Looking for ways to save money so you can afford to stay at home with your littles? Wondering how you can help out to reduce the stress in your home and lower your family’s expenses?
Staying at home with your child is your family’s priority, but money is super tight. How can you help ease the burden and save your family money as a stay-home-mom? What are some simple ways you can help to stretch the monthly budget?
In this post, we’ll give you over 30 easy and creative ways to help you save money as a stay-at-home mom. We’ll help you find your “why” and get your budget under control.
**This post contains affiliate links. See my full disclosure here.
Find Your Why
Finding your “why” can help keep you motivated when living frugally. It will help keep you focused and keep you on budget. Sit down and write all the reasons you want/need to save money. Maybe it’s simply because you want to be able to stay at home, but you could also have other reasons for saving money. Maybe you want to:
- Get out of debt
- Have an emergency fund
- Pay for gymnastics lessons
- Afford annual family vacations
- Buy a minivan
- Have your husband work less over-time
- Purchase your first home
After you’ve written down all your “whys,” hang it on the fridge for an easy reminder on those tough days. You might even want to spruce it up a bit and add some pictures to it.
Easy & Creative Ways to Save Money as a Stay-at-Home Mom
Now that you’ve found your “why,” you can start living frugally by using these easy and creative ways for stay-at-home moms to save money.
1. Set a Budget
Your first step to saving money is to have a zero-based budget, where every dollar has a job. We’ve been using the everydollar app in our home for the past year, and it’s helped us cut back on expenses tremendously. If you’re new to budgeting, you might be surprised to find out exactly where your money is going.
2. Actually Stay Home
I know it can be easy to go stir-crazy sometimes with little ones running around, but try to stay home as much as possible to help save money on gas and impromptu purchases.
3. Attend Free or Low Cost Events
If you do take the kids out, try to stick to free or low cost activities. Check out your local Hike it Baby, attend story time at the library, ride your bikes to the park, visit the fire station, or even do some volunteer work.
4. Make Handmade Gifts
Depending on how big your family is, gifts can get expensive fast! Why not get crafty with your kids and make the gifts yourself? You get some quality time with your kids and more money in your wallet, and your family and friends get an awesome, unique gift that they’ll treasure. You can find so many ideas on Pinterest.
5. Use Cash
Research shows that you spend less when using cash. Cash makes you value the item more and makes you feel more connected to the purchase. When swiping plastic or clicking a button, you just don’t get that same emotional attachment to your spending, and can easily go over budget.
Cash can save your wallet even more money though, as many places offer cash discounts. So, don’t forget to ask, especially when you’re making a large purchase.
6. Stay Away from Salons
Now, of course, we all deserve to pamper ourselves occasionally. But, salons are just too dang expensive. Try cutting back on how often you get your hair done, or better yet, find a friend that cuts hair or a beauty school that offers super cheap prices. You could maybe even do your own manicures, pedicures, and hair coloring.
7. Grocery Shop Online
Using cash can save you loads of money, but online grocery shopping can as well. Shopping online saves me the sanity of going to the store and helps me stick to my budget. I can easily price compare and find the best deals, and I also save by not adding impulse purchases to my cart.
8. Do Your Own Photoshoots
Keep costs down by doing your own photoshoots. Or, maybe you have a family friend that has a pretty nice camera. You can sometimes even find new photographers looking to build their portfolio and will do pictures for super cheap or even free. We got pretty lucky, as one of my best friends is an awesome photographer, and she’s been kind enough to take several family photos for us.
9. Buy Second-Hand
Do you and your kids really need brand new clothes? Especially, when little kids grow out of them so quickly? Instead of buying new, shop thrift stores, second-hand shops, Goodwill, and local Buy-Sell-Trade groups. You can usually find some great deals on clothes, shoes, and several other items. Sometimes, you can even find clothes with the tags still on them.
