Having less money and yet more time in which to spend money is the lot of most stay at home parents.  Here are some essential budgeting tips for a sahm or dad to take on board to help them live well on less. 

You can either read or watch it’s totally up to you!

1.    Get creative

From sewing up hems to making simple dresses sewing is a fab skill for a SAHM. Painting plant posts and crafting cards is also a handy money saver. Baking cookie and fudge make wonderful gift ideas, be crafty and creative and it wills serve you well.


2.    Be mindful about money

Know what you have coming in and know what your essential outgoings are. Know what you have to save and save it. Know what you have spare each week to live on. Now you can budget accordingly. I can’t begin to tell you how essential this simple strategy is to avoiding debt and managing well.

3.    Take a Walk

Leave the car and the petrol costs behind and get into the groove of walking. Fresh air is fabulous for you and your child and it’s a great way to stay fit and healthy without the gym cost. You’ll soon get used to it.

4.    Embrace preloved,

Charity shops, car boot sales and eBay all take a little time to browse but you will have more of this now and preloved items are the way forward. From gifts to clothes and toys once you realise how much you save you will be hooked!

5.    Play for free You don’t need to spend your days flitting with your child from class to soft play to swimming lessons spending money. Instead learn all about what’s fab and free in your local area; museums, lidos, parks, nature trails, parent and toddler groups, and of course use your library!

6.    Spread the word.

Tell your family and friends that becoming a SAHM has changed your finances as a family and so for a few years at least gifts and socialising will be affected. Once you have said this out loud you can breather saying no and giving smaller gifts will then become absolutely okay.

7.    Learn to cook. You have more time now and cooking from scratch and knowing how to use up leftovers will all save you money.  The internet is a great place for budget foodie blogs or recipes.

8.    Coffee at yours

Don’t fill your days meeting friends for coffee instead open up your home, children enjoy it much more and it is far cheaper than meeting in a coffee shop. Most will then return the favour.


9.    Use the internet wisely. Don’t let it ever take over from real life but do learn what it can give you; ontact with other mums in similar positions, discount savings site, money off vouchers for pretty much anything and brilliant budgeting advice blogs (like this one!)

10. Change your mindset

You may not have designer clothes but you have time with your child which is one of the greatest ever gifts. You can still have a fabulous life you just need to think outside the box. For example home swap with friends who live somewhere very different for a lovely holiday on a budget. Have Cleudo and spaghetti with your good friends instead of a night out at a restaurant.  Give your partner a back massage a love letter and their favourite tea instead of as birthday gift instead of boring old cufflinks.


 Enjoy your time as a stay at home parents and I hope these tips serve you well. Oh and be a good friend too these budgeting tips for a SAHM could be a great thing to print off and give to a pal in the same boat.


A guest post  by Sophie Lewis

My third pregnancy was planned but still a shock to the system as there was a six year age gap between our youngest and the imminent new baby.

In these six years as we tried to conceive we’d given away all baby items as friends and family believed the superstition that holding on to them would hinder our ability to become pregnant. Myself, I saw it as sod’s law, as maybe it was the superstition working but as soon as we waved goodbye to the last baby blanket and stroller, we witnessed that lovely blue line that told us we’d need them again.

So we needed to start from scratch and at the time I was a struggling author and my husband was in between jobs. In just six years the price of items seemed to have skyrocketed and although I wanted the best my budget wouldn’t allow.

Breastfeeding for the Budget Conscious

I made a decision to try and breastfeed even though I’d had little success with my middle daughter. As the rules had changed in regards to formula milk, not being able to make them in advance, I though it may save some hungry cries and please our finances too. I worked out that this decision alone saved me over a hundred pounds on sterilisers, bottles, teats and milk I just had to make sure I stuck with it this time.

EBay to the Rescue

For sleeping I scoured EBay and car boot sales as many have nearly new items for sale. Babies grow so quick which is great if you’re sourcing second hand goods as almost every mother has some to sell. It’s not so great if you’re buying everything new as no sooner have you added the sheet to the Moses basket do they need upgrading to a cot, a cot bed, a toddler bed then a cabin!

