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Top Tips For Successfully Budgeting Your New Stay-At-Home-Mom Lifestyle

May 09, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 91

Being at home full-time is a challenging job. Sure, there are parts of your day that are simple and still and full of solitude, but there are as many parts that are demanding and difficult and draining. And it never ends. You're on call twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year. However, while you're going through the day to day minutiae of diapers and laundry and meals and more diapers, eventually you will come out on the other side with a masterpiece, a child you've led to grow into a wonderful person.

For many stay at home moms, a major fact of life is the loss of a second income for your family. It's a sacrifice worth making, but for most moms it's something to grapple with constantly, and probably will be for many years. Here is a list of suggestions that can help you find savings everywhere you turn.

Coupon Sites: There are lots of coupon clipping sites that help you track what coupons are valid from the past several weeks of Sunday newspapers and match those against what is for sale in the grocery stores each week. Almost all food stuffs go on sale once every 12 weeks, and these sites help you get maximum savings by using the coupons you've saved when the same foods are on sale in stores. Sites like The Grocery Game and Savings Angel have a weekly match for a nominal fee that is well worth the savings you get.

Redefining Want vs Need: When you're adjusting to a single income, this is perhaps the biggest mental change to make. Looking at what your family truly needs versus the extra niceties they want is a hard thing to do but can take you very far in meeting a smaller budget and being able to afford the luxury of a parent staying home with the little ones. One mom recently interviewed reported that when she's working on streamlining her budget (which she reexamines every six months or so to check in on how she's doing), she thinks about moms in other countries around the world who have much less. This gives her perspective on being OK with letting go of some of the expenditures she used to once deem necessary but came to understand weren't vital. Current trends in cutting back include getting rid of a land line in favor of cell service and eliminating cable television at home for a bargain Netflix package or free online viewing. Strategies that have been around for decades but are finding new popularity are growing some of your food at home in a patio garden and using a clothesline to dry clothes in the hot summer months to save on high electric bills.

Used kids clothing: It seems that from birth until the day they move out of your home for the last time, children are constantly growing out of their clothing at a rate that would seem impossible. Consequently, they have lots of items that don't get much wear and tear and would be great for another child to wear. Consider selling your children's gently used clothing at a second hand store that gives store credit, where you can shop for the next size up or another child. Likewise, buying clothing at these kinds of stores often yields hidden treasures that you can't find for low prices anywhere else. Some stores specialize in high-end labels only, but chains like Arizona's Twice As Nice take any quality children's clothing. It's best to search at stores like this for bargains that you won't believe.

Co-op babysitting and home projects: If you have friends in town, or have met another mom at a playgroup that you get along with well, set up a babysitting co-op with them. Trade babysitting nights, where once a month you babysit their kids so they can have a date night out, and then a week later one of them comes to babysit yours for your own date night. You don't have to pay a babysitting fee, which makes date night less expensive, and you know your child is with someone you trust. Consider stretching this kind of arrangement to also include house projects or honey-dos. All the kids can play together and keep each other occupied while you and the extra hands from their family work on larger projects that you would have hired a handyman for prior to having kids and moving down to a single income. Be sure with this kind of arrangement that you always pay the handyman favor back, because a one-sided project agreement is sure to shorten the life of your friendship and guarantee they deny any favors that you might need to ask of them in the future.

Freebies online: This is a tricky tip to cash in on, but if you can develop the knack for getting free baby stuff online, you can score in a major way. Vendors on eBay sell discount diaper coupons, major corporations like Gerber and Nestle offer starter samples and trial products, and some online companies serve as free product brokers, helping you navigate through the internet's offers of "Are they truly free or only free once I pay a fee or surrender all my personal information?". You must be cognizant of the difference between a scam and a legitimate offer, and be sure to never divulge personal information that could result in theft or some other violation, but once you know how to navigate these fertile waters, there are lots and lots of free and genuine offers waiting for you to take advantage. One mom interviewed claimed she never pays more than $10 for a large case of diapers with the coupons she bids on on eBay, and you can find deals like she does as well.

Becoming a stay at home mom surely has its challenges, but it also has huge rewards. It's a sacrifice, to be sure, but it's one of the most rewarding positions you'll ever hold in life. You work with better people, you see the benefits of each day you put in, and you will find yourself in adventures you never imagined. Enjoy it!

Source: EzineArticles
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