TIPS for Becoming a Money-Savvy Mom
As a mom, you crave security for your family, and you know that one way to achieve that peace of mind is to have an emergency fund for a rainy day—the first step on your path to financial freedom. Wherever you are in your sprint to create an emergency fund, these five tips offer small, simple ways to save without significantly compromising your lifestyle.
Trimming your budget is like cutting your caloric intake; over time, a little effort can go a long way. With Melaleuca, you’re already saving money on safer, high-quality products that last longer, and possibly even earning commissions each month for referring others to shop for those products. The following tips offer five additional suggestions to help you cut back on your spending and save more money each month:
Give Your Utility Bill a Break
Imagine saving 10 to 20 percent of your energy bill by forming a few new habits: Turn off lights when you leave the room, consolidate smaller laundry loads into fewer large ones, forego air conditioning in favor of opening windows, and skip the handy “heated dry” button in exchange for drying dishes yourself. To increase your savings even more, try unplugging your microwave and DVD player when you don’t need them— appliances using standby power can account for 10 percent of your energy consumption! Are you interested in making drastic cuts to your energy bill? Many utility companies offer free or discounted energy audits, which provide specific suggestions for even more efficient energy use in your home.
BONUS TIP: Pack a picnic lunch when you meet friends at the park. Kids’ meals at fast food restaurants can drain your budget.
Invite Friends to Share the Wealth
In these tough economic times, it’s likely that many of your friends and fellow parents are also looking for savvy ways to save. So, next time you schedule a playgroup or get-together, suggest a “moneysaving swap.” Those who want to participate will simply bring an outgrown item of clothing or discarded toy for someone else to take home. This way, you and your friends can enjoy a “new” outfit or toy for your children without spending a penny.
You can also involve your friends in your budgeting goals by scheduling play dates at home, parks and other public gathering areas that don’t charge an admission fee. If your family and friends frequent a local zoo, museum or swimming pool, check online for discounts or consider investing in a membership to dodge pricey one-day passes that add up over time. To save on babysitting costs, try exchanging a few hours of childcare each week with nearby moms so you can exercise or grocery shop without spending additional money.
Make a Monthly Meal Plan
Your day was long, your feet are sore and your kids are competing for your attention. As 6 p.m. rolls around, the last thing you want to think about is what to feed your high-energy entourage for dinner. When you have a meal plan in place, you’re less likely to surrender to the siren call of expensive and calorie-laden fast food. When you plan your meals for the month, you open the door to countless money-saving tips: buying in bulk, taking fewer trips to the store, shopping sales and freezing meals in advance for those inevitably busy weeknights. Remember to
include items you already have in your cupboards, choose generic brands when the quality isn’t reduced, drink water from reusable bottles (thus saving landfills from the plastic ones as well), and wash and cut your own fruits and vegetables to avoid pre-packaged costs. Your family will spend more time cooking and eating together, and you might even drop a few pounds!
BONUS TIP: Shop with Melaleuca Marketplace for exclusive discounts and automatic rebates from more than 650 retailers.
Shopping at the mall for brand-name children’s clothing can place a huge dent in your budget—especially when you consider how quickly your kids grow and how likely they are to stain or tear their clothes. Trim clothing costs by shopping for sale and clearance items and by looking online for coupons or discounts. You can save even more on children’s clothes by shopping end-of-season sales. Also, make periodic visits to second generation clothing stores in your area. Many high-quality thrift stores screen items before accepting them, so you can be sure that anything you buy qualifies as “like new” or “very gently used.” The best items often go quickly at thrift stores, so check back frequently—you never know when the perfect item will become available. Some hand-me-down stores for kids also sell gently used toys, books and other items, so you can save in other budget areas as well.
BONUS TIP: Buy in bulk and divide snacks into small baggies for your kids’ lunches; you’ll save by skipping the pre-packaged snack options.
Do It Yourself
There are countless services available for the bottomless pocketbook today—lawn care, house cleaning, interior design, photography, routine auto maintenance and more—that you could do yourself for a fraction of the cost. If it isn’t practical for you to reupholster your own furniture or paint your cupboards without professional help, remember that even small changes, like taking a homemade lunch
to work or preparing your own coffee in the morning, can save you hundreds of dollars over time. As a busy mom, your schedule is already stretched to the breaking point. Allocating any extra time to saving a $1,000 emergency fund may seem like a daunting task. However, if you sprint to the finish line and do whatever it takes to create that fund in the next 90 days, you’ll reward yourself with security for your family and priceless peace of mind.
Have other ways that you are money-savvy? Share your ideas and times in the comments.