Every Penny Counts: Smart Money Saving Tips for Stay at Home Dads

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Having to rely on one income is tough when raising kids. What can stay at home dads do? Check out these helpful money-saving tips and tricks.

Have you ever picked up your kids at daycare, only to find total chaos? Are your children picking up bad habits like biting, throwing toys, and stealing?

If you’re thinking that you could provide better childcare, you’re probably right. About 20 percent of all couples have one partner who stays at home with the kids.

That’s more than 10 million families!

This article is for men who think they’d be great stay-at-home dads. We’ll give you the inside scoop on managing a household on one income and help you find the perks of staying at home.  

1. Generate a Real Budget

If you’re currently working, it may seem impossible to transition to staying at home. Once you look at your budget, however, you may be surprised at how much you’re spending on: 

  • Paying for childcare. The average cost of childcare is $1,200 per month. That’s $14,400 that you’d save each year, right out of the gate.  
  • Commuting to work. How much gas do you use each week just to get to and from your job? More importantly, how much time do you spend commuting? 
  • Eating at work. It’s a popular New Year’s resolution, but by February we’re all back to buying lunch at work. $10 per day times 20 workdays is $200, or $3,600 per year. 

Could your family survive on one income? It’s not that difficult but there are a few tricks that’ll help you succeed.

2. Buy Used When Possible

The key to survival as a stay-at-home parent is to always buy used. If you can get a quality item for a fraction of the cost, why wouldn’t you?

This advice especially applies to toys and clothing purchases, both of which are notoriously spendy. Young children don’t care where the toy has been as long as they can play with it.

Older children can understand that they can buy three gently used t-shirts at the thrift store for the price of one new one. Even celebrities buy from thrift stores because they sell name-brand clothing that looks brand new.

Involving children in saving money is teaching them real-world values. As they evolve into savvy bargain shoppers, you’re giving them skills that they will use in their adult lives. 

3. Slash Your Bills

If you’re one of the millions of dads on a budget, you’re always on the lookout for ways to cut down on expenses. While not everyone has the patience for extreme couponing, there are some options for getting food spending under control.

Read about online rebates and see if you can find savings on food and toiletries. If you buy a particular kind of laundry soap regularly, check that company’s website for deals. 

Another way to cut your bills is to ditch cable. Instead of paying more than $100 per month for channels that nobody watches, take the leap and switch to an online, on-demand service. 

After you untie yourself from cable, give your electric company a call. Ask if they allow you to shop around for a lower-priced provider. 

Some companies may also give you a discount for automatic bill pay. Even if it’s $5 per month, that’s still a small way to get ahead.

4. Work From Home

While stay-at-home dads work long hours, there is always the option of picking up some work on the side. Realistically, this strategy works best when your kids are past the toddler stage. Otherwise, you’re going to be too exhausted.

What kind of stay-at-home dad’s jobs are there? Depending upon your professional experience, you could qualify to do one of these positions:

  • Blogger. If you love to write, blogging can be a great outlet. There are companies that will pay you to blog, make videos, or even write podcast outlines. Lots of competition in this field, but it’s possible.  
  • Executive Assistant. You could work remotely and help business executives schedule meetings and travel. If you are the king of travel miles and credit card cashback rewards, this would be a great opportunity to flex those money-saving muscles.  
  • Private Tutor. If you excel at languages or music, you could build a lucrative side job giving lessons on the side. The potential to earn more than $50 per hour is there, a real lifesaver even if you only work a few hours per week. 

5. Hunt for Free Activities

You’ve got three children under the age of eight and it’s raining. What to do?

The answer could be as close as your local public library. They typically offer arts and crafts options for younger kids and storytime for kids of all ages. It’s their way of connecting with the community.

Another great place to find free activities is in places of worship. No matter what your religion, you can visit and participate in free arts and crafts. Your kids might make some new friends – and some cool art!

If you have a high school or college in your area, see if they have a childcare program. You might be able to score some free babysitting or take part in a paid study. 

One of the best things about being a stay-at-home dad is seeing your kids play. Even if you don’t find any local free activities, it’s still free to turn kids loose in their own backyard.

More Money-Saving Tips for Stay at Home Dads

Once you’ve got the basics in hand, it’s time to dig deep and save even more money! 

First, could you live in a smaller home? Would it be possible to downsize your apartment or home without uprooting your kids too badly? 

Next, can you save on car-related expenses? You may want to continue leasing a vehicle because you’ll save on repairs. On the other hand, a newer used car in good condition could be much cheaper. 

Finally, ask yourself if you could cut your food budget in half. How much food waste does your family generate in one month? 

Now that you know all about being a stay at home dad, come check out our other blogs! We’ve got you covered on DIY projects and finding the perfect family vacation.

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