Also, consider repairing, mending, or dying instead of replacing when possible. Learn to sew on buttons and patches and how to fix zippers. We tie-dyed a few of my toddler’s stained white shirts a few months back, and now they’re some of her favorite shirts.
10. Turn off the Lights
Start lowering your electric bill by turning off the lights. Keep the lights shut off when the sun is out and every time you leave a room. This will also help keep your house cooler in the summer.
11. Set the Thermostat
Can you spare a few degrees on the thermostat? Lowering or raising the thermostat just a few degrees could make a big difference in your utility bills. Try dressing according to the thermostat instead of changing the thermostat according to your body temperature.
12. Open the Windows, Shut the Shades, and Turn On the Fans
Open your windows and turn on the ceiling fans before resorting to the A/C. Invest in some thermal insulated blackout curtains to keep out the summer heat and winter freeze and reduce your air conditioning costs.
13. Unplug Appliances
Unplug all appliances that you don’t use regularly. Even if they’re not turned on, they’re still using some electricity if they’re plugged in. How often are you using your printer, TV in the spare bedroom, cellphone charger, or lamp? I like to unplug almost everything in our house when we’re gone for more than a few days to help lower our utility bill.
14. Grill in the Summer
Using the oven in the summer can quickly heat up your whole house. Instead, try grilling, eating cold sandwiches, or making quick things on the stovetop. Some of our personal favorite summer meals include BLTs and grapes, grilled chicken and zucchini, and tomato and mozzarella paninis.
15. Do Full Loads Only
Be sure that you’re only running the washer and dishwasher when you have full loads.
16. Line Dry
Ditch the dryer when the weather is nice and hang your clothes to dry. You can fluff up stiff clothes by throwing them in the dryer for just 3-5 minutes. We even have a folding drying rack that we use indoors during the winter.
17. Use Water Wisely
Don’t let the water run while you’re brushing your teeth or washing dishes. Use a timer for showers, and if your kids are little have them take baths together. If you have old bottles of water, use those to water your indoor plants. Be sure to water your outdoor plants at nights for less evaporation.
18. Cut the Cable
Ditch the cable and consider sticking with a digital antenna. You can also rent movies from your local library. If you can’t live without a streaming service, be sure to do some research, price compare, and choose whichever is the best deal for your family. You probably don’t need Hulu, Netflix, Sling, AND Prime Video. Try to stick with just one.
19. Ditch the Smart Phone
Consider ditching your pricey smartphone and switching to an old school flip phone. You may even contemplate getting a pre-paid phone. By ridding your data, you’ll lower your monthly phone bill and prevent yourself from mindless online shopping. You may even find that you’re saving yourself from an addiction and discontentment.
20. Shop Insurance Costs
Make sure that you’re getting the best deal on insurance costs! This includes homeowner, renter, health, and auto. I like to call and ask the representative if there are any deductions I qualify before every renewal period.
Also be sure to look for any duplicates. If you have towing and roadside assistance through your auto carrier, do you really need AAA on top of that?
21. Switch to Cloth
Switch to cloth for as many items as you can. Cloth diapers, cloth tissues, cloth rags, cloth mama pads, cloth napkins, cloth paper towels, etc. These will save you a boat load of money in the long run. Plus, they’re also better for the environment and healthier for you. I can usually find some pretty good deals on most of these over at Nicki’s Diapers.
22. Quit Eating Out
Stop eating your budget, and start enjoying home cooked meals. Start packing lunches when you go out, get up early and help pack your hubby’s lunch, and be sure to grab a water bottle and a snack whenever you leave the house. This will help save on all those little impromptu gas station trips.
23. Make Your Own Coffee
Okay moms, I know this is a tough one, but not eating out also includes your typical coffee runs. This means no more Starbucks or Caribou. Bummer right? But, making coffee at home can clear up so much room in your budget. And, you can actually get pretty creative and make some neat drinks without leaving your kitchen. I’ve really been liking this iced coffee recipe lately:
24. Drink Water
Forget the juice, soda, and milk. Just drink water. It’s FREE. Can’t get better than that. If you’re really in the mood for some flavor, try infusing some cucumbers or lemon.
