Before you have kids, people love to tell you how expensive they can be. If you’re anything like me, you ignore little nuggets of wisdom like that one because, honestly, who thinks about stuff like that before they have kids? And then you pop out a little bundle of joy and all of a sudden realize, Crap! These suckers are expensive! I mean, have you ever stopped to think about how your kid gets a new wardrobe every 3-ish months? Where’s my new wardrobe every three months?! And diapers…don’t get me started on how fast we go through those babies.
So, yeah. Babies are expensive. And since becoming a mom, one of the most frustrating and overwhelming parts of my job is trying to find ways to get the things my family needs without breaking the bank. Our family is blessed to be able to survive (barely, if we’re being honest) on one income. I am lucky to be able to stay home with my daughter and raise her as we see fit. Not many mamas have that luxury these days, so I know we are blessed. But we are also strapped for cash more often than not and I have to get really creative with our budget sometimes.
There are certain things I have found that work well for our family and I talked to some of my fellow mama friends and asked what their best tips were for saving money for their families. Here’s what we came up with:
- Shop for clothes (and furniture!) at thrift stores, resale shops, garage sales and Craigslist. There is no shame in wearing good condition hand-me-downs! Besides, when your kid goes through clothes and shoes faster than you can keep up with, who wants to spend a ton of money on that stuff?
- Buy bulk items at discount stores like Costco or Sam’s Club.
- Buy kids birthday and Christmas gifts at resale shops or Craigslist. At the very least, shop at discount stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s or Ross. I rarely pay full price for a toy or book for my daughter. She’ll never know the difference, but my wallet sure does.
- Join a local food co-op to get fresh, healthy food at a fraction of the cost of grocery stores.
- Cut your hubby’s and your kids’ hair. Watch YouTube videos to learn how to do it. This, of course, is going to depend upon your hubby being willing to let you try!
- Menu plan and make grocery lists so you don’t go to the grocery store without a plan. Follow your list and you’re less likely to make impulse buys.
- Take advantage of Amazon’s Subscribe and Save Program. And make sure you sign up for the Amazon Mom program for even more discounts on stuff you buy all the time (ahem, DIAPERS).
- Make a monthly budget and stick to it!
Budgeting is key for our family. There is no way I’d be able to keep this family from debtor’s prison if I didn’t have a budget to follow every month. I have tried so many different ways of budgeting, but the one that I have found that works best for us is to break everything down by when we get our paychecks (15th and end of month). So I split up our bills by what needs to be paid during the 1st-15th of the month and the 16th-end of the month. I have never been able to find a budgeting worksheet that breaks things down that way, so I recently made my own (and it’s pretty!).
Isn’t it cute? I find that when boring things like budget worksheets are prettified, I tend to want to make more use of them! Am I alone in this? Anyone? Bueller?
Anyway, I made a budget sheet for each month for the rest of this year and because I love you, I wanted to share them with y’all for FREEEEEE!
(Pausing for cheers and applause.)
But wait, there’s more! I made an entire set of Budgeting Printables for 2015, too. Want a sneak peek?
I may or may not be offering the set for free for the month of December as an early Christmas gift. Should I? Let me know if you’d be interested in downloading the set.
Now tell me, I know you guys are smart and probably can share some good money saving tips. What are your best tips for saving for your family?