If you’re like most mothers on a budget, you like to know where your money is going every month. You don’t have unlimited financial resources to satisfy your obligations. Some of us have to stay within some kind of a budget, whether it’s down to the cent or tracking expenses loosely.
Fortunately, there is a wide range of prices for most things we buy. Gone are the days when the grocery store brand of breakfast cereal tasted of cardboard or the generic version of medications was ineffective.
Here are some suggestions to help frugal parents save on daily expenses. You can also get advice from our recommended frugal mother blogs as well!
Top 30 savings tips for moms on a budget
Whether it’s finding more affordable forms of entertainment for you and your kids, reducing your grocery costs, or energy-saving tips for your house, you may discover numerous of these tips that will work for you.
1. Meal plan
Any friend of the fast way to save on groceries is likely to tell you that meal planning is a quick way to lower your food costs. I admit I am not great at it myself. My grocery shopping is becoming more troublesome if I don’t plan my meals ahead of time.
Even if basic foods and food ingredients go up in price, you can reduce your grocery expenses by planning your meals ahead of time. There are numerous meal-planning apps available, such as Mealime and Paprika. Many also have excellent free versions, so you do not have to worry about spending any money.
Preparing a grocery list from food lists helps you avoid buying unnecessary items, which saves you money for other financial obligations.
2. Shop online for groceries
Shopping without a list is so effortless that it’s easy to spend too much. Even with a shopping list, going to the grocery store is likely to result in you loading up far more than expected. Of course, you could use some of those impulse purchases too, but I bet some of them will be a waste of money.
Our family has traditionally used a free online grocery pickup service, and we still enjoy it. I typically save my most common purchases in my online account on the store’s website, which makes reordering staples easy. Shopping online can save you from the chore of walking the aisles at the supermarket and seeing the enticing displays designed to get you to buy products.
Of course, you need to be careful about impulse purchases when shopping online, but it can certainly help you avoid them if you do it correctly! If you can control yourself while shopping in person and remain within your budget while making purchases, that’s great too!
But like I am, you may also have an easier time following the grocery list by shopping online. Additionally, you can avoid the store crowds while doing it.
3. Plan for snacks
Like you do with meal preparation, be sure to have food available when the munchies strike. Snacks like granola bars or trail mix are handy for both you and your kids. For instance, in your wallet or glove compartment.
Whenever you travel, even if you are just a short distance, convenient snacks can help you avoid sudden drive-thru stops for greasy fast food. Filling your reusable water bottle at home can save you a lot of money on bottled water when you are on the go.
4. Use coupons and cash-back apps
Good old coupons are still in use by stay-at-home mothers everywhere and can be found online or cut from the newspaper. You can often find coupons online nowadays, or even cut them out of the newspaper like you did in the past. Check out Groupon for deals on activities and events.
Cash-back apps are another way to save money (technically, to get it refunded to you). Ibotta and Rakuten are two of the most commonly used cash-back programs that can help customers get real cash for buying a number of goods that they might otherwise need to buy.
5. Cook and eat at home
Most mothers know to cook and eat their own meals at home to save money. Restaurant meals are far more expensive even if you are buying the highest-quality ingredients. My family enjoys eating out now and then, but we keep the frequency of these outings low so that we can still regard it as a treat.
It is not our normal behavior to pack a picnic for day-long excursions. We also attempt to carry a ready-to-eat lunch. This enables us to avoid wasting money on overpriced dishes and allows us to enjoy amazing dining events even more.
6. Use a large freezer
If you have room in your budget, an additional freezer can save you money. This will make it easier to buy items on sale if you spot it at a good price. You can buy discounted foods, freeze them, and use them later.
Plus, a chest freezer allows you to keep prepared meals in the freezer. This will enable you to refrain from ordering takeout on those fast-paced school nights.
7. Shop thrift stores
Thrift stores, garage sales, Buy Nothing organizations, and Facebook Marketplace are a few of the methods to save money and help you save money. These are the places to shop if you need new clothes.
You can still purchase new items once in a while, but using more affordable methods can save you a lot of money. Moreover, thrifting can be a fun activity of its own!
8. Buy high-quality items
This is a tough one. Certain items offer a better price if you pay extra up front. However, you should avoid the mistake of assuming all products you purchase are of superior quality because you think they will last a lifetime. The same applies to higher price tags; they don’t always indicate better quality.
These items and clothing items are slightly outdated but don’t have to be expensive. For example, a black dress can be worn for a variety of events. But fashionable things that you will not use for many years, such as a recent cell phone, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on.
9. Try a clothes-buying ban
Tired of seeing your clothes bursting out of your dresser and closet? Try a three-month, six-month, or year-long clothes-buying ban and see how much you can save.
