How to save money as a stay-at-home parent
For parents on a budget.

Many parents choose to stay at home after their kids are born, whether it’s for a few months or long term.

Whatever your reasons are, it’s important to consider whether your family can realistically survive off of one salary and to come up with a solid plan to make it work.

Read more: Tips to save electricity in the kitchen

If you’re able to afford staying at home but worry about the loss of income, here are some useful tips on how to save your pennies as a stay at home parent:

Start a small business from home

You might not feel that you’re able to invest time and energy into this right away, especially if you have a newborn, but try and keep the idea in mind for when your child starts pre-school.

Many parents end up turning their passions into a career that they can develop on from home.

Photography, clothing and jewellery making, freelance writing and design are some popular work from home ideas.

Be a smart shopper

Apart from the obvious, which is that you collect points and earn discounts on your Smart Shopper card, it’s worth becoming aware of specials, sales and other promotions going on at your supermarket.

Buying in bulk is a great way to make shopping affordable and it’ll encourage you to plan your family’s meals for the week properly so that you don’t end up wasting food.

Online shopping is becoming more and more popular while you can avoid paying for parking and petrol. It’s also a great way to check out what specials and promotions there are for the week in on overview.

Car pooling

If your kids have started school, halve your petrol expenses by sharing your child’s lifts to and from school and after-school activities with a neighbour or someone you trust. (Side note:) This does wonders for congestion at the school gate!

Medical aid and state hospitals 

Many people aren't aware of some of the perks and benefits you can get from their medical aid. Most medical aid plans (even hospital plans) will cover the cost of your child's vaccinations. It's always worth phoning the customer care number on the back of your medical aid card to enquire about any other benefits before paying out of pocket. 

Government hospitals work well for many families but make sure you have enough free time as you might have to wait a while for your turn at the hospital.


It's likely that stay-at-home parents will spend more time talking on their phones to friends or family or whatever the case may be. Choose a cellphone package that corresponds with your peak call-time hours so that you can benefit from cheaper phone calls and free minutes.

Snack attack!

It's always harder to stay away from the snacks' cupboard when you're at home for a lot of the day. Stop yourself from those unnecessary visits to the snack cupboard by allowing yourself specific times of the day for snacks. 


Load shedding is probably helping you save on your electricity consumption as it is, but if you're going to be at home for most of the day while your kids are at school, try to be as conservative as possible when lights, appliances and heating devices. You might want to consider switching your stove from electric to gas and if you already have a gas stove, give the kettle a break and use your stove to boil water. 

Monitor your weekly electricity consumption and educate everyone in the home, including children and domestic helpers about how to save units. 

What do you do at home to save money? Send us your comment to

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