If you’ve been following me on Instagram for a while, you probably have seen me talk about our plans of saving money, looking to buy a home, and how we’ve been on one income for the last year since we made the decision for me to stay at home with our baby.
Now that Izzy is almost 13 months old, we have plans to try for baby numero dos – but since we live in a one bedroom apartment, we don’t exactly have room to expand our little family unless we move into a bigger place. We had a few ideas on how we could expand, and actually we were THIS close to putting a down payment on a new home two weeks ago!!
But after sitting down and talking about our options to expand: buy a town home, rent a house, me go back to work, but then what about childcare, we’d like something with a yard, we don’t want to have a huge monthly mortgage…we realized that the smartest financial move (literally) we could make for our future would be to move in with my mom for a few months so we could quickly and drastically increase our savings. This way, we would be able to comfortably buy our first home early next year instead of buying a home now, and not being able to build our savings too.
I definitely realize that not everyone has the opportunity to move in with parents in order to save money – but since it was an option on the table, we decided to go for it knowing there were vastly more pros than cons to consider:
Pros of moving in with family: Big backyard space for Izzy to run around, never have to get a babysitter or nanny, live closer to the rest of our family, lots of bonding time for Izzy and her grandma, Izzy will have her own room/space and won’t be in our bedroom anymore, live closer to my hometown friends, and the big one: pocketing what we would be paying in rent, utilities, and groceries each month…which was a lot. Especially since we live in San Diego, where the cost of living is insanely high! Being able to save that much each month instead of having it go to bills and rent means we can pay off student loans and build our savings a LOT quicker than we’re doing now.
Cons of moving in with family: Further away from our friends and church community (we’ll be moving one hour south), John has to commute to work (but his work pays for commuter expenses so this isn’t necessarily a con), having to store all our home decor (this one is lame, but who doesn’t love having their own space to decorate and style!).
Obviously the pros outweigh the cons. The other reason why we went with the idea of moving in with family temporarily is because the townhome we wanted wasn’t going to be built until January or February of next year anyway. Which means we would’ve had to wait for it to be completed and keep paying rent until then.
My mom’s idea of having us move in with her until that point and just save that money instead sounded like a much better idea…plus allows us to expand our buying options! Like having a detatched house with a yard, instead of a townhome with no yard. All of my friends who own houses and have kids said to wait for the house with a yard, especially if we plan on having more kids. So that’s what we decided to do!
It’s kind of weird knowing that we won’t have “our own space” to build a home in and decorate, especially going into the holidays…but all things considered, we know this is the best move for us especially since we are on one income. In San Diego. With a baby. 🙂 I’m excited for the end goal though — if it means getting to beef up our savings super fast so that we can make our next move buying our first home…moving in with parents for the time being is totally worth it in our minds!
if you can’t move in temporarily with family, but still want to increase your savings, here are other ways you can consider saving big in a short amount of time.
PRACTICAL TIPS TO ADD TO YOUR SAVINGS EVERY MONTH:
– Say goodbye to eating out every week and going on daily (or even weekly) starbucks runs. I noticed a huge difference in how much money we kept every month by not eating out as often!
– Make a home gym instead of paying for a gym membership. Depending on what gym you go to, your annual membership can be in the hundreds of dollars per year. Especially if you pay for childcare! make a home gym and workout to youtube, Nike Training videos, or dvd’s instead. All you’ll need are some weights, an exercise ball, medicine ball, and a jump rope for the basics!
– Cut back on what you’re paying for monthly. Is it Netflix? Hulu? YouTube Red? HBO? Music Apps? Gym memberships? Subscriptions? Figure out how much is getting taken out of your bank account every month for these things, and scale back to having just 1 or 2 of your favorite go-to’s.
– RedBox movies instead of going out to movies and you’ll only pay 2-3% of the cost of going to the movies.
– Cut back on shopping…like way back. Even if there’s a sale! I haven’t shopped the Nordstrom sale in about 3 years because I realized I was spending way too much money on clothes each time it came aorund…and I don’t even live in a place where it gets cold enough for fall clothes. Ha! I’ve been intentionally trying to go more minimal and capsule with my wardrobe, and doing so forces me to be more intentional with what I buy. I also think that having a smaller closet space helps too 😉 Because then I’m not tempted to fill up racks and space with clothes and shoes and accessories.
