I work ALL. DAY. LONG. But I don’t get a paycheck in the mail OR directly deposited into my account! I think I should be referred to as a “work at home mom” instead of “stay at home mom.” Don’t you?
I might not be bringing home the cheddar from a paying job, but because I have a bit more flexibility with my time, I feel I can do some budget friendly things that help out with making our one income go a little further. I have recently declared this idea a way for me to earn my own paycheck. When I spend my time during the day to do things that help reduce the average costs of the household, then I consider it me bringing home part of the bacon.
Here is a list of what makes the moola stretch a bit for us.
Brown bag lunches: Most mornings I consider it a part of my “job” to make my husband’s lunch for the day. I also make one for the kids if I know we will be out and about that way I have food on hand and won’t need to buy it.
Individual bags: I spend a little time making snack bags to portion things out from big boxes or big bags into small servings we can grab and go instead of buying the over priced ones that are already packaged for you.
I cutting my own fruit: I try to buy fresh fruit often, but the kids need it cut up and it takes time. I consider this part of the job because it cost so much more to buy pre cut fruits.
Freezer friendly dishes and big pot dishes that make delicious left overs!: My whole family always says EVERY time we have red beans and rice that it is always better the next day! It is like they are getting through the first meal just to eat the leftovers tomorrow! (Haha) Finding these yummy tricks can not only save time, but can save money too!
Bottles of water handy: Taking water bottles with my wherever I go can cut down on needing to by drinks when we are out of the house for a while. My kids love water, and it’s the best choice anyway, right?!
2. Free FUN
Looking for free activities for the family/kids: Can you say library? Local libraries around BR are amazing! So many activities are available for FREE! Also, the beautiful parks around town!! We also try to schedule playdates and do fun activities at the house so we don’t need to buy tickets for something in order to be entertained for the day! RSMB always has a great list at the beginning of each month that I look at for ideas on how to fill the week! We try to keep outings that have a fee for a special treat or celebration day.
Babysitter swaps: Y’all, if you aren’t already doing this, start now!! Find a friend and do a babysitter swap. It works great as long as you are both committed to making it work out. For us, we do it monthly. We pick two dates at the beginning of the month that work out for both families and we swap kids. It’s like a free date night. And the favor is returned so it is a win win for both of you!
Calling on friends like family: Having family that lives in another city is tough. Finding friends that you can count on like family is priceless. Childcare should not always mean that you spend 12 dollars an hour to be able to go to the doctor. We should lean on each other and take turns helping out! I’ll scratch your back, then you scratch mine.
Sale shopping and buying in bulk works well for us. I often take an inventory of what we have and what we need so if I see it on sale, I know I can buy a few and put them in the storage cabinet for a later time. My trick with sales is to only buy in bulk if it is something I was planning to buy before I saw the sale price!
Going to multiple stores: each month I usually visit 5 or more grocery stores. I have a list for each store of brands and prices that we like, and I buy accordingly. Sometimes I stock up for the month on goods that I know can stay fresh all month long.
Coupons are great too! I feel like I don’t use them as much as my mom did, but when I find them, I definitely make sure to use them.
5. Toys and Clothes
Laundry: I try to keep up with our laundry so that we don’t feel the need to buy too many extra clothes. I feel like each time I get the urge to buy the kids (or myself) new clothes, it is usually because the closet is empty and the hamper is full!
Resale: We also frequently shop at resale clothing stores for both the kids and myself, which saves a ton of money. I feel like I can usually find a great stack of things in everyones size and then I fill in the gaps with buying some basics from other reasonably priced stores during their sale times each year.
Toys: A big helper for me with toys has been to put all of the toys in one room inside the closet. The boys then feel like they are shopping for toys each day when they open the door to the closet. Then when they are finished and want another, we just make sure to put the other toys away before picking out new ones. This has drastically reduced the amount of toys I feel like I need to buy in order to feel like the kiddos are satisfied and entertained at home.