I, along with every other mother on the planet, am a busy mom. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I get so busy with everyday life that I quickly slip into the bad habit of becoming lazy with my budget. Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely like to stretch our dollars, but I like to do this with as minimal effort as humanly possible. Now that we have three little mouths to feed and three children to send to college in the future (insert panic attack here) we try to be as frugal as we can. I am always on the lookout for practical ways to stretch our budget!
Here are ten easy money saving hacks that I have found help our family save money and make a big impact on our budget, with minimal effort involved!
1. Dye old pants – When I was a working mama, I was always buying new work pants because the color seemed to fade so quickly. One day I had the brilliant idea to purchase a bottle of Rit’s black dye and color my fading pants. The pants were quickly refreshed and looked brand new. I now do this with my jeans as well. This saves a good deal of money because jeans and pants are expensive!!
2. Host a children’s clothing swap – Get with your girlfriends and plan a clothing swap. Decide on a location and have everyone bring their gently used and outgrown kids clothing. Have fun “shopping” through each other’s clothes. You will score a couple of new outfits for your kiddos, all while purging out the old and you also get to have a fun time with friends! Win-win!
3. Shop at a discount grocery store – We go to Aldi, but if there isn’t an Aldi in your area search for any discount grocery store. You will be surprised how much money you can save. When we started shopping at cheaper grocery stores, we quickly shaved 50 bucks off our weekly grocery budget.
4. Buy kid’s sports equipment and seasonal items second hand – Check a children’s consignment sale or thrift store before you pay full price for any of your children’s sport equipment, especially if you aren’t sure if it is an activity that your child is going to stick with. In the past, I have found ballet shoes, gymnastic leotards, and tennis rackets all at children’s thrift stores. With summer approaching we needed new swimsuits for the kids. Instead of going to a retail store and paying full price, I went to a children’s consignment store and purchased new (to us) swimsuits for all three of my children for only $22! I purchased all of these swimsuits for the same price as one full priced swimsuit. Score, especially since all of these items will only be used for a couple of months!
5. Buy off brand wet wipes – I splurge on the diapers (I never could commit to cloth diapers, but high five to all the cloth diapering moms!). However, off brand wet wipes do the trick! This saves us approximately $3.00 every time we buy a box of the bulk wipes. This might not seem like a great deal of money, but we have had a kid (or two) in diapers for the last 5 years, so this adds up!
6. Dollar store dishes – I made the mistake of purchasing a rather pricey dinnerware set. Fast forward a couple of months and almost every stinking plate in the entire set was broken. I went to the dollar store and bought white plates, mugs, and bowls all for a small fraction of what I spent on my new dinnerware set. If the plates break, no big deal. I can run to the dollar store and replace them for a buck. Another perk is I love how clean and fresh the white plates look.
7. Rent movies from the library – My kids will obsess over a movie, however it has been my experience that just as soon as I buy the movie their obsession comes to an abrupt halt. Renting movies from the library is an inexpensive way for kids to watch the movies they love without breaking the bank.
8. Check out the discount section of furniture stores – Need new furniture? Check out the discount section of the major furniture stores before you pay full price. This is a great way to find awesome deals on pieces that just need a little TLC. I bought a beautiful floor lamp for $50 bucks (originally priced at $225). It was in the clearance section because the trim was coming off the lamp shade. I took a little hot glue and glued that sucker back on. Boom! Good as new!
9. Buy your clothes off season – This can be a little complicated when purchasing kids clothing because their sizing changes so fast. However, with adult clothes this is a great way to score some major bargains. If your sweaters are looking a little ragged, now is a great time to hit up your favorite clothing stores and shop the clearance racks as they bring in their new spring and summer trends. Same method applies when summer is ending- stock up on tanks, tees, and shorts. Kohls, JcPenney’s, and Target are three great places that have awesome end of season sales.
10. Purchase season passes – Season passes have surprisingly saved our family money. Does your family enjoy frequenting the zoo, museums, or family fun centers? Find out if your favorite businesses offer a season pass. This is the first year we have purchased zoo and Science Museum passes, and I wish I had done this long ago! The passes quickly pay for themselves, which ends up being inexpensive family fun.
What are some of the tips that you have for saving your family money?