Being a stay at home mom sometimes means opening up the checkbook is worse than watching a horror movie. I wish that I would have prepared for this transition better financially. The second I found out I was pregnant I just knew that I wanted to be able to stay at home with my kids. I just never thought it would be possible so I didn’t plan very wisely. Along the way I did end up staying home with my daughter and I love it but it definitely comes with some hardship. Now looking back there are so many things I would have done differently with our finances. Here are 12 budget tips that help ease the strain financially if you are going to be a stay at home parent or are already.
1. Get your monthly payments the lowest they can be. If you have the money and you have a credit card, car payment or any other type of loan pay them off. It is so nice to have those monthly payments gone. Start with the one that has the highest interest rate and go from there. Having both of our vehicles paid off now is a huge relief. It gives us a little breathing room when we have to repair those vehicles or if we have unexpected expenses come up. If you are not able to pay something off in one lump sum; just start paying a little more each month. Paying extra on any loan or credit card helps tremendously.
2. Stop going out to eat. It is so nice to order food in or go out to eat but if you are going to reduce your income eating out is a useless expense. Stock up on easy to make foods so that when you don’t feel like cooking you can pop in a pizza or something easy.
3. Stock up; but not on things you don’t use. Even though you have a coupon don’t buy 100 razors if you don’t use that brand. I use coupons but only on things that we actually use. I learned my lesson from having to throw stuff away because it expired. It is so nice to go in the pantry and find everything you need for a meal or to look in the cupboard and find you do have another shampoo. Yes I have about 20 cans of cream of mushroom soup right now but I use them all of the time. I always try to buy them on sale because I get a little sticker shock when I have to pay regular price.
4. Eat your leftovers. I see people dump tons of money in the garbage because they don’t want to re-heat something. Unless it’s been in the refrigerator way to long heat it back up.
5. Shop the clearance racks. It does take a little digging but you can find really nice clothes or other items in the clearance section. I just purchased a name brand shirt for $5.00 when it was originally $25.00. I find tons of clothes for my daughter on the clearance racks too. A lot of the time it may be a size larger than the one she wears but if it is for the right season it works for me.