After reading her article, I felt really inspired to find ways to save too. Of course, the difference is that I’m a SAHM. Other than the occasional income when I freelance, my source of finances is the household allowance from my husband. I must say that I am very thankful for a husband who trusts me enough not to limit the allowance. That makes me even more determined to be prudent in my spending.
Having been a SAHM for more than four years, I’ve slowly learnt different ways to save money and I would like to share them here.
Putting Money Aside
This is something I started doing last year. At the start of every month, I set aside an x amount of money and put it away. This way, no matter how much I spend every month, this x amount is the least I would have saved for the month. This savings will also be our family’s rainy day fund.
Download The Expense Manager App
This is something I learnt after reading the article by Budget Babe. I downloaded the free app into my phone and was very happy when I keep track of my expenses. Prior to this, I often have to think very hard on how much I have spent on groceries, household items and so on. With the app, I just need to key in the amount and category I spent on. When I need to check, I have a very clear list on the app. This can prevent overspending on a particular category.
Eat At Food Courts or Hawker Centres
Budget Babe touched on this area as well and I couldn’t agree more.
My husband and I love hawker food but we also indulge in a lot of restaurant food. Late last year, we decided that it was high time we cut down on restaurant food in order to save more money, especially now that we have two children.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that we don’t go to restaurants anymore. It’s just that we have decided to make restaurant food an occasional pampering or indulgence.
Also, we want our children to learn and know that good food doesn’t have to be expensive and that good food doesn’t only come from restaurants.
Stocking up actually works hand in hand with the next point.
When some items are at a promotional price, I stock up. For perishable items, it is important to check the expiry dates and make sure the items still have a long shelf life.
I picked up the habit of stocking up when we were living in the US. If you have shopped for apparels in the US, you will know that almost every shop has a clearance rack. On this rack are out-of-season items and the price can be ridiculously cheap. Let’s just say that I have bought pants for Phoebie at under US$1.
Before we came back to Singapore, I had stocked up enough clothing for Phoebie to last her till size 5T (which is supposedly for 5 years old). Phoebie is quite petite, so i think the clothes are going to last longer than I expected.
In Singapore, I tend to stock up on diapers when they go on sale, or when I visit a baby fair.
Because I bake, I also stock up food items like butter and cream cheese when they are on sale.
Again, it is important to check the expiry date before stocking up. Unless you are going to use the items very fast, it isn’t worth stocking up if the item has a short shelf life.
Shop At Sales
I can’t stress this enough. Sale time is the best time to shop. Savings can be quite high.
Recently, for instance, the husband and I made a trip to the closing down sale of a particular brand. On normal days, the apparels there cost $50 and beyond per piece. Thanks to the closing down sale, we spent less than $150 on 9 pieces of clothing. That works out to be about $16 per piece.
Of course, sale items can be out-of-season. But I’m someone who believes that not everything or design that is in season suits me. So I go for what suits me instead of what is in season.
In Singapore, perhaps a great time to shop is during the Great Singapore Sale.
Some brands also have fixed periods for special sales throughout the year, so it helps to look out for that.
Kids outgrow clothes in the blink of an eye. What has helped us save a lot is preloved clothes. We are very blessed to have friends and family who have passed clothes to us to our children. After our kids outgrow the clothes, we pass them on to the next set of friends who have newborns.
Recently, there are also groups on Facebook where parents sell preloved baby items like clothes, shoes and toys at very affordable prices. Most of them just want to clear cupboard space after their kids have outgrown the items. So if you don’t have friends or relatives who can bless you with preloved items or handmedowns, fret not. You can find such resources on Facebook.
Sign Up During Promotions
Telcos and big companies are always competing to see who sells the best bundles. Such competition plays out as advantage for consumers like us.
If your mobile phone contract or cable TV contract is expiring, it’s time to look at the promotions and bundles that are available. These promotions will work out to be monthly savings on bills.
Whether it’s shopping for groceries, toys, clothes or gifts, or even having a meal, membership cards prove to add to a great deal of savings.
Just a few days ago, we had a gathering with a group of friends. Because it is the birth month of one of our friends who is a member of the cafe, we had a 50% discount off our total bill!
Some places give memberships away for free when we spend a certain amount, while others require membership fees. Whatever the case, if it is a shop you frequent, it probably makes sense to sign up for membership so that you get discounts every time you buy something. Even if it is just 10% off your total bill, it is a saving of 10%.
Fun Time For Free
This is one of my favourite ways to save money. No, it isn’t because I am stingy, but this helps teach my children a thing or two.
Children can have fun with the simplest items and it doesn’t take an expensive or fancy toy to entertain or please them. Whenever we have cardboard boxes or styrofoam boards from household items we buy, my daughter has fun playing with the boxes or boards before we eventually discard them. It’s amazing to watch her as she imagines the boxes and boards to be all kinds of things.
Playing with the sand at the beach is free too. Just bring some recycled items like plastic bottles, milk powder scoops, jelly cups and paper cups and the kids will have loads of fun.
A lot of shopping malls are now more family friendly too, with play areas where kids can play for free.
Of course, I’m not saying that I don’t spend money on toys or play for my kids at all. I’m just saying that there are ways to play for free too.
Do you know of other ways that SAHMs can save money? Pls share them with me!