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52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Stay Home More {Week 51}

Stay Home More

Every week for 52 weeks, I’m sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.

My number one tip for keeping things simple and saving money is to stay home more. Staying home is one of the easiest ways to have more time, spend less money, accumulate less clutter, and well, to plain just live a less frantic lifestyle.

Staying Home = More Time

A lot of times I’m asked how I get so much done. Let me tell you, I’m no wonder woman, but I do know that one of my “secrets” to efficiency is that I stay home a lot.

I love quiet days at home and I find that we function best when we have at least a few days every week where we are home all day. It’s not always possible for this to happen every single week, but I do my best to make it a priority that we have at least 1-2 full days at home every single week.

I’ve purposely said “no” to a multitude of outside activities and opportunities because I know that running around with three children not only wears me out, it is a surefire way for me to spend more money (i.e. trips through the fast-food lane while we’re out, swinging by to check out a sale I see signs for when I don’t really need anything, or ordering carry out for dinner because I’m exhausted and didn’t have time to make anything for dinner) and get less done. It’s just not worth it, folks.

Now, am I saying you need to cut out every outside activity and commitment and never step foot outside your doorstep? No. What I am encouraging you to do is to carefully evaluate all outside commitments and see if there are some that are really necessities or if they are just cluttering up your life for no good reason.

Save Money By Staying Home More

Staying Home = Fewer Expenses

It’s pretty much always true that the less you shop, the less you buy. Stay out of the stores and you won’t be tempted to purchase things you didn’t know you needed in the first place!

Challenge yourself to stop spending money for a period of time — whether that’s a day, a week, a month, or longer. {Well, start small if this is a brand-new idea to you!} You’ll likely find that you begin to have a whole new appreciation for what you already have… and you’ll realize that you spend a lot more money than you need to.

When you think that you need to buy a replacement or just something new altogether, see how long you can make do without it. I’ve sometimes gone for years without replacing something that I once that was a must-have!

When you feel like you “don’t have anything to wear”, shop your closet before going shopping at the mall. See if you can come up with some new outfit combinations that you hadn’t put together before. It will feel like you went shopping — and you didn’t leave your house or spend any money.

Not only are you less tempted to spend money on things when you don’t go out shopping, but you’ll also spend less money on gas and have less wear and tear on your vehicle. It’s a win all around!

Staying Home = Less Clutter

One of the nice side effects of shopping so rarely is that we don’t have a lot of clutter. In fact, some would probably think our home looks really bare, but I’d much rather have only things we need, use, and love taking up residence in our home, than to have our rooms bulging with stuff we don’t need, haven’t used in a long time, and don’t like in the first place.

And when you have less clutter, you don’t need as much space and you will save money by being more organized.


I want to end this post by sharing a post I wrote back in 2008 on how much I learned from our law school years when we didn’t have money to spend and I spent almost all day, every day at home:

A lot of you know that my husband and I spent the first three and half years of our marriage with him in law school and us living on a part-time income. We never went hungry and we always had a roof over our head and clothes to wear, but it was a very lean time.

During those years, we lived in a little basement apartment that only had four windows on one side. I could plug the vacuum cleaner into one outlet and vacuum the entire apartment without ever switching outlets.

We only had one old vehicle almost the entire law school tenure and Jesse usually used it for transportation from work and school. We knew hardly anyone in town we lived in–in spite of many efforts to try and make friends–and there were really not any safe places I could walk to from our apartment.

It would have been easy to have been swallowed up in despair and I won’t pretend there weren’t moments when I felt sorry for myself or wished we could be living in a little better circumstances. However, I decided, with God’s help, to try and make the most of what might seem like a less-than-ideal situation.

Maybe we didn’t have money to go out, but I challenged myself to think up creative ways we could still have fun without spending money. We’d check out a movie from the library and have homemade pizza. In the winter, we’d brew some coffee, pop some popcorn, and play a board game. Sometimes, we’d go to the park with a picnic or we’d browse the book selection at Barnes and Noble.

