There are countless assumptions when it comes to parenting and motherhood. Some may prove to be true, but many are false. For example, some people hear the term “stay at home parent” and assume that person’s spouse must make really great money, or that they inherited really great money, but this isn’t always the case.
I started staying home with my son recently. After realizing there were more cons than pros to staying in my previous role, I put in my two week notice. We are now relying solely on my husband’s income. We are fortunate in the fact that we’re able to make this work… But we do have to make it work; our lifestyle had to be adapted. And I’m not talking about just skipping a Starbuck’s run or two. The truth is, most parents, whether working or not, likely have to make financial changes once their family increases in size. Here are some ways we’ve adapted in order to make one income work for the time being.
1. Cut cable. It’s not me… It’s you, cable companies. You charge too much! The amount of money we were spending on cable was silly, especially since we’re mostly avoiding screen time (I say “mostly” because football is back and hockey is coming soon) when our baby is around (aka always). With Netflix, Hulu and others, television entertainment options are plentiful.
2. Eat what you have. I love grocery shopping. I love buying food and trying new ingredients, but sometimes that means I have three cans of garbanzo beans in my pantry (like now) and no garbanzo plan. When trying to save money, reducing grocery costs can be so helpful. So assuming food isn’t spoiled, eat it! I’ll happily accept your garbanzo bean recipes, by the way…
3. Assess all your recurring expenses. Maybe you’ve had the same car insurance for years and just renew it automatically without shopping around. Maybe you are using a credit card with an annual fee and could find a free option. Shop around for other options.
4. Try new brands. Cheaper brands. Having a child or children ensures multiple recurring costs like diapers and clothes. You may have your brand preferences, but switching might make sense. Generic or store brand diapers are cheaper than name brands and often are just as reliable. And while cute, boutique-style kids clothes are so fun, cheaper brands (like Carter’s) offer similar styles and smaller price tags.
5. Consume cheap entertainment. The Indianapolis Children’s Museum and Indianapolis Zoo are fun but can also get pricey. Try out what Indianapolis has to offer for no or low costs. Fall is a great time for this, with free pumpkin patches or orchards on all sides of the city. The library downtown also has a fantastic children’s area with toys and interactive stations. It’s free (except parking) and there’s a coffee shop inside – a plus for mom.
The truth is no matter how many cuts are made, having one parent stay home isn’t feasible for all (and also not desirable for all). But for those who want to make it work, or are up for trying, hopefully these tips can help.
What money saving tips would you add?