how to save to stay home (and make some money too)

I love it when a lovely reader asks me a question and I say thank you, that’s a blog post sorted. Just take the lovely Kimberley who emailed me last week. Her maternity leave will be coming to an end and she isn’t ready to go back. She wanted to know if I had any tips for making money and saving money so that she can stay home. I’ve written a few blog posts on it and it’s funny how I thought just having one child was expensive or when the twins came along that our expenses went up. Family budgets and our situations are always changing and we all have different financial circumstances. But I’m sure that Kimberley isn’t the first and won’t be the last person who looks for a way to stay home a little longer with a little one…or little ones.

And I stumbled on this post a while ago written by an american blogger about saving to stay at home. And on her facebook post she mentioned this post. I hope you enjoy money saving tip 49 as much as I did. But some great tips in there that some of you will see as obvious but so many of us take things for granted and pay for things that we could easily cut out and not really notice. Except the toilet paper. We are keeping the toilet paper.

My first tip is to look at your spending first. For me I use my credit card for almost everything and then clear it at the end of the month. It’s an easy way to see where you are spending, I reduced my limit significantly after I closed my fabric store and I can’t get into any trouble with a low limit on it. I use it for all of the therapists and medical appointments, swimming lessons and activities, groceries, post office, clothes, you name it if it can go on there it does. It saves in ATM fees because for the life of me I can never find my bank’s own ATM when I am out and about and I don’t really carry a lot of cash on me. Probably because it doesn’t last. And of course the key is to clear it each month if that works and you can be trusted with it and you can see where your money is going. When I was particularly frugal at various times working in the bank and saving hard I would write down my expenses, including all those little things. Amazing how it all adds up.

Now on the making money side of things I’ve written a few posts over the years and my favourite is still Working from home when you have little ones.

Now over to you….what is your advice for my lovely reader or perhaps your experience. I’d love to hear.


  1. Brooke smith says:

    We find the opposite works for us. We work with cash now because we used our cards too much & didn’t realise how much we spent… We worked out our budget and my husband gets paid monthly so when that comes in we straight away transfer amounts to our bills account (telephone, power, gym membership, insurances & rego etc), a holidays and entertainment account, a gifts and Christmas account and an investment account. The balance stays in our transaction account and we withdraw $450 a week. We put $20 into an envelope in the cupboard for ballet, $70 for the preschool envelope, $20 for the fuel envelope (hubby has a lease car so it’s only my fuel), $40 each for “spending” (buying coffee or lunch out or a magazine), then the rest goes into a groceries wallet, which is separate from our own wallets. Once it’s gone, it’s gone… It works for us with one salary and a monthly pay :-)
    Ps we have 3 kids and are gluten free almost paleo whole food organic eaters so groceries are expensive!

  2. I’m not sure if European countries do this or not: but when the warm weather comes yard/garage sales start. We buy a LOT of our clothes there. Why pay $20 plus for a name brand pair of jeans, when I can go to a yards sale and spend 50 cents to a couple of dollars. In the off-season, go to thrift stores. Yard/garage sales & thrift stores work great for other items also: shoes, kitchenwares, bedding, bath items. My daughter had a baby a year ago in December, we NEVER bought any clothes for the baby. We found what we needed at thrift stores or yard sales. Another place to look for deals is Craigslist. Hope this helps for a money saving idea!

  3. It’s always interesting to read everyone’s tips and tricks on how to save money, so thank you Corrie for this post.
    What I do to keep us going is that I have a strict budget. I have a simple spreadsheet where I write down all our spendings in broad categories so it gives me an idea of where the money goes and where we can tighten the belt. I’ve also worked out roughly how much we spend in all the diverse bills over a year and brought that down to a fortnightly amount so as soon as my husband gets paid, we put that money aside in our bills account. This has helped us a LOT as before we would get to rego time and simply did not have that amount of cash available. Now we don’t have to worry about any bills, there’s always some money saved up.
    Another great tip to save money is to meal plan. I try to do my meal planning every two weeks, then I do a big shop with all the things I need and a small top-up shop the week after for essentials like milk and cheese. I find that the more I stay away from the shops and the better it is, haha :)

  4. Thanks so much for sharing my post!

  5. As soon as my money is paid into my account each fortnight I put a small set amount into my christmas purse. At the end of the year I have money for presents without having to find it all at once or use a credit card. I had some left after this christmas just
    gone so I put it aside before I started saving again & used it for school fees.

  6. Thanks for sharing the link to my 97 Ways to Save Money post! I hope it will be helpful to your readers. And we’ve kept the TP too! 😉

  7. Very interesting post, I´m reading all of the advice – even though my kiddos are 9 and 11 I´d love to be home more than I am. Somehow though, that is not the norm in Sweden where I live. :-/

  8. We found we were spending SO much money on food, now we put $150 in a container and only spend out of that. If it runs out before the next pay we have to be creative about what we cook. I.e shop in the pantry!

    It’s been working and we haven’t had to just eat rice yet! (which there always seems to be lots of -why is that?!)


    • it is so old fashioned but so true to actually use what is in the pantry instead of going to the shops to get something for dinner! for me we always have way too many canned tomatoes and chickpeas and little bits of pasta in the pantry! and a few types of rice:) :)

  9. hi Corrie,

    please can you point me in the direction of the dress in the picture on the post ? I’d love to make one for my daughter

    thank you

  10. Clicked on the link to your previous post “working from home when you have little ones” and just wanted to say thank you, it was exactly what I needed to read! I work from home and recently have been far too focused on the fact that it’s a little dull and so tiring working in the evenings once kiddies in bed. Your post reminded me how lucky I am to have a job that let’s me be there for my children whilst funding our holidays and other treats. Positive attitude regained!

  11. Spreadsheets really are the best way to track spending but you need at least one person in the partnership to be willing to stick to it and chase the other up on their spending. Every time you hand over cash, coins or a card it needs to be entered into the sheet or there is really no point in keeping it. I use google drive for my spreadsheets now since they can easily be shared with my partner and updated from mobile devices.

    We also categorise everything on ours into categories such as transport expenses, grocery, lunches, cafe, take away, restaurants, alcohol, rent/mortgage, utilities, etc. At other times I’ve broken the groceries down into meat, veg, dairy, staples, treats, hygiene, medical, etc too. For example, paying $40 for take away a couple of nights a week is easy but seeing it as $320/month in the spreadsheet really encourages me to cook at home, even if it is because I’d rather spend that $340 on something else like shoes haha.

    I find that even doing it for one month is enough to get a good picture of spending/saving habits. The first time I did it was before buying our first home and I revisit it for at least one month each year (or before any major financial changes) just to check up on what we are doing financially and nip any waste in the bud.


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