We didn’t have money to spend on decorating our home, but I still found ways to make it homey and inviting. For starters, I tried to always keep it clean and clutter-free–even if it wasn’t very pretty, at least it could smell nice and look clean! We tried to have music playing in the background and that always spruced up a rather bare home, too.

We couldn’t afford fancy foods or restaurant meals, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t eat well. I had fun trying new recipes, searching out good deals, and stretching our grocery budget as far as possible. I discovered and enjoyed using their ingredient search feature to come up with new recipes to use what I already had on hand.

Instead of going out and buying things, I’d go to the library and check out a stack of books. Sometimes we’d check out CD’s too, so we’d have new music to play in our home throughout the week.

It was also in this little basement apartment that I first began blogging and tinkering around with online entrepreneurial things. Had it not been for the free time and lack of friends, I would have never even considered pursuing blogging or had the time to learn about basic web design, online marketing, or producing an ebook or ecourse. Little did I dream that in a few years, those same skills would allow me to help supplement our family’s income by doing something I very much enjoy while keeping my priorities as a wife and mother first and foremost.

And guess what? It was holed up in this little basement apartment with sometimes only $20 to spare for groceries for the week that I was searching grocery deals online and came upon this store called CVS that everyone in a now-defunct savings forum was raving about. I could never have imagined what that simple search would uncover for me that day, nor how many thousands of other individuals I’d have the opportunity to introduce to CVS, as well!

Yes, living in that little basement apartment in an unfamiliar town barely squeaking by financially would never have been something I would have chosen for myself, but I’ll always be grateful God allowed me those three and half years of learning to be content, learning to love simplicity, and learning to make the most of what I had.  And I hope I never forget those lessons.

A cheerful attitude can go a long way in less-than-ideal situations; you can either complain about the thorns or you can savor the roses which bloom in the midst of those thorns. Choose to bloom where you’re planted–even if it seems like it’s among thorns!

How does staying home more save you money? I’d love to hear!

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  • I get asked that same question about staying home more. I wrote about how it helps me to accomplish more in a post here:

    I find that what you said about energy and time to cook to be totally true. Being in the car–even for one short trip–makes me feel tired for the rest of the day.

    Some people think that it’s not possible to be happy if you don’t leave the house every day, but it’s not the case at all. I go outside, enjoy the garden (which is filled with flowers right now), get things done that I need to do (and wouldn’t have time to do if I was running around all the time), and have the chance to learn and create, which makes me very happy.

    Being home more doesn’t mean your children don’t do anything, either. There are ways around that: you can carpool with other parents for activities, have children ride their bikes to activities and friends’ houses, invite friends over to your house, find teachers and tutors who come to you (such as piano teachers), and take turns with your spouse for driving places.

    My 12-year-old is saving up to attend camp this summer. Her siblings wanted me to go to the store to buy some candy for their father for his birhtday; I asked my 12-year-old if she wanted to go, and she said no, because then she would be tempted to buy something, and that would make it harder for her to attain her goal. I rejoiced that she had learned that staying home makes it easier to not spend money!

    • Thanks so much for sharing!

      I loved this: “Some people think that it’s not possible to be happy if you don’t leave the house every day, but it’s not the case at all.”


    • Sheila says:

      Brandy, when I read the first few lines, I actually wondered if this were a guest post by you. 🙂

  • A year and a half ago we moved to the boonies. We are living in my in-laws’ basement while we pay off our law school student loans. While some would argue that living in the boonies is expensive, for us, it has saved us money because we stay home!

    When the closest stores or food joints are 40 minutes away, we aren’t ever tempted to grab take-out, or run to the store to pick up an ingredient that we think we need. We grocery shop once a month and if we forget something, then we make-do without it.

    Staying home also allows us to get a lot done! I cook from scratch, grow a garden, can and freeze produce, and do lots of other DIY projects that save us money. I also make time for my Etsy shop and blog.

