Last Updated January 25th, 2019

What Can Stay At Home Moms Do When A Money Crunch Hits Their Family?

What Can Stay At Home Moms Do When A Money Crunch Hits Their Family?

Having one parent stay home with the kids is often seen as a benefit to the family. One parent is always there for the kids, you don’t have to spend money on daycare, it just sounds better.

The only problem is that when finances get tight, you have less flexibility. There’s a certain financial sacrifice already when you have one parent stay at home, and when the one income drops or disappears suddenly, your family may be in trouble. How can you, as a stay at home mom or dad, help when the money crunch hits?

I’m going to assume at this point that you’ve already cut back on spending in the usual areas. You probably aren’t getting a daily Starbucks if money’s tight. You’re probably watching what you spend on groceries. It’s the most obvious and simplest step to take, even if it’s not without discomfort.

When money’s tight, don’t spend on the things your family doesn’t need, and know the difference between needs and wants. There’s a lot of ground in there, but you can find what works for your family.

Here are some other ways to help out with a money crunch while still being a stay at home mom.

Find a Way to Earn Money From Home

Whatever you do, don’t be desperate about this one. It’s easy to get scammed when you’re trying to get a work at home job or start a home business. You have to pay attention to what you’re getting yourself into.

Don’t expect miracles. Most people earning money from home don’t earn millions, or even thousands per month. If you find some good work to do, it’s still something you can contribute financially to your family.

Read up on how to earn money from home if you’d like more ideas on how to get started.


Increase the Income You’re Already Earning

You might be earning money from home already, in which case it’s time to step things up and bring in more money. That can mean increasing your rates if you’re a freelancer, working harder on getting more sales if you’re an affiliate or if you sell your own products, or asking your employer for more hours if you have a work at home job. Find a new affiliate product to offer that complements the products you’re already offering.

The thing to remember if you’re already earning money is that you can find ways to increase it. It may not be easy, and may add to the stress in your life, but that’s often what it takes to dig yourself out of a bad financial position.

You might also take on a side gig. There are many flexible ways to earn money at home that can be added on to what you already do.

Get a Job Outside the Home

This can still be compatible with one parent staying at home. If your spouse is still working, just with a decreased income, consider taking on a job at night, and being the at home parent during the day. Working opposite shifts from your spouse sucks big time, but if that’s what it takes to support your family, you may have to do it.

If your spouse is completely out of work, it may also pay for both of you to look for work. It might just be that you trade who’s the one at home, assuming the parent who had been working can stand the switch. Not all can.


Sell Things You Don’t Need

Selling things you don’t need only takes care of the short term, but that can be important in the long run. When my two oldest kids were small, my old car broke down, we didn’t have the money to replace it. We also realized we didn’t really need it. We lived in a very walkable area, and I arranged my errands around my husband’s work schedule.

Selling that car for the little bit it was worth not only brought in a little money, it cut down on insurance and gas costs. I almost hated replacing it when the time came that my husband’s car was no longer enough.

Garage sales can be pretty easy to organize, although you have to be ready for the over enthusiastic bargain shoppers. Some areas require you get a permit in order to hold a garage sale. Check with your local City Hall to see what’s required in your area. The money is quick, and you get rid of things you truly no longer need.

The same goes for selling on Craigslist. It’s a fast way to get some money, but probably not a complete solution.

Try Not to Rely on the Credit Cards Too Much

While it may be necessary to put more than usual on the credit cards when times are tight, do what you can to minimize that. Credit card debt can take a very long time to pay off, and can keep the financial stress up even after your income improves.

If you don’t have a choice in the matter, of course, use those credit cards. It’s better than losing your home.


Find Free Fun Things To Do Together

Going through a money crunch is stressful. You have a lot of legitimate worries when money is tight.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

There are tons of free and cheap things you can do with your kids. Getting out and having fun as a family is a great stress reliever.

Just think about all the fun things you can do that won’t cost much at all. Anything from taking the kids to the park to having a family game night to finding free community events is possible.

The most important thing you can do when your family has money troubles is to find a way to work through it together. These things don’t last forever; they just require some extra effort to find your way through.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated October 15th, 2008

When Financial Advice Just Isn't Helpful

I came across an article today on CNN on living paycheck to paycheck. So far as I can see, the tips it gives are pretty typical. Give up the luxuries such as eating out or cutting back on transportation costs. Great ideas if you have those expenses, but what if you don’t?

