I like to think I’m good at a lot of things, but saving money has never been one of them.
I enjoy shopping, eating out, and drinking coffee way too much, you know?
But when a friend of mine confided in me that she and her husband are on a mission to save as much money as they possibly can over the next 12-18 months so they can (finally!) buy the house of their dreams, we started talking about all of the frivolous ways we spend our cash, and I was absolutely shocked when I realized just how horrible I am with my spending.
So rather than cheering my friend on from the sidelines as she struggles to find ways to be more frugal, I decided to join the challenge and have been amazed at how big a difference a few alterations to my daily routine has made. And since I know there are other moms out there who are desperately trying to find ways to stretch each dollar, today I’m teaming up with the wonderful folks from Sparkle® to share 8 of my best money saving tips for busy moms.
Numbers 2, 5, and 8 have made a HUGE difference in my life – how about you?
1. PLAN MEALS & GROCERY LISTS AHEAD OF TIME
For a VERY long time, I was all about living in the moment and visited the grocery store DAILY so I could pick up the provisions needed to make whatever I felt like eating for dinner that night. Of course, this wasn’t such a big deal when my husband and I were both working full-time jobs and only had ourselves to worry about, but when I recently calculated how much money I spend on food each week, I decided it was time to make some changes. I now sit down every Sunday morning after breakfast to plan out dinners for the entire week, making sure each ingredient I write on my grocery list will work for two or more meals. Of course, temptation always threatens to get the best of me when I’m actually shopping, and I always want to fill my grocery cart with items I don’t need (think: salsa and chips), but I try REALLY hard to only buy the items on my grocery list and I find our food bills are not only a lot lower, but that meal preparation is less stressful for me. It’s a win-win!
2. MAKE YOUR OWN COFFEE
Are you a coffee drinker? I am. And like a lot of city gals I know, I am VERY particular about where I buy my coffee. And that’s cool. We all have our quirks and preferences. But when I did the math and realized I was spending over $10 a day on coffee (GASP!), I realized I needed to make some changes. Not only is it expensive, but I waste a lot of time traveling to and from coffee shops to get my fix, and would much rather spend that time doing something more productive. So I’ve decided to make store-bought coffee a treat a couple of times a week, and I now make my own coffee at home. This has cut down on the amount of unnecessary time and money I spend on coffee each week, and has also reduced the amount of caffeine I ingest, which is a bonus in my books!
3. ARRANGE YOUR FRIDGE BY EXPIRATION DATE
If you prefer to buy in bulk to save money, but have a tendency to find expired foods at the back of your fridge each week like I do, set aside 5-10 minutes each time you go grocery shopping to organize your fridge properly. But placing the foods that are going to expire first at the front of your fridge, you will ensure nothing goes to waste, and you may be pleasantly surprised with how much money this little trick saves you over time!
4. CUT UP FRUITS AND VEGGIES
When I was planning our meals a couple of weeks ago, I added 3 pints of blueberries to my grocery list, and it wasn’t until I started unpacking my shopping bags that I realized we already had FIVE half-eaten pints of blueberries in the fridge. I am forever complaining that our berries have a tendency to go moldy, and always blamed our grocery store, but as it turns out, the problem lies with me. I have since started to wash, cut, and store all fruits and veggies in our fridge as I find it not only helps me understand the exact quantity we have of everything, but it also ensures we always have healthy snacks prepared, which makes us much less likely to gorge on sugary snacks.
5. CALL YOUR CELL PHONE COMPANY
My husband and I are probably one of the only couples in our age cohort who do not have a home phone. We just don’t see the point, and while some would argue that having a home phone is much cheaper than using a cell phone for EVERYTHING, I disagree. Why? Because every couple of months I call my cell phone provider and ask them to review my bill with me to make sure my plan is still optimal given my usage requirements, and while we’re on the phone I always make sure to ask them about their current deals and promotions. I’m the first to admit this can be a bit time-consuming, but you would be amazed at the savings I’ve managed to make over the last couple of years!
6. SUBSCRIBE TO MAILING LISTS
It’s no secret that I love clothes and makeup, and whenever I get a compliment on a new outfit or accessory, I often shock my friends when I tell them how little I paid for each item. My secret is that I subscribe to ALL of the mailing lists of my favorite stores and I open every single email they send me. You would be amazed at how many cool deals they contain, and I cannot remember the last time I paid full price for anything!
7. CANCEL YOUR GYM MEMBERSHIP
As many of you know, my gym membership is one of my most prized possessions, but if you are really strapped for cash and need to find ways to cut corners, consider cancelling your gym membership. There are so many effective and free at-home workouts you can do from the comfort of your living room without scrimping on your weight loss goals!
8. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF REWARDS CARDS
While I never sign-up for retail credit cards due to their high annual fees and interest rates, I really pay attention when it comes to rewards cards. Our local pharmacy has a ridiculously good points program that allows me to redeem up to $200 worth of goods every few months, and the coffee app on my iPhone gives me a free venti every time I purchase 20 coffees (which is not difficult for me to do). It takes next to no time to signup for each program, but the payoff can be pretty good!
And a bonus tip…
9. USE COUPONS
I have never been one to cut coupons, and recently learned I have not been doing myself any favors by ignoring this simple money saving tip. It’s amazing how much you can save! So now I pay attention to those flyers in our mailbox, and I’m THRILLED to share THIS $1 OFF COUPON for one (6 roll or larger) package of Sparkle® Paper Towels.
To find out more about Sparkle® and stay up-to-date on all of their promotions and offers, CLICK HERE to find them on Facebook! And if you’re looking for more brilliant household tips, check THIS ARTICLE out. I really love the shoelace trick – it makes shopping for my daughter’s shoes so much easier!
And remember: It’s a messy world out there™, but Sparkle® can help with genius tips to save money and time!
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It’s a messy world out there™. Saving money, and time with Sparkle® paper towels can help you spend more time on parts of life that matter more!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sparkle® paper towels. The opinions and text are all mine.