How To Afford To Be A Stay At Home Mom: Budget
Day 1: All About The Budget
First and foremost: total up all your income. Child tax benefits (if you are Canadian), any EI or government assistance, pay cheques, child support, or any “side hustle” income.
I recommend adding each month’s income separately (ex. all of March together, all of April together, etc.), and figuring out an approximate total to work with for your budget.
Next, I want you to make an entire list of all of your monthly bills and spendings. I have a list of the categories below.
You need to go through your bank account via online, and write down what you’ve paid for each of those things for the last 2- 3 months. This includes every single $2 coffee you picked up, every utility, every drop of gas, and anytime you had money come out of your account! I always recommend doing minimum 2 months, 3 months is always best, so you have a really good average of each category:
food | groceries, house hold items, OR food takeout/ dine- ins
debt | any student loans, credit card payments, car payments
rent or mortgage | I like to include house insurance alongside!
pets, if applicable
children | clothes, college fund, activities
fun + hobbies | swimming, crocheting, hockey, blogging, movies, outings, etc
vehicle | you can include car payments here OR in debt. I also include maintenance and gas here!
savings + emergency fund | it is important when living off 1 income to try your hardest to have money set aside for any unfortunate events! I know in the beginning it might be difficult, but any extra $5 is a miracle.
Subtract your outcome (spending) from your income.
What do you have left? What do you have to work with?Your goal now is to find a way to lower each and every one of these things.
Let me give you a couple examples on the how to lower each category for you budget:
I have THE ULTIMATE GUIDE ON SAVING GROCERIES where I show you easy ways to save up to 33% on groceries. This is NOT an app, this is simply shopping at certain times, learning how to break down cost per gram, how to shop seasonally, and meal prepping in bulk to save money!
I truly believe that health is meant to be invested in, so my grocery bill is the highest out of all my categories, but I am extremely cautious and intentional about how much I spend.
For those of you who want practical ways to reduce the cost of your food budget:
How can you reduce the amount of times you eat out for meals?
How can you prepare more meals at home that are convenient for you?
How can you put a limit on how much you spend when going out?
Can you recreate your favourite take out meals for less at home?
Now, we cannot just make our debt go away with a snap of our fingers. That is not how the real world works. However, if you have debt, consider:
Calling your credit card company and reducing interest on your cards. (This can apply to other institutions that you owe money to!)
Claiming your student loan interest on your taxes as a hefty tax return.
Possibly purchasing a used vehicle, instead of owing on a brand new vehicle.
rent or mortgage
Alright, you got me on this one! Usually, this is really a non- negotiable. If you are noticing it is incredibly hard to stay on top of your rent or mortgage, I recommend trying this new budget method for a couple months. If you are still struggling, it may be time to look at downsizing for a cheaper rent or mortgage!
Utilities aren’t always as easy to decrease. Seeing this number might make you rethink leaving that hallway light on at night, having 4 showers a day, or running your sprinkler on 24/7. I like to find out the average of my utilities and compare it to the most expensive months.
My reason being is I like to either overpay my utilities slightly (by minimum $5-$20), so that if there is ever a month I run short, I will likely have a credit. This comes in handy during the Christmas season!
I do not own pets but look at:
How often you are getting unnecessary grooming? (Please note I said unnecessary. I understand some breeds need that extra, regular care!)
Can you purchase the food in bulk to save money?
How many “extras” are you purchasing?
I believe children should be invested in- activities, college fund, and quality clothing.
That being said: you do not need to enrol them in multiple expensive activities, put aside more money to their college fund than you can afford, and clothe them in an excessively expensive clothing!
fun + hobbies
I actually turned some of my hobbies into something that pays for itself. It doesn’t have to make you thousands, but it is always helpful having something to cover the cost of your hobbies.
For example: if you like crocheting or knitting, consider selling hats, dish clothes, or blankets! It is an easy way to fund a hobby!
If you do not have a hobby that could be sold to break even, take advantage of promotions! My local swimming pool does $2 swims during the mornings. Our local movie theatre does 1/2 price movies on Tuesdays. Our local bowling alley does $3 Thursdays.
If you are going to go out and enjoy yourself, try to utilize these deals to ensure you get the best bang for your buck, AND utilize your budget!
Truth be told: we do not drive fancy, new vehicles in this house. We drive reliable, early 2000 made vehicles. Not only does this completely eliminate a monthly payment, our insurance is actually much cheaper than those with a brand new vehicle! We also purposely bought vehicles with great gas mileage!
Thankfully, my fiancé is a heavy duty mechanic, and does 99.99% of my car maintenance, saving use an insane amount of money!
savings + emergency fund
I would personally not cheap out, and reduce the costs of this category. If anything, you should add to this when you establish a budget. Imagine the scenarios:
Those who are not in Canada with free health care, what will happen if you break an arm?
What if as a stay at home mom, your husband gets less hours this month than expected, or laid off?
What if your vehicle completely toasts, and you need to purchase a new one on 1 income?
What if a utility is more expensive than you expect?
Think of every single scenario, and make an appropriate contribution.
Here is the fun part:
After figuring out or exploring how to reduce the costs in your categories, set a budget and stick to it for an entire month!
Let me expand: do not let yourself starve, go without essential items, or deprive your family.