Budgeting sucks, because, let’s be real — it’d be way more fun if you could just buy whatever you wanted all the time. But since most of us aren’t members of the Kardashian clan, that’s not a realistic way to live our lives. And budgeting for one or two is hard enough, but when you add kids to the mix, stretching every dollar become even more imperative. Luckily, there are some budgeting tips for moms that are really just small changes you can make to what you’re already doing. So small, in fact, that you probably won’t even notice you’re doing them until you see that extra chunk of change in your bank account at the end of the month.
Since, not only do you have to make the same amount of money go a longer way once kids come along, but you also need to start thinking about saving money for their future, budgeting can be a huge source of stress for moms. So finding ways to save money so that you don’t have to worry so much can be a huge relief. And with these small budgeting tricks, your money will go farther (and you can even put the leftover into a savings account for later.)
1. Don’t Buy New
Whether it’s clothes or toys, buying gently-used second-hand items can save you a ton of money. Craigslist, consignment shops, and local yard sale groups on Facebook are all great ways to take items off someone else’s hands.
2. Meal Plan
Planning your meals for the week in advance allows you to know what you need, as well as helps you maximize your ingredients so that you’re using everything you bought. For example, if you need to buy cauliflower for one meal but won’t use the entire head, you can plan a second meal for later in the week that uses the rest. You can also capitalize by what’s on sale at the grocery store. I personally love Budget Bytes for meal suggestions that won’t break the bank, as well as ways to shop smarter.
3. De-Clutter For Cash
Everyone has items lying around their house and shoved into closets that they don’t need. Selling these things on Craigslist or at yard sales is basically like finding money. You also have the added benefit of cleaning out your closets.
4. Consider Cloth
Cloth diapers are synonymous with crunchy moms, but they’re not as gross as they might initially seem. While disposables are way easier when you’re out and about, you may want to consider switching to cloth when you’re home, particularly when your baby has started solids and isn’t going through a diaper every two hours. There’s an initial upfront cost of purchasing the diapers, though you can find used ones for cheap. Plus, you’re reducing your environmental footprint.
5. Make Your Own Baby Food
The early months of solid food can get really expensive. Jarred baby food isn’t cheap, and neither are those convenient pouches. Pureeing your own food doesn’t take very long and you can make it in bulk so it’s easy to use later.
6. Utilize Your Freezer
This is where a Costco or Sam’s Club membership can come in handy. Buying sale items you can freeze for later use (or making large meals and freezing the leftovers) is not only convenient, but it saves money. Plus it takes some of the stress off meal planning, because you always have something in the freezer. If you don’t have enough space in the freezer, consider investing in a smaller second one.
7. Keep Track Of Your Spending
It’s been shown that even the simple act of saving your receipts and looking where your money goes can help you spend less.