Maybe you are very interested in fashion and clothing, and this kind of rule is stifling to you. However, temporarily suspending your clothing purchases or participating in another no-spend challenge can provide a benefit. You can reset your priorities, enjoy the clothing you already have, and save money.
10. Set a budget for non-essentials
You can focus on clothing and other items that you usually don’t need to buy by making them a line item in your budget. Budgeting allows you the flexibility to shop so long as you stay within your parameters. Budgeting your luxuries is personal because it allows you to obtain exactly the things you desire.
There’s no need to feel ashamed of spending money on the things you enjoy. After all, since mothers on a limited budget still have to spend money now and then, they can enjoy themselves even on a tight budget. Having a budget that concerns you the most allows you to remain financially secure.
11. Enjoy free activities
When it comes to entertainment, spending $100 on concert tickets isn’t necessary. You might even discover dozens of free activities in your community or city if you look hard enough. The Chamber of Commerce, parks and recreation department, and local clubs provide excellent places to go for free activities.
Many exciting activities can be enjoyed for free at a local theme park, botanical garden, museum, or attraction. If you enjoy spending time doing things on your own or with your family, check out what’s available in your area. There are plenty of free activities available, and most of them are even fun.
12. Cut your subscriptions
Are you really utilizing your Netflix subscription? Or are you also using any of the other on demand streaming services that people have available these days? You could get a great deal of usage out of Disney+ or other subscription services, but even with that, you could opt for a less expensive option.
These services are very easy to put on hold or to terminate at any time, so you can restart them at any time after a few months when you find these amenities are reducing your family time. You may also discover that you spend more time doing other fun activities with your family without the television’s screen distractions.
13. Use your library
The library is an incredible place. I really am serious. The public library has tens of thousands of books, audiobooks, magazines, movies, video games, and activities available for free use. You can spend time at kids’ movie afternoons in the library checking out books and movies to your heart’s content or peruse your favorite titles at your leisure. The library provides tremendous savings on everything from groceries to textbooks for moms on a tight income.
Of course, we recommend supporting your favorite authors by buying their books if you can afford to do so. However, it would be a shame to miss out on the vast amount of free knowledge available at your local library. Books are beneficial whether it’s for self-improvement or just for fun.
14. Get into nature
The outdoors offers many inexpensive ways for families to stay active and entertained. Biking, hiking, and walking are easily accessible from almost anywhere. Additionally, there is a body of research devoted to demonstrating the benefits of spending time in nature. It can protect against stress-related health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic pain, and obesity.
15. Buy used cars
For people on a restricted budget, purchasing used autos is a good way to save money. New vehicles depreciate so quickly that they often cost tens of thousands of dollars less to buy than new models.
You can examine Consumer Reports or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for safety ratings on the safest used cars so that you do not have to worry about that aspect.
16. Stay close to home
This tip can be useful for your holidays and longer trips. By staying closer to home, parents on a budget can maximize their budgets. Instead of flying, see if you are able to drive. Instead of driving eight hours away, investigate a great place within an hour or two of your home.
Driving a shorter distance will save you time and money on gas and vehicle maintenance, extending the life of your automobile.
17. Batch driving trips
Another way to reduce your transportation costs is to do short errands and group traffic. Rather than driving around town multiple times a day or per week, try planning your weekly errands.
If you live ten miles from most locations you visit, and you make that trip five times each week, that is 100 miles round-trip for the week. By planning your trips to consist of just one or two destinations, you can significantly reduce mileage, time, and cost.
18. Cancel the gym membership
Is physical fitness important? Of course it is! And if there are no other options for you, going to the gym might be a good expense.
However, consider whether your gym membership is the best use of your money. Gym memberships aren’t always necessary or worth the money.
Moms on a restricted budget can get a lot of wonderful workouts at no cost by being a little bit inventive. For example, exercising outdoors may be a good option. Any kind of exercise can be fit in nearly any budget. One can also walk, bike, or run to spend less money on transportation.
19. Discover YouTube for fitness
YouTube contains an abundance of free workout videos for everyone. I still haven’t taken an in-studio yoga class, but I’ve practiced thousands of yoga sessions from home using my favorite YouTube buddy’s channel.
Some of us thrive on exercising in public gyms, but others like to exercise in the comfort of their own homes. Exercising for free is a fantastic way to stay fit without spending any money.
You might also be able to locate a personal trainer online for a modest monthly cost if you need the encouragement of another person to reach your fitness goals.
20. Use health and fitness employer benefits
Perhaps you work for a company that offers discounts on gym memberships or has a gym on-site.
Gym memberships are expensive, but if you’re fortunate enough to work at a place where they care about your health, that’s a really valuable perk to have.
21. Buy used exercise equipment
Exercise equipment is a great thing to buy used or refurbished. Be sure to inspect the safety of older items like treadmills or ellipticals, of course. Use Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and yard sales when seeking fitness machines.
Dumbbells, exercise bands, and fitness equipment can be acquired at substantial savings if you are patient (and have a bit luck).
22. Set your thermostat lower or higher
Keeping your home closer to the temperature means less electricity usage, which ultimately lowers your utility bills. This may mean making some lifestyle changes (such as dressing differently), but the benefits are worthwhile.
Mom’s on a budget can keep costs down by turning the thermostat down a few degrees in the colder months and up a few more degrees in the hot months.
To give you an idea of your potential savings, the Department of Energy estimates that you can save up to 10% annually on heating and cooling by adjusting the thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours each day.
23. Maintain your appliances
By investing in the maintenance and operation of major appliances and equipment at home each year, you will conserve money over time. Be sure to change your air filters as necessary.
Having an expert perform routine maintenance checks on your appliances like your HVAC system ensures performance and maximum longevity. Appliances are more efficient and last longer when they are properly maintained.
24. Decrease appliance usage
Another option is to use your appliances less frequently or during off-peak hours. Line-dry your laundry whenever possible instead of using a dryer. Be like Grandma and use a clothesline instead of an electric line-dryer. Open windows to provide air and sunshine when appropriate to maintain body temperature and circulation.
You can run the washing machine and dishwasher at off-hours when the power is cheaper. Your electric company may include peak, partial peak, and off-peak hours, so aim for off-peak hours when available.
If your appliance has a “delay” setting, this is a fun way to use off-peak hours.
25. Use a surge protector
Plug your devices into a surge protector instead of directly into the wall socket. This is meant to protect your electronics from power surges that can cause damage. They could also lower your electric bill, too, if you turn them off when not needed.
26. Set a gift budget
Holidays and special gatherings can become tense affairs, especially if there are disagreements regarding what types of presents to give for the occasion. Try to set up a gift spending budget for yourself beforehand to help avoid these instances from escalating.
If you have a gift budget, such as a $20 cost per niece and nephew for the holidays, or $100 for wedding gifts, it can help you to stay on budget. If friends or family suggest a gift-giving tradition that could compromise your budget, you may have to have a conversation.
Additionally, a lot of mothers on a budget also establish a gift-giving budget for themselves and their children. Your kids might enjoy learning how to calculate gift budgets as they get older. This can help them to develop their financial literacy skills as well.
27. Don’t give in to spending pressure
Remember that your budget is your top priority and that your fundss are the reason why you are saving. That’s what matters most, not their money. If family or friends try to convince you to purchase something too costly or something that is not a concern, remain firm.
If you encounter difficulty working with other individuals, you have the option of declining to participate in secret office gift exchanges or refusing to contribute to group spending for a lavish event (such as a wedding party). If you decline either of these options, you may upset some people. You may want to decline prioritizing your goals.
28. Seek out frugal friends
We also often imitate the spending behaviors of the people we are most similar to, which encourages us to save. So it’s important to locate other mothers who manage their funds effectively.
That is only true with regard to finances. Be considerate of your friends’ strengths and weaknesses, and do not try to push people away who might help you or your loved ones achieve your goals. Motivated friends can instill the kind of peer pressure that is needed in order to succeed.
29. DIY whatever you can
These videos and articles are handy in avoiding expensive purchases. Having the ability to competently perform a task yourself is much more rewarding than taking the cheapest option. You can make homemade decorations, furnishings, cards, and desserts. There’s virtually no limit to what you can learn how to make or how to make.
Don’t forget about home maintenance projects, repainting the kitchen, and all sorts of other repairs around your home. Moms on a budget can make use of their skills (or learn new skills) to save money.
30. Make do with what you have (Essential for moms on a budget)
You can often use what you already have, rather than purchasing something new. This principle often gets overlooked because it is so simple!
You should be able to go through your closet to find an old outfit that is perfect for a night out. You can also upcycle some of your current clothes to save money as well! Maybe you enjoy this brand-new cooking appliance you recently saw on Instagram, but you could also manage well using your current kitchen gadgets.
Before you make a purchase, ask yourself whether the item is a need or a want. Even if it is technically a need, a fast home inventory may reveal that you have something that will work fine.
The more I do this, the easier it becomes. Once I pause before buying something, even if it’s from the dollar aisle at Target, I no longer need to buy it.
These top tips will help moms on a budget
You may not have to use all of these money saving suggestions, even including a few of them into your daily life can make a big difference. Moms on a budget don’t have to always sacrifice; in fact, many of these suggestions can help you find more joy and happiness each day.