25 Tips to Save money as a Stay-At-Home Mom
Are you a busy mom that would rather spend more because you don’t have the time or energy to shop around. I’ve been there. Sometimes it is just easier to throw that toy in the cart than to hear you kid throw one more tantrum. However, with a few simple tips to save money as a stay-at-home mom, you will learn to be a frugal stay-at-home mom and keep your money for the things that matter.
If you have cut your family budget to one income, can you afford to be a stay-at-home mom? This is a tough decision. Yet, if you find family money-saving tricks you will learn how to create a family budget and make ends meet but still have fun.
Let’s face it, having kids is expensive. You can literally spend everything you make and your kid will still need something else. Not to mention, kids activities are pricey.
Therefore, it is best to find ways to cut costs so you can continue to stay home with your little ones. Besides, who wants to pay more than they have to?
This post will teach you how to save hundreds per month so you can stay at home with your kids and live on one income.
Need a pretty savings tracker? Check out our printable shop here
25 Ways to Save Money as a Busy Mom
1. Learn to Use the Clippers
Why pay $15 or more plus a tip for a little boy’s haircut? Learn how to use the clippers. I cut my husband and my son’s hair and for the price of those haircuts, I can now cut their hair any time they need it at home with the clippers I purchased from Amazon.
Try watching some YouTube videos and practicing. Give yourself some leeway time. For example, the first time I attempted cutting my little boy’s hair, it was a long weekend. That way I could take my son in to get his hair fixed if I really botched it, but thankfully with some after-cut tweaks, it ended up turning out okay. The more your practice, the better you will get. Plus there is something special about being able to cut a loved one’s hair.
These are our favorite clippers that include everything you need!
Tip: If the cut is a little uneven the first few tries, you can smooth out his hair with gel.
Of course, you can do this with a little girl’s hair cut too. Again, watch free Youtube videos and learn how to evenly cut her hair. You can just take a little off so if it is not what you want, you can always have it fixed.
2. Stop Buying Juice Boxes
Instead of buying juice boxes try buying water and adding flavor to it or buying a big container of juice in bulk and dilute it with water to save money and your kid’s teeth. You can use a portable thermos if you are on the go and save a ton.
We love Zak’s brand for a thermos for on the go!
3. Park Play Dates
The best part of a park playdate is the price. It is free to visit the local park and I find kids usually get along better when they are running and playing outside and not fighting over sharing toys. Plus, many indoor play places are SO expensive. You can literally save hundreds each month by finding free and frugal things for your kids to do.
4. Go to the Store Alone
Taking your kids to the store is a no-no if you re trying to save money. My little one asks for everything under the sun and pouts an entire day or two if I do not buy him the toy he wanted. I am usually strong and stick to my list, but it is easier to go to the store alone for now until he understands needs versus wants.
You will spend more when you bring your kids to the store and it is difficult to keep track of sales, coupons, and lists with little ones in tow. Try creating a meal plan and making a super-organized list. That way you can run out when your spouse is home from work.
5. Control the Toothpaste
It is nice to let your kids do their own toothpaste once a week so they learn how, but if you let them do it every night they squeeze out three times as much as an adult would and you then must buy toothpaste once a week. Plus the toothpaste container clearly states only a pea size amount for kids under six.
Pro Tip: I buy my kids’ toothpaste at Dollar Tree. They sell Colgate which is a brand I trust.
6. Buy Used Clothes
Try shopping for second-hand clothing for your little ones. Kids grow quickly so spending $30 on a shirt isn’t economical since they will outgrow it fast. Search mom-to-mom Facebook groups in your area. You can find some great deals and sometimes even find new stuff at a huge discount.
Many people just want to get rid of extra clothing that no longer fits so you can score huge deals. Also check mom-to-mom sales at schools and churches and second-hand retail stores specifically for kids. Here are the best things to buy in mom-to-mom groups/sales:
- dress shoes
- Christmas outfits
- Picture outfits (many are like new because they were only worn once)
- Halloween costumes
- bags of clothing in bulk
I also wait for deals at Target and buy off-season when items are at the best discount. Try shopping for next year’s clothing after Christmas or shopping for summer clothing in September to find the best prices in retail stores. I’ve got a winter coat both my boys wore for around $8 at Target off-season and boots and shoes for around $5 that lasted an entire season.