    Living in the boonies has helped us avoid the temptation to over-schedule our young children. Instead they play with their siblings, climb trees, read books, work alongside us, and use their imagination.

  • Brit says:

    We got rid of our second vehicle to save money. Not only by using one vehicle saved us money but this prevents me from going out and spending. I have an impulsive personality sometime and if we kept the other car I will be going out and spending money.
    Because I am home more often, we walk to the park, we walk to the library. We spend more family time together.
    I remember I used to go out the weekend because it was the weekend. I never understood that but I did. Now I love staying home. Like Brandy stated above being at home doesn’t mean we don’t do anything. We just save money 😉

  • Jennifer says:

    Love, love, love this post. Staying home sounds like such a simple solution but it really, truly is one of the very best ways to save money. And it’s great for recharging the whole family. I’ve been trying to have us spend at least one weekend day completely home, no play dates, no quick trips to the store. I find it really makes a difference come Monday morning.

    I don’t know if you were trying to be funny but this line “had it not been for the free time and lack of friends, I would have never even considered pursuing blogging” made me laugh.

    Isn’t it amazing what you’ve built out of that season of your life?

  • Ashley P says:

    lol. Well, in my case, staying home doesn’t always mean less clutter. People keep giving me stuff. (Not that I’m not thankful. I just need to find time to return the favor by purging some of my accumulated stuff and pass it on.)

    Staying home kind of became a necessity for us when we had to get a leased car in an emergency. We’re only allowed 12,000 miles/year, and between grocery shopping, work, and church, we hit the limit pretty close, so we can’t afford the mileage to go many places.

    Staying home for us definitely means more time. My husband and I only get 1 1/2 days to spend together. We get Saturdays, and Sunday mornings. Sunday afternoon, hubby goes to sleep so he can be rested to work at 10 PM Sunday night. So I cherish the small amount of time we get to spend together as a family.

    I just wish I could afford to be a stay at home mom. I have all these plans of things I want to do that I can’t do because I’m outside the home 10 hours a day. I want to read more, keep my house cleaner, stitch more, learn to cook, and spend more time on my blog. As it is, I listen to whatever audiobooks my library has (and it’s not a huge selection), stitch on my half-hour lunch break, try to clean for at least 10 minutes before I go to bed, blog maybe once a week, and my husband does all the cooking. It’s frustrating. I wish my husband’s job paid more, but it doesn’t, and we live in an expensive area of the country, so it’s tough to find higher paying jobs that match the cost of living out here.

    *sigh* I just keep praying. God knows my heart. He knows I feel called to be the keeper of my home. He’ll make this all work out in His time.

    • {hugs!} You are doing a fantastic job of blooming where you are planted — keep it up!

      Just keep embracing today and soaking up the blessings in this moment instead of pining away the days wishing you could be somewhere you’re not!

      • Ashley P says:

        Thanks for the encouragement, Crystal! God has us in this season of life for some reason. I just kind of wish He’d tell me what it was!

        And my schedule does have its benefits. I do my daily Bible reading on the morning train. I’d probably get distracted and forget otherwise. It forces me to be conscious of how I use my time, because I have so little of it available- a time “budget”, if you will. It literally forces me to prioritize my day, and even though I don’t have the time to do things I *want* to do, I always accomplish what I *need* to do. I certainly don’t have the time to waste on frivolous things with my schedule!

  • You are so right. I can tell a big difference in our budget when my husband and I go home after work. If we don’t–even if we just run a few errands–we invariably get tired and hungry (and potentially grouchy from hunger), and the nearest Mexican restaurant is soooo easy to find! 🙂 Going home also makes a difference in our energy level – if we go right home and save our errands for the weekends, we get to bed earlier and have more time to take care of the house, laundry, etc. It helps a lot. I need to do it more, for sure.

    • “Going home also makes a difference in our energy level – if we go right home and save our errands for the weekends, we get to bed earlier and have more time to take care of the house, laundry, etc.”

