I'm one to try and follow the usual advice when it comes to saving money: use coupons, buy in bulk, and don’t food shop on an empty stomach. With a kid in the mix, and rising cost of childcare, the pressure to be financially smart increases. After all, you’re providing for more roommates, and at least one of them is unemployed. I'd say that most parents are looking to save some cash so, thankfully, some moms who are awesome at saving money are willing to share their best best budgeting tips, because knowledge is power and power is being able to stretch a dollar as far as physically possible.
In gathering budgeting tips from money-savvy moms, I noticed one thing in common: they all required some planning. Budgeting money means budgeting time. This was an “a-ha moment” for me, because whenever I find myself having to fork over money for over-priced bottles of beverages at street fairs, it’s because I neglected to adequately pack water for us. All those guys hawking umbrellas on rainy street corners are counting on us numbskulls who ran out of the house without checking the weather first. Money-saving does come at a price — time — but it will be time well-spent when you’re sweating less over having to outfit a child who seems to be growing out of all his or her clothes, seemingly overnight.
If you’re looking to trim spending and gain a few smart points in the finance department, incorporate some (or all) of these must-do budgeting tips from moms who save money with the best of them:
“We have a neighborhood barter and swap Facebook group so I can purge clothes my kids have outgrown and score ones that fit.”
“We bike everywhere possible. Now that my kid’s tall enough to cost us a Metrocard fare, that’s a significant savings!
“Google Family Cloth."
“We book our occasional rental cars through Costco. The membership more than pays for itself, even if you don’t shop there!”
“We pick one thing a year to buy a membership for: the zoo or the science museums. Then we switch it up for the next year so nothing gets old.”
“We have a neighborhood babysitting co-op based on a point system: we get points by sitting, and spend them by having others sit. Most of the sits are like playdates, because the kids are around the same age. Win-win!”
“We’re a cloth diaper family. Costs less to send them out to get cleaned than buying disposable diapers.”
“We swap toys in and out of rotation so things always feel new. We also get ebooks and audiobooks from the library.”
“We don’t buy much fresh fruit; it just goes bad if we buy enough to theoretically last a week. Frozen fruit is just as good in cereal and smoothies!”
“Although it’s a zillion times more convenient to use the debit card for everything, paying in cash really stops me from making those impulse purchases at the counter.”
“Always buy on sale. If they don’t have my kid’s current size, I’ll buy the next size up and sock it away for later.”
“Label every freakin’ thing. Seriously, even the underwear. They will lose it but you might not have to replace it if it’s able to get returned to you!”
“I always buy double the amount of stuff we use a lot of if it’s on sale.”
“I keep those Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons right by the door. They don’t expire, and if I see them, I won’t forget to grab them on the way out!”
“We batch cook on the weekends so we’re not short on dinner options during the week when [my partner and I] are both working, and tempted to get take-out.”
“I don’t buy paper; I take home outdated spreadsheets from the office and the kids can use the backs of them to draw on.”
“Have shopping cart, will walk.”
“Morning movie tickets are a lot less!”