You CAN Stay Home: Living on One Income–Ways to Save

Posted By on June 17, 2010

For women already working who would like to come home, it’s always recommended that they do a financial analysis of what they are currently spending.


  • gas money
  • daycare expense
  • lunch money
  • snacks
  • eating out money (which you always do more of because you have less time to prepare meals)
  • the amount spent on convenience foods (again, due to lack of time)
  • clothes you buy more of, etc.

Then add to that the money you are NOT saving by being unable to plan, prepare and bargain shop due to limited time. You may be really surprised at what working is costing you. Also consider that the income you earn is taxed; but anything you save is not. So, a penny saved is actually more than a penny earned.

Dave Ramsey suggests that you keep a detailed record of every penny spent in a month’s time. You will be shocked at how much of it “leaks” out. You can see where in your budget changes need to be made.

Then, go through your budget considering any expenses that could be reduced or eliminated. Cable, cell phones, insurance plans, groceries, utilities, etc.

I am going to be suggesting different ideas throughout these posts for saving money. Here are a few for today:

  • Buy in bulk. Many women are accustomed to buying food items in bulk, but the Internet now provides all sorts of options for bulk-buying. Today, for example, I purchased 12 t-shirts for my husband who works outside and uses them up quickly. They were cheaper bought new from ($1.74) than I can even buy them at a thrift store, and you can get them even cheaper if you by irregulars from with a minimum $50 purchase. One year I got jazzy, borrowed my friend’s embroidery machine and put his company name on them. You might consider bulk items for gifts (one year I bought a lot of chenille throws on E-bay for under $2 each) or even re-sell (more about that later).
  • If you wear contact lenses, order them on-line from Contacts from there cost $15.00 per box, with 6 lenses in a box.
  • Check E-bay or before you buy ANYTHING. Computer ink, books, gifts, vitamins–just about anything under the sun can usually be found cheaper there.
  • Check the Internet for rebates or coupons on purchases you need to make on-line. A quick search for “coupons and company name” will turn up available savings.
  • Utilities. See how long you can wait before turning on your air conditioner or heating unit in seasons, then work on keeping it turned higher than normal (we keep our central air turned on about 80 degrees in summer.) Consider turning off central units and using a window unit and/or wood stove.
  • Call phone company. I was on the phone recently with my phone company and she casually mentioned she could reduce my phone bill. Now pardon me for being dense, but I just assumed that the phone company assumed we would prefer the lowest available rate. Apparently, you have to tell them that from time to time. She knocked $20 off our monthly bill without changing our service one bit.
  • Water. Take a shower instead of a bath. Bathe little ones together and less often (consider a “wet cloth bath” on less dirty days).
  • Hot water heater. Your hot water heater is one of the high-energy appliances in your home. Turn it off (or flip the breaker) at night after supper and showers, and leave it off until the following evening. You will still have hot water to use during the day and will save about $40 a month.
  • Save change. Put out a jar and have everyone deposit their spare change into it–typically you won’t miss it. Deposit it into savings periodically, or use it for a desired purchase. It’s even more exciting if you write the purchase goal on the jar.
  • Yard sale. Have a yard sale, or better yet, list some things on Craigs list.
  • Stay home. This one sound silly? Just try it! You will make far fewer purchases.
  • Reconsider purchasing mentality. This could go in several directions. But consider how companies convince us of our need to purchase. You probably own a bottle of shampoo, a bottle of conditioner, soap or body wash for your body and maybe shaving gel, soap for baby, shampoo for baby, and lotion for baby. Why can’t we use the same soap for body as we use for hair? Is it really that different? Why can’t we use conditioner for shaving (the cheapest one)? Does baby need soap and shampoo too? I know some things matter (I have to use certain conditioner or I can’t comb my hair out), but we would do well to think outside the marketing frenzy.

One look at what a small change can do over a period of time:

Let’s say you have looked at your budget and just can’t find any “extra” money to save or invest. One of the areas we changed was haircuts for hubby and the boys. Aaron was spending approx. $12/month on a haircut. If he took the two boys, that was an additional $9 or so. All together, $30/month. We bought some clippers and a good pair of scissors, and Aaron showed me how the hairdresser cut his hair. In a few practices :-), I had it. Now if we put back that $30 a month (that doesn’t count gas money saved), that’s a $360 savings a year–not too bad. BUT, if I open a mutual fund, and have them automatically debit our account for $30 a month, we’ll say on a presumed interest rate of 9%, in a year, we will have earned $658.87. We almost doubled our money just by making one small change! Imagine multiplying that over several more “a dollar-here, dollar-there” savings! (BTW, if the interest is compounded daily, as opposed to monthly, the amount is even more.)

We’ll talk more later on how to EARN extra income. But for now, I just want you to begin to think about saving. Once you have more time on your hands to think about it, and study the art, you’ll find all sorts of ways to save!

Recommended reading: “The Tightwad Gazette” by Amy Dacyzn (Look for it on e-bay first, of course. 😉 The AMAZING book by a woman who decided she could “have it all”!

Tomorrow, we will address one of the easiest places to cut the budget–the grocery bill…including some great frugal family recipes. (Get your favorite frugal recipes ready to share!)

To find more money-saving ideas and see how our family is journeying toward freedom from debt, check out our ebook, Finding Financial Freedom. For LAF readers only, get a $2.00 discount when you enter the coupon code LAF at checkout!

About The Author

Kelly Crawford is wife to Aaron and mother to 8 children. They operate a home business together besides living a very normal, busy life, by God's grace and a non-optional cup of coffee every morning. You can browse Kelly's website at Generation Cedar for more articles and the tools they sell to help equip families striving to live for God's glory. Drop in and say "hi"!


One Response to “You CAN Stay Home: Living on One Income–Ways to Save”

  1. Renee Stam says:

    I LOVE practical tips, thanks for sharing them with us 🙂

%d bloggers like this: