Raising a child is a rewarding experience, but it’s also very costly. Here’s a shocking fact: raising a child can end up costing you more than a house over your lifetime. Your family will also take a hit to their income when one parent decides to take maternity/paternity leave and become a stay at home parent.
Whether you’re frugal or looking for ways to save money, there are plenty of ways for single parents to stretch a dollar further. Here are a few of the best ways for a stay at home parent to save money without sacrificing too much on lifestyle.
Your life can be hectic when you’re raising a child and working a full-time job at the same time. If you have some extra time on your hand, you can dedicate more time to frugal shopping. Instead of paying full price for groceries, you can shave money off your food budget through coupon clipping. If you’re able to save money on products you normally purchase, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. Many retailers price match as well – by simply bringing a copy of a rival store’s flyer, you can save even more money.
Set a Budget
Setting a budget is important to keep your spending in check. Not only will a budget help stop you from overspending, it will help you achieve your financial goals. Figure out how much you can afford to spend on discretionary expenses like groceries and gas and track your spending. You may be surprised to find out you’re spending $100 a month of takeout food – by adjusting your spending, you can use that money for something more helpful like saving for your child’s education in an RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan).
Live Within Your Means
Living within your means is vital to growing your net worth. If you find that your pay cheque is often gone within a few days, chances are you’re living beyond your means. By tracking your spending, you can see areas where you can cut back. If you’re living pay cheque to pay cheque, your finances could be put in jeopardy if the breadwinner is laid off from work.
With more time on your hands, you can carefully plan your meals and avoid costly and unhealthy takeout food. It can be helpful to set out a plan for meals for the coming week. Not only does cooking in batches save time, it saves money by not having to order pizza. Also, instead of buying bread, why not purchase a bread maker and make your own bread? There are plenty of recipes to try out online and from cookbooks at the public library.
Once a Week Shopping
It can be easy to use shopping as an excuse to socialize, especially when you’re a stay at home parent. Driving every day to the grocery store can be costly, especially with the price at the pump. Instead take an inventory of the food you have a home and limit yourself to only going shopping once a week.