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10 Clever money-saving tips for busy moms

If anyone calls you Mom, I am going to guess that “busy” is your middle name. If your days look anything like mine, you’re probably missing out on some serious cash because you’re too strapped for time. Try these tips to stop the over spending.

Woman with a handful of twenties |
I find that in my crazy mommy day, I cut corners wherever I can. I used to think that made me savvy and efficient, but I realize that cutting some corners is costing me money. Here are 10 things that I am going to work on to save some cash.

Wash it out… even if it makes you gag

One of the corners I often cut is tossing out perfectly good plastic containers. I have a terrible habit of trashing them if there is something unrecognizable growing on what used to be the mac and cheese inside. I don’t do it because I hate the planet, I do it because it is gross, and I don’t want to touch it. I have also been known to toss sippy cups full of fermented juice and sour milk that I find under the backseat of the car. I am not perfect, but this is something that I can certainly spend an extra few minutes doing in order to save in the long run.


Make more pancakes

So, I consider my morning successful when my kids are dressed and fed by 9. You might think I am an underachiever, but I assure you, this is quite a feat! Sometimes the feeding happens in fast-food fashion. Now, I am a pretty anal mom really when it comes to food, but when I am out of time I will buy my kids McDonald’s pancakes. Yes, it does make me feel super guilty when I feed them cake for breakfast. I also feel terrible that I am spending money on food when I have the ingredients in my pantry. So, my new motto: Make double when I am making them anyway and put the extra in the freezer for mornings when I would rather hit the drive-thru. Duh.


Buy everyone
the same socks

I suppose I have a laundry problem. I don’t like to wash it, fold it or put it away. Perhaps as punishment for my lack of enthusiasm, the universe has decided to punish me by swallowing my family’s socks, just one of each pair, of course. In an effort to keep my family from going sockless, I am going to forgo buying cute socks in boy and girl colors and buy everyone white. That way they will always match! Take that universe!


Sign up for the annoying helpful supermarket app

“Ugh.” That is the sound I make when I think about all of the supermarket club cards and coupons and secret handshakes you have to have in order to get milk for a decent price. But, in an effort to save money, I will grit my teeth, and I will download the apps of the stores that I frequent. I have stubbornly refused to get the apps, but I am going to try them out to see if they help save me some money. Stay tuned.


Stop letting laundry

get stinky

OK, so I am hoping I am not totally alone in this one. I do so many loads of laundry that sometimes I forget there is a wet load in the washing machine when I go to bed. When I find it in the morning, the clothes smell really funky and I have to rewash the load. I am not only wasting hot water, I am wasting detergent and time! In an effort to curb behavior that would make Joan Cleaver disown me as a woman, I am going to set reminders on my phone for that last load of the night.


Go shopping alone
with a written list

So this may seem like wishful thinking especially the shop alone part. But, here is why it is so important. When I shop with my kids I totally forgo any sort of plan (usually I have a “mental list” guiding me). The old money-wasting me would simply toss things in the cart within arm’s reach of the toy section in order to escape the madness of shopping with children as soon as possible. I know I would save a ton of money if I actually wrote down my list and then purchased what we needed. No more leaving the store with a cart filled with Band-Aids and wine!


Don’t be a cheapskate

I know this may sound contradictory in a list about saving money. However, being smart and being cheap is not always the same thing. I have a very hard time spending money on nice things. I have two young children and a dog and nothing stays nice, nothing. But, I also find that when I go the cheap route and buy the clearance hamper or the cheap rain boots — spoiler alert — they don’t hold up. I find that I am buying replacement items over and over for cheaply made goods instead of spending a little more upfront for something that will last. From now on, I am going to spend a bit more the first time and see if I save myself trips to the store and money in my pocket.


Stop pretending I am working for tips

A typical dinner at our house:

1) Mom makes chicken, salad and baked potato.
2) Kids refuse to eat any of it because we are out of ketchup.
3) Mom feels bad that the kids aren’t eating and makes them dinner 2 (mac and cheese).
4) One-half of dinner 1 is wasted.
5) Mom just spent four hours making dinners.

This will not happen any more. I will not feel bad if the kids don’t want to eat what I make. I will also stock up on ketchup.


Return the movie
to Redbox

OMG. I am the worst at returning movies on time. This is a simple one. Take it back to the big red box it came from the day after you watch it. End of story.


Follow my
own advice

Now, the most important tip — follow through. I won’t be saving a cent if I don’t do anything on this list. So, here I go, off to put the laundry in the dryer!

Tell us:

These are just a few of my personal goals for saving money. What would you add to the list?

More awesome ways to be a better mom

10 Parenting hacks that changed my life
6 Ways to find great secondhand clothes for kids
7 Ways to save money on groceries, kids clothes and more

Photo credit: Alberto Coto/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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