Being on a single income household requires many sacrifices, especially on finances. But regardless, there are many creative and simple ways to save money on a single income household.
Journey to SAHM
Being a stay-at-home mom has a single definite purpose for me: I want my children’s mother to be their primary influence in their formative years. I want their first childhood memories made at home. I want emotional security and comfort for them 24/7.
Also, one of the most important things I’ve realised over the years is that financial freedom is great, but so is time freedom.
As a mom, I don’t want quality time for the kids, I want quantity time for them especially at their early years. And I want to raise my own kids myself.
So in exchange for financial freedom, I chose time and became a full-time mom.
But in spite of our single income household situation, we are still able to splurge on our wants from time to time, and save money. It doesn’t happen by a chance, we take extreme measures more often than not. And that’s alright.
God provides for those who love Him
Of course, we don’t take full credit for that. God provided for us and continues to provide for us. He said in the Bible that God provides even for the birds and the smallest of animals, what more we, humans? Wouldn’t He provide for us as well?
Every time doubt creeps in to my mind about what may come tomorrow, I am reminded of the following beautiful words:
“Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations, and say continually: The Lord is my strength and shield; my heart has trusted in Him and I am helped. He is not only with me, but in me and I in Him.”Saint Frances de Sales
How to save money in a single income household
In this article, I’m going to list a few ideas about how to be frugal and to save money being on single income household.
Depending on your long-term goals and your family’s priorities, some ways might be a too extreme or light. For us, we try to be frugal on clothes, bills, and gas. Moreover, we never limit on healthy foods especially the young kids are growing and has lots of energy.
At the end of the day, it’s not gonna be a easy peasy way of life. There are sacrifices that will be made. Purchases to be set aside. And a few self-gratification forgotten.
- Frugality as a lifestyle
- Saving money
- Buying food and groceries
- Holidays and recreation
- Gadgets and equipments
- Clothing and accessories
- Kids' activities and recreation
- Health and hygiene
- Spending abroad
- Energy and water bills
- Making additional source of income
- Making passive income
Frugality as a lifestyle
- Live simple. Don’t try to “keep up”.
- Aim for minimalism.
- Spend time, not money.
- Own big memories, not big things.
- Live fully, budget fiercely!
- Always be conscious on purchases. Ask yourself if it’s a need or just a want.
- Budget, budget, budget. Then stick to it!
- As much as possible, pay off debt as quick as you can.
- Close your credit cards! Or if you can’t, maintain just one.
- Track your expenses by weeks and by categories (bills, groceries, home decor, self-gratification, etc).
- Open multiple bank accounts and assign one for savings, another for bills, then another for groceries, and so on. If you can, automate the transfers.
- Savings first, then expenses.
- Allocate savings for your own first home.
- Always have a piggy bank in the house. Let those loose coins find its own new home.
- Slip a few bills on your books. You’ll be surprised to find them when you least expect them.
Buying food and groceries
- Don’t shop hungry!
- Start growing your own food.
- Buy meat at wet markets. Also fruits and veggies.
- Use cash envelopes for your groceries.
- Watch out for your grocery’s sales catalogue.
- Earn rewards points at every purchase at your local Coles or Woolworths stores.
- Stock up on sale items.
- Participate in surveys conducted by your local grocery stores. It rewards you a few bucks.
- Install web-based apps that lets you get cash backs from your online shopping purchases like Honey and Swagbucks.
- Cut on the gas. Walk if you can. It’s good exercise!
- Find cheap fuel around your local area.
- Wash your own car. And use the rinsing water for your plants.
- Live in a neighborhood that’s a walkable distance from public transportation.
- Buy a second hand car.
- Make your own cleaning products. From essential oils!
- Use cloth towels, not paper towels.
- Use baking soda, vinegar, and other common household items as cleaning aids.
Holidays and recreation
- Go on roadtrips, rather than on flying for holidays.
- On some Saturdays, go to your local park and have a picnic. Don’t go the mall where you always end up spending more.
Gadgets and equipments
- Invest in a good, robust camera.
- Read reviews about a product before purchasing.
- Invest in value, not brands.
Clothing and accessories
- Shop at thrift stores such as Salvos, Vinnies, and Dimmies.
- Buy kids’ clothes one size larger. So those winter jackets can still be work the next year.
- Invest in a good, durable, high quality winter jacket or coat. This will save you from buying a lot of “cheap” coverings that does not protect well.
Kids’ activities and recreation
- For kid’s educational toys, buy only a few essentials. The rest, create them out of boxes or other common household items like formula milk cans and ice cream containers. Kids don’t need a lot of toys, they need activities. Let them be creative!
- Send your kindergarten-age kids to your local primary school, not at childcare.
- If you can, no screen time for the kids and the family. This means, no streaming subscriptions. Instead, read books! Subscribe to your local library or swap books with friends.
- Potty train the kids early so you can save on diapers.
Health and hygiene
- Cancel your gym membership, and just buy a treadmill or other equipment. This will help you save you long-term.
- Cut and color your own hair. Or let your husband cut your hair. Haircut is so expensive!
- Buy a shaver and do your husband’s hair!
- Buy a small hair scissor and do your childrens’ hair!
- Use Transferwise to avoid high-rocket transaction fees and benefit from competitive currency rates.
Energy and water bills
- Turn off lights in unattended rooms in your home.
- Unplug appliances that are not being used.
- Replace bulbs with LED lights.
- After using the bath tub, don’t flush the water right away. Use the water to flush the toilet. Get a good basin for this.
- During the winter, use a time-based heating system that sets off after a few hours or so, or a heater that stops generating heat when the sensor detects a specific room temperature is reached.
- Laundry once or twice a week. With kids, this is quite unrealistic. But do allocate a hamper for each category of clothing. For example, one hamper for each person in your household, and then another for socks and dirtier pieces of clothing. Only wash when each category has reached 75% or capacity, or much 100%.
- Always look around for cheaper rates on electricity and gas. Call energy providers and ask what offers they can give you. They’d love that you call them!
- Pay bills on time so as not to miss out on the on-time-pay discounts. That’s around 30%!
- Be mindful on your water usage. While waiting for the water to warm up, use a basin to catch those precious water.
- Here in our state of Victoria in Australia, you can get $50 from the government if you get assessment of the energy provider best for you based on your household usage and number of residents.
- Water your plants using clean used water.
- If you have a garden bed, bury your compost waste in there. This makes the soil rich in nutrients and will help you save in fertilizer costs.
Making additional source of income
- During spring break, roam around suburbs to find good old hard rubbish left on sidewalks. We once found coffee table and office tables that are spotless!
- Buy stuffs at Facebook Marketplace, fix them, repair, improve, then sell at a profit.
- Organize a garage sale.
- Buy stuffs at Aliexpress, package them beautifully, and sell them for a profit.
- Turn your craft hobbies into a business on Etsy.
Making passive income
- Start a blog and focus on affiliate income as your monetization scheme. You can use free tools such as WordPress and Canva.
- Become an Amazon FBA seller.
- Join multi-level marketing programs as long as the products are of high quality and which you believed in.
- Start a dropshipping-based business using Shopify and Oberlo.
- Buy and sell your websites using the Flippa platform.
- Create a digital or physical product and sell on Etsy.
- Teach your expert skills at Teachable.
- Be a freelancer and advertise your skills on Fiverr.
I hope these tips can help you in developing your frugal habits to save money in single income household. With a little creativity, you can save money at home while spending valuable time with the kids.