Are you wondering how to save money as a homemaker? You’re not alone. Many people think staying at home means a huge hit to the family budget, but that’s not always true.
This guide will show you simple and practical steps to save money while caring for your home and family. So, let’s dive in and find out how you can be a smart, money-saving homemaker.
First, leave the past behind. If you’ve been living a life that’s less than frugal, that’s okay. We’re going to start fresh.
1. Stay home as much as possible
You wake up later than you were planning, and the kids wake up a few minutes later. Everyone sits around, eats breakfast, generates some dishes and some clutter. They’re bored. You’re a little bored.
And what sounds good to you right about now? Strolling around Target. Maybe a nice iced coffee, a trip in the car with the radio on. Just, you know, to get out.
You finally load everyone in the car, get to Target, order your six-dollar coffee. And then the kids start asking for things. There’s nothing wrong with the stuff they want: stickers, little books, cute gardening tools! In a way, they’ll save you money, right?!
You needed a few things, too. Basics. New socks. A citrus peeler. No big deal.
Everyone is so hungry by the time you get out of there you stop for fast food. The healthy fast food place, of course. The kids get to run around and play and go crazy in the ball pit, and you get to relax for once.
You get home and unpack your stuff. And gosh, it’s almost three-thirty! You’re so exhausted from this trip that immediately prepping something for dinner is just too much. You send your husband a text at work.
Would takeout pizza be okay for dinner? You ask. Again.
Did this feel like a personal attack? It would have to me, not long ago. I’ve had days like this more times than I care to admit. And there is nothing wrong with getting a break now and then and wasting the day on something silly.
But you can’t do it all the time. At least not if you’re trying to save money.
You haven’t just spent the actual costs of your outing: the money you spend while out and the gas it takes to get there.
There’s also wasted time you could have used to do something productive and beneficial to your family’s finances. When you’re running around all day doing something dumb, there’s no time to make dinner, organize the house, or do anything else.
Stay home is number one on this list for a reason. It doesn’t feel like it should save you that much, but it does.
If you hate being home, changing your home atmosphere must be your #1 priority. The importance of this for you can’t be overstated if you’re a stay-at-home mom. (Here’s a hint: if your home is clean and decluttered, it’s much easier to love. If you’re bored and the house is a mess, you can solve both problems instantly.)
2. Use what you have
Does this sound obvious? It is, and it isn’t.
Think about how we start doing most planning. We think about what we want, not what we have:
- Meal planning? Let’s list out what sounds good to us!
- A family vacation in the cards? What are our dream destinations?
- Needing a new vehicle? I want a third row and heated seats for sure.
See the problem here? We haven’t started with what we have.
We’ve just made a wish list and assumed we could afford it. If it turns out we can’t, life feels like a big disappointment. Or, we just put it on a credit card and dig a little hole.
So instead of this, try starting each decision, big and small, with what you have right now. Some examples:
- set a budget for your vacation and only look at destinations that fit within it
- look at your pantry, freezer, and fridge before you make a grocery list and meal plan for the week
- budget an amount of money to spend on Christmases and birthdays
- stop buying duplicates of things you already own
- use the electronics you already have until they die
- only spend money that exists in your bank account (instead of watching your credit card balance and hoping you can pay it off on payday)
You need to get in the habits of understanding that money is limited and sometimes even scarce. You must work with what you have, not just buy what you want and hope it all works out.
3. Plan for your big goal
So… both of our first two steps were sort of…mean.
Now, we’re moving on to happier steps. Yes, a lot of money-saving tips involve sacrifice. But not all of them. So much of frugal living is about having more. More time, more freedom, more of what you want. And that starts here, with a step of planning your big goal.
What is your big goal? Why are you saving money?
- are you trying to get out of debt (it will feel so great when you get there!)
- do you want to lower your expenses so you can be a stay-at-home mom forever?
- Would your husband like to leave his current job and start his dream job?
