I have been pregnant 3 times, and each time, our budget has changed to fit the new addition. Sometimes, it's meant that things are just a bit tighter. We have one more to feed, one more savings account to maintain, and we also have to think of other needs, clothing, diapers, shoes, etc. When changing our budget to suit baby’s arrival, I have three possible goals in mind:
1. Saving money for baby’s future, education, medical costs, or simple needs.
2. Being able to afford a longer maternity leave with a decreased/ nonexistent paycheck.
3. Becoming a Stay At Home Mom.
I can’t become a stay at home mom… yet. But I’d love to. So, we try to set aside a portion of our budget for savings. We pinch pennies where we can. As it is, I still need to work to pay our bills. The day that is no longer is necessary is the day I skip home knowing I can spend all my time teaching, loving, and helping my kids. Doesn’t mean it will be easy, fun, and picture perfect, but it's what God calls me to do as a mother. Meanwhile, He’s calling me to serve other families at work in the local childcare center.
The costs of maternity leave often go unpaid or only partially paid. I took the longest maternity leave my boss allows (3 months). Some mothers can take up to a year to stay home with baby. Do what your boss allows, and prayerfully consider what you can afford.
I would suggest that with the money you save, you open a bank account dedicated to accomplishing your goals as a family. When you get to the bank, ask the bank about account options, and let them know about your future addition, so that they are better able to point you to an offer or promotion.
So what are some ways you can start saving? So glad you asked!
-Make your own foods. Many foods are less expensive when made at home, teriyaki sauce, for example, its healthier this way, and easy to make. Biscuits, pie crust, tortillas, gravy, salad dressing. All better made at home. Search all recipes.com for a recipe.
-Let your closet stand as is! Alter old clothes, find ways to re accessorize outfits, keep around a sewing kit for quick changes. Mix and match items. Stick to the basics in wardrobe purchases, if you must purchase at all, keep it simple.
-Stop buying lunches! Eat leftovers!
-Lastly, this is my personal favorite, and the toughie on this list: Cut out cable- its not good for your kids, and allows for more family time. Use Hulu, Netflix, Youtube, Amazon Instant Video, do superbowl parties, or listen to the radio. You get the same thing for free! I do not ever miss any of my favorite shows this way! I've never regretted this choice! (Though I will admit football season is a little rough on me...)
There are many other ways to trim your budget if you are willing to explore new ways of doing things, new foods to eat, new recipes to prepare, and new ways to entertain yourself. It is difficult at first, but well worth it!
Even if you aren't expecting, I hope that you find these suggestions to still be useful, since in this economy everyone is looking for a way to trim the ever-shrinking family budget. Best wishes, and I hope you enjoy pinching pennies with me!