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Just Because You Do Not Work Does Not Mean You Cannot Contribute To Household Savings

May 20, 2011 · 161 comments

in Personal Finance

This is a post from my past, when about 4 people read my blog…

Since my kids were born, I have mostly been a stay-at-home mom (SAHM).  When at least one of the kids was still at home, I felt like I was ‘contributing’, as I was busy with him all day long.  However, when my youngest child went off to school full-time, I kind of felt like I was ‘in-between’.  I was still a mom, but for 7 hours a day, there was not a whole lot of mom responsibilities going on.  It was then that my role shifted – to ‘Mom Who is Also the  Ultimate Money Manager’.  (That’s my own made-up title.)

I have always run the family finances, but with the kids at school, I had more time to really focus on the household money.   I learned how to grocery shop wisely.  Once I really started paying attention to what products actually cost, I knew when to take advantage of a sale and stock up.  I would say that by becoming more familiar with prices and combining sales with coupons, I cut my grocery bill by 40 percent.  Plus, we had more food in the house, ironically enough.

In addition to grocery savings, there are many things that you, as Ultimate Money Manager, can do to reduce your monthly costs:

  1. Look at the cable bill.   Can any ‘add-ons’ be cut?  Another thing I do every 6 months is I call my cable supplier and tell them that I can get cheaper service elsewhere.  (Which is true.)  They then always cut my bill by 20 dollars a month, and it is a 6 month deal.  It has worked every single time.
  2. Evaluate the age of your car and what type of insurance you need for it.  A new car and a 10 year old car have different insurance needs
  3. Do you even need a home phone?  If you do, consider bundling it with your TV/Internet service if it is available in your area.
  4. Inspect your credit card bill every  month.  Several times a year, I am double charged for something.  Last year I was charged twice for a kayaking trip we took on vacation.  Catching that snafu saved us 140 dollars.
  5. Don’t spend what you don’t have.  Who wants to waste the money they earn on interest payments?   Next time you want to make a purchase that will end up as a credit card balance, picture yourself taking the  money you would pay in interest and putting it through a paper shredder.  Whether you pay it to a credit card company or shred it, the net effect is the same- you no longer have that money.
  6. Pay close attention to when bills are due and create a system for payments.  The only thing I hate more than wasting money on interest is spending money on late fees.  Always, always, always pay your bills on time.

So if you do not work outside the home, instead of feeling guilty about not bringing in a paycheck (like I did), focus your attention on making your household money last.  The list provided above is just the beginning.  Over time, watching your money becomes part of your life.  You will hate buying anything that is not on sale.  You will laugh when you see displays at the store that try to make you think those products on sale, but you will know better.  Your brand loyalty on certain items may go out the window.  You will find you are not making as many impulse buys on clothes, food, anything.  Once you truly commit to stretching that dollar, your spending habits and mindset completely change.

As always, if you have any exciting ways that you save money every month, please leave a comment so everyone can benefit!

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Niki May 20, 2011 at 8:24 am

Hmm I used to feel guilty about not bringing in a paycheck after the kids went off to school too. I really don’t anymore though, I know I contribute by saving our family a lot of money. Thanks for reposting this, it’s a nice reminder you may not necessarily need more money and cutting expenses is a good place to start.


retirebyforty May 20, 2011 at 8:35 pm

SAHM runs household all over the world. They have to be doing something right. 🙂


Kris May 22, 2011 at 11:31 pm

I agree that SAH parents are quite valuable. Unfortunately, society doesn’t always view them that way. It seems like there is plenty of guilt for those that work and don’t work, unfortunately.


101 Centavos May 20, 2011 at 10:38 pm

A SAHM’s work inside the home is no less valuable than outside, at least in my opinion. Harder, in some ways, since you must be self-motivated. Mrs. 101 handled the finances just fine for years, until we switched some tasks around. Her specialty is thrift stores, getting clothes and nice decor on the cheap. It takes some effort to hunt around, but it’s a nice return on time invested.


Kris May 22, 2011 at 11:30 pm

You guys are smart to find utilize each other’s ‘natural’ talents and maximize your savings.

It is also nice that you guys enjoy treasure hunting together too. I can totally picture a great retirement for your family.


Financial Samurai May 21, 2011 at 9:34 am

I think the stay at home parent is doing a $100,000 a year job. In other words, I value a SA Mom or Dad so much!


Kris May 22, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Thank you for valuing the stay at home parent! I think every aspect of life is a lot of work, and each task takes a different talent and patience level.

I wish someone would have paid me that 100k all those years! Actually, I would like it now too.


Super Frugalette May 23, 2011 at 12:59 am

Many times I think to myself, it isn’t always what you make, it is what you do not spend. As a SAHM, I save far more than when I worked because now I have the time to cut coupons, check out sales, etc.


Kris May 23, 2011 at 10:27 pm

That is so very true SF. When I was strictly a SAHM, I made that dollar stretch further than I ever thought I could. I did enjoy the challenge of seeing how much I could save at the grocery store and such.


Khaleef @ KNS Financial May 31, 2011 at 12:28 am

This is a great article for anyone who is feeling guilty about not bringing home a paycheck, and thinks that they can’t contribute to their home!


Kris May 31, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Thanks Khaleef. I felt that guilt for a lot of years, that is for sure.


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