13 Money-Saving Hacks for Moms

Your kids don’t need a birthday party every year. Yes, I’m serious.

Between diapers, preschool, and snacks, kids are expensive. I’m a mom of three, and I’m no stranger to the occasional (or regular) parenting hack.

Over the years, I’ve learned a trick or two on how to cut out unnecessary costs – and add some breathing room to my budget in the process.

Read on for my 13 best tips on how to save money as a mom.

Throw Them a Birthday Party Every Other Year

Bake a cake and sing happy birthday with the family. But there’s no need to spend a fortune on a big birthday party every year. Instead, we let our kids pick a family outing or special event, and the rest is history.

Another hack is letting your child pick only four or five friends to invite to the party, rather than inviting everyone you know.

Don't Buy Them Birthday or Christmas Gifts When They're Young

I know it sounds harsh, but honestly, is the four-and-under crowd really going to notice? As it is, grandparents and friends get our kids so many gifts that we usually end up hiding a few to be enjoyed later.

Find a Friend With Older Kids and Lay Claim to Her Hand-Me-Downs

This will save hundreds. And, if used clothes aren’t your thing, make sure to let friends and family know your kids’ sizes when they ask for birthday and Christmas gift ideas.

 

Buy All Sports Equipment Second-Hand

Better yet, borrow it. Your kids won’t notice, and it’s going to get scratched up, anyway.

 

Borrow Everything

Even if you have the cash, why spend it on something when your friend has one she’s not using? I’ve borrowed everything from nursing chairs and Tulas to church shoes and baby swings. I’ve found that friends enjoy it because it makes them feel that they’re getting more use out of their items. And I am only too happy to return the favor when they need to borrow something of mine.

Start a Babysitting Co-op

I’ve saved hundreds of dollars a year by simply trading kids with a friend every other week. Babysitting co-ops are a win-win – and free!

 

Make Your Own Halloween Costumes

Who can afford to buy new Halloween costumes every year? Better yet, who wants to? I can think of approximately one trillion things I’d rather spend our hard-earned money on than five matching Power Rangers costumes. (Although, full disclosure: we did that last year.) Make your own.

 

Buy Frozen Pizza

One of the biggest killers of a great budget is ordering takeout on the nights when you’re exhausted. Instead, buy a bunch of freezer pizzas (bonus points if you wait for a sale), and pop those in the oven on the nights when you don’t feel like cooking. For our family, a freezer pizza dinner costs $10, compared to $40 if we order delivery.

Only Offer Milk and Water

I’ve never bought juice, and I’ve never had a problem. It’s expensive, it makes the kids hyper, and we have enough issues with dental health as it is. Keep their options simple.

Pay Your Mortgage Every Two Weeks Instead of Once a Month

For a 30-year fixed rate loan, this cuts more than five years off your loan. Here’s how it works: because you’re paying exactly half of your mortgage every two weeks, you end up paying two more payments per year. This means that twice a year, your entire payment goes directly to your principal.

We recently purchased a home, and I made this change with a five-minute phone call to our lender. I was even able to pick the payment days.

Audit All Your Utilities Every Other Year

I did this a few years back and ended up saving $474 a month.

Check With Your Provider for a Free Home Energy Check

One great strategy for cracking down on that high power bill, especially during these summer months, is having your utility conduct a free home energy check. When I did it, it took about an hour, and we learned that our air-conditioning duct work had a huge hole in it.

Instead of Health Insurance, Join an Insurance Co-op

This is a great option if your plan has a high premium, skimpy coverage, and a high deductible. My husband owns his own company, so it’s just our family on his plan. And our monthly premium is $1300 a month with a $6800 deductible. That’s a whole lot of money!

A friend recently told me about an insurance co-op that has a $177 monthly buy-in, and your deductible is $10,000. You basically pay out of pocket for everything, but your monthly premium is drastically reduced.

What are your favorite creative ways to save money? Share them in the comments!

Join the Discussion

3 Responses to “13 Money-Saving Hacks for Moms”

  1. LLR

    The grandparents would often give the kids money for birthday and Christmas presents. Until they were about 5 or 6 years old, about 3/4 of the money went into education savings. Before that age, we’d buy something small with a bit of the money, and bank the rest. We did that until they were old enough to figure out that something happened to their birthday money. It wasn’t a huge amount of money, but that few hundred dollars over a few years did them more favors in their education fund than as another toy they really didn’t need.

  2. Maria Rose

    Great comments but I had to ask about the last idea of joining a healthcare co-op which from the research is more economical but not easily found everywhere, especially in a highly urban area like the NYC area. Considering that this is a very liberal-forward thinking prospective, it appears that the 1% controlling spending costs don’t want the lesser wealthier classes to have choices to get healthcare. Healthcare costs can be affordable if everyone participates in sharing the costs.
    Will pass this article on to my daughter.

  3. Ezra Williams

    Buy clothes and shoes a size or two larger.