– Travel during off season. This is what John and I did with our honeymoon to Ireland! We went during the “rainy season” in April, and didn’t even encounter rain while we were there. It was cold, but we didn’t mind bundling up. Also it wasn’t crowded, there were hardly any tourists, and we were able to do lots of local things that tourists don’t usually hear about. We also got killer deals on our honeymoon package by booking off season!
IF YOU DON’T HAVE KIDS YET:
– Consider house-sharing or a partment sharing with another married couple (2 couples living in a 2 or 3 bedroom place) for a year. This cuts your rent and utilities in half, and allows both couples to save to be in a better spot for family planning/future home buying.
– Try Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. This method works for anyone, not just couples with no kids. In this 13 week course, you will learn how to master budgeting, save for emergencies, pay off debt quickly, and plan/invest for the future. My brother and his wife did this, and in doing so they were able to become completely debt free in one year!
– Teach English abroad! This is a more adventurous method of saving money, but only requires you to have your Bachelors degree. Teaching abroad is a way that can build your savings quick and allow you to travel together. Depending on what country you teach in, you can come home with anywhere from $10-$30k in savings.
– Practice a more minimal way of living. I follow a local girl on Instagram who shops mainly at thrift stores for home decor and clothes. She always posts about how she found the CUTEST things that look like what you’d find at Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, or even Target after a little tlc.
– Consider downsizing. If you’re struggling in a two bedroom apartment, try to make the move into a studio or one bedroom that costs less. If you’re struggling in a house, try to rent it out and move into a smaller space in the meantime. The goal is to save money for the long run, so biting the bullet and downsizing will be worth it when you can pocket what you would be spending on rent or mortgage.
IF YOU HAVE LITTLE KIDS:
– Cut your grocery bill spending. Shop ingredients that are in season, on sale, and work for multiple dishes. Only buy organic for the dirty dozen, and shop at various stores to get the most savings instead of only shopping at one place.
– Simplify play area, toys and accessories! Shop for kid’s clothes and toys off Facebook Marketplace or Facebook Kid’s Resale Groups. I’ve found SO many great deals on nearly new kid’s toys, clothes, shoes, and accessories that are selling for 20%-60% off retail price.
– Stock up on baby essentials like diapers and wipes when the sale comes around at Target to snag some gift cards. Target will run sales like “spend $75 in diapers and wipes for a $10-$15 gift card.” Then use the gift card to pay for grocery or home essentials.
– Consider cancelling your Tot Play and Learn Gym membership. Even though these places are fun, memberships can run upwards of $90 a month. Instead, join a free mama and kids group that meets at a park or consider hosting one yourself! Set out bins with sensory activities at a park and let the kids explore.
IF YOU HAVE OLDER KIDS:
– Consider opting out of extra curricular summer activities for one year as they can add up to several hundred dollars.
– Consider babysitting swaps with other parents. They watch your kids while you go on a date, and then you watch their kids while they go on a date in return.
– Keep birthdays and sleepover parties simple (minimize the guest list, and don’t go overboard on the food – most children are totally happy with pizza and cake. Also consider a joint birthday party with one of their friends who has the same birthday month and splitting the cost with the other parents).
– Set a strict holiday gift budget and try to avoid splurging on the latest tech toy or gadget. Opt for small less expensive gifts, or toys that encourage imaginative communal play like dress ups sets, walkie talkies, board games, Legos, Slime kits, or science kits.
Making intentional lifestyle changes to save a lot of money in the long run like this will set you up for home renovations, travel, and even stashing away for your kid’s college funds.
I will be posting more about this new chapter in our lives and sharing about our new living arrangements as the months come — make sure you subscribe below to be the first to know about new posts! You will also have exclusive access to subscribers-only freebies like my Healthy + Easy Meal Planing Guide, Staple Weeknight Recipes for Busy Mamas, and practical tips on making your space, no matter if it’s a mini apartment or a bigger house, feel like home.