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How to Afford Being a Stay At Home Mom

Want to be a stay at home mom, but worried about the financial implications of transitioning to one income? This post is full of practical advice and helpful encouragement on how to afford being a stay at home mom!

How to Afford Being a Stay At Home Mom

Guest post by Kristine of

Giving up a full-time or part-time salary isn’t easy, but my sisters and I wanted to stay home with our kids.

To make it happen we knew we needed to get creative with lowering our monthly expenses.

Here are 19 things we did (and still do) to save money:

We Cut Hair Ourselves:

Even at Walmart a haircut for a child costs $12 — and that doesn’t include tip!

Instead of going to the hairdresser, we ordered some nice clippers off Amazon and now we cut everyone’s hair at home as often as we need to.

We Use Grocery Pick-Up:

We love using grocery pick-up! It is convenient and saves us money as it helps us avoid impulse shopping.

We also love that every time we add an item to our cart, we can see the total go up; this allows us to decide if we really need that item this week or if it can wait.

We save an average of $20 per week by using pick-up only!

We Don’t Eat Out:

Eating out can blow a monthly budget really quickly!

We plan a weekly or monthly menu for our family and stick to it. We try to cook our meals at home no matter how good take-out sounds.

We also try to get the whole family involved by giving each kid a job to do.

Dinner tastes so much better when you are proud of what you have made — and that goes for kids, too.

Psst! Check these extra tips to help you stop eating out!

We Buy Used Clothing:

We buy gently used clothes for our children.

Shops like Once Upon a Child, Goodwill, Facebook Marketplace, and garage sales are great places to start!

See if there is a friend or family member that you can swap clothes with. This has been a huge blessing to our family.

We Sell Outgrown Clothing:

We sell our outgrown clothes at a local kids’ consignment shop and then get store credit, which usually offers more money to buy the next size up for our kids.

We Use the Honey Extension:

We installed Honey on our computers and it will alert us when items get marked down and if it’s a good time to buy.

You are able to see the price trends and if there are available promo codes you can use.

We love using Honey!

We Watch for Christmas Deals Year-Round:

Rather than shopping for Christmas presents in November and December, we look for deals all year.

It is easy to get pulled into impulse buying with all the advertising during the Christmas season.

We Buy Used Items off Amazon:

When we find an item we want to purchase off Amazon, we check to see if they have the same item “Like New” or “Used, Very Good.”

These items were typically opened and returned. We have had great success finding brand new items marked down this way!

We Ask Before we Buy:

Shopping online is SO easy… maybe a little TOO easy!

To reduce impulse purchases, we wait and talk to our spouses before we purchase something. This makes us aware of what we are spending our money on, plus it allows us to say whether or not we think it is the right use of our money.

We Make Our Own Baby Food:

Baby food is expensive.

Pinterest has lots of recipes for making your own healthy baby food at a fraction of the cost of buying it from the store.

We Canceled Cable and DirectTV:

This is an expensive monthly bill that isn’t necessary.

We have used Hulu, Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney Plus instead of cable, so we can still enjoy our favorite shows and movies while paying significantly less.

We Switched to an Off-Brand Cell Phone Service:

We have our cell phone bill down to $50 a month for two smartphones with 5 GB of data each.

Honestly, the service isn’t as good. We do drop calls frequently. We mostly text though, and it was worth the annoyance to lower our monthly bills.

{Psst! Looking for an inexpensive option? Twigby has phone plans that start as low as $9 per month!}

We Implement Meatless Monday:

Meat is one of the biggest expenses in a grocery budget. Having a meal once a week without any meat allows us to lower our grocery budget significantly.

If you need some inspiration, try one of these great meatless meal ideas!

We Share One Vehicle:

When possible, we share a vehicle with our spouse.

This cuts down on gas, car insurance, and other car-related expenses. It’s hard at first but worth it when we look at the savings.

We Always Look for Free Activities:

We take advantage of free classes/activities offered by our local libraries.

Hiking, visiting National Parks on free days, and bike trails are other activities we regularly have on our schedules.

We Make Coffee at Home:

We make coffee at home instead of buying one at the local coffee shop.

Even using a Keurig at home only costs 26 cents per cup compared to almost $2 per cup. This adds up when we start each day with six cups a cup of coffee. 😉

We Look for Coupons:

We compare ads and use coupons or store apps when grocery shopping.

We also plan our menus based around meat that is on sale that week.

We Use Groupon:

We shop Groupon in advance to buy tickets and get the best deals.

We used Groupon to get a great deal on tickets to Sky Zone for the whole family.

We Use Cashback Sites:

We use cashback sites like Rakuten to stretch our shopping budget by getting money back on online purchases.

These are just a few of the many ways we save money every single day.

These little (and big) savings all add up to allow my sisters and I to stay home with our children!

What are some of your favorite tips on how to afford being a stay at home mom?

