My post has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are, as always, mine alone. #DataAndAMovie #CollectiveBias
So I just made the move to being a completely stay-at-home-mom. Yup. Hurdle crossed. But, my goodness is it hard. Sure, the constant crying, endless nap schedule, feedings, laundry etc. are all a pain in my butt to do every day. Most days, I don’t even shower, nevermind have a quiet meal to myself. But as hard as that stuff can be, it’s really not my major worry. What keeps me up at night, and unfortunately gets me into tiffs with Tall Dad as of late, is money. But, I think I may have found the answer to some of my woes, and maybe yours too.
Of course, money is an issue for everyone. There’s nothing new there. Whether you’re a working mom, stay at home mom, or you are considering doing either – you can relate to money woes. There’s always too many bills to pay and not enough funds to pay them. Somedays you just feel like you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul.
The difference of making the actual jump to being a stay-at-home-mom is the guilt and hopelessness of not being able to bring in funds. Please do not misunderstand me when I say guilt – trust me, I have PLENTY to do.
In fact, I sometimes think I do more than my husband to keep our lives afloat.
I just have this minor* task of raising our children and keeping our house in order.
*the biggest, hardest, most time consuming, heart wrenching and heart warming job I’ve ever had.
But not bringing in any money, especially after a life full of jobs and careers, is an odd existence to which one must get accustomed.
Seeing the struggles, feeling the pressure of being able to put food on the table, and, honestly, having the tension between husband and wife can be overwhelming sometimes. But, while I may not be bringing in a salary like my husband, I do pride myself on trying to find ways we can save and perhaps ease the money tension in our lives.
Here are the best ways I’ve found so far:
1. Find a phone plan and phone that works for you and your budget –
Remember the guy that ran for governor of NY a couple of terms ago on the platform, “rent is too d*mn high”
? Cell phone bills are too d*mn high. I USED to pay over $160 per month on my cell phone. MY cell phone alone. Nope. Not anymore.
We switched to Walmart Family Mobile PLUS featuring Unlimited Talk, Text, & Data which includes up to 10GB of 4G LTE data PLUS a free movie on VUDU (a $7 value) every month per line for $49.88! I chose to get the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime, which was only $99 – rolled back from $149*. I like it because it has a big screen, but the phone is just the right size – not too big or too small.
I get more capabilities for literally a quarter of the cost. I use data for so many aspects of my life – apps to manage my household, music streaming, email and blogging work, and so much more. I can finally breathe now that I don’t have to worry about going over my data limit.
2. Download apps that will help you keep track of your budget –
A lot of married couples can’t really even TALK about money – let alone track it. It’s hard not to get heated about who spends what and why. Tall Dad and I are not exempt from this problem either. Somehow the conversation ALWAYS devolves into an argument where our feelings get hurt about one thing or another. But, there is a savior for the tit-for-tat nature of that conversation – budget apps. Tall Dad always says, “numbers don’t lie.” And while I hate to admit this, he is right. If you hook up your bank account, credit cards, etc., to a budget app, whatever you spend is right there in front you. Pretty little graphs or pie charts will automatically be categorized, organized and presented on a moments notice. Because it’s in real time, the app will tell you once you have spent too much money in one category or another. Thus, it will help curtail any needless spending. My favorite app for this is Mint.
But before you delve into downloading a ton of apps, make sure your smartphone has the capabilities to handle your needs (ie – see example #2 with Walmart Family Mobile PLUS)
3. Cut back (or cut out entirely) cable –
this also falls under the “rent is too d*mn high” category. We were paying over $170 per month on cable. The worst part? We barely ever watched TV. AND the TV we did watch, (the major networks) we could get for free via an antenna. So we put an end to that too. Instead, now we only pay for internet, a couple of streaming services, and utilize our free VUDU movie on our TV through our gaming system every month. If I told you how much money we were saving, it would be obscene. When you start coupling my savings with my cell phone, and cable, I can pay for any show my children want to watch on the go at any time, and I can stream it with ease because I have such a good deal on my data plan.
4. Eat more at home
– I understand that cooking is not everyone’s gig. Heck, it’s not my gig either. But, once you put the kids to bed, cooking can become a date night with your spouse. Find a recipe you both like, and try cooking together. Not only does it save you TONS of money from ordering out, but you also don’t have to pay for the babysitter to watch your kids as they sleep while you eat at that overpriced restaurant you feel pressured to go to because you want your ONE night out to be oh-so-special. Get a bottle of moderately priced wine (purchased on an app like Drizzly — you don’t even need to leave your home!), share it over dinner that you just cooked together, and then finish the night talking by candlelight or by taking in new movie on VUDU or a show. (We’re TOTALLY into Battlestar Galactica right now by the way.) Staying at home can be romantic and it can be special. You just have to put a little more work in. You can also get your kids involved in the cooking, and make it a fun project – and lord knows we need more indoor projects in the wintertime!
If you do these four steps – I’m not kidding – you will literally save hundreds of dollars per month. HUNDREDS. And to be honest – if you’re not doing these steps, you should just take at least three one hundred dollar bills and burn them in the fireplace. If you don’t save at least $3,000 a year by doing these steps, I would be SHOCKED. And I can say that confidently because that’s what we have done.
So am I bringing in income by being a stay-at-home-mom? Nope. But I just saved us at least $3,000 per year. And that’s only the beginning….
What do you do to save money for your household?
The Walmart Family Mobile phones are located in the electronics department of Walmart.
*All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/28aqc
or your local Walmart for current pricing.