What parent isn’t thinking about the money? If you don’t have to worry about money, you probably aren’t reading this post. If you often think about your income, how you can save money as a stay at home mom, and make better money-conscious decisions, welcome to the club.
We aren’t struggling these days, but that doesn’t mean we never struggled. At one point, Joe was unemployed, and I was working two jobs. One was part-time at a jewelry store, and the other was providing full-time daycare for only one child. Neither job provided enough income. Luckily Joe still had a little money coming in from the unemployment, which covered some bills. The kids qualified for WIC, and my income made up the rest. It was paycheck to paycheck, and it wasn’t easy to save money as a stay at home mom. When we did save money, we would soon spend it on medical bills, and we were back to square one.
These days, Joe’s job and a couple of other income streams provide for our needs, some wants, and savings. We still think about our money. Where is it going? When is it going? Are we spending and saving wisely? How can I optimize my ability to save money as a stay at home mom? Lessons I learned about being thrifty in our early years of marriage I still practice to this day.
I recently sat down and thought, “What are a handful of things that I do daily that I consider to be money-conscious decisions? What can I change right now, today, to keep money in my bank account instead of letting it waltz out?”
You can definitely find long-term solutions, like following a family budget, but today I want to focus on the little things I do to save money as a stay at home mom. However! If you are interested in creating a monthly budget, you can grab a template here for FREE! Let’s face it, every penny counts. Allllllll of those pennies saved turn into dollars that amount to bills paid and purchases made. Let’s get to it!
11 QUICK TIPS TO SAVE MONEY NOW!
1. Use half of a dryer sheet instead of a full sheet.
A full dryer sheet is unnecessary, I promise. I wash 1-3 loads of laundry a day and see no difference in our clothes and towels when I use a full sheet or half of a sheet. If you buy a 240 count box of dryer sheets, you can now turn it into a 480 count for the same price, just by tearing it in half. For smaller loads, you can use ⅓ of a sheet. You will save money as a stay at home mom by cutting your costs in half or better when you cut that dryer sheet. Now, that same box will last you nearly a year!
2. Make homemade meals, snacks, and desserts.
Once you get the hang of it, it really isn’t as scary as it sounds. Please don’t think I go crazy with everything being homemade. Power to you if you can provide that for your family all of the time, but I can’t. I still have pre-packaged snacks on hand for car rides, extended trips, or when I’m in a pinch. We still have a Stouffer’s lasagna now and then because it is quick and everyone likes it.
Overall though, you will save money as a stay at home mom by making your meals homemade. A Stouffer’s lasagna costs around $7 and feeds 4. I can feed 8-10 people with a homemade lasagna (using oven-ready noodles, of course!) for around $11. If I make lasagna twice a month for a year, I will save over $70 a year simply by making it from scratch and not buying two frozen lasagnas every time I want to make lasagna.
A few more examples: Cut your own cheese sticks. It’s cheaper per ounce, and you can make them as big or little as you want. I cut up a 32-ounce block of colby-jack cheese and store it in a gallon bag in our refrigerator. I pay ⅓ less than I would for pre-packaged cheese sticks. You can also make your own trail mix! I have found that Aldi carries a variety of nuts and treats. Buying various nuts individually will cost more upfront, but it will last longer and ultimately help you save money as a stay at home mom.
When it comes to desserts, you likely already have flour, eggs, vanilla extract, sugar, baking powder, or soda, so why buy a pre-mixed box? Add unsweetened cocoa to your cabinet, and you’ve got a plethora of recipe combinations at your disposal!
3. Be your own family barber.
We have four sons, and we keep their hair short with a little style. If each hair cut plus tip costs roughly $17, that’s $68 every six weeks. We would pay over $500 a year just to have someone cut their hair! Cutting your family’s hair is an excellent opportunity to save money as a stay at home mom! For that amount of money, I decided to give it a whirl. Joe was still in the military at the time, so I was able to try my hand at his simple buzz cut every week and then grow from there. Here is a link I found helpful for cutting girls’ hair, and here is one for cutting boys’ hair with scissors and with clippers. You can buy a decent set of hair clippers online for less than $40.