Katie, Nicole, and Kristine are sister-in-laws with eight kids between them. They now blog at about mom survival tips, what is helping them get through their days with their kiddos, and how their true hope and encouragement comes from knowing their Savior, Jesus Christ.

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  • Shannon says:

    Thank you so much for the practical ideas! I was a stay at home mom for many years and we did a lot of these. Now I’m working but it’s only part time so we still need to be reminded of these budget ideas. Kids seem to get more expensive as they get older! Great post!

  • Pamela says:

    I think these are great tips, but I also think they’re a little misleading – or perhaps mistitled. I do all of the above except cut my husband’s hair. Oh, and we do have two cars though we carpool to work a lot. Anyway, taken all together, I could not replace my salary with these tips. Partly that’s because I’m the main breadwinner but it’s also because we live in a high cost of living area (Northern CA though not the Bay Area). I think if families want to live on one income, you have to address the big ticket items like housing prices and choices, healthcare, car insurance (even for one car), etc.

    Now, tips like this *do* allow us to live within our dual-income means and save towards our retirement and so forth. So I’m not knocking them. I’m just not sure you can replace a salary this way.

    • Allison says:

      I agree that the article is mistitled. Nice tips, but not a complete plan for “how to afford being a stay at home mom.” I expected more depth based on the title.

    • Angela says:

      I agree! These tips are good to stay within budget, but they aren’t enough to replace an income.

  • Need Anap says:

    Before buying something, check on Facebook or with friends to see if it’s something they can lend you or let you try out before making a purchase. Sometimes they’re willing to give it for free! Example, we needed a ladder but just borrowed one from a neighbor. I know it’s not a crazy purchase but sometimes you can borrow anything from formal clothes to a mother’s helper just by asking. : )

  • Patti Smith says:

    I was blessed to be able to stay home for over 15 years…I would often turn questions around by thinking how much we were saving by me staying home…no take out, no work wardrobe or dry cleaning, no gas expenses traveling to work, couponing, using deal sites, obviously no day care expenses…very well done article:)

  • Allison says:

    I did most of this to afford daycare so I could keep working. I knew that a few years at home would affect my earning potential and retirement savings long term. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an article about stay at home moms which fully addresses the issue of the long term effects on financial security. Half my income went to daycare for a few years, but it was worth the investment.

    • Lana says:

      I never worked outside my home and have been married almost 42 years. We are retired and very financially secure. We retired debt free including our home and part owner ship of a lake house. Many wives do not realize that they will draw SS based on their husband’s income. Staying home and living well in retirement is completely doable and I would do it the same way again.

      • Allison says:

        Not saying it isn’t possible, just saying I’ve never seen an article that addresses a long term plan. Everything seems to be about how to survive month-to-month. Maybe long term financial planning for stay at home moms would be a good topic for Crystal to address.

        • Amy says:

          As long as you are happy living on your husband’s salary long term, things like earning potential and retirement savings for you aren’t as important. I have stayed home for 12 years and plan on a few more years. Any money I make will be “extra”, I can claim social security off my husband and as long as my husband puts 15 percent away for retirement, we will be fine. In the event of a divorce I get half of everything, he has plenty of life insurance and I have a master’s degree if I truly had to return to work. I cherish the time I got with my 3 babies and the lifestyle that has let him focus on his career.

          • Lana says:

            The reason we could retire well is because I managed his salary. He has absolutely no sense of how to manage money. He always gives me credit for our financial success. Divorce was never part of our vocabulary. We married forever. He is a keeper.

      • Kimberly in NC says:

        Thank you for sharing this, Lana! I’m a stay at home mom. My husband and I try to be very smart with money as well as good stewards with our blessings. We just met with a financial coach from our church and we are being proactive on saving/investing/planning for our future. We are also trying to be a good example to our three sons in the area of finances as well as in life in general. We’re not perfect, but we are trying. Your comment is very encouraging.

  • Chris says:

    I re-use coffee grinds and use tea bags for hot tea, twice. I shop sales. I try to pay things annually, etc., if it saves me money. I buy used cars.

  • Becky says:

    We have Consumer Cellular as our cell phone service. We have 3 smartphones with 15 GB of data for $70 per month. You do not need to be a senior to use them. We have never had any problelms with service. We have been with them for 13 years.

  • Beth says:

    Thanks for the article! We do most of these so I can stay at home. One thing I’ve noticed is that it helped us to have decided I would stay at home when we got married – way before we started having kids. I worked before kids and very part time when my first born was young but most of my income went towards savings. That allowed us to put a down payment on a small house last year which was much cheaper than renting a house of similar size. It also gave us a good cushion for my husband to start a freelance business over the last couple years. Coming into our relationship planning for careful budgeting kept us from spending at our means initially so that we’d be ready when money was “tighter” later. And yes, we’ve regularly saved for retirement since we got married.

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