Monday, 17 September 2018

MOTHERHOOD: How I am Financially Preparing to become a Stay at Home Mum

MOTHERHOOD: How I am Financially Preparing to become a Stay at Home Mum
When we made the decision for me to become a SAHM/Blogger we knew that it would have an impact on our lives further than that of me just not going to work. Our combined family income would obviously take a hit, which is something I worried about for a long time and still do to be honest. While making the decision we sat down to look at the numbers, did endless calculations, possibilities, went through all scenarios we could think of and worked out what we thought we'd be able to afford. Like a lot of families our biggest outgoings are the mortgage, bills, childcare and food shopping, most of which aren't negotiable. We had to add those up, look at our monthly income and work out what was possible with regards to childcare and the disposable income left. Our family lifestyle would have to change slightly, which is a sacrifice we were all happy to take in exchange for me being able to be home with our children.


It also helps that I have been blogging for so many years and that it can be a form of income, which I am extremely grateful for. It meant that when I left my job I wasn't going to be bringing in absolutely no money, though at the moment we are seeing my blogging income as a bonus and not one we can or need to rely on. This takes away the pressure currently, though as time goes on it may be something we need more than would like. Also, taking into account the childcare costs when I was at work I actually only have to make a relatively small amount to come out better off than when we were paying for three full days of childcare. The finances of family life seem to evolve around the high costs of childcare, don't they?


Back when my maternity leave was coming to an end in April of this year we started taking actions to financially prepare ourselves for life with one consistent income, which have really helped set us up and change our habits so that we are now in a different frame of mind. These are the ways we've prepared...


Identified our non-negotiables - Mortgage, bills, petrol and food shopping are all costs we can't stop because they are essential. By knowing what these are we know how much has to come out of our bank account each month and therefore how much we have left over. Things like Netflix and Sky subscription are nice to have, but aren't essentials. 
Record our monthly outgoings - For the past three months now we have recorded all of our outgoings and incomes, which has been an eye opener! We have been very lucky that we have not really had to budget in the past, so actually writing down how much we spend and where our money goes was so interesting. I spend too much on clothes for Isabella and Poppy, while my husband spends a lot on his travel costs to/from work (though admittedly his is far more essential than mine!). We could also see how often we seem to have the big 'unexpected' spends, for instance our roof was leaking a few months ago which was expensive to get fixed. It's those costs that worry me going forward because you just never know when they're going to happen. 


Save money where we could - Even the little things like using sandwich bags/cling film/foil, these all cost money so instead we've been using Tupperware. It's better for the environment and saves us money, win win. We've also cancelled my graze box subscription, got a better deal for our internet, cut down on meals out, chosen more affordable day out options, stopped the Costa trips and baked healthy cakes rather than go out for a slice of cake somewhere. It's the small changes that will hopefully make a difference in the long run and help change our mentality too. 
Look into our free childcare entitlement - We were slightly unlucky in the sense that Isabella missed out on the free three year old childcare for the summer term by three days, which meant while I was at work we were paying for them both to be at nursery. However, come September she will be entitled to 15 free hours of childcare per week which is a real help financially. As Poppy is now settled into nursery and we have seen how much Isabella has gained from attending nursery we have chosen to also keep Poppy in too. They will do the same hours each week, which will give me time to work on my blog/social media. As we will only really be paying for one child and the hours are dramatically reduced compared to when I worked part-time we are hoping this will be maintainable throughout the year. However, if we do need to free up some of my husband's income then there is always the option for Poppy to come out of nursery and for me to have her all week. It's nice to have that flexibility and a pot of money to fall back on, if needed.  


Enjoying cheaper days out - Poppy was given a National Trust membership (which was actually a couples one because you don't have to pay for children until they are five years old. It costs £114 for a year) for her first birthday from my husband's family, which is being the source of many 'free' days out. Birthdays and Christmas are the perfect chance to ask your loved ones to club together and buy annual passes to farms/attractions/National Trust, so that they truly are free days out for you. We take a picnic with us to keep costs low and it has been such a lovely way to spend the summer. Every weekend we used to end up going out for a meal, but that saving alone will have added hundreds to our monthly total! Other affordable days out are touring the local parks, visiting the library, taking Isabella's microscooter out and play dates at home. 
Cut back on unnecessary spending - This links well with the previous point, but once we had a look at our outgoings we could identify the unnecessary spending's and reduce them. My husband will always take his own lunch to work now, we take picnics everywhere, I'll bake with the girls and take our own treats on days out, take a flask of tea to the park instead of going to the café, go to the farm where we have an annual pass instead of paying for entry somewhere else and shop in the sales for the girl's clothes.
Meal plan - We have been meal planning for a while now and it really does help us to save money. We used to go shopping at Tesco each week or do an online Morrisons shop, but recently we've been going to Aldi and it has cut our grocery bill down. We used to spend around £90 on a week's food shop for the four of us, whereas now it is usually between £50-£70. A considerable saving, especially when you factor in there are now more meals bought because we used to eat out at least once a week. I also like shopping at Aldi because it's so much smaller, which makes it easier to keep the children entertained throughout the trip and there's less to get distracted by. Having said that, I've definitely left with a whole range of random purchases in the past!