There is a reason you are reading this. What is your big, big goal? Plan for it, keep it in mind and let it guide everything you do.
4. Embrace having less
This is one of those sentences that can mean nothing. Like “live your dream.” But let’s really look at what it means.
You can have less and grumble and complain and feel victimized. Or you can have less and embrace it and see the good in it. And there is good in having less.
- When you have few clothes, doing your laundry and organizing your closets is easy.
- When you don’t have the latest kitchen gadget, you don’t have to worry about storing it and losing all the parts.
- You don’t need to worry about keeping up with trends when you can’t afford all the home decor you want.
So when Step #2 rears its ugly head, and you don’t have what you need to buy something, don’t think of it as a hardship.
There is always something good about not getting what you wanted.
It just might not seem like it at the time.
5. Realize why you’re spending money
If you want to save money as a homemaker, figure out why you’re spending so much money.
- Are you bored, and browsing online shops is fun?
- Are you feeling unattractive, and getting something pretty would cheer you up?
- Are your kids getting on your nerves, and buying them new toys will give you some peace?
- Did your best friend get a new kitchen backsplash and now you need one too?
There’s nothing wrong with admitting any of this. I have personally experienced every one of these feelings myself.
But it’s a good practice to separate your needs and your wants. When you can take a hard look at why you want something, you will realize when you actually need something.
An Old Fashioned Budget: Humble Financial Management for the Christian HousewifeLiving on His Income: Remembrances and Advice for The Christian HousewifeIntroduction to Home Economics: Gentle Instruction to Find Joy in Christian Homemaking
Hint: it’s usually because something else is broken, empty, or required (like school supplies).
I’ve found it helpful to track my spending for at least a month when wrestling with this.
I’ve made a spending tracker that includes a column that asks why you bought something. After a few weeks, a clear pattern will emerge.
This is the step that will help you save money long-term.
6. Cultivate Contentment
Saving money isn’t just about the dollars and cents; it’s about cultivating an attitude of contentment. This is where emotional and financial well-being intersect.
Take time to appreciate the home you’ve made, the family you care for, and the simple joys of life that don’t come with a price tag. This doesn’t mean you should never want more or aim for bigger goals, but when you feel content with what you already have, you’re less likely to make impulsive purchases.
Gratitude can act as a natural brake on your spending habits.
How does this work in practice? Each day, list three things you’re thankful for. They don’t have to be big things.
It can be as simple as a meal that turned out well, a neatly organized shelf, or the sun coming out at just the right time.
Doing this lets you focus on what you already have and lessen the urge to spend money on things you think will bring happiness.
7. Build Emotional Resilience
We often spend money when we’re dealing with strong emotions: stress, boredom, or even joy can trigger a spending spree. Building emotional resilience will help you not just cope but thrive in challenging situations without resorting to retail therapy.
When you feel like spending for emotional reasons, pause and think about other ways to address your emotions. Can you talk to a friend, go for a walk, or engage in a hobby instead?
This can also help you avoid debt, which usually brings about more emotional stress, creating a vicious cycle.
When you build your emotional resilience, you build your financial resilience too.
A different approach to saving money
Here’s what we didn’t discuss:
- signing up for rewards programs that give you points for buying things you don’t need
- extreme couponing
- driving to multiple grocery stores to save fifty cents on your grocery bill
- unplugging all your appliances to save money.
That’s because little things like that are just so…little. They can be undone with a few hours of careless spending. If you’re trying to stay a one-income family, they’ll never be enough to move the needle.
where to go from here
But before we tackle those (and we will!), we need to look at the big things that keep us from saving money.
Saving money as a homemaker isn’t just about cutting coupons or hunting for deals. It’s a lifestyle choice that involves understanding yourself, your needs, and your goals.
Embrace the challenge and find joy in the little victories along the way. Because when you save money wisely, you’re not just counting pennies, you’re making your pennies count.
Good luck! You can change your ways and embrace frugal living. I know it.