One of the questions to ask yourself when you first
make the stay at home decision is whether you and your
partner can afford it. In my section
on Staying at Home,
I have included Budgeting,
and provided a Budget
Template to get you started.
In this section we are looking a bit more at the practicalities.
Let's assume you are an at home mum and you have decided
you spend too much money. What can you do to cut the
Here are some practical suggestions. If you have any
more you think I should add, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- never buy nappies full price. There is pretty much
always a nappy sale on somewhere. Don't just look
at the supermarket. Also check out kmart, target,
toys r us and your local bulk buy chemist or baby
store. The only danger is, you bulk buy and baby then
grows out of the nappies before you've used them all!
- cut out some of the treats and put that money aside
for later. This might help your diet aswell!
- if you buy the kids treats when you are out, try
and plan in advance. It's cheaper to take some chocolate
biscuits with you, or have mini juices or drinks from
the supermarket, than to buy from a cafe, and in my
experience, the kids are just as happy.
- we also have ice cream in the freezer at home, and
I buy mini ice cream cones which the children love.
They get a very small ice cream, but none of it's
wasted. If we buy ice creams out, we inevitably leave
a lot of it.
- make bulk dinners and freeze
- try not to waste food by planning the week's meals
ahead of time. This sounds very boring and far too
organised, but if you write down what you're going
to eat each day and what you need for that meal, then
you will shop efficiently and you should avoid having
food in the fridge that goes off before you use it.
- look at free activities for the kids. There is a
lot of pressure to have the children enrolled in various
classes from about 6 months. Admittedly it's a good
way to meet people, it helps structure the day, and
it generally wears them out a bit, which is always
a good thing! But the cost of these things add up
- try a picnic instead of dinner out
- join the RSL club. They do reasonably priced meals
out and cater for the kids, often with a play area
- buy second hand not full price
- borrow toys from a toy library
- get videos and DVDs from the library rather than
the DVD store. Our local library lends them for free,
and although there is a limited selection, the kids
are happy with the same ones again and again, so it's
not a problem.
- If you do go to the DVD store, see if there's one
that has a special deal. Our local store does all
DVDs for $1.95 on a Tuesday
- look for specials at the supermarket
- get the kids to wash the car with you – it’ll
be messy but it’ll be fun. Perhaps just go to
the car wash once a year for the full wash and blow
There’s some bigger things too:
- Is your mortgage too big, should you downsize?
- Do you choose the lifestyle or the house size?
- Do you want holidays with the children (personally
we live in a beautiful part of Sydney and have found
holidays at home can be fun) Holidays at home means
you don’t do things like look at wills or insurance
– have days out, take picnics, go to the beach,
have dinner out, eat ice creams.
- Do you want the children to go to private school
or public school?
If you can, be careful what you cut back. You want
to be a happy mum, and if it’s that 10 minutes
with a hot chocolate at the shopping centre while the
children have a ride on the roundabout, that helps you
get through the day, then that should not be the thing
For me, I have a certain level of guilt about the cleaner
and the $75 I spend once a fortnight, but I weigh that
up against the stress of trying to get the cleaning
done myself, (I struggle to remember the last time I
changed the sheets..) and the potential arguments with
the other half, who's dirt and mess tolerance is higher
than mine, and the cleaner stays. In fact I’d
recommend to any new mum that they get a cleaner. It
is a hard enough job trying to keep the place tidy,
let alone spotless. And you'll be continually mopping
up after everyone anyway. Milk spots as the baby waves
his cup around, food all over the floor, bathroom floor
mopped up every day after the bath, picking up food,
paint, glitter etc off the floor
Can you make a bit of cash?
Maybe not full on work from home, but
- sell some toys – use ebay, have a garage sale,
join in a car boot sale
- get the kids to join in
- have them choose which things they don’t need
- when you buy something new, sell something
- good for de-cluttering as well