One of the biggest (and probably one of the most important) New Year’s resolutions parents make is to start saving more money. That’s because, cute as they are, kids can be a serious drain on our wallets. When you’re busy buying up diapers and baby food, you often end up having trouble saving up for that trip to Jamaica. We totally get it, so here are some quick and easy tips on how to save money this year.
1. Open a savings account and sign up for automatic transfers. This is such an easy thing that people often forget to do. Automatic transfers from your checking account are free and convenient, and effective so long as you do your best to forget your savings account exists.
2. Create an envelope-friendly budget. This is a concept you might have heard about in budgeting groups. Say you decide your food budget for the week is $150. Withdraw that money from your bank account and stick it in an envelope. Next time you go food shopping, only use cash and leave your cards at home. It forces you to stick to the plan.
3. Learn to use coupons wisely. Peruse the weekly fliers and Sunday newspaper (if you read one). Go online and sign up for brand newsletters that mail coupons. Download your grocery store apps and make use of their coupons. It’s all win-win.
4. Stick to your grocery lists and never, ever shop hungry. Ignore the impulse to wander from aisle to aisle. Most importantly, make sure to have a snack or a meal just before entering or you might get tempted by the smell of fried chicken or the shiny packaging on unnecessary potato chips.
5. Become a pro at navigating second-hand stores. Sometimes, you’re going to need to buy a new shirt or a solid pair of shoes. Try shopping at your local thrift shops first, and if you can’t find anything there, head to a discount retailer or outlet shop. Avoid paying full price anywhere if you can help it.
6. Download the Honey app to your web browser. Honey is an app that browses the web for the best prices on basically any item you want. You can also track prices and get notifications when they drop. This app works especially well with Amazon and can often get you deep discounts in minutes.
7. Sign up for the best cashback apps. There’s Ibotta, Ebates, and so many others to choose from these days. Sign up (because they’re free), and if you need to shop, see if you can’t get a few bucks back in the process. Many moms swear by it.
8. Plan free outings for your family. Take your kids on a nature walk or a trip to the park or a museum free day. Visit your local library (and then see if they have any free attraction passes, as many these days do). You don’t need to take your kids to expensive restaurants and play places. Plenty of fun can be had with a homemade picnic and some imagination.
9. Start working on your side hustles. Whether you’re a full-time mom or a mom working full-time, sometimes what you really need to earn a little extra is a side hustle. Find something you’re good at or something you enjoy (whether it be graphic design or dog walking or teaching one of those Paint and Sip-type classes), and get it done. Your wallet will thank you later.
What are some ways you’re saving money, Mama? Let us know your best tips and tricks on Twitter @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)