4. Teach your kids to turn off lights in the house.
In honor of making money-conscious decisions, teach your children to make good decisions, and turn the lights off when they leave a room. You can teach it, but I warn you, you will tell them every single day to turn the lights off. It will get monotonous, but your electric bill will thank you.
5. Shut your blinds on hot days (and open them on cold but sunny days).
Keeping with energy savings, you can save money as a stay at home mom by pulling your blinds closed or tilted up during a hot summer day. Shutting or tilting your window shades will reduce the amount of heat coming in through your windows. Some people don’t have this problem—we do. We’re currently in a rental, and our a/c will run and run in the summer evenings, but the house continues to get hotter and hotter! Keeping the blinds shut helps the rooms stay cool, and our a/c run less, which equals less money going towards the electric bill.
We have the opposite problem in the winter. Oh! The weather outside is frightful, but the winter sun is SO delightful! We keep the blinds open during peak sunshine hours to let in the warm winter-sun shine in, which heats the house naturally.
6. Trim the entertainment fat.
Skim through your online streaming accounts. You can save money as a stay at home mom when you cancel what you don’t use throughout the day. Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Audible, Starz. Maybe you signed up for a free trial and forgot to cancel it. Now is as good as ever to take 5 minutes and double-check! You may even be able to get your money back if you call the company and let them know that you forgot to cancel. Do you subscribe to ABC mouse? It’s a great site, but we have found Starfall to be much more cost-effective (approximately $3 per month vs. nearly $10 per month) with comparable content. Starfall also has a ton of free, quality content. Shop around!
7. Stretch your meals.
Do you feed lots of mouths, especially at supper time? Maybe you don’t feed several people, but the people you do feed seem to be eating more and more! cough cough teenagers cough cough.
You can add different veggies and beans to stretch the protein, and your kids won’t be the wiser because it all tastes the same! Check out my post on Feeding an Army to see examples of how to make your meals go further.
8. Love your leftovers.
Make a solemn vow to save money as a stay at home mom by eating or repurposing leftovers. Some people throw it all out. Y’all know that’s wasteful! You wouldn’t throw money in the trash, so don’t throw away your leftovers! Some foods aren’t as tasty on day 2, but others are even better! One meal made into two is money kept in the bank, which is sweet every time!
9. Meal plan around sales.
Meal planning is a great way to save money as a stay at home mom and use what you have while not wasting items because they expired. Doing it a month at a time is nice, but you end up spending more if you ignore the sales. Get familiar with what is in your cabinet, know your staples, what your family likes, and plan around the sales at your favorite grocer. We like our local IGA and Kroger’s.
Bonus! I shop at Kroger’s, and they have tons of digital coupons AND a cashback program! Coordinating savings with my click-list shopping is a breeze.
10. Ditch the plastic!
Buy reusable water bottles for your littles. Quit buying water bottles for outings. Teach your kids responsibility for their things and keep track of how much water they are drinking in a day by using reusable water bottles. Using reusable water bottles will also help you save money as a stay at home mom because you won’t need to wash the 10+ excess cups they used every day because they forgot which cup was theirs! Not only will you be saving money here on your utility bill, but you’ll also be saving our environment—WIN!
11. Make your own cleaning products.
Vinegar goes a loooooong way, so does alcohol and peroxide, just don’t mix these together!!! Pinterest has some great cleaning ideas with these products. Check out my post on how to keep your toilet cleaner longer for one great way to keep up on keeping the toilet cleaner for less!
Eat less meat.
Let’s face it, ground beef used to be the cheap meat, but some days it’s nearly as expensive as steak! Chicken is still budget-friendly, but my kids grow tired of it. You can see other helpful meal tips by checking out my post on clever tips to stretch your meal and save money as a stay at home mom now!
Use cashback apps
With Ibotta, I’ve made over $600 in the past seven years. That doesn’t seem like much over seven years, but it’s money I used for purchases like a new bedspread, kids’ clothes, Christmas gifts, mom-splurges, and teaching tools. Make a marvelous money-conscious decision for your bank account and download the Ibotta app today! It’s simple and easy to do.