If you are a family that is choosing to have your wife stay at home in order to care for your house and/or your children, often it feels like you may have made the wrong decision. Shouldn’t “the lady of the house” be working and bringing in income as well? After all, that’s what many families choose to do.
Having a wife (or husband) stay at home to run the household is a very important decision that often benefits the kids and the family in general in the long run. If you have decided that a stay-at-home mom (or dad) is the right choice for your family, don’t fret about the finances. There are many ways that a stay at home parent can help bring income in to the family.
Saving money is earning money
As a stay-at-home mom of nearly 10 years, I’ve learned that one of the ways I can bring income into our family is to focus on how we can spend less. Here are some of the ways our family saves money:
- Learn to use less. Using less of products, or substituting a less expensive product for a more costly one, can easily save your family hundreds of dollars a year.
- Cut waste. The average American family wastes 15% of the money spent on groceries by throwing away food. This can amount to as much as $1100 to $2300 a year in wasted money. Ouch! Work to reduce your family’s food waste by making smaller meals, bringing leftovers to lunch for work, freezing leftovers for another day, or having a “leftover day” for dinner or lunch at home.
- Find freebies. Entertaining a family can get expensive, but there are always ways to cut costs in this area. Some examples of free or cheap entertainment are: go to the beach, hit the local parks/playgrounds, and taking advantage of other great offers like www.kidsbowlfree.com in the summer. Often too, local museums, amusement parks and movie theaters will offer free days or super discount days in the summer.
- Exchange expensive extracurricular activities for cheaper ones. In our journey to get out of debt, we’ve exchanged expensive kids’ sports activities for budget-friendly family sports, such as biking, hiking, walking and swimming. You could also design a triathlon (bike/swim/run) race just for your family, plan a camping trip, or spend one day a month on a geocaching course.
- Re-evaluate your spending habits. At least once a month, re-evaluate your monthly spending habits to see what you might be able to do without. Do you really need cable TV, or will Netflix work just fine? Can restaurant or takeout expenses be cut? Can you switch out some of your name brand items for generic or homemade ones, saving money on your grocery bill? Can the family drink more water and less pop or juice?
By using tips like those above, a stay-at-home parent can easily save the family thousands of dollars every year.
What tips do you have for saving money as a stay at home parent?
Laurie is a wife, mother to 4 and homesteader who blogs about personal finance, self-sufficiency and life in general over at The Frugal Farmer. Part witty, part introspective and part silly, her goal in blogging is to help others find their way to financial freedom and to a simpler, more peaceful life.