I’ve written in the past on cutting back further yet when you’ve already cut your budget way back. Sometimes you face tough decisions when you’re trying to get by financially.

There are even more painful cuts you can make that sometimes come up necessary. I know how close my husband and I came to having to move in with his parents when he lost his job, for example. Moving in with someone else or taking on a roommate is a terrible cut to have to make, but sometimes it’s what you have to do. Thank goodness we scraped by.

I am of course a fan of finding ways to earn more money. That’s why I work from home, after all. It’s something you can do without giving up your current job. The start is tough but if you can stick it out, it may turn out to be very worthwhile.

If not, you’ve at least given it a try rather than insisting on being stuck in the same old rut.

There’s no one tip that will work for every situation. You may not be able to move in with family for one reason or another, for example. Or you may not have the space to rent to a roommate. You might even be unable to move to a more affordable place. That’s just reality.

But that doesn’t mean give up. “I can’t do it” isn’t a good enough excuse. Better is to try, even if you fail, even if you risk making things slightly worse. Don’t take so much risk working at home that you make things extremely much worse if you fail, but if you’ve only made things slightly worse by losing some time and money, you’ve still gained in experience. You might just succeed the next time.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated September 15th, 2008

Are the Little Things Eating Up Your Budget?

I’ve written often enough about saving money. There are some standard tips just about anyone will give you – cut the cable bill, drop to either just land line or cell phone, spend less at the grocery store. And of course, quit buying coffee at the coffee shop.

Each of the above can seem like such a small thing, especially if you spread the cost out over the month. But when you put them together for the month, you may find they’re a lot of money. That’s why they are so often recommended for the chopping block.

If that’s not enough, now what?

The tighter your budget gets, the more creative you need to be about saving money. You need to look at some of the less obvious little things that also can add up.

budget troubles

1. Cut down on your energy use.

Turn off those excess lights! Put up a clothesline if you can, and dry clothes outside in warm weather. Find ways to block more heat from coming in during the summer, and take advantage of any sunlight during winter.

You can also unplug electronics that aren’t in use. Many electronics continue to draw just a little power even when you turn them off.

2. Get on Freecycle.

Thrift stores are great for saving money, but free (aside from the gas to go get it) is even better. You might be amazed what people will give away. You can reciprocate when you have something to get rid of that someone else might like.

You can also sell the things you don’t need anymore, whether through eBay or a garage sale, but offering things for free when you’re getting other things for free is strongly encouraged.

3. Share resources with friends and neighbors.

You may know several people in financial situations similar to your own. If you can borrow things that aren’t needed daily you may be able to save the expense of buying them.

This obviously takes a lot of trust and/or tracking. You can’t have one person borrowing things and never returning them or reciprocating, not to mention the potential for damage. But if you can avoid buying garden tools if you decide to start a garden, for example, you can cut your costs down nicely.

4. Ask for a credit card rate reduction.

Often enough it works, and it only takes a few minutes. Talk to a supervisor if you need to.

borrow books from the library

5. Drink more tap water.

It’s the cheapest drink in the house! It’s even cheap if you count buying filters if you don’t like the way your tap water tastes.

I like to keep a bottle of tap water in the fridge so that it’s already cold. Works wonders for the taste, and if it’s a really hot day ice cubes can help to keep it cold.

6. Get books and movies from the library.

Your local library is probably a resource you are making too little use of. While it may not have every book or movie you want to enjoy, they still generally have a number, and may be able to order titles from other branches.

This is especially useful if you have children who love to read. As they grow their tastes are likely to go through rapid changes, so only a library can allow you to keep up without breaking your budget completely.

7. Use your car more efficiently.

There are so many ways you can save on the costs of driving. It’s quite true that proper tire inflation will improve your gas mileage and save you money. But do consider some of the other steps.

Carpooling can be a great choice. My sister does this with two other people in her office, so her commute costs are about 1/3 what they were before. It’s a nice deal for a fairly small (in her case) inconvenience.

You should also be combining your errands. Try to keep your grocery shopping down to once a week or less. The less you shop the fewer chances you have for impulse purchases as well, another savings.

Also think about how much running around after deals is really worthwhile. If you aren’t covering your gas costs, forget it.

So many things can really eat into a budget without being noticed. What habits do you find really help you to control the little expenses?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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