Let’s face it, with inflation these days every family, not just big ones are needing to budget!
Here are five tips that don’t involve clipping coupons because no Mom has time for that, which has helped us stay within budget for a family of six:
Facebook Marketplace for Baby Items
My oldest is 7 years old and my youngest is 7 months old so unfortunately the car seat we received for her baby shower was expired. My mother graciously offered to get us a brand new car seat, but rather than asking her to spend $200 on just the new car seat, I was able to find a nearly new, accident-free car seat for a much more reasonable price on Facebook Marketplace allowing her to also buy us a nearly new Halo Bassinet that we needed for the same $200 budget. Friends and family could then focus on gifting us diapers and other keepsake items like CL personalized swaddle blankets, which we couldn’t purchase second-hand.
Meal Plan and Shop Store Brands
I used to just wing it in the grocery store, but now I know it’s so important to have a game plan! I love meal planning for our week especially when I can buy an item in a larger quantity for more than one meal. For example, my girls love spaghetti and tacos so if on Sunday we want to do a big pot of spaghetti I know I can buy a larger package of ground beef to then make tacos later in the week too. Since time is money too, any leftover spaghetti meat sauce can be made into a baked spaghetti or ziti dish to freeze for a future week. Stretching the meals and buying in bulk saves us money.
I do this for chicken dishes too and I love using rotisserie chicken to save time and money on chicken recipes. We also usually do one “breakfast for dinner” night a week too, which is always budget-friendly because eggs and pancakes are very reasonable. Finally, I am loving Lidl and Aldi in our area because the quality and prices can’t be beat. I do love splurging on time-saving freezer foods at Trader Joe’s too because don’t forget that TIME is also MONEY and Mom’s the time with our littles we cannot get back! The Mandarin orange chicken and veggie rice are my go-to’s for a fast meal from TJ’s.
Consignment for Children’s Clothes and only Splurge on Quality
We are lucky that there are lots of great consignment sales throughout the year for kids’ clothes in our area. I love saving up for these sales and knowing I have a set amount to spend on clothes for my kids. Bonus if I consign too then hopefully I can make a bit of money back from consigning ones they have outgrown too. It is important to do a closet cleanout to sell clothes your kids may have outgrown and then take inventory of what they need for the season ahead. I like to search for brands I know hold up well and splurge on quality or essential items. For example, I know my girls always need a great winter coat and rain boots so I’m willing to spend a bit more for brands like North Face or Hunter that are great quality, and getting them at a consignment price is a bonus!
Splurging on quality also makes sense to me especially when I know they will hold up as hand me downs. CL’s premium bamboo pajamas feel amazing and hold up wash after wash! We love these breakfast in bed CL pajamas and wear them on our “breakfast for dinner” nights!
Travel at Off Times and Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Discounts
We love to travel as a family making new memories and keeping traditions, but it’s important to stay within a budget too. When I book through an online travel site I always ask the owner or company if this is the lowest rate they can offer. Sometimes the answer is that the listed price is the lowest, but I’ve been very lucky to have the owner drop the listed price or drop some fees when asked. Also, some of the best time to travel is during the fringe months. For example, we just got back from a beautiful September beach trip, which was thousands of dollars cheaper than if we went in July.
Find something you are passionate about and see if you can make a bit of extra spending money doing it. Love exercising? Maybe with a bit of training, you can be an instructor to get your workout in and make some extra money? Love capturing moments with your camera. Maybe with a few classes and some creativity you can offer mini sessions for a small fee? There are countless options and having a bit of extra money will help stretch your budget.
Put it in Your Cart and Then Sleep on It
This method has saved me lots of money! It’s easy to make a spur-of-the-moment online purchase, but the next time you online shop try this! Fill your cart and then sleep on it. This will give you time to think about the purchase. Do you really need it right now? Can you get it second-hand? Can you ask for it as a gift? Can you borrow it from family or a friend? Chances are you will wake up with a clearer answer of whether you should hit the purchase button or not. I have been able to think of creative ways like asking a family member to borrow something I need or doing a clothes swap with a friend, which is a win-win to save money.
What are your favorite saving techniques? I know there are so many more that our family could consider, but I hope these help you budget for baby and beyond.