I get asked all the time if I work. Well, yes I do, but I also look after my children twenty-four seven as a stay at home mum.
Most people call me lucky, and always say they wish they could afford to stay at home full time, and while I do have a part time income, it no way covers all the costs that come with having a family.
For the majority mums, becoming a stay at home is possible, but if you’re asking if you can still live the same lifestyle as you did on two full-time incomes, then the answer is no, of course, you can’t.
I’m one of the lucky people who have extended family to help me look after the kids, but when I didn’t, and my parents and in-laws both worked, we had to find childcare. We worked out that after just paying for petrol to get to work and the cost of two in a nursery, I’d be bringing home just £90 a month. Not really worth it at all.
So while my husband goes out to work every day, I look after the kids and plow away when I can, mostly in the evenings or on the days my amazing mother in law can have the kids.
Living off of one income or one and a tiny bit in our case is not easy by any means. You do have to make a certain amount of lifestyle sacrifices in order to make staying at home work for everyone.
Here are my top seven tips that have helped me for the past 2 years and will hopefully give you some insight into how you could afford it too.
Save on the weekly Food Shop
I save over £40 a week by just:
Planning ahead. Being spontaneous doesn’t work. Write down a meal plan and shopping list before you go, making sure you’ve checked the freezer and fridge too.
Don’t go hungry and try to leave the kids behind. They get excited, you get excited, and, well, you know the rest.
Drop down a brand. It doesn’t have to be to the cheapest. Just drop down one and see what it’s like. If you like it, drop down again next week, and keep going until you’re either at the bottom or you don’t like it.
Buy it bulk, but only if it saves money. Use your calculator to work the saving per 100g. Is it worth it? Will you use it all before it goes off?
Store food correctly. Overstuffing the fridge means not everything stays at the right temperature, and goes off quicker. Re-bag or store open packets in a sealed container to increase their life.
Decrease portions. I now weigh out pasta and rice to make sure I don’t cook too much and feed the bin. I also put it all on one big plate and let everyone help themselves, meaning the kids eat as much as they want, and I can use the rest for leftovers.
Loyalty doesn’t pay. Shop around and find out which supermarket suits you. It could be one of the discounters or one of the big four. Try them all. It’s no point driving ten miles to a Poundland if you have a Tesco right on your doorstep.
Wants Vs Needs
Have a goal, like not going back to work helps you put down items that you or the kids don’t really need. Keep the goal in mind at all times.
Shop Only When You Need Too
It’s tempting on a rainy day to hit the shops just to get out the house or take the kids for a coffee and cake, but all those things add up.
Take a puddle walk instead or have an inside fashion show, or do anything that is free indoors. The library is my go too, especially in the summer holidays.
Buy Second Hand
Kids really don’t care. We’ve brought their birthday and Christmas presents second hand, clothes, shoes and toys, all off of local selling sites or eBay.
Charity shops are fab for adult clothes, so if you need a new dress on the cheap, go looking, I’ve brought many a gown for under £5, normally with the tags still on!
Budget the Month
So here is when meal planning comes into play. We all love a treat, and that’s good, but there’s no point buying pizza in for twenty-five quid when you mince in the fridge going off and you just can’t be bothered to cook.
Think of the saving you’re making if you make your own pizza, using the mince that you would have had to throw away.
If you do want a treat, then search for a voucher or kids eat free offers.
Dump the Plastic
After The Youngest was born, we used our credit card for everyday expenses, and it soon added up. Two years on we’re still paying if off, and regret using it.
Now, anything we want online gets left in the basket for a day, and if we still think we need it then we get it, but it doesn’t happen very often.
If you do need or have a credit card, then get one with interest-free pending or balance transfers and pay off as much as you can every month.
Become a Minimalist
I don’t wholly believe going full on minimalist, but I like the idea of decluttering.
Are there any toys the kids no longer play with? Could you clear out your wardrobe of any old clothes you no longer wear? Everything and anything can be sold, and that money put toward you staying at home.
If you want to go further, you could try buying bicarbonate soda instead of shampoo or using coke to clean your toilet. All far cheaper ways to live then conventional means.
If you really can’t stand that old chest of drawers in the corner or have an old mirror that is sat there collecting dust, don’t throw it away and buy new, make it into something else and give it a new lease of life.
Pinterest has lots of ideas of refurbishing furniture or creative decorative DIY. You could then sell it on.
Are you a stay at home mum looking to save some money or dreaming of quitting your job and spending more time with your family?
Ready to start saving money so you can spend more quality time with your kids?
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