Target is my favorite store for clearance items. Check out what is on clearance now. If you are in-store, they will price match the online price.
7. Buy Used Books or Use the Library
Make use of the public library. We check out books every couple of weeks and my kids absolutely love reading because I take them to the library often.
Also, check to see if your library sells used books. In fact, we just got a musical Charlie Brown’s Christmas book for $.50 that plays music and many other selections for $.25-$1.00. I saw the same book at Barnes and Noble for around $15.00. So I saved $14.50 by checking the discounted library books for sale.
You can also check stores such as Salvation Army and Goodwill for used Children’s books. Many times, you can find new books at these places too.
8. No Prepackaged Snacks
Why buy prepackaged snacks when you can do it yourself. If you buy the bigger bag of Goldfish or pretzels and split them up into containers, you will save money. Package out your food on Sunday and be ready for the week.
These are our favorite kid’s containers to send to school.
9. Redbox It
Instead of going to the movies with the kids where you can spend $50 or more depending on your family size, have a family movie night at home and rent a Redbox for $1.25 (make sure you return it the next day to avoid more charges) and make a pizza and popcorn at home. You can have your family movie night for under $10. We love Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready for nights like this but Frescheta is my favorite frozen pizza and is often around $5.00.
Also, check Amazon Prime for new Movies. We love our free shows on Amazon Prime. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial here.
More Tips to Save Money as a Stay-at-Home Mom
10. Shop Sales for Birthday/Christmas
I usually have a stockpile of toys in my closet. I buy toys at a discount after Christmas. Also, summer toys go on sale at the end of July to make room for new toys and the Holiday toy rush. During these times you can find steep discounts on brand new toys. Stock up and save the toys for Christmas and birthdays. You can also keep a stockpile for birthday parties so you aren’t forced to run out and buy a new toy as a gift at full price. I honestly do not buy my kids a bunch of toys for Christmas because my family spoils them, but I put together a list of gift ideas for kids that have too many toys which you can check out here.
11. Park Birthday Parties
Don’t spend a huge fee-paying for a play place or swimming birthday party. I checked the price at a local swim place and it was $500 to have a private kid’s swim party and that did not include food. Instead, we opted to have my son’s party at a park. It was superhero themed and we had pinned the “A” on Captain America, Hulk bean bag toss, silly string Spiderman, find the missing superhero rocks, and unfreeze Batman with Squirt guns.
The kids loved it and had so much fun. We bought some Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready pizzas for $5 and I made a salad. We ended up spending around $50 on food and party supplies and everything else was free.
12. Cardboard Boxes are Fun
My kids love to make things out of cardboard boxes. We save boxes when we order things and we have made the following:
- fire truck
- hulk bean bag toss
- hot wheels ramps
- Thomas the train boxes
Save your boxes and decorate them. Let your kid’s creativity shine through or search for ideas on Pinterest. You don’t have to be fancy because your kids will not care.
13. Split Meals at Restaurants
When we go out to eat, we usually have our kids split a meal. We have found most restaurants give our children way to much food even if we order from the kid’s menu and it ends up going to waste. We have them split a kid’s meal, order water and give them some of our food if they are not full. This has always worked, but my kids are four and six. I am sure these days will be over soon enough with two boys but for now, we are going to savor it. In general, many restaurants give way too much food. My husband and I even split a plate occasionally.
14. Drink Water
This is a great way to save if you are going out to eat, but you can also teach your kids to drink water at home too. This is way cheaper than buying juice. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to drink tap water. Consider buying a filter. This purchase will save you money in the long run.
You can check out our favorite water filter here
15. Meal Plan with Kid-Friendly Foods
Meal Planning is one of my favorite ways to save money. But it doesn’t’ work if your kids won’t eat it. Make sure to find recipes your kids will actually like and avoid more stress at dinner time. Here is my favorite kid-friendly meal plan! It includes 14 dinners for under $75 with a free printable:
Budget-Friendly Meal Plan – Two Weeks Dinner under $75
New to meal planning? Ultimate Bundles, a company I absolutely love, has everything you need to get started in their latest bundle. Check it out here.
