birthday is months away, you save money. When shopping online, before you place any order, Google the word “coupon” and then “code” along with store’s name. Eight out of 10 times, I’ll find a code that allows free shipping or a percentage off my order.
Supermarkets these days can eat your money like no other type of store. When that weekly circular comes to your door, mark off what is on sale and stock up. Note the fine print, however, because sometimes, it will say you must buy three, or four, or five of the items to get the deal. Buy things you’ll always need in bulk, but if you only need one of that item over the next six months, it probably isn’t a good deal for you.
Cook at home more
When I was working full-time, there were many nights where I’d get home late and we’d order out. Huge money eater! By planning a week’s worth of dinner on Sunday night (while perusing your supermarket circular and tailoring the dishes around the sales), you will save.
Small grocery savings tips? Buy a long-term traveling water bottle for your child, instead of weekly juice packs for the lunchbox, and refill at night. When it comes to buying meat, choose the thicker cut pieces, and slice and dice at home. Thinner cuts cost more.
If you have the time to take on additional tasks and are looking for some extra income, chat it up at your child’s school. Often, working moms are looking for someone local to pick up their kids and watch them for a few hours each day. If you like to write or are good at technology, a quick daily perusal of Mediabistro.com just might result in a gig here and there. There are many of these out there now, especially in blogging and social media.
Consider the instant savings
Even if you don’t gain an extra income, just think about all the money you can save from the daily keep up while working. From daycare costs, clothing, and dry cleaning to lunches, dinners, and coffees out (not to mention guilt gifts for the kids), you may be saving more than you think. Some moms report that when they factor in the costs it takes to work outside the home, they almost negate the costs of staying home. And that’s where the above supermarket and shopping tips come in handy!
Danielle Sullivan, a mom of three, has worked as a writer and editor in the parenting world for more than 10 years. Sullivan also writes about pets and parenting for Disney’s Babble.com. Find Sullivan on her blogs, Just Write Mom and Some Puppy To Love.