      What a great perspective — thanks for sharing this!

  • Laura says:

    You are spot-on with this post. Being intentional about staying home is the number one way I have found contentment and peace. When I first tried this, I was surprised that the thing I really struggled with was my attitude. I felt anxious, bored and unproductive at home. It took some time for me to make my home a peaceful place. I had to figure out what to do with my children and get past that notion that they need to be entertained (with some expensive activity) every moment of the day. I needed to get past that idea that being productive means running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Funny thing is that I have found that I am more productive, my children are more enriched, my home is more beautiful (it’s amazing how nice a house looks without clutter and unfolded laundry!) and I am much more at peace when I intentionally spend 1-3 days a week at home.

    I would encourage others to try one day at home in the beginning and build your routine from there. It is worth the effort.

    • “Funny thing is that I have found that I am more productive, my children are more enriched, my home is more beautiful (it’s amazing how nice a house looks without clutter and unfolded laundry!) and I am much more at peace when I intentionally spend 1-3 days a week at home.”

      I LOVE this! Thank you for taking the time to share!

  • Cheryl says:

    Wow! I can agree with have everyone on this post. As a family we stay home alot, our son is 9 and daughter 11. We had Spring break last week and the only time we went out was a free trip to the geology museum and Wednesday night church activity. We also had a big yard clean up project because of the hard winter in MI. and between us four we got all the branches cut and put into a big burn pile and sat at watched it burn. Almost all weekends we stay home and play games, watch a movie, and just relax and refresh. I usually do no housework other then vacuuming and a load of laundry. My daughter and I bake which is fun too. It does save money !

  • I know I save lots of money staying home. The other weekend, my mom wanted to go out shopping (something she enjoys doing for fun). When I went with her, I actually had more trouble buying things than I used to because I’ve been working so hard to get rid of clutter. I did know I needed a new broom and spent (what felt like) hours looking for one in the stores we went to. After having wasted so much time, I checked on Amazon. Sure enough, the broom identical to my old one (that I loved) could be shipped to my house in 2 days for $10. Why’d I waste so much time and what could have been lots of money when I could just buy it online?

  • happy momma says:

    Thank you for your words today. Our dishwasher broke during Thanksgiving and I have been in no hurry to replace it. It is one of those once thought nessesities that really is not. I enjoy the time that I get washing the dishes by hand. I enjoy watching my kids wash the dishes together. I often will pick one of the kids and we wash together, it opens up opportunities to talk one with another that we wouldn’t get otherwise. I am very glad that God inspired you to start blogging. You have been an inspiration to me. I have started my own blogs and am now writing E-books. I have found my passion and calling in life and it is wonderful and I attribute much of it to you. I began reading your blog a while back when I was couponing. I found so much more than that in your blog.

  • Jacki says:

    Our family loves to stay home. It means more time together to love each other. My girls love playing outside on their scooters, bikes, skateboards or playing basketball. Their friends come over after school and hang out playing games or with their toys.

    I like a good home cooked meal. Cooking at home saves time and money. It allows me to get creative and my girls learn how to cook. They enjoy cooking and seeing others eat their food.

    It saves time and money. Gas money alone is quite the savings. If we really need to go out, we plan several stops along the way.

    The time we save allows us to garden and work on other hobbies we each have.

  • I definitely agree with you on this one. I purposely try not to plan anything on Mondays. In addition to that I try to say home one other day.
    I feel less stressed. I spend less money. And family life just works better that way.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Diane says:

    I use to buy things and a lot of things I brought I didn’t need it I got to look around in my apartment and It was so much stuff that I didn’t need and I had clothes I didn’t wear(still had the price tag on them) One day I start getting the things that I didn’t use together and call Goodwill to come and get it Then I start going though my clothes some still had the price tags on them and my aunt use to give me clothes and I just put them in the back of my closet I went though closets and drawers and the stuff I haven’t worn in ages it went to Goodwill Now the apartment is not clutter and I feel so much better I don’t buy unless I need it

  • I pretty much have to force myself to leave the house. I am naturally a homebody. Add to it that it is 10 miles just to go grocery shopping , 15 miles to my closest friend, and the gas expense only keeps us home. Typically speaking, we go to church on Sundays , one day I do my groceries/any errands , and we have small group Bible study the same day as groceries. We have recently started a kid swap with a friend who also have a toddler so that will be another day every other week.