I found a mahogany type swinging crib on EBay for just 99p. I made sure I bought a new mattress and sent hubby off to collect it. At a car boot I found a toddler bed for just £5 and although it may have been premature at the time as baby was still in my belly, this week she’s moved into it!

 Creative Talent

Instead of buying new wallpaper and accessories for the nursery I took advantage of my time off and copied some scenes from comics, we decided she’s have a sheep theme (as her dad is Welsh) so drew murals of Shaun the sheep and others all over the walls. We finished this with grass and flowers that were made with the handprints of our older two children. It cost less than ten pounds as we used a left over tin of white emulsion along with some tester pots we’d picked up in B and Q.

Friends and Family

We then put a call out to our extensive family members asking if they had any baby items stored in the loft. They were absolutely delighted as many had wanted to offer them but didn’t want to offend us by asking. Instead of giving them money we made gifts or bought presents for their children. We also knew that our parents and brothers and sisters would like to buy baby some presents, so we were a little cheeky and actually wrote a wish list. We still needed bedding and nappies and requested these instead of funky outfits she’d only wear once.

The only items we did buy brand new were the mattresses, the bedding, dummies, the baby monitor, the pram and bag and even these were discounted as we saw no need to be fashion conscious instead taking advantage of the discounts on last year’s trends.

Now she’s eighteen months old and we have a loft full of clothes from 6 years plus from her older sister along with baby Annabel’s, prams and other toys she’s grown out of. Many items may have been in the sale or be pre loved, however she wants for absolutely nothing.




Hi, what’s your name?

Joanne Dewberry

Any kids?

3! Charlie 5, Megan 4 and Olive 1 

Do you work? FT/PT?

I run my own business I’d love to say part time but sadly I seem to spend every spare minute during the unsavoury hours working!!

Why do you work?

Initially I started my business not long after the birth of my first child and the reason was – sanity!! I really missed the mental stimulation my previous job had given me.  But now 4 years on and my business is part of me 🙂

What are your child care arrangements?

I don’t really have much in the way of childcare arrangements – my partner is also self employed so on occasion he can be around to help out with the children Charlie & Megan are now at full time school which reduces the burden somewhat.  I usually either have meetings with people who don’t mind Olive being there or when my mother in law isn’t working. 

How do you manage for money?

Humm we get by but sometimes we aren’t the best when it comes to money! We don’t always budget as well as we should.  And I’m a bugger for treating the children with money probably better spent on everyday essentials instead of luxurys!

Do  you worry about money?

I don’t worry as such but I am conscious of money and what we have and what things cost.

What do you waste money on?

Everything!!! I’m one of those people when the bank account is full can do a weekly shop for over £100 then suddenly when I only have £40 can feed the family for a week!! See no budgeting!

Have you made any big financial changes since having kids?


How do you make extra cash?

I do partake in the selling of unwanted items especially the children’s bits and pieces.  Not really making extra cash as such but I do have a Tesco clubcard which I don’t take any points from until Novemeber then I double them in to spend on toys last year we had £50 which we used to buy the 3 nephews presents! I do the same with Nectar points save them until Xmas.

Can you share 3 top budgeting tips for other parents?

1.  My first would be to get and use (doesn’t have to be all the time) a Tesco Clubcard – the money off vouchers they send you everyso often to lure you in store are always really welcomed at my home!  Especially now they use your shopping to decide what to send you I had £1.50 off Pampers last week.

2. Buy presents throughout the year so that Xmas isn’t a huge shock on your bank balance.  I buy clothing and toys in the supermarket with my shopping, when it’s on  sale and put it away.  I already have a couple of outfits for the children in the next size up, bedding and books all a fraction of the price it will be in December.

3. Grow your own!  We grow a lot of fruit and veg. Charlie loves picking apples off the tree to put in his lunch box.  It’s not just a great way to save money, but its a great way teach your children about where food comes from and HAVE FUN!