Have a back up plan - Money is something that isn't guaranteed when you're self employed, just as our outgoings are always a set figure. I'm the kind of person who needs a back-up plan, especially when it comes to money. The last thing I want for my family is to put us under a financial strain by becoming a SAHM, so taking actions and having a back up plan is a must for me. I'm lucky that my job is easy to start any time of the year and there are options for part-time, flexible and full time work. If we need money I could always go back to work; it's not what I want to do but it's there as a back up plan. We could also take Poppy out of nursery, further reduce our 'disposable' spending or get better at selling unwanted belongings, which takes us nicely onto my last point...


Sell unwanted belongings - We are really bad at this and now our house is almost at bursting point! I'm a hoarder when it comes to anything to do with Isabella and Poppy because everything holds so many special memories, even the yellow poo stained teeny tiny newborn vests. I know it's silly and I need to get better at throwing away, donating to charity and selling our unwanted items. We have a few high value items I have won over the years that we really need to sell, but I just don't know where to start. I used to sell on eBay, but after a bad experience where eBay took the side of the buyer when I had sent them the item (and had proof of postage) I haven't used it since. My friend sells a lot on the Facebook Marketplace and in selling groups, but that's an unknown entity for me. Do you sell things? Where/how is it best to sell baby/child items?


There you have it - all of the ways we have started to financially prepare for life as a stay at home mum. It's an exciting journey we're on and one I have no doubt we will learn an awful lot on. 


What are your top tips for saving money?


Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)


Helen x
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20 comments

  1. Looks like you've got all your ducks lined up for this! I'm sure you will be fine!

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  2. We love our NT / English heritage memberships as it saves us so much money. Fingers crossed you will get all your funding sorted soon (make sure you look into two year funding as well)

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  3. I too give up work when my maternity leave with my youngest ended as childcare was so expensive for two under twos. I do earn an income from my blog we use that more for treats than to live on as luckily my partners job pays the bills. However now we have a wedding to save for we have been trying to cut back and save, it is crazy how much we spend on things without realising. Days out, meals out and trips to the local shop for magazines etc are what we were spending a lot on and are trying cut out x

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  4. I have a trackef of all my non-negotiable bills and use that as a guide in hopes of saving money.

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  5. So well thought out! I think it's great with some planning and cut backs you have been able to work things out the way you wanted to it's amazing to be able to carve that freedom out for yourself.

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  6. You sound so organised and have thought of everything I really need to take a leaf out of your book and sit down with my husband. We're trying to save to buy a house but his spending is out of control!

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  7. I definitely agree about the little things - once you start recording them, they all add up! We still enjoy the occassional trip to Costa, but have been doing a lot more home baking for afternoon tea and saving Costa for a special treat. And we now always take packed lunch with us on days out.

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  8. When it comes to selling stuff, definitely try Marketplace! You do get some idiots but I've sold quite a lot on there. I think you've really considered this and made some good plans. I did the same when we made the decision for me to be at home too

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  9. It's a big decision and I really hope it works out for you. It's great being able to stay home with the kids!

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  10. It is amazing to think how much money you spend on things without realising when you don't write it down. I've been writing stuff down for the past month and it's eye opening x

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  11. It looks like you have really thought things through. I absolutely agree that there’s a way to save a lot through non essentials - that perhaps you wouldn’t notice you could save on without making a list like this. X

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  12. National Trust membership is such great value and we have so many brilliant days out with it (Make sure you always take a picnic and flask to save on refreshments though!). Great idea to try to have a back up plan too.

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  13. I've loved reading this post as I'm hoping to become a mam in the next couple of years and I'd ike to stay at home to look after them. I'm self employed so it'll take a lot of planning but its definitely something that I'd love to do. Thanks for your tips xxx

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  14. WOW. What a great post. I am thinking of coming back to work but things may change and it is nice to be reminded to get my ducks in a row should I change my mind! Really helpful.

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  15. You're so right! It really is the small changes that make the biggest difference. You've inspired me to start baking treats again for when we go out! x

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  16. You have really prepared for this! So many great tips here for mums thinking of leaving work to stay at home with the kids. We blow so much money on lunches out/coffee and day trips, I’m really going to try and cut back on all this unnecessary spending, as we are only living off one wage too so it makes sense to save money where we can xx

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  17. loads of ideas here to save some money whilst you take time away from work to become a SAHM. It looks like you're so organised with it all. Well done, its better than I could ever be.

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  18. I found this post really interesting. Whilst I'm not a SAHM, I have considered changing my employment to enable me to be at home more. Your post gave me some great tips and inspiration, if the opportunity for me to be at home ever comes around. We have an EH pass and love it, but we're opting for a NT one next year after a visit to Sutton Hoo during the summer holidays! Thanks for sharing xx

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  19. I am SO impressed. You've thought of and organised everything! I love your saving money tips too xx

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  20. Selling on eBay and doing carboots is they way I get some extra pennies- great tips I will borrow a few

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