When we decided that I would stay at home, we didn’t know if my part-time work from home would pan out. All we really had was peace from God that this was where I needed to be. In our second guessing before the “big sign” hit, we did lots of calculations. Here are some ways to cut your monthly bills:
1. No/Low Childcare Costs: If you are at home, you will probably be able to watch your own children. I have found that even working at home, I can interact with my children more and make them happier than they were at daycare.
2. Less Gas: It will depend on how far you are driving for this one and how high the gas prices are. We found that for me to drive 70 miles round trip, it was costing us about $500/month. My husband was only driving 30 miles round trip, but it still saved about $100/month for him to stay at home with us.
3. Less Dining Out: If you are at home to make dinner, you will not want to eat out as much and when you do, you can take advantage of the cheaper lunch prices as opposed to going out for dinner. You also aren't going out for lunch every day to meet with colleagues.
4. Less Processed Foods: You will have time to make more meals from scratch. Not only do processed foods cost more, but you will most likely find that you are visiting the doctor less as you are eating healthier foods.
5. Pay off Debt: If possible it is a good idea to pay off debt before deciding to stay at home on a budget. This will give you more breathing room. I had a part-time job for a little over a year before we decided I should stay at home. We used this money to pay way ahead on our student loans and the loan we had on our land. This took our monthly expenses down quite a bit. We also have no car payment which helped tremendously.
6. Eliminate bills: Are there any bills you can eliminate? Can you make a choice between your land line and cell phone? Find other entertainment that doesn't involve cable TV? We only have cell phones and we just watch PBS and in the past have had a much cheaper membership to an online movie service. In the last two years, the number our bills have gone down. I was amazed at the number of bills I could delete from our budget this year. It hardly seemed worth the fancy spreadsheet I had.
7. Hanging Clothes on the line: Admittedly this has only cut our electric bill by about $10/month. However, every little bit helps and reducing dependence on electricity is very good practice.
8. Gardening: There are times in the summer months when I can go to the grocery store and spend $30 for the month and know that is all we will spend. It is a great feeling. If we raised enough food to can, then I would probably only spend that much in the winter too, but the truth is that we aren't there yet. Another reason to have your own garden is that the food is generally much better for you than food bought in the grocery store.
9. Lower Clothing Costs: I've never been one to really care about clothing costs anyway but I'm not the norm. When you aren't heading out to work every day, you can get by without purchasing clothes and shoes for work. You can get by with jeans and t-shirts and even purchase them from thrift stores and consignment shops.
10. Fire Your House Keeper: We've also never had someone clean our house but I know a lot of working women who do. When you are home, this becomes less of a need. I've noticed this year particularly, that since we are all at home, it's not as much of a problem to clean up after ourselves and do little things around the house since this is where we spend most of our time.
Look at your budgets. If you don't have one, you should consider making one. How much money would you save if you were able to do all of these things? How long would it take for you to pay down your debt enough to be at home?
What ways do you save money?
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