Dress for Less
Children's clothing, in particular, should not break a family's budget. The younger the child, the more quickly he will outgrow an outfit, and saving money on kids' clothing means that you don't have to worry when an item gets stained or torn. So how do you save? "In these times, there is no reason why anyone should pay full retail price for any piece of clothing," says Walker. Instead, she encourages moms to scour church rummage sales and yard sales, particularly in affluent areas. Additionally, resale shops and thrift stores often carry brand name clothing that looks nearly new and you'll pay a fraction of the retail price. And don't rule out the Internet for great clothing buys. "Sites such as NexTag.com are great for comparison shopping," says Walker.
If parents can buy ahead for the following year, they can often find deeply discounted clothes at end-of-season sales, too. "Think through your kids' sizes and buy for the upcoming year. Get Halloween costumes in August. Stock up on holiday decorations in June. The key is to plan ahead and know where to shop," Walker says.
Become a Cheap Date
There are many affordable entertainment options for moms. One of Walker's favorites is "Reel Moms," where mothers and their small children can see a first-run movie at a matinee price. Since it is only for moms, no one will bat an eye if your child cries or you need to nurse him. "It's a great way to meet other moms and there's no need to find and pay a babysitter," says Walker.
If you and your mate need a date night, try trading babysitting services with some friends. You'll save a bundle on the sitter, allowing you some extra money to enjoy something fun as a couple.
There are so many ways to save money on the things that your family wants and needs—these are just a few suggestions to get you thinking! It does take some extra time and planning, but it is well worth it in the long run. "Know what your goals and priorities are. Regardless of whether a mom stays home or not, a family should always know where its money is going," Walker advises.
If your ultimate goal is to stay home with your children, start planning now, follow these money saving tips, and soon, your dream may be your reality!