I didn’t always know that I wanted to be a stay at home mom. I didn’t know until I was probably around 26 years old that if I ever had kids, I wanted to be able to spend as much time with them as I could. Especially when they were little.
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I also knew that I didn’t want to be living paycheck to paycheck and that I wanted to be able to still contribute to my family’s income. I didn’t want to solely depend on my husband to foot the bills even though I would be saving us a fortune on child care by staying at home.
In order to be able to stay at home with my future children and still be financially independent, I started saving as much as I could so that when the time came for me to have kids, I would be ready.
I started saving as much as I could when I was around 26 or 27. I had my daughter when I was 30 years old and I was able to save up 2 year’s of my salary by that time.
I was able to save that much by living within my means and living a frugal lifestyle. I didn’t deprive myself of anything, I just focused on unnecessary things I could cut back on.
I have always been responsible with money so this wasn’t very hard for me to do. I just kept living like I did in college, on a tight budget. Here are some of the ways I did it:
I got into couponing after college when I was trying to get my own place and pay off my student loans. I came across the site, Hip2Save, and fell in love with how easy she made couponing seem.
I started doing meal planning so that I would eat out less and matched sales with my coupons to really save. On average, I would save 60% or more on my grocery bill and that really adds up.
I got a weekly paper and used sites like Coupons.com to get savings for pretty much everything I needed. I didn’t extreme coupon, but I did stock up on things that I used all the time when I could get it at it’s lowest price.
Shop Sales and Clearance
I only bought items that were on sale or clearance. I did this for groceries, clothes, makeup, shoes, home decor, pretty much everything.
It is really not that hard to do, it just requires patience. Once I started using coupons, I was able to see what the stock up price would be for certain items, I would stock up so I would have enough to get me through the next sales cycle.
The same thing is true with clothes, I would stock up at the end of every season when things were on clearance and I would be set for the next year.
Cut Out Non-Essentials
I gave up as many luxury items as I could without feeling deprived. I still had a Starbucks frapuccino but I cut it back from once a week to once a month.
I was even able to get credit to stores or products that I would buy everyday just by referring my friends. They would save on their purchase, and I got a credit. It was a win-win for both of us!
If I ever wanted to treat myself to a spa or manicure, I would always check sites like Groupon first. I’d save at least 50% on these kinds of services and still get to feel pampered.
I was able to still live the lifestyle I wanted while being able to save as much as I could. You can still treat yourself to luxuries, you just have to put in a little work and be creative.
An easy way that I made some extra cash to save was by taking online surveys. There are a lot out there (and some are scams) but the ones I used and loved were:
I would normally make anywhere from $30-$50 per site every month. They don’t take a lot of time. I would spend about 30 minutes to an hour each night taking them. I would do them while I watched TV.
I also joined Swagbucks where I got paid for doing searches, watching videos, taking surveys, etc. I earned about $30/month with this.
With most of these sites, you can cash out for gift cards or Paypal. I just used Paypal and then sent everything to my savings account.
During this time, I also got really into entering giveaways. I was able to save so much money by winning products, gift cards, and even cash by doing this.
I would mainly enter blog giveaways because they don’t have as many people entering them as big sweepstakes do so your chances of winning are a lot higher.
I would find different ones to enter on sites like Giveaway Promote, Online Sweepstakes, and Sweeties Sweeps. If there was a particular item I wanted, I would do a Google search like “Visa Gift Card Giveaway” or something like that.
I would spend about an hour a day on average entering different giveaways, it only takes a minute or two to enter each one. So I would enter about 30-40 different ones.
I would win a couple a day on average. Some would be small prizes like a free product coupon while others would be worth a few hundred dollars.
I kept this up when I found out I was pregnant and entered for everything baby related. We were able to win a lot of baby supplies and even diaper prize packs!
Paid off Debt as Fast as I Could
When I finished college I had $17,000 in student loans and I needed a new car, mine was on it’s last leg, so I had a car loan for $10,000.
I knew that in order for me to be able to afford to be a stay at home mom, I had to get rid of that debt as fast as I could. I payed an extra $100 on my student loan and an extra $70 on my car payment every single month.
I just had my payments set up so that was the amount that would be deducted every month. In my head, that is what I owed and I wasn’t going to pay any less.
By paying all that extra, I was able to have both of my loans payed off by the time I was 29. I think they were both payed off within a couple of months of each other and it felt great!
I took those payments, I think they were $500 total, and instead of spending it I just had that amount go into my savings. I just kept living like I was paying the loans but was actually paying myself.
Keep Maintaining It
I was able to save up 2 year’s of my salary by doing all of the above and just living within my means. If there is ever something that I want, I save for it. I still live frugally so that I can keep staying home with my daughter.
I could have gone on nicer vacations or bought a nicer car but being able to stay at home with my child was more important for me and I never regret that decision.
I had the blog before I was pregnant but only treated it like a hobby. Since then, I have treated like an actual business and I am actually making an income off of it.
I have also become an Amazon FBA seller and I love it. I pretty much get paid to shop for bargains which I love to do anyway. It is something that I do on my own time and it is a great source of extra income for me.
By finding ways to work from home, I have only had to use about 1/4 of my savings. Everything else has been paid for by the blog and my selling business.
My daughter is 2 1/2 now and I can still afford to stay home with her until she starts kindergarten, maybe even longer! It’s more than I ever could have imagined.
I just want this to be a resource for anyone that wants to be able to stay at home with their kids. I know not everyone is able to but it is possible with some planning and hard work.
I have had to make sacrifices and I don’t have the fanciest things but I am OK with that.
My life has changed so much since I had my daughter, not only have I become a parent to an amazing kid but I have been given the courage and confidence to start my own business. Something I never thought I could or would do!
If you want to save money to be a stay at home mom or buy your first home or just go on a nice vacation, use some of the tips above and you should reach your goal in no time.