16. Use Ibotta
If you have kids, you seriously gotta Ibotta! This is a money-saving app that gives you money back after you shop. There are always kid-friendly products listed like ego waffles and/or yogurt. If you want to learn more, here is my Ibotta review! I should mention, you get $10 for signing up through my link: Yes, I want to sign up for Ibotta and get my $10!
Here is my second favorite rebate app and yes, you can use both on one product, even with coupons. I love it when a product is listed on both money-back apps.
17. Sidewalk Chalk or Paint With Water
Looking for something fun to do? You can buy a container of sidewalk chalk at the dollar store and it will entertain your child for hours! You can also practice writing shapes, colors, his/her name!
Or paint the sidewalk with water. My son used to do this at his preschool and the kids loved it. Buy a big paintbrush at the dollar store, grab a bucket of water, and let them go to town!
18. Free Events
Find your City’s Facebook page and search for free events. Often you will find free concerts, arts and crafts shows, and Holiday activities. Also, check your local library for free programs. My sons had a blast at our cities free concert series last summer.
19. Pack a Lunch
Does your kid’s school offer hot lunch? It is usually much cheaper to pack lunch than buy hot lunch plus you know what he/she is eating. I buy Lunchables when on sale for $1 or make our own Lunchables. We also send sandwiches and pasta salad. You can save over $10 per week depending on the cost of your school lunches and how many kids you have.
Here is a great choice for a kid’s lunch bag
20. Let Them Save Up for It – If your child keeps bugging you for a certain toy, teach them how to budget and save up for the toy. They can earn money by doing chores or perhaps you give your child an allowance. Teach them that hard work pays off and you can teach kids about money at all stages.
Great Chores for Younger Kids (4 and up):
- dusting with vinegar water
- clearing their plate
- folding laundry
- putting clothes in the hamper
- hanging up bath towels
- picking up toys
Last Five Family Money-Saving Tips for moms
I just love Ebates and it is one of my favorite tips to save money as a stay-at-home mom. The only thing I dislike is when I forget to use it. If you haven’t heard of Ebates yet, it is a website that gives you a percentage back of what you spend online. Ebates includes 1000’s of popular stores such as Macy’s, Target, Walmart, and many, many more. If you want to learn more about Ebates check out my review: Ebates Review.
22. Buy Toys They Will Use
Don’t waste money on all the little toys they want and buy them a toy every time you go to the store. Instead, save you money for items they will use. I don’t mind spending money on the following toys because I know my boys will actually use them and they will not sit in a container for two years until I decide to do a toy purge:
- Building blocks
- Dramatic play/Dress up toys
- Hot wheel tracks
- Art Supplies
Related Money-Saving Posts
- 25 Best Learning Toys for Preschool Kids
- Best Savings Hacks Without Clipping Coupons
- 10 Cheap Places to Travel in the US
23. Dollar Store for Learning Books and Drawing Pads
You can find so many great deals at the dollar store and learning books are no exception. I have found books for sight word practice, math, common core math, writing numbers, and letters, and so on. The best part is, I only pay $1.00 and my kids have enjoyed doing most of these books.
24. Buy a Zoo or Museum Pass
If you live close to a zoo or a museum and will go more than once then it will be better to buy the annual pass. We go to our local zoo once a week in the summer. We broke even after two visits, so it pays to buy the pass.
25. Eat Leftovers
If you want your kid to eat leftovers like it is a normal thing, then set a good example and eat leftovers yourself. Try to add the leftovers to your meal plan so you remember to use them up. We usually have leftover spaghetti and I add this as lunch for the next day on my meal plan.
Related Saving-Money Post:
- Eat healthy on a budget – How to make it affordable
- 50 Cheap meals your family will love
- 41 Clever ways to cut your food bill
Tips to Save Money As A Stay-at-Home Mom Conclusion:
In conclusion, having kids is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many ways you can save money as a family and still enjoy life. Try some of the tips above and start small. Little by little, you will have more money in your budget and you will be able to save for the things that are important to you and your family.
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What is your favorite money-saving tip as a stay-at-home mom? Leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you!