Balancing the responsibilities of motherhood and a career can be a stressful task even at the best of times.
It’s even more challenging when you must also deal with the additional parenting demands that come along with having a child with special needs.
Massive Money Tips for Stay At Home Moms
According to Forbes, 3 out of 5 moms with autistic children stay home to care for their children.
Those who are working commonly report needing to take a leave of absence, or turn down promotions in order to meet their child’s needs. Workplaces often aren’t accommodating of this and being reprimanded can lead to additional stress.
So you might be wondering how to afford to be a stay at home mom. You can lower your budget without making sacrifices.
If you currently stay home or are considering it but aren’t sure how to afford to be a stay at home mom, read on for tips on saving money and lowering your budget.
(Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links)
Becoming a Stay at Home Mom
I left my job in 2017 and it felt like a weight was immediately lifted off my shoulders. I loved my job but it was too much to deal with on top of all the things my children needed, which was my first priority.
I personally use every tip and product mentioned in this post and these are real numbers taken from my family’s budget. We are now more financially stable than we were before with two full-time incomes.
When I first published this post in January 2018, I had adjusted our budget by $1900/month. Since then I’ve made additional changes to find more savings and I’ve now adjusted our family budget by a total of $2650 per month!
1. Buy Your Groceries Online
Buying groceries online has been a complete game-changer for us. Since online shopping became available in our area grocery shopping is now stress-free and I’m saving about $200/month on our grocery bill which has really helped lower our budget.
How do I do it?
I start out by creating a complete meal plan for the week. Once I have all the family meals planned, I turn that list into a grocery list. I make sure I have all the ingredients to prepare each meal on my list.
This way I can cross items off on my list as I go.
Nothing gets forgotten because I’m at home selecting items on my laptop, so I never have to make a second or third trip out to the store. Plus, I never end up with random items in my cart that weren’t on my list from impulse buying or the kids asking for treats.
It’s much easier to stay within your grocery budget because you can see the cost in your cart at all times, there are no surprises when you get up to the cashier and everything is already scanned.
Plus, you can more easily compare products for the best deal online than you can in a store staring at shelves of food (which by the way, those shelves are carefully arranged to make you spend more money).
Most sites will show you the full price and the breakdown of the cost per 100 g. So you can make sure you’re getting the best value, not just the lowest price.
2. Savings Apps
Plus, you save even more by using coupon apps.
Savings Star is a cashback grocery program that I highly recommend joining. You upload your grocery receipts to their app to earn cashback on your purchases.
The best thing about Savings Star is that every week they have a new healthy offer where you earn cashback on different fruits and vegetables!
They even have offers that never expire – like 1% cashback on all Kellogs products.
Where do you shop online?
Many local grocery stores are starting to offer online shopping as an option for getting your groceries. This service is growing in popularity
Amazon also has a grocery delivery program now called AmazonFresh. Amazon delivers your groceries directly to your door.
You can check availability and Try AmazonFresh Free Trial here
Get Your Bills Lowered (Without Sacrificing)
You shouldn’t have to give anything up in order to lower
3. Turn Down the Thermostat
Turning down your thermostat by 1 degree can lower your home heating bill by 1-3% depending on where you live. Since lowering our thermostat we are saving about $25-30/month.
Also, turn it down even more, when you aren’t going to be home. It takes less energy to warm a cold room back up when you get home than it does to keep a room at a consistent temperature all the time.
Installing a programmable thermostat with geofencing may help you save even more money because they are progra
4. Turn Off The Lights
I know this is the most obvious tip in the world. But, how mindful are you actually of this being done? Do your kids leave the lights on during the day? Do you? Being more conscientious of this can help
Also, make sure you turn off and unplug any electric devices when you aren’t using them. Some items continue to use a small amount of electricity even when they aren’t turned on such as the TV, computer, or microwave.
You should also u
Taking the time to reduce our energy consumption has reduced the electricity by for my family of 5 by about $30/month.
Here’s the proof:
The image below is a comparison of my electricity usage ( including electric heat) both this year and last year. By making the changes above, I was able to reduce my electricity consumption and my bill by about 23%.
5. Negotiate Your Bills or Have Someone Do It For You
Companies that provide services like cell phones, internet, home security, cable, etc often can be negotiated with to get a lower rate.
These service providers have a loyalty department that strives for customer retention. As long as your account is in good standing, you can almost always get discounts through this department.
I was able to get my cable/internet bill lowered by $50/month and my cell phone bill lowered by $45/month. I also got a new phone in the process.
This lowered our budget by another $95/month.
How to Negotiate Your Service Rates:
- Before you call about any of your utilities, check online and find out the best deal for new customers that your company currently has to offer.
- Also, research their competitor’s rates and offers for new customers.
- When you call in, listen to the prompts and dial the number to connect to the department for canceling your services. This department can often give out deals other departments can’t, in order to keep customers.
- Tell them you’re considering moving your services elsewhere because of better prices. Mention their pricing for new customers and mention the competitor’s pricing.
- If your account is in good standing, the customer service agent will offer you some type of promotion in order to keep you as a customer. These agents are often paid a commission for each customer that agrees to keep their services so it doesn’t take a lot of effort.
Check out Trim Financial as well. They’re a free service that tracks your spending habits, budget, manages your subscription services and you can submit your account information and they will negotiate your bills for you.
I haven’t personally used their negotiating service because I was successful on my own. However, the service is free to use, they only charge a fee if they can successfully lower your bills. That fee is 25% of your savings.
6. Analyze Your Spending
Trim will also look for opportunities for you to save money and notify you through Facebook of those opportunities. This is completely free to use.
You can view how much money you’re spending by merchant, category, date, etc. For example, I can see that in March I spent over $107 at Tim Hortons (which is a coffee shop) and had over 35 transactions throughout the month.
That’s a pretty huge saving opportunity and I’ve started making my coffee at home more often to save some extra money.
In April I was able to cut back how much I spent at Tim Hortons to $65 by making more coffee at home. That’s a savings of $40 per month and I didn’t have to give up my coffee. (Yes, I love my coffee very much).
7. Do Surveys & Reward Programs
So this doesn’t lower your budget but it can increase your spending money
You can’t make a living off them, but there are some legit programs out there that will pay you a little bit of money.
If you spend some time on them and save the bit of money you make – at the very least you’ll spend less out of pocket for Christmas time.
Swagbucks – These guys are definitely the most legit survey company out there. They pay you for surveys and offers and also give cash back for online shopping.
If you log on every day you can definitely make anywhere from $10-50/month.( I’ve made as much as $75 in a month once).
They pay to your PayPal account, or as an Amazon gift card, and other online gift cards, too. They have cashback offers on thousands of stores. I was able to redeem a $190 Amazon gift card just before Christmas last year.
Swagbucks also now has a daily trivia game where you answer 10 multiple choice questions and the winners split the grand prize. Prizes range from $1000-5000. And even if you don’t win, they give out bonus points every game!
UserCrowd – (Formerly known as UsabilityHUB )I discovered this little gem a few months back. UserCrowd asks you quick questions – it takes 5 seconds or less- and then you get 10 cents per test.
I get a notification on my phone when a test is available. Sometimes there are 10 a day, sometimes you don’t see one for a week. But they take no time at all and pay you through PayPal.
EBates – EBates has been around for a long time but I only heard of it last year. With EBates you can automatically earn cashback from shopping online at the places you always shop. Then, they mail you out a check every few months. Plus, if you sign up for a new account, you’ll get $10 as soon as you spend $25 online.
Ebates now offers in-store cashback as well. If you link your card to your Ebates account, they will automatically credit you with cashback for any online retailers.
Sell Your Books – Have any books or textbooks around that are in good shape? Sell Back Books will buy your used books from you, and cover the cost of shipping so it doesn’t cost you a dime. They pay direct deposit, too. It’s not long-term money-making option, but it’s a great way to get some extra cash.
4. Get A Side Hustle
Find something you’re good at, and start a side hustle. There are tons of ways you can use your skills and abilities to make money and with the right side hustle, you won’t need to wonder how to afford to be a stay at home mom.
8. Freelance on Fiverr
There are tons of services you can sell on Fiverr as a side hustle. Logo design, transcription, writing resumes, proofreading and editing documents. There are tons of things that you can get paid to do. There are even small businesses that will pay you to post on social media for them.
Freelancing is growing in popularity and is an affordable option for small businesses that need things done. Check out Fiverr and check out what other sellers are doing to get some ideas on what you have to offer.
9. Start Your Own Blog
Truthfully, becoming a blogger is not for the faint of heart, and I won’t pretend it is. There is a lot involved in starting up a blog.
Most bloggers take several months of work before they start making any money (although I truly did make money since my first-month blogging I know I’m the exception, not the rule). It’s not for everybody.
If this is something you’re interested in, check out The Basics of Blogging. I read Pinning For Pageviews when I first started blogging last year and it really helped me hit the ground running when it came to this blog. Since then I’ve grown my Pinterest account to reach more than 3.4 million people and bring in about 90,000 page views per month.
I currently make about $2200 each month from blogging. My blogging revenue comes from advertising and affiliate sales.
10. Offer Child Care in Your Home
Reliable childcare can be extremely difficult to find. If you’re going to be a stay at home mom, why not offer to care for another child or two in your home?
When I first left my job, I was hesitant to take on the job of caring for another child, because sometimes watching my own three was stressful and busy enough. But I actually find it easier to have another kid here now.
The children keep each other busy which means they don’t need as much direct attention from me. Of course, I’m supervising them all but I can set up activities for them and stay close by while the kids play together. I babysit part-time and make $350 per month.
11. Testing Apps and Websites
Sign up for Tester Work and get paid for testing out apps and websites for bugs and usability. When tests are available you’ll receive an invitation by e-mail.
It’s a first come first serve opportunity so tests can fill up fast. You’ll get all the instructions for the test once you’re in.
You get paid per bug that you discover, so when the test launches make sure you’re ready to go because duplicates don’t count, you’ve got to be the first person to find it.
My Budget: Overview
So, to break down my month budget, both earnings and savings, it looks something like this:
$2000 from blogging
$350 from babysitting
$50 from other online earning opportunities
Total: $ 2400
$1100 in childcare expenses for 3 kids
$50 off cable/internet
$45 off cellphone
$200 off groceries
$65 off electricity (compared to same period last year when I was working)
$40 off coffee
This means altogether, compared to when I was working, I’ve adjusted my monthly budget by $3900 and this has allowed me to comfortably be a stay at home mom.
So because of all these changes, I was able to become a stay at home mom and be home with my three kids every day. I hope this is able to make that transition more comfortable for you, too.