    And we might start going to the library’s story time some as my toddler really needs some more activity due to a long, snowy winter stuck inside. All those little trips can add up to a lot of gas. I live rurally so a 30 minute drive is 20-25 miles. I put $30 of gas in my van each week and that rarely fills it but it covers my trips, more when it isn’t winter and having to warm my van up early. If I have to drive to the “big city” (a 36 mile/45 minute trip), I try to fit in a lot of different stops and make it for a week my husband made bonus at work so I have the money to stock up at the “expensive but great sales” grocery story, the bigger Walmart that has a much bigger selection, craft store for my Etsy shop, etc. I try to make those trips no more than once a month or else I’m tempted to go into the thrift store, consignment stores, etc. I really work hard on the “combined errands into one trip” thing. Even my normal grocery shopping is usually: grocery store, Walmart, library, bank if needed, post office if needed, etc. Then I’m only gone one day not 2-3 days a week and it is all done at once too.

  • sally says:

    I guess I don’t really understand why one person would be home when there are no children and the other has to produce all financial support while trying to finish school. I know that may sound snarky, but I truly don’t mean it that way. It just seems odd not to contribute jointly to financial well being and then comment on lean times.

  • Joni says:

    We are a one income family. I am a SAHM and I love being at home while my son is in school and being able to get to take him to school, and pick him up every day.
    I really liked this post. I don’t have to worry about getting out and spending money we don’t have. I had bad credit when I was younger but my husband has perfect credit so he keeps all the $, debit and credit cards so when I go anywhere, I don’t have any $ to foolishly spend anyway.

  • Kamila says:

    Hi guys, Crystal.
    I currently work full time nights as an RN and I can’t wait to drop to 1 shift a week when my husband gets into his new job. I’m constantly tired and off schedule so the house is a mess and we order food or go out a lot b/c I have no energy or desire to cook. Another thing though that no one really mentioned is shopping online. I live in a ‘small’ town in Colorado and it’s far to go anywhere (shopping, dinning, entertainment) so it’s a rare occurrence to venture out for whatever reason. But that doesn’t stop me from spending tons of money online. I have Amazon Prime and their wonderful ! 2 day free shipping and when at home I also have tons of time to browse.

    I would say that for me staying at home and shutting my computer to the closet does truly save money, otherwise no, not really. 🙂 Ka

  • Great post Crystal! My wife and I moved away from the city and we really do save a lot because its just not worth leaving the house sometimes! We liked this week’s tip so much we featured it in our website’s Top 10 Money Tips from Around the Web (for April). Love the quote “Stay out of the stores and you won’t be tempted to purchase things you didn’t know you needed in the first place!” I will continue to look for other tips to include in the future.

    Thanks and keep up the great work,

    The Money Professors

  • It’s so true that staying home saves money… as long as you avoid the online shopping! I used to want to go out every night and I hated being at home. Then I worked really hard to turn my home into a place that I love to be. I made it beautiful (on the cheap) came up with new hobbies at home, like gardening and cooking with my husband. Let me tell you, we save A TON by cooking our own meals at home and they aren’t any less special.

  • Nancy says:

    I was so glad to read this post. I feel like an oddball sometimes while the rest of the world buzzes about always busy busy. I am a stay at home mom and yes you will save gobs of money if you know how do it right. It has taken me a long time to become a proficient home cook and have a mind set that literally everything that you buy will have to be dealt with one way or another so better to make do with less. So yes we stay home a lot mostly due to the fact that we like being together as a family and due to a shared commitment in how we spend our money.

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