Today, I’m going to reveal exactly what we did to cut our budget and save over $22,000 in just one year! You see, I had this dream of becoming a stay-at-home mom once I had my second son. But, can I be honest?
The thought of living off one income terrified me. I just didn’t know how we were going to be able to afford it because we were always a dual income family.
And I was totally freaked out about going from two incomes to one, but it forced me to get real about our finances. So I consumed all of the budgeting, frugal living tips, and simple money saving hacks I could find to help us lower our budget.
Here’s how we drastically cut our expenses and saved BIG.
- 55+ Ways To Have An Income As A Stay At Home Mom
- How To Be A Stay At Home Mom On One Income
- 10 Best Frugal Living Tips That Save You More Money
- 5 Grocery Hacks That Save Extra Time (and Money!) At The Store
18 Simple Money Saving Hacks That Saved Us Thousands
1) Downsizing our home.
We sold our condo and moved into a two-bedroom apartment. We went from spending over $1,000 in living expenses (rent and utilities) to just $725/month because moved into a family-friendly complex that provided free water and free heat. The only downside was we had to do our laundry at my in-laws, but it was definitely worth the extra savings!
We saved: $4,080 (including rent and utilities)
2) Stopped eating takeout.
Not ordering takeout on the weekends was hard for us because we’d be so busy, that I’d forget to cook. So we were spending about $60 every weekend on fast food alone.
We saved: $2880
3) Bringing lunch to work.
My husband was spending about $5-$7 a day ordering cafeteria or fast food for lunch. So I started packing his lunch instead.
We saved: $1300
4) Making meals that stretch for leftovers.
Learning how to meal plan and cook more meals at home really helped us to stop eating out because we always had something left over. Using the $5 Meal Plan taught me to incorporate a pasta or casserole dish once or twice a week and that helped us cut our grocery bill in half! They sent me budget-friendly meal plans (I’m talking meals that cost $2 per person!) directly to my inbox every week, so I didn’t have to wreck my brain thinking about what to cook – it was a lifesaver!
We saved: $2600
5) Stopped buying bottled water.
We got a filtered water pitcher and use tap water instead!
We saved: $120
6) Doing our own hair.
My husband used to go to the barbershop every two weeks for a $20 haircut. I convinced him to let his mom start cutting his hair (she’s a licensed hairstylist)! Plus I stopped going to the salon too.
We saved: $525
7) Finding a cheaper alternative to cable.
I have to admit, cutting our cable TV bill was extremely hard. It was one of the last few things we did. But once we finally cut the cord, I signed up for Sling TV. Now, we use Hulu with Live TV. You can read more about that here!
We saved: $960
8) Switching to a low-cost phone plan.
I heard so many great things about MetroPCS that I decided to make the switch from Sprint (which was costing us almost $200 a month). Plus, we got to keep our iPhones, and I love that Metro PCS uses the T-Mobile Network, so we haven’t had any issues with our service!
We saved: $1104
9) Shopping at secondhand stores.
I stopped buying my kids’ clothes from department stores and shop at kids resale stores instead. My favorite place to buy quality used kids stuff (clothes, toys, accessories, and shoes) is at Once Upon A Child – but in affluent neighborhoods, because they tend to have the best stuff!
We saved: $640
10) Printing coupons. I started printing coupons at Coupons.com to save a little money on our favorite brands. We saved anywhere from $1-$5 extra a week.
We saved: $260
11) Buying generic diapers and wipes.
We switched to Parent’s Choice (Walmart brand) diapers two months after I had my second son. We were buying Huggies and paying $25 for 140 diapers (Size 2). But when we switched to Parent’s Choice, we got 228 diapers for $24 – and they hold up very well!
We saved: $192
12) Making our own baby food.
Buying pre-made baby food was costing us about $12-$13 each week. So I bought a food processor and learned how to make my own!
We saved: $312
13) Becoming a one-car family.
Our second car was sitting in the driveway, so I let my sister rent it each month which takes care of our car payment. (win-win!)
We saved: $4008
14) Buying toiletries in bulk.
We decided to get a Sam’s Club Membership so we could buy things like toilet paper, toothpaste, trash bags, and more in bulk.
We saved: $160
15) Brewing Starbucks coffee at home.
Not going to work every day made it a lot easier to avoid the Starbucks drive-thru each morning. So I learned how to brew it at home!
We saved: $960
16) Earning fuel reward points.
Instead of buying groceries from Walmart, we shop at Kroger to earn fuel points and save money on gas. For every $100 we spend on groceries, we get 10 cents off at the pump!
We saved: $520
17) Avoiding movie theaters during peak hours.
Going to the movies would cost us about $25 (for two adults, 1 child, and infant). So we started going to $5 Tuesdays instead, which only cost us about $10-$15!
We saved: $120
18) Breastfeeding to save money.
Infant formula where I live is expensive – $15 per can. So I breastfed my son exclusively for the first year.
We saved: $1560
Total Savings In One Year: $22,183!!!
If these simple money-saving hacks helped me to achieve my dream of becoming a stay-at-home mom, I know they will help you, too! Now, if you’re new to my blog, I’m all about helping you cut your budget + grow your income!
Here are some more things you should do to lower your budget:
- Use the Ibotta App to save money on groceries. Ibotta pays you free cash money when you upload a picture of your receipt! Read this post to see how easily it works.
- Lower your tv bill. You will LOVE getting free channels for life when you buy an HDTV Antenna (this is the exact one we have), plus use Hulu to watch your favorite live shows, entertainment, news, and sports for way less than cable – this is what we do! This post will show you how.
- Use free websites like Ebates to earn free gift cards and cash back whenever you shop online. Plus, you’ll get a FREE $10 gift card when you join!
- Learn to cook more meals at home so you can spend less on takeout. I used the $5 Meal Plan to get budget-friendly meal ideas and we were able to cut our grocery bill in half! You should give $5 Meal Plan a try, too – it’s free for 14 days!
- Negotiate any bills you have such as phone, internet, insurance, etc.
- Downsize your home to save on living expenses if you can. We did this for two years and saved almost $10,000!
- Earn easy money answering surveys (which is what I still do!) in your spare time! It will help you pay for groceries, diapers, pay down debt, and more!
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