I’ve made another life changing decision in the last few weeks. Since I don’t have to be available for customers during set working hours I am taking my children out of aftercare at playschool. So how can I afford to be a stay at home mom?
I shared 2 weeks ago about my decision to close my online store and just start blogging instead and you know what? It is the right decision for me!
They have been in aftercare until nearly 5pm every day and I have felt so much guilt about this, my son is two years old and my daughter is four years old. It is not that I wanted them in aftercare, it is more that life doesn’t go as planned.
My daughter was 4 months old when I launched Kaboutjie and the plan was that I would have her in creche and by the time she turned one or maybe two years old I would have grown my business to a place where I could have her half day in playschool so she could socialize in the mornings while I got some work done. In the afternoons I would be a SAHM. Fast forward four years… this is not my reality is it?
Turns out my business was a lot more labor intensive and I felt more tied to work than if I had a full time job. At least when you work for someone else and your child is ill you can take the day off and just focus on your child (and you will be paid for it too if you have family responsibility leave left!). I had to still run my business… even when my daughter was in hospital for a week I had to somehow also run my online business. Christmas holidays were anything BUT a holiday. I couldn’t leave my products and I couldn’t ever relax entirely.
So this week marked a wonderful change for my family. From the first of March I have had my two children home in the afternoons and it feels incredible. My children are so happy and relaxed and my husband is pleased that we are all able to be home together in the afternoons (mingled in with some jealousy that he has to be at work of course).
So now here comes the crunch… I am not yet earning a full time income from blogging, so this truly is a big of a leap of faith. Yes there is some income coming in and I am feeling so positive and excited about the future. However in reality this doesn’t put food on the supper table tonight does it?
This got me thinking, surely I am not alone? Surely there are millions of moms all over the world that are stuck with the same problem. On my Facebook page I have seen so many moms saying that they would love to be a stay at home mom but they can’t afford it.
So this post it for you, mommies.
How Can I Afford to be a Stay At Home Mom?
Here’s the way I see things. We are all in charge of our destinies and our futures. I told my husband last week I have just had such a strong vision lately and it goes like this:
I blink and suddenly we are at our children’s graduation ceremony for school. I look at my husband and I say to him “Honey, I really did intend being at home more with our kids….”
And you know what? This is what will happen if I don’t make this decision now. I intended to be home with my daughter, suddenly she is four years old and I have another child that is already two… both in aftercare till 5pm every day.
So yes, this is my now and I am taking it.
Here’s what I see each of us women are strong, we have skills and we can work hard if we choose to. I believe each of us mommies have the ability to make this change if we set our minds to it.
Here are some ideas I’ve thrown together that could help with finances so you can afford to be a stay at home mom:
First things first: Get rid of all extra expenses
Evaluate all of your expenses and see what you can chop out. I think you will be surprised at how much money is wasted.
Have a maid once a week? Well start doing the housework yourself, you will be home more and you can also get your kids involved. It is good start them with chores anyway!
DSTV? Personally I don’t even like television. I enjoy the odd movie or series every now and then but I think it is a huge waste of time. I prefer reading. And for kids, well come on they can play outside. For the cost of DSTV for one month you can buy your child a really nice bicycle!
Also take into consideration the cost saved by not sending your child to aftercare. We will save nearly R2000 a month by having our children home in the afternoon. That is a big saving already!
Eating lots of chips (and yes my kids and I must raise our hands) – cut out luxuries like this. Not only will it save your pocket but it will lead to everyone being healthier too.
Extra phones? Who needs a landline these days when we’ve got Skype and mobiles right? Yes I have just cancelled our Telkom landline. I don’t like Telkom anyway, so this felt great. There’s another couple of hundred bucks saved each month. I did purchase a smart phone and installed Whatsapp… so now I can contact everyone much cheaper!
Baby in nappies? Use a cloth instead of wet wipes and use cloth nappies instead of disposables. Yes it may not appeal to you, but do you want to stay at home with your little angel or not?
Smoking.. yes, oh dear I’m going to go there too…. I quit smoking last year and it is was well worth it! Not easy but it will be good for you and it will save you a fortune. Smoking cost me about R1000 a month. So I have saved R5000 since October last year just by quitting smoking.
But there is only so much you can do by chopping all unnecessary expenses. You still need to put food on the table and that costs money right?
Grow Your Own Veggies!
Yes some food costs money, but there is still a lot you can do to save!I spent R40 on a butternut a few weeks ago. I got the shock of my life. Yes it was a big butternut, true, but since when does a large butternut cost that amount? If I spend R40 on a butternut I expect it to come with its own trolley because of its size.