Thanks so much for you answers Joanne . Joanne ‘s business is the fabulous Charlie Moo’s  where she sells gorgeous handmade party bags, gifts and toys.

charlie moss, joanne dewberry, budgeting mum, wahm,


Joanne is also a very savvy business woman whose latest book is out now!


What’s your name?

Claire Meredith



Any kids?

2 Boys (4½ and nearly 2)

Do you work?


If so what do you do?

I run my own little Payroll Bureau from home, processing the wages for small businesses, charities and parents who employ nannies.

 I also run a blog for parents on the money matters which affect them: www.pennies4parents.blogspot.com

pennies for parents


Why do you work?

To enable me to contribute a little financially to my family and I love being my own boss!!

What are your childcare arrangements?

My eldest is at school full time and little one goes to nursery 2 days a week.  I also fit work in during the little one’s nap times and in the evenings.

How do you manage for money?

With only one main wage things can be tough but luckily I have a good head for figures and I’m a bargain hunter!  I am always researching the best prices for EVERYTHING we buy.  I’ve become an expert at comparing prices, using vouchers and getting cash back when I buy things online. 

Do you worry about money?

Not often.  There are lots of sacrifices – we don’t take expensive holidays and there aren’t many nights out but we have two healthy, happy boys and a lovely home life so that’s the most important thing.

What do you waste money on?

I really try to spend carefully but my main downfall is chocolate!!

How do you make extra cash?

I sell my son’s toys and clothes on Ebay and the local Facebook selling pages.  I am also a loyal cash back website devotee (they pay you when you go through them to purchase goods/insurance etc online) – it all adds up!

Please share 3 top budgeting tips –

1.         Use comparison sites before you buy ANYTHING online!

My favorites are: http://www.megashopbot.com/ and


2.         Sign up to a cash back website such as www.topcashback.co.uk and complete online transactions for purchases via them to earn cash.

3.         Use Ebay, charity shops and local ad pages (Facebook, FreeAds etc) when you need to buy new baby equipment/clothes etc.  They are used for such a short time that second hand items are usually still in really good condition and they are a fraction of the new price.


Where can we find you online?






 I am working with Brit Mums and British Gas on a campaign to help educate about energy conservation. As a budgeting mum this is a case  close to my heart. But also as a green mum I care deeply about the worlld we are preserving for our children. Reducing energy use makes sense on so many levels.

There are so many ways to save energy . I have 5 top resolutions this year about saving energy that I think are simple enough for use to actually achieve,

1. Put on a jumper and a pair of socks before we ever turn up the heating.
Photo Credit: Gudmunder Bjani
2. Make sure we walk to school whenever the weather is fine and it isn’t guitar, swimming and packed lunch on the same day!!
3. Always take shopping bags with us when we go shoppping  to avoid using plastic carrier bags.
Photo credit: Foldable bags.com
4.  Bath the kids together wherever possible and encourage showers.
5. Turn off chargers when not in use don’t  leave them plugged in.
Couldn’t be easier really could they? Apparently you need to do something new 21 times before it becomes a new habit so it has to be something achievable. A good way of measuring whether these new habits have made a difference to our energy consumption is to use a smart meter.
 The UK Government, along with others around the world,  has committed to reduce energy usage and has set a target for all UK homes to have a smart meter by 2019. The accuracy that smart meters provide lets us forecast energy use
throughout the day, across the country. This means we can become more efficient in how we generate the nation’s power, producing cleaner, greener electricity. Clever stuff!
“I’m participating in the British Gas Smart Meter campaign. Smart meters work with an in-home display to show how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence. You can see how much you’re spending by leaving your phone
charger plugged in all the time, or the heating on at night. And when you can really see how much you’re using, you can start to make small changes to become more efficient. Smart Meters automatically send British Gas readings so they
represent the end of estimated bills! British Gas is committed to install 1.5 million smart meters by the end of 2012.
gas smart meter
Gas Smart Meter
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