Saving money when you barely make any as a nanny might sound like a dream or something you laugh off with your (also broke) nanny friends, so let’s be honest here. How in the word can we save and where to start?
I am not an expert and I am most definitely not one of those (pretend) Stepford Wives who are doing it all perfectly, but had my share of bad days, really bad days and I had to grow up on my own. No one was there to guide me, teach me and hand me few bucks when I’m in trouble.
I lived for years on a bigger income. First of as an au pair where I had $800 a month to spend on ANYTHING I wanted. My insurance, food, and board was paid by someone else and all I had to do was pay for my own gas. I complained how $195.75 was too little for the amount of work I was putting in, but seeing now how I NEVER have any money for silly little pleasures, my opinion has changed. After au pair experience I landed pretty well paid job, and I had enough money not to budget. I was careful with my income, but there was no stressing. I went on trips, I bought everything I wanted and I rarely ate at home.
Fast forward to last fall, I got offered a job for amazing, kind family who couldn’t afford to pay me what I was getting on my former job. I accepted the job knowing money is not everything (and you can read more about that here), but I wasn’t aware how big impact those few bucks an hour will have on my life. I no longer had the freedom to relax, and I consider myself broke. For the first time in years, I have to budget. I have to plan ahead where will my money go and it took me several months to finally start living on my income, not on my credit card.
I also learned few tricks, I forced myself to change my habits and in the last 2 months I managed to pay of my credit card, save several thousands of dollars and completely change my way of seeing money and what I “really” need.
You see, I didn’t need all of those things I needed. I was just too stubborn to accept I can’t live like I earn that amount anymore, because I earn 40% less.
I will share with you things I did, and will continue to do in 2016 as part of my grand plan to become an adult and all that comes with it and guess what – no one will tell me it’s not possible on nanny’s paycheck!
3 WAYS NANNY CAN SAVE MONEY IN 2016
Ok, this might not be what you want to hear, but let’s start by accepting that it’s only your fault and there isn’t anyone else to blame for your financial situation. It’s you. It’s me. It isn’t my boss or my boyfriend. My friends are not guilty for nagging me to go out and Amazon.com is not guilty for having free two days shipping.
1.Pack your food/don’t eat out EVER (not never – ever, but for some time)
I refuse to eat leftovers. I hate it. Think of me as spoiled brat if you must, but if I have to choose in between leftovers and starving, you will not see me eat that whole day (but I will go home, eat chips and salsa until I can’t move and I will hate myself for it, because that’s how I roll). So if I can eat leftovers these days, so can you. Being a nanny you spend more than just 8h at work and therefore if you don’t plan ahead, of course you will plan on stopping to Taco Bell when picking up kids from school. It’s easy and convenient. It’s also $10-$40 a week.
When it comes to going out for drinks and dinners with friends, be honest with yourself and them. You are trying to change your life. You want to be smarter with money and in this point you can’t afford to go out 2-3x a week. Ask your friends to come over for a girls night, find fun hikes, parks and ways to entertain yourself and it doesn’t have to involve going out. Set a monthly budget aside for outings, and stick to it. I am saving over $250/month since I accepted I can’t afford it dinners and partying anymore. Guess what, those real people and real friends are still in my life even if I’m not doing shots with them all the time.
2. Make your own coffee/tea/smoothie
Whatever keeps you going through the day, you don’t need to spend $2-$5 a day on it. My employers allow me to use their drinks and food, but I drink so much coffee that I feel bad doing so all the time. When I know I will need extra boost, I bring Mt Dew from home or I have my own coffee in their home. If I am going for a walk with my kid (not my kid, but you know), I will bring coffee along, otherwise I ALWAYS end up stopping at Starbucks because it’s right there and why wouldn’t I? It’s such a ridiculous expense and rarely I really need coffee, I just like it. Imagine saving $100 a month if you just stopped doing it?
3. Shop wisely for yourself and for your nanny kids
Of course your nanny child will love new toy or coloring book you found in Target, and it’s nice to treat them with frozen yogurt, but you are broke, remember? You are trying to establish routine, create a budget and start living according to what you can afford. Buying extra little things got you where you are now, and it’s great idea to treat your nanny fam or kids with something, but that can be done after you get back on track.