So I’ve heard that you can feed a family of four on a piece of land the size of a door. So get out there and start digging up a veggie patch. There are so many benefits for doing this.
Not only can you save a huge amount of money by growing your own food, chances are you’ll have surplus food. You can sell extra food for some extra income… and the best part is that homegrown organic food is like so the in thing right now!
Another major plus is that this is something you can do with your kids. Children love being outside, they love getting dirty in the sand and mud. They also have such a fascination with growing things. This is a real life skill that you can teach them.
And remember you’ll need to keep them busy and entertained if there’s no Disney or JimJam channel anymore…
If you don’t have your own garden don’t worry, you can grow a lot of food in pots! My sister grows mushrooms in one of her cupboards and she grows her own sprouts in jars on her kitchen window sill.
So get creative, get researching and have fun! I grew up on a small holding and we had a compost heap and a huge veggie garden. There is nothing better than growing your own food.
This is something I am going to start with my kids very soon and I am so looking forward to it. We rent so we will have to go with the pots. I’ll be sharing about these escapades as soon as our crops start producing!
Kids might enjoy getting dirty with gardening, but I’ll be honest here I love nothing more than sinking my hands into sand and picking veggies fresh from my own plants!
Start A Lift Club
You must have noticed the huge price of fuel and servicing of your vehicle right? So find some a few moms in your area that have kids in the same playschool and start a lift club. You might land up only having to drive to the playschool two or three days a week instead of five. This could make a massive saving on travel costs!
Sell Sandwiches In Industrial Areas
Ok so I haven’t tried this before myself but I have spoken to a number of people that have told me they have done this and it is a great way to make some extra income. We have a small industrial area on my way to the kids playschool. It wouldn’t take long for me to whip up a couple of great sandwiches and drop them off on the way.
If you want to try this I would suggest first scouting out the companies in the industrial area and asking the people there if they would like this service. Start off small with only a few sandwiches and see what the demand is. Remember that every little bit of extra income will make a difference.
Make Home Cooked Meals
Make some home cooked meals and sell them frozen and fresh. I think this is a great thing to try and as with the suggestion above you can start off slow and see what the demand is. If you are a great cook why not give this a go. I know for myself that when I was working full time supper was always a trial for me. Knowing there is someone that can supply a nutritious meal for my family a few times a week at a good price is awesome!
Online Surveys and PTC sites
This won’t make you rich but it can add up nicely over time. This year (up to March 2016) I have made a total of R701.44 from the following sites:
It may seem like you are not getting anywhere with them but I head over to all those websites every morning while I drink my coffee and quickly do whatever is available. I spend just a few minutes every morning and I use that for savings. I am planning on using that money for a family holiday beginning of next year.
I recommend all of those above websites, just be careful with others. I have honestly tried loads of them and most of them are complete time wasters or scams. The above ones work, they pay out and they are legitimate.
Here is a Youtube video I published on how to use Clixsense:
Don’t expect to see results overnight with them, but if you use them regularly and consistently you will start to see that it is a nice and easy way to build up a small nest egg with your free time. All of those are free to use so you won’t spend any money!
Sell Your Crafts
If you do crafts why not make some things and sell them? I have seen lots of moms doing this, it gives you a creative outlet and earn you some extra income.
Hand knitted jerseys? Hand-made cards? Crochet goodies? Baking? Jewellery Making? Pottery?
I had someone taste a lemon meringue I made a few years back and she asked me if I would make her a good few so she could sell them….. maybe I should give her a call now?
Sell Your Skills
We all have skills, we all have passions so think about this one and use it.
Teach yoga? Give horse riding lessons (I did this as a teenager, I taught little kids and made great pocket money)? Extra lessons for school kids in bookkeeping, accounting, maths… ?
When I was in primary school my friend’s mom gave me lace-making lessons and I loved it. She had a small class of girls from the school that she taught every week.
If you are good at something (which I guarantee you are) think how you can utilize that skill to make money!
Yes of course I have to add this one in, this is what I am doing now and I am loving it! I am earning an income from all three of my websites now and although it is not a full time income yet it is growing each month.
If you want to learn how to make money working online then I suggest you check out this post that gives you an insiders view on the best online marketing training you will ever find.
So How Can I Afford to be a Stay At Home Mom? Well really the question I have started asking myself this year is how can I afford NOT to be a stay at home mom?
We live our life only once. Our kids grow up so fast…. if I don’t take a leap of faith now I know I will regret it for the rest of my life!
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Also published on Medium.