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 autism. 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. It can be done 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)
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 $150/month on our grocery bill.
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. During this time 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 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.
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).
Plus save even more with apps like Checkout 51. Check out 51 lets you upload photos of your grocery receipt and earn cash back. I find it much easier to make sure I have the right products in my cart, especially for the bonus offers, when I’m ordering online. And, some grocery sites allow you to clip coupons and apply them right at the checkout.
Where do you do it?
A lot of local grocery stores are starting online shopping as an option for getting your groceries. Check what is available in your area. You can also order groceries online at Wal-Mart. You can check if its available in your area by entering your zip code here. Amazon also has a grocery delivery program now called AmazonFresh. You can check availability and Try AmazonFresh Free Trial here.
2. Spend Less on Bills (Without Sacrificing)
You shouldn’t have to give anything up in order to spend less. So yes, here’s a few tips so you can have your cake and eat it too.
Turn Down the Thermostat
Turning down your thermostat by 1 degree can lower your home heating bill by 1-3%. I lowered my thermostat and have been saving about $25/month as a result. Also, turn it down 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.
Turn Off The Lights
I know this is the most obvious tips 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 you save a lot of mone
Also, make sure you turn off and unplug anything electric when you aren’t using it. Some items continue to use a small amount of electricity even when they aren’t turned on such as the TV, computer, or microwave. Unplug chargers as soon as devices like your phone or laptop are fully charged. Taking the time to reduce our energy consumption has reduced the electricity by for my family of 5 by about $30/month.
Have a Professional Get Your Bills Lowered
The folks over at ShrinkABill can negotiate your bills and help you save up to 35% on your cell phone, internet, home security, etc. It’s free to try out, and if they can’t get your bills lowered, they’ll send you a $25 gift card! It’s a win-win situation even if it turns out that they can’t help you save less.
3. Do Surveys & Reward Programs
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 really do pay you for surveys and offers, and give cash back for online shopping. If you log on every day you can definitely make $10-50/month. I made $75 in one month (I completed a special offer). But they pay to your PayPal account, or as an Amazon gift card, and some other options too.
UsabilityHub – I discovered this little gem a few months back. Usability hub 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.
EBates – EBates has been around for a long time but I only heard of it last year. With EBates you can automatically earn cash back 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.
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 a 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.
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 who will pay you to post on social media for them. Freelancing is growing in popularity and is an affordable option for small businesses who need things done. Check out Fiverr and check out what other sellers are doing to get some ideas on what you have to offer.
Start Your Own Blog
Okay, 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. Check out this list of everything you need to do when starting a blog, and you will know pretty quickly if this is for you or not. I currently make about $400 a month blogging, but my goal is to make around $1000.
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 enough. But I actually find it easier to have another kid here now. I babysit a little guy close in age to my daughter. They play together a lot which means my daughter and my son don’t argue as much, win! I only watch him part-time, and I make $350/month.
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 first come first serve 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 be ready to go because duplicates don’t count, you’ve got to be the first to find it.
So overall, I personally make about $800/month from different avenues listed above. I’m also saving, in total (including what I no longer need to spend in daycare) about $1100 each month compared to when I was a full time working mom. Which means altogether, I’ve changed my monthly budget by $1900 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.