25. Clip Coupons
You can make a huge dent in consumable expenses with coupons. However, you need to make sure that you are buying ONLY what you need! Check out the krazy coupon lady for some great deals.
26. Make from Scratch
27. Meal plan
Meal planning can save your family an incredible amount of money on groceries. We’ve even been able to still afford organic food for our family with careful meal planning. Each week, plan out every breakfast, snack, lunch, and dinner. From there, you can write down all the ingredients you will need and make a grocery list. If there’s a meal that you know you’ll probably have leftovers from, try to make a different meal using those.
28. Pantry Challenge
Try to use what’s in your pantry first. Go through your pantry, fridge, and freezer, and write down everything that’s in it. What meals can you make from what you have? You might be surprised what all you’re able to make.
29. Sneak in Some Beans
You can save a lot of money on groceries by cutting out meat. Now, if your husband is anything like mine, having a meatless dinner isn’t really an option, so I just reduce the amount of meat I use and replace the rest with beans. The kids don’t even notice, the protein is replaced, and the meat can be used for two meals instead of one.
30. Buy in Bulk
Certain items can save you a ton of money long-term when buying in bulk. Now, you’ll need to do the math, but usually products like, paper towels, toilet paper, nuts, dry beans, frozen fruit, and coconut or olive oil will cost you less when bought in bulk. Be sure to look at the price per ounce.
31. Invest in Reusable Products
Ditch the paper plates and plastic bags. Using a little money upfront on reusable products, like sandwich bags, snack bags, mason jars, and stainless steel straws, can save you a lot of money longterm. Plus, it’ll save a lot on buying pre-packaged snacks items like, fruit pouches, yogurt, and raisins. You can buy the big containers, and divide them up yourself.
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32. Borrow and Trade
Get in line for handed down clothing from a friend or family member. See if you can trade any goods with other local moms. Do you have fresh eggs you could trade for some homemade soap? Do you have a close friend thats looking to get rid of some baby items? Don’t be afraid to let them know you’re interested. We’ve been getting really lucky lately, as I’ve traded all my baby girl clothes for baby boy clothes for baby #2, and a friend from church just gave us two huge boxes of the next size up for my toddler.
33. Sell What You’re Not Using
Decluttering can save you stress and make you money. Go through your house and find everything that you’re not using anymore. Are there clothes that you haven’t worn in years, clothes that your kids have grown out of, DVDs that don’t get watched, or decorations that never get taken out of storage? Try to sell what you can on FB marketplace, local online yard sale sites, or at a local consignment shop. You might not make a whole lot, but hey, $5 here or there helps pay for gas or a gallon milk.
34. Buy Only What You Need
Likewise, buy ONLY what you need. Don’t even go to the store unless you need something. Otherwise, you can easily find yourself roaming the aisles of Target and end up spending way too much money on impulse buys.
DIY whatever else you can that will save you money. Make your own cleaning products, learn to sew, use household items for kid activities, or even take up woodworking. I mean, why buy expensive cleaning supplies when vinegar, Dawn, or hydrogen peroxide would do the same job? We like to make all-purpose cleaner with apple cider vinegar in our house just because it has so many other uses.
Start Planning, Start Saving
As stay-at-home moms, we might not be bringing in much, if any, money, but we can certainly help to keep the family finances on the right track. With a little bit of planning, you can save loads of money for your family.
Living frugally doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be something as simple as shutting the lights off, to something creative, as doing your own photoshoots. Follow the tips in this post, and you’ll quickly find plenty of room in the budget.
What About You?
What do you do to help cut back on family expenses? Share your best money-saving tips with us in the comments below, and be sure to share this post with other SAHMs (or really anyone looking to save money). 🙂