If you are like most moms, you enjoy the nicer things in life, but may not be able to afford as many luxuries as you’d like. This doesn’t mean you can’t find all sorts of wonderful things to share with your kids and enrich your life. If you’re frugal and know how and where to shop, you can save without skimping on the stuff that makes your family happy.
Planet-friendly, budget-friendly lifestyle
Protect the Earth and your wallet, too, when you and your family adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle. In lieu of buying paper towels and paper napkins, invest in cloth napkins that you never throw away. Cut old cotton T-shirts into rags and use them to mop up spills. Don’t buy bottled water in plastic containers. If your tap water is tasty, simply use refillable bottles to tote refreshment wherever you wander. If your tap water is less than delicious, filter it before filling reusable bottles.
Get rid of incandescent light bulbs and switch ‘em out for compact fluorescents. Your family will consume up to 30 percent less electricity and fluorescent bulbs last at least ten times longer, too. Reduce the heat on your water heater by a few degrees, and watch the savings add up. Get rid of costly cable and watch less TV. Install low-flow shower heads and teach your kids to take “shipboard showers’ that are effective yet last for only a couple of minutes. Don’t forget to turn out the lights every time you leave a room, recommend money experts at US News. The more money you don’t spend on utility bills, the more cash you’ll have to spend on life’s little luxuries.
Plan ahead, stick to shopping lists, save money
Review grocery store ads and plan your weekly menu around on-sale meats and produce. Get the kids involved, and make a game of grocery shopping. Join a food co-op and buy beans, rice and other dry goods in bulk. When an item that you use regularly is on sale, buy several and freeze or store for future meals. Cut coupons, but only use them to buy things that are on your shopping list. And speaking of shopping lists, make one and stick with it every time you shop, recommends Parenting Squad magazine.
Small savings really do add up
Visit a price tracking website such as GasBuddy before you fuel up your Dodge Dart or similar family car. Instead of going out on the town, invite another family over for game night. After the kids go to bed, switch to poker or another grownup card game. Learn basic sewing skills and patch holey jeans instead of tossing them away. Learn to sew on buttons and don’t be afraid to shop at second-hand stores for gently used garments.
Parenting can be a challenge, especially when you’re trying to stick to a budget. Make a few easy lifestyle changes, and fill your piggy bank with money you can save toward something fun.