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.
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,
Garage sales can be pretty easy to organize, although you have to be
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.