Money-Saving Tips for Moms
Kids can be expensive. Even if you’re a frugal parent, determined to teach your children the value of a dollar and the importance of valuing experiences no amount of money can buy, the costs can mount. Sometimes it feels like they outgrow their clothes faster than you can buy them. On top of that, there’s school supplies, fees for sports or other extracurricular activities and putting away money for their college education. As a mom, you face additional challenges that frugal people without kids or empty nesters don’t have. The tips below can help you make the most of your dollars.
Make a Menu Plan Together
One of the challenges parents trying to stick to a budget face is providing healthy, affordable meals that their kids will eat. Your kids might agitate for more fast food or may be especially picky eaters. The trick is to strike a balance between not breaking your budget on groceries or meals out and providing proper nutrition without turning mealtime into a battleground. One of the best ways to do this is by making menu planning a family affair. This helps children feel more in control while also taking some of the burden of meal planning off of you. It’s also an opportunity to teach children lessons about budgeting and compromise.
Look for Free Activities
A trip to the movies or a day at the amusement park or zoo might be out of your budget, but there may be plenty of free activities for your children to enjoy. Libraries tend to have a number of free programs. Your local newspaper or a social media or webpage for your community might also include listings. Keep in mind as well that the movie theater or zoo might be more affordable than you think if you take advantage of seasonal or yearly passes.
Refinancing to Free Up Extra Cash
Many people think of budgeting in terms of cutting back on things you buy, but you may be able to save by lowering what you think of as fixed expenses as well. For example, you might be able to refinance your student loans to save money and pay a lower monthly rate. Alternately, with lower interest rates, you could pay the same amount but finish paying them off sooner. This could free up income to put in a child’s college account. You may be able to refinance your home or your car as well.
Make Saving Fun
From visiting yard sales to cutting coupons out of the paper to finding ways to live a more eco-friendly—and thus cheaper—lifestyle, you can make a game out of many money-saving activities and involve your children. Giving them an allowance and encouraging them to save up for things they want instead of simply buying it for them can give them a great sense of accomplishment and ownership. Children shouldn’t be burdened by actual financial worries if possible, but the more they are invited to be active participants in the family budget, the less they will see your efforts to save money as an imposition and the more they will understand how frugality benefits everyone.