I will never forget the conversation Jay and I had when we came to the conclusion that with the right savings plan, I would be able to stay home once baby was born. I was over the moon ecstatic, but a little nervous. I wanted this to work out so badly, but I didn’t want us to do it at the expense of our family being able to live comfortably. I was super motivated to find a way to be able to stay home. All I had to do was cut a few hundred dollars in expenses each month. Here are a few of the tips I followed to be able to do so! One tip before you begin doing this, write down all your expenses before you start! You may only cut $7, $10 or $15 in one area, but it feels so good to tally it all up at the end and see how much you saved!!
bills you can cut with a just phone call
Cell phone bill
If you have a plan where you have a set amount of data, you won’t be using as much now that you are home. You can connect to your home WI-fi and save a ton of data! Meaning you could cut your bill down! I went from spending $109 per month to just $79 per month with Verizon! There are alot of other changes you can make with your plan (minutes, texts, insurance) that you may not even realize are unnecessary!
Now that you are not driving to and from work every day, you could save a bunch on your car insurance! Some companies offer a device that you can put into your car that will track how far you are driving each month and adjust your monthly bill to match accordingly. You can also check with your insurance provider to see if there is any coverage you have that may be excessive. Your insurance agent wants to keep you as a customer, so they are going to take the time to help you and walk you through everything. Give them a call and let them know your situation. If you are a homeowner, you could also look into combining your home and auto insurance to save. Again, it may only save 10 bucks but it will add up!
The average cable bill is $123 per month! That’s outrageous. Call to see if there is a smaller package for you to switch to or just cut cable all together! There are alot of alternatives for far less. Jay and I have an Amazon Fire Stick and we are able to get a ton of movies through Netflix and we were able to download apps for the stations that have our favorite shows (HBO for him and ABC for me!) The one time cost of the Firestick is 1/3 of a monthly cable bill! Plus once baby is here, you may find you don’t watch TV as much as you used to!
Cut OUT the extras
More eating in, less Eating Out
The grocery bill can be a big way to save each month. On the other end, eating out can add up QUICKLY. Now that I am staying at home, I am able to devote more time to shopping and preparing meals for us. Plus, I am able to max extras for dinner each night that Jay takes for lunch the next day, cutting cost on him eating out for lunch as well! If you do want to eat out, do your research first. There is a restaurant not far from our house that has the most delicious fish tacos on the face of this earth. On Mondays they are only TWO BUCKS. We have a fun family night out for just $8! If you have a larger family, search for places that allow for kids to eat free for added savings.
Costly outings and activities
If you have kiddos who are walking or crawling, getting out of the house can be a necessity, but can also be costly. Get creative with ways to use up that baby energy without opening your wallet. Emmy and I love our local library and they have a few weekly activities we can attend to. Are there walking or nature trails near your house? What about parks? It isn’t possible to do free activities 100% of the time, so when you do need to spend some money, do it wisely! Check Groupon for great deals and call come of your favorite activities to see if they have days where there are specials. A local children’s museum near us has “Two Dollar Tuesdays”!
This one can be tough. Shopping for clothes, accessories, shoes, is all now a special occasion to me. I still make a point to treat myself every once in a while, but I do it within the budget that is set. I personally think it has almost made it more fun… I’ve become a self-proclaimed PRO at bargain shopping. She same goes for clothes for baby and daddy. Don’t be afraid of shopping at second-hand shops for clothes too. I can’t tell you how many times I have found clothes with the tag still on them at Plato’s Closet or Goodwill. You can also take advantage of stores that will allow you to sell clothes you no longer wear to earn money towards your new purchases.
Shop in Bulk when it makes sense
Bulk isn’t always best, but when it is, it pays off big time! Items that parish quickly such as milk, eggs, bread, may not be best to buy in bulk if you family does not eat alot of them. However, no perishable such as pasta, canned soups or veggies, or even meats you can freeze save you BIG time when buying in bulk. I always check out the price per unit section of the price tag to see how to get the most for your money. Also, when it comes to grocery shopping, start cutting out those disposable items. Paper plates, napkins, water bottles, etc. all need to become a thing of the past if you want to be serious about saving money!
Use A Finance Tracking System
This has been the BIGGEST help when it comes to staying within our budget. One of my favorite things to do each month is log into Mint.com and look at our budget and where we stand. WHO would have known I would get so much enjoyment out of such a task? The truth is, I enjoy it because it makes the whole process of watching a budget so simple and it really relieves any worry I may have. A few months ago, we went into the system and set a budget for every category of spending (groceries, utilities, clothing, eating out, etc.) As we use our debit cards, Mint adds the transaction to the specific category and tallies it up for us. When you log in, you are greeted by an easy to read graphic that tells you where you are within each budget for the month. The first time you create your account, you may be surprised to see how much you are spending each month within those categories. It’ may be the wake up call you’ve been needing to get a handle on finances. It has also come in handy when we have had some unexpected costs come up. Just a few weeks ago, Jays car started having some trouble with the left front tire. We knew we would have to pay a big chunk of change to get it repaired, but we really didn’t want to tap into our savings if unnecessary.I logged into Mint and saw that we had hardly spent any of our eating out budget, and due to the colder month, we also used $57 less in our electricity budget. So just from using the service, we knew we had enough room in our monthly budget to purchase the new tire!
Make Savings a Priority
I know there are alot of “courses” and “programs” out there that claim to be able to help save you hundreds, but the best way to guarantee you will see savings is to make it an every day priority in your household. This doesn’t mean that mom is the only one on a mission to save, the whole family has to be on board. The savings has to be a household goal. One great way you and your spouse could get on board with the savings together would be to educate yourselves together. When I was just 23 a mentor of mine bought me a copy of Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and I have never looked at money the same again. I went from wondering where my money was going every month to telling my money where to go. It will light a financial fire in you like you have never expected. But it won’t do any good if you and your partner are not on the same page. Order two copies and make a plan to read together!
I hope at least a few of these tips get you closer to fulfilling your desire to stay at home with baby! Feel free to comment below with your tips to save some money!