For the longest time, I just wanted to be a mom. Nothing else in this life mattered. Every time I tried to figure out what career I wanted after I graduated college, I always thought about how that job would affect my time with my family. A lot of the jobs that I had been interested in would have meant that I would be away from my family a lot and then the jobs I did have never seemed to be satisfying. That was because I wasn’t where God wanted me to be. My absolute dream job, the one thing I was meant to be, called to be, was being a mom. Only problem is that it’s not a job that you just apply for and start on Monday at $10 an hour plus benefits. This was a job that I had to wait very patiently for. When we found out that I was pregnant with Wylder, we planned on me going back to work. There was just no way that we could see where we could survive on one income. The thought of me leaving my baby to go to a job that I didn’t love had me constantly in tears. I wanted to be a stay at home mom (SAHM) and it killed me that I wouldn’t be able to live that dream. As time went on, we discussed the idea of me staying home more and more. We decided to write out our budget and see if we could make this work. I was even more heartbroken when it quickly came to light that we wouldn’t be able to make it without me working as well. Then my husband looked at me and said, “Our budget hasn’t worked out on paper before and we were fine. If you feel called by God to be a stay at home then you should. Everything will work out.” My last day at work was two days before my son was born and I never looked back. There have been times over the past almost 6 months where I thought I would have to go back to work because I was afraid we wouldn’t make it. One thing I’ve learned on this journey is faith over fear. The enemy will try to bog you down with fear, but have faith that God will take care of you as long as you are in His will. If you’re like me and aren’t sure that you can afford to be a stay at home mom, I have put together some ways that you can cut spending or things to do in order to stay home with your little ones.
1. Pray. This is the most important step to take in being a stay at home mom. You want to make sure that you are in God’s will because if you are, things might not always be easy, but they work out. My husband and I prayed over the situation and once we made the decision for me to stay home, I felt a sense of peace because I was where God wanted me to be. When I had doubts, Matthew 6:31-33 helped renew my trust that God would provide:
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
– Matthew 6:31-33 NIV
2. Cut the cable. One way to save some money in order to better afford staying at home is turning off the cable. Depending on your cable company, packages, and deals, getting rid of cable can save you a significant amount of money. And with antenna and ways to stream shows online, you may find that you don’t miss having 200+ channels.
3. Bargain grocery shopping. Going to just one grocery store or going to the one closest to your house doesn’t always save you the most money. This is one area that I am still working on and I know that there are some classes out there that could help us learn ways to save some money. For now, I find that shopping at Aldi and Wal-Mart saves our family the most money. I also check sales ads to see if there are any good deals that I need to take advantage of. We also recently became members of Sam’s Club where I can save by buying our meat in bulk. I wasn’t sure if the $45 would be worth it, but we have already saved about $36 in special instant savings I have gotten so it is close to paying for itself a month in. Once you’ve done the research and know what stores tend to have the best deals on what you need, this can be one of the easiest ways to save money!
4. Find a work from home job. There are more and more ways to work from home these days. I know some mom’s who are independent consultants for direct sales companies and are using that business to stay home with their kids while still earning online with a flexible schedule. There are also many companies that hire work from home employees and you could even create your own online company. It is not necessarily easy to find one that fits perfectly with your lifestyle and needs, but it is an option!
5. Eat at home. I love food. Let me rephrase that, I love to EAT food, but not necessarily cook it. I would much rather go out to eat or grab something to bring home, but it is not the most cost effective (or healthy) way to feed a family. Buying groceries and cooking meals from scratch can help you save money! We usually also have leftovers which we use for lunches and helps cut down on grabbing something while my husband is at work or I’m out running errands. We still occasionally eat out, but it is no where near as often as it was before when I worked. Also, because I am at home, it makes it easier to eat at home. Like I said, I don’t necessarily like to cook so adding on a full day at the office dropped that desire even more and made it even more likely that I would suggest eating out.
6. Cloth diapers. This is something I wish I would have done from the beginning with Wylder. The cost of diapers depends on which brand you prefer and what store you buy from, but we are currently spending about $20 a box. There are so many cloth diapers options out there and I knew that there was no way we could spend between $400-500 upfront on brand name cloth diapers. I did purchase a 6 pack of off brand pocket diapers for roughly $30 and I absolutely love them! Wylder was constantly having blow outs and the cloth diapers were the only diapers that would contain the mess. Cleaning them and using them were so simple that I wish I would have used them from the start.
7. Homemade baby food. Just like eating at home instead of going out to eat can save you money, making your baby food can save money. You aren’t paying someone to cook and package the food for you and there is also the benefit that you know exactly what is going into your baby’s food. I use ice cube trays to freeze large batches (each cube is roughly 1 ounce) and then store them for up to 3 months in a gallon freezer storage bag.
8. Save on gas. Let’s face it, gas prices ain’t cheap. You don’t have to be stuck at home 24/7, but being mindful of what errands you need to run and planning it out so you aren’t making 10 different trips during the week can save you time and gas. Also, not driving to and from a job every day can help you save on gas so that is something to consider when deciding whether or not to stay home. I hardly ever stop at a gas station these days which I absolutely love! I had been spending roughly $50 a week on gas and now I may spend that much every 2-3 weeks depending on what we have going on.
9. Utilities. Making sure you aren’t wasting water or electricity is a simple thing you can do around the house. It is so easy to leave lights on when you aren’t in a room or maybe you have a leaky faucet that you haven’t fixed yet. These add up to extra money on your utility bill. It may not be much on each bill, but making sure lights are off when you leave a room or that no water is leaking can help you save some money. Also making sure your thermostat is set to a temperature where you can be comfortable without using up a lot of energy will help.
10. Consignment stores/sales. Kids are constantly growing and needing bigger sizes in clothes & shoes. Consignment stores and sales give you a way to purchase gently used items at a fraction of the cost. I have found some great deals on clothes and shoes at consignment stores, but the consignment finds that I am most excited about are the toys. I have found so many good toys for a lot cheaper than if I bought them new. I would highly recommend finding a good consignment store or sale around you!
Are you a SAHM? What are some ways that you make this work for you and your family? I would love to hear from you!