10 Best Ways for Moms to Save Money
Saving money may be more important than ever this year. With many who have lost their jobs or seen hours reduced. I’ve always been one of a good deal. While I am not exactly a saver, I wouldn’t call myself a spender. I would like to think I take up residence somewhere in the middle. I’m willing to spend money if it saves me money in the long run. And with the money I save I like to enjoy something a little spendy and nice on occasion, like dinner out at a nicer restaurant. However, you’ll never see change in your finances if you spend all the money you save. Before you start saving define your goals. Is your goal to pay off a credit card, or student debt? Or are you saving for something, a family vacation or new car? It’s important to know where you are headed so you know how to get there. If those goals seem too much and you are doing a 180 from spending to saving start with Dave Ramsey’s baby step number 1 – save $1000 as fast as you can. This first step will help you change old habits and have an easy goal to feel accomplished. When you get a taste for saving it will get easier. Saving money is a mindset, a choice to forgo instant gratification for long term rewards. So, I’m sharing ways to save on the things you need and manage the money you have. I know there are thousands of money gurus out there, but I want to share mommy to mommy some simple ideas. I believe these are 10 of the best ways for moms to save money.
Save Money on Food
1. Menu Planning
Don’t waste money eating out or on ingredients you don’t need. Taking some time to menu plan each week will ensure you know exactly what you need and prevent you wasting money on things you don’t. I plan my menu each week when I get the grocery ads. If chicken is on sale, I plan to make a few chicken meals and freeze what I won’t need that week. My other favorite item to stock up on when it’s on sale is pork tenderloin. It’s easy to cook in the Instant Pot from frozen. Read more about the wonders of cooking from frozen in the Instant Pot in my previous post. Need help to get started with meal planning? Sign up for my newsletter. You’ll have instant access to all my weekly meal plans along with grocery lists and a blank menu planner you can fill out and use too. Each month I create a new menu plan so check your email each month for new menus filled with easy meal ideas. Also with menu planning you can check what you have on hand and plan to use it up rather than throwing out food when it expires.
2. Learn To Cook
You can save money menu planning if you don’t know how to cook, so maybe that should have been number one! If you have never cooked much before there’s no time like now to get started. You can save so much money by not buying take-out or going through the drive through multiple times a week, not to mention the health savings. There are thousands of videos on YouTube that can teach you how to cook. But if you aren’t sure where to start, famous chef Gordon Ramsay has a playlist including several beginning cooking videos. Check it out here.
3. Meal Prep
This is a big one, especially for moms short on time. I know it’s tough to set aside the time to meal prep, but it will save you a fortune over convenience foods. Precut watermelon will cost you twice as much as cutting watermelon yourself. Fresh fruit and veggies is where you will save the most, but you can save on prepacking all those kid snacks too. I love our snack cups and we can buy cheddar bunnies in bulk rather than the individual packages. Or buy applesauce or yogurt in bulk and fill your own pouches. It takes a little extra effort but you’ll save about $1 per pouch. At my house we go through about 8 pouches a week. It doesn’t seem like much but it all adds up. You can even blend in your own fresh fruit with the yogurt to fill your kids pouch.
4. Make Coffee at Home
I’ve written an entire post on this, read the whole thing here. It’s easy to make your own cold brew coffee to mimic what you get at the coffee shop. My Keurig K-Cafe makes home made lattes a breeze, and my secret weapon is Torani Syrups. And yet another way to save even more is with a reusable coffee pod. Even at a good price those k-cups cost me about 30cents a pop. But, I can buy an entire bag of coffee grounds and fill my own pod for about mere pennies.
General Money Saving
This is huge to know how much you are actually spending. You may be surprised and find areas where you over spend and want or need to cut back. Budgeting also helps you live within your means so you don’t end up with a surprise credit card bill at the end of the month. If you are really working to save you may want to start with the envelope method of budgeting. In a near cashless society this isn’t easy, but try it for a few months and it will completely change your perspective on spending money. When you have to hand over actual cash it changes entirely from just swiping a piece of plastic. How it works is you set your budget for each category, ie. Groceries, Household Goods, Eating Out, Entertainment, etc. Then put the amount of budgeted cash in an envelope. Use money from that envelope to spend on each category. When the money is gone for the month it’s gone! This is mainly for discretionary categories where it is easy to spend without realizing it. You won’t use this method for your electricity bill! Enjoy my FREE printable budgeting templates to get you started.
6. Money Back Apps
These apps are perfect for getting money back on things you are going to buy anyway. They don’t help if you go out of your way to buy things just for the savings. This is also my number one coupon rule. It’s not a deal if you don’t need it! But, I love apps like Ibotta, because I can save $3 on that roast I was going to buy anyway. What are some of your favorite cash back apps? Share in the comments below.
7. Shop Ads and Deals
I very rarely buy full price except on basic necessities. I mean it’s 2021 and there hasn’t been a good deal on toilet paper since February 2020. But seriously, one of the highlights of my week is getting my ads. I comb the grocery ads to make my shopping list, cut out coupons for items I know I buy anyway, and add items on my Ibotta app. When I’m shopping for clothing or places like Michaels, I don’t even enter the building without a coupon. And buy in bulk only if it makes sense. Nobody is trying to compete on extreme couponing here and end up with a 100 tubes of toothpaste. But, if you have to buy 10 of something to get the deal and you have a designated place to store said item go for it.
Save Money on Activities
8. Workout for Free
Once I had my daughter I never made it back to the gym, and I am guilty of still paying for it for months. I kept thinking I would get back into my routine. Well maybe you are laughing at me because you know what I know now, that after having kids life is never the same. I may enjoy going to the gym again someday, but that day is years down the road. So, I’ve made it my goal to find some easy online fitness routines. I need to get back in some kind of healthy shape for my family. I know it will boost my mood and self-esteem. I was surprised to find so many great, fast, equipment free workouts on YouTube. One of my favorites is The Fitness Mission. She has several videos of workouts you can do with your kids. The mission of Fitness Mission is to become profitable so all proceeds can be donated to Active for Good, an organization which provides therapeutic packets of food to children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Popsugar Fitness has lots of short easy videos too.
9. Free Activity Classes
For adults and kids, Michaels is offering free online classes. I’ve loved doing some paint classes online, but was excited to learn about all the other classes they offer. Just buy materials and make sure you use a coupon! If you know you like a certain activity like painting, invest in materials, paints, and canvases in bulk. I find I have left over materials from when I try something, so I’ll take another similar class and adjust to what I have on hand. Like a cookie class, I use cookie cutters and gel food coloring I already have.
10. Free Books
My daughter loves to read, and snuggling up with her to read is one of our favorite things to do together. I recently heard about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Shared by a fellow blogger you can check it out here. Another way I’ve gotten free books is with hosting a Usborne Party! Read my post on my experience here.
Well there you have it 10 of the best ways for moms to save money. We all need to eat, spend, and have a little fun so I hope these tips will jumpstart your journey to reach your savings goals. I’d love to hear how these tips have worked for you, feel free to share in the comments or connect through my Facebook Page.
THIS MOMMY TRIED IT AND YOU CAN TOO!