The beauty and challenge of being a stay at home mom is that no two days look exactly the same...I prefer our more structured days but I try to 'lean in' and make the most of each day.
So you’ve made a decision to be a stay-at-home mom. Despite all efforts to balance work-life, 24 hours just doesn’t seem enough for both family and career. You know that there are many other jobseekers waiting to take your job, but there is only one person who can best take care of your kids – and that’s you.
The whole idea just sounds liberating, but there are worries that go with the life ahead. You know that giving up your income means cutting down your savings too. Well there are always ways to balance income and spending. Here are 10 budgeting hacks for stay-home moms.
1. Income vs. Spending
Logically, the income you gave up from your career must equal your cuts in spending. Fortunately, not having to go to office has already saved you some money effortlessly – from transportation to designer clothing and commercial food. Now all you need is to find a few more sources of potential savings. Try searching in your credit card bill. You might find some habitual purchases that aren’t necessary after all.
2. Be creative
When cutting down on unnecessary purchases isn’t enough, it’s time to cut down on the basics. This doesn’t mean a complete turnaround in your lifestyle. It may only entail a little creativity, like redesigning your home to conserve energy and water. Consider these simple ways of achieving sustainable home designs:
· Insulate your home. Insulating acts as a barrier to prevent heat from passing in during summer, and passing out during winter.
· Use energy-efficient lighting, like LED and CFL bulbs.
· Choose efficient appliances with positive product reviews.
· Turning electrical appliances off, instead of leaving them in standby mode also saves on energy.
· Collect rainwater for your plants.
3. Downsize a bit
You may also consider downsizing your house to a townhouse or condo. Find one that provides the right living space for your family. It can provide you the same comfort while saving on mortgage/rent and maintenance costs.
4. Do it yourself
As you spend more time at home, you may discover that there are services you formerly paid for that you can now do yourself like housekeeping and babysitting. Aside from saving money, you’ll see that sometimes, nobody can do the job better than the big boss.
5. Home cooking
Even a budget meal in a restaurant could not compare with the taste (and cost) of mama’s home cooking. This also allows you to choose the right food that satisfies your family’s nutritional needs.
6. Plan ahead
Of course, you don’t want to miss on birthday celebrations and family vacations. When big expenditures like these come along, it’s best to plan ahead. This keeps you from splurging, while keeping the occasion as special and memorable as you intend it to be.
7. Garage sale
Budgeting is not all about cutting on costs, but finding additional sources of income too. Why not try having a garage sale. As your kids grow, you’ll find lots of stuff that they’ve outgrown that are still worth selling.
8. Create and sell
Your old stuff may not be only thing worth selling. It’s time to look into things you can create that others cannot, or simply don’t have time to do. Beaded jewelry, arts and crafts, cakes and cookies – these may just be some things you can make and sell for extra income.
9. Online selling
Well it doesn’t have to be your own creation. You can source products worth selling to your neighbors and friends. Selling online further expands your market without requiring you to leave your home.
10. Establish a career at home
Being a stay-home mom does not necessarily mean the end of your career. As your kids grow, you’ll also find the need to grow and expand your horizon and establish a career at home. Good thing, there are home-based jobs, such as online careers that allow you to keep your talents useful.
As moms, we are always willing to make the necessary sacrifices for our kids’ physical and emotional wellbeing. But this doesn’t mean we need to sacrifice on our budget items and personal growth. It only takes a few adjustments to shift from career woman to stay-home mom. Once you’ve overcome the adjustments, you’ll be amazed to see that with the same 24 hours a day, attending to your kids, balancing you finances and using to your talents to earn extra income are all possible.
by Jona Jone
Jona Jone is a Washington Times Communities writer and a mother of 2 (going 3) kids.
August is "Back to School" Month at The Motherhood Collective. Over the next few weeks, our writers will be sharing their teaching moments, the ways they encourage learning, their thoughts on education or the things THEY are learning as a parent. Even if your child isn't heading back to the classroom in a few weeks, we hope that our thoughts on learning will inspire you. ~TMC ---
Confession: I’m a college-educated 28 year old. I’ve worked in laboratories, universities (including a stint at Harvard), and very busy veterinarian offices. In April 2011 I took on a new position: stay at home mom, with a diverse farm which needs a lot of tending. My new “boss” is Olivia, a cute 16 month old girl with darling curls and a huge personality. Like the best of bosses, she expects a lot out of me and makes me want to do better than my very best. While it’s a dynamic job, where no day is ever the same as the one that came before it, it’s also an experience in humility and humanity.
With August being “Back to School” month here on The Motherhood Collective blog, I thought I would share the top five things I’ve been learning from the little person I spend the majority of my day with:
This is one of those lessons we’re taught our entire lives, but it really comes into play once there is a tiny human being depending on you for everything, day and night. It can be overwhelming, especially at first. The good news: They DO become more self sufficient. I remember rejoicing the first time Olivia played on her own while I made dinner. So just remember, between the constant calls of “Mama!” and sippy cups, and snacks, and sharing your dinner with your child … it will all be worth it in the end.
2. Slow down. Take your time.
Early on, even before Olivia was born, I was being taught that I needed to go a little slower. Prior to finding out I was pregnant, I remember several road trips where I was hauling my horse back to Virginia after a weekend of showing in North Carolina. I would be so tired, that I would have to pull over in a shaded parking lot, lock the doors, and take a nap before I could continue the drive home. Nature rewards us after a lengthy, sometimes exhausting, gestation and parturition, with the period of newborn amazement: that span of time after the arrival of our precious babes where every moment is a miracle. (Of course, I’m wondering if that phase lasts as long with subsequent children?) It’s a period of time where we move slowly as our bodies heal, and we look upon our babies in awe. As our children grow and develop, their needs change, but it’s always important to remember that every baby develops differently.
3. The world is marvelous.
In her room, Olivia has a piece of art that contains the following quote from Robert Louis Stevenson that says “The world is full of wonderful things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” Since her birth, Olivia has always been calmer when outside. The clouds, the trees, the sun, and the wind – there is so much there for observation and exploration. From Olivia I have learned to appreciate the smallest of pleasures – the breeze on our face as we drive across a field, the feel of soft fabric on our skin, the joy of splashing in a puddle of water. To see her delight and engage in our environment is one of my greatest joys. Children encourage us to explore the world with them; but helping a child experience the world can be frustrating because it requires us to slow down and experience the world on their terms. A simple walk to the mailbox could end up taking an hour, with many detours to check out a tree, a bug, a leaf, etc. I have come to value this time of exploration, because it usually lends itself to a period of quiet, a time for some inflection, and amazement at watching my child discover the world that surrounds her.
4. Friends are essential (for mamas and babies).
I wouldn’t so much as say that Olivia has taught me this, but being a mother has definitely highlighted the importance of friends. Support groups, play groups, they are an important part of my life. Whether you attend The Motherhood Café and its playgroup, La Leche League, or just simply catch up with other mamas over coffee, getting their perspectives and help go a long way to stretching out a mama’s sanity. I am blessed by a core group of mama friends, and I’m pretty sure Olivia enjoys playing with their little ones as well. We both benefit from their friendship.
5. Don’t forget Daddy (or Mama).
As parents, we play critical roles in the lives of our children, and it’s far too easy to allow children to overrun the family. However, for the sake of the family unit, we must remember to make special time for ourselves, as husband and wife, not just mama and daddy. (Trust me on this one.) It can be as simple as a quiet chat in the evening after bedtime, a surprise lunch date, or even as luxurious as a weekend getaway to a fancy hotel. It doesn’t take much effort to keep the flame alive, and everyone in your family will benefit.