Stop acting like a dollar or two don’t matter. It matters.
The same goes for your clothes, make up, bath bombs, shoes and everything else. Just because your friends on Twitter recommended it, and just because you need new heels for that party in late February it doesn’t mean you have to get it. Pick one or two things you need/want per month and treat yourself to it. If you wait till next paycheck you might realize you don’t really like it that much, but also once you do buy it, it will be bigger deal to you. Not buying things all the time makes all the things you do end up getting more valuable.
Have you hear about clothing swap party? It’s a great way to save, have fun with friends and get some new clothes! Check it out here.
Again, nothing is absolute. You can try things for one month and decide what can you live without, and what’s fu*k no. Speaking of Fu*k No and Yes, you might want to read this post, and reinforce some of those things when it comes to spending too.
More ways to save money:
Carry only cash with you, create monthly spending and savings budget, stop buying expensive hair and beauty products, start making your own laundry detergent, don’t mess with thermostat (guilty, so guilty), shorten your showers, cancel your gym membership, cancel all those little things you are paying monthly but not using (Netflix, cable, Hulu), switch your phone company or lower data plan, stop recklessly driving around and walk whenever you can.
3 WAYS NANNY CAN EARN MONEY IN 2016
Assuming you already work way too many hours, I won’t even mention “oh, just go and babysit some more”, because kids and more kids, and more kids means – kill me, I need a break-. If you are, by any chance, looking to pick up some extra gigs, check out my Resource page for places to search for a job
1.Sell everything extra
Being a person that hates clutter one of things that was always good source of income for me was – selling stuff I don’t need. Back in those times when I was recklessly spending I gathered many items I no longer use, wear or want to keep in my apartment.
Lamps, furniture, clothes, jewelry your ex gave you, games…people will buy anything if you find time to post it on Craigslist or local Facebook selling group. It’s time consuming, but by getting rid of things you know you will not use any time soon, you can pay of your credit card in matter of days.
I am just about to sell bunch of old books and games to several different websites that will pay for shipping and your book. All you have to do is put some time into it. You can ask your nanny family, friends, family if they would love to get rid of some older books that you can help organize and remove.
If your employers are dropping at Goodwill all of the things that are too small for your charges, why not take it over and resell it in consignment shop?
2. Blogging or freelancing
In theory this is amazing source of income, not to mention great hobby as well. Blogging takes so much work. I spend several hours daily, and I earn barely for a coffee a day (but remember I don’t buy that coffee! 🙂 ). There are ways it can be so much more, but I am lazy and I just want people to loooooove me, it’s not about money, otherwise I could sell myself and start promoting products just because that’s what everyone does.
There are, however, many blogs and websites who will pay you to submit your articles to them. You can earn $25 up to several hundreds per written article.
3. Join Fiverr or Etsy
Fiverr is a place for absolutely everything you might want or need. There are people selling their knowledge, services, ideas for $5. If you are great at grammar you can proof read someone’s homework, you can teach English or any other language to people online, you can tutor math or create custom logos. There has to be something you might be able to offer. Etsy has the similar idea, but instead of knowledge you are selling a product. If you know how to knit, if you are great at drawing, crafting or creating, you can sell it and people will pay for it.
More ways to earn money:
Mystery shopping, do online surveys, become local coordinator for exchange students, au pairs…(Click here if you are interested in becoming LC or HF for exchange students), walk pets, offer cleaning services, make YouTube tutorials…
I know all of these advises sound generic and it’s just blabbering, but everything will sound like that to you until you admit to yourself that IT’S YOU. You really need to decide that you have a different goal for your future. Even if you just want to save up for summer trip and you are not looking to change your whole lifestyle – you still need to start somewhere.
So start here, start today!
I am part of this great Broke A$$ Nanny Brigade Facebook group where we, nannies, are supporting, advising and encouraging each other on ways to save and earn money.
I would also like to add that new year is a great time for you to sit with your employers, ask them for feedback and address any of your concerns as well. Create a contract if you don’t have any. Are you financially incapable of surviving on what they are paying you? Ask them for nanny share option, more hours or a raise. If they are not paying you for gas or those extra hours you are putting in, explain you need that money. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Ask for YOUR money.
Please share your ideas and ways how do you manage your money in comment section!
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