Money Saving Hacks for Moms
One of my biggest goals for 2019? Pay off my credit card debt and say GOOD BYE to it FOREVER. Here are some of the money saving hacks I’ve been using to do it.
But First, A Disclaimer…
I feel like I should start this by saying I am NOT good with money. By nature, I am definitely a spender. Like, I really love to buy things. REALLY LOVE. Whether it’s a new outfit, new jewelry, a new manicure, or even just a steaming hot latte from a swanky coffee shop, I totally get a thrill from having just purchased something. Lucky me, (or I guess unlucky depending on how you look at it…) my years of working in Manhattan (the shopping capital of, you know, the world) completely catered to that desire. All of my favorite stores were a stone’s throw from my office, I could walk a few steps in any direction and be at a coffee shop, and I could have literally ANY kind of take out delivered to my desk in a half hour. Plus, working in Manhattan, I always had to have new clothes and perfectly gel-polished nails, right? Right???? Well, I definitely did a good job convincing myself I did. I’m not proud of it, but it landed with me with credit card debt.
7 Hacks for Saving Money
So, now I’m changing my spending ways! Here are some of the SUPER SIMPLE but impactful ways I’m working towards saying bye-bye to that debt forever more!
1. Stop Getting Coffee Out of the House
This was NOT easy for me. I freaking love Starbucks. And more than Starbucks, I love the cozy little coffee shops where you can sit and do work or read for hours and get a $6.00 latte with a $4.00 cookie to go with it. Let’s say you get two $5.00 lattes a week. That’s $520 a year. What else could you do with $520?? However, I started making my own lattes at home, and I have to say, I love them!! Here’s how I do it:
- Brew a super strong cup of coffee or some espresso.
- Heat up 3 oz. of the milk of your choice in the microwave.
- Add whatever you want to the milk! My favorites right now are cinnamon and pure maple syrup. Some other ideas are hot chocolate powder (hello homemade mocha), vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, caramel syrup… the possibilities are endless!
- Put the milk in the blender for about 30 seconds to froth it up! You can also just use a whisk, or one of these fun little at-home frothers!
- Pour the milk into your coffee. Voila!! A delicious homemade latte for cents on the dollar.
2. Do Your Own Nails
Ok, this one was supppppper tough for me to give up, too. If you ask my former coworkers , they’ll tell you I NEVER was without a fresh gel mani. I got one every two weeks like clockwork with an expensive spa pedicure to go with it. I was spending over $200 a MONTH on my nails.
Girl, I’m here to tell you…. You don’t need it!! You can tell yourself every day it’s for “self care” (believe me, I totallllllly said this to myself and everyone that would listen), but if you’re trying to save money, you’ve got to be honest with yourself and know that this should be one of the first things to go.
So, if you really want to still have awesome looking nails, here’s what you can do instead. There are some pretty awesome gel polishes that are for sale at the drug store. I picked up two of the at-home gel colors by Essie as well as their gel top coat. You don’t even need one of those super bad for you UV lights for it! At first I was like I am NOT spending $11 on a bottle of nail polish. Then I smacked myself in the face and thought… GIRLFRIEND YOU SPENT $2,400 ON YOUR NAILS LAST YEAR AT A SALON. Oh, ok. I guess $11 isn’t so bad.
3. Save Your Small Bills
I have to give credit to my husband for this one! He got the idea from his boss who spent a year saving all her $5 bills and then had a super nice amount saved by the time the new year rolled around.
Eric did this before our trip to Disney by saving his $1.00 for just a couple of months and y’all by the time we went, he had over $350 for us to spend while we were there!! Imagine how much you could save if you put away all your $1.00 bills for an entire year!! Then, put that money into savings or towards your debt!
4. Use A Money Saving App
There are tons of cool apps that will track your spending and look for opportunities to save. When it sees that you’ve got a little extra in your account, it pulls it into a separate savings account. I use an app called Albert and it has been awesome!! Again, don’t use that money as “fun money!” Use it to put into a savings or retirement account, or apply it to your debt.
5. Plan Your Meals (and actually stick to it…)
OMG I can’t tell you guys how much meal planning CHANGED MY LIFE. First of all, it helped me eat SO much healthier, but it such a money saver.
The first thing people always say is that it’s too expensive to eat healthy. Not to be too straight forward, but that just isn’t true. Eric and I eat realllllly healthy. Do we eat 100% clean all the time? No. But we make a huge effort to eat things that are nutritious and that will actually fuel our bodies well.
Every week, we sit down and figure out what we want to make for the week. We usually choose 4 recipes. This is typically enough for the three of us for both lunches and dinners. (We don’t mind leftovers.) Our FAVORITE cookbooks of all time are definitely the Skinnytaste book! We seriously have liked every single thing we have ever made from them. No joke. (This is not an ad… lol… we just really love them!!)
After we’ve figured out what we’re going to make, we make our grocery list based on that. And we stick to that list!
TIP: You are probably going to spend the most money on protein and produce! Check your grocery store’s circular to see what’s going to be on sale and plan recipes around that!!
I promise you, if you start to really plan your meals, stick to that list and DON’T spring the extra snacks or for takeout, you are going to start seeing the savings!
6. A “Sale” Is Not Saving You Money
I am the queen of sales. Everything is 40% off at Banana Republic?? Perfect. Those tops are buy two get one free?? EXCELLENT. If I open the credit card, I get an extra 20% off? SIGN ME UP MY FRIEND.
Here was the hard pill I had to swallow. A sale isn’t saving you any money unless it was something you had to buy anyway. (AKA: ground turkey is on sale at the grocery store) A sale is a marketing device. It is something to draw you in so you spend money you wouldn’t have otherwise.
“Babe, I just got $375 worth of clothes for $150!!!” Cool, you just spent $150 that you probably didn’t need to. I totally get that not all people are like me. When my husband spends that $150 on new clothes, it’s because he really needed them. But in comparison, he’ll do that once or twice a year, whereas I could easily have done it once or twice a month.
7. Stop Making Going to Target “An Activity”
AHHHH. If you are sort of hating me by this point in this post, I’m sorry! I kind of hate myself too….. (HOW DARE SHE ATTACK MY TARGET.)
I get it. Sometimes, being a stay at home mom is FREAKING BORING. How many times can you read the same books, play with the same toys, or listen to the same God-forsaken songs. I soooooo get it. It is so easy to just declare, “We’re going to the store!!”
And every time, I’d tell myself… it’s not to buy anything. It’s just to walk around. It’s just for something to do. GIRLFRIEND. How many times do you “just walk around.” Because for me, it’s like 1 in 200.
So, find some other out of the house activities to replace the beloved bullseye. Go to the library, go to a park, see if there are any free admission museums in your area! And only go to Target when you ACTUALLY need something. Then say a prayer, put your blinders on, and just buy what you need. God speed to you, my friend. YOU CAN DO IT.
Still With Me??
Ok, if you’ve managed to get to the end and you don’t think I’m a heartless maniac, I thank you! Please know that every single one of these tips is because I’VE BEEN THERE. Dang, I’m STILL there. I needed to hear and realize these things SO MUCH. I’m still on the money saving, paying off debt journey, so I am not by any means saying any of this from up on my high horse. These are just some things I’ve learned along the way that are helping, and I hope they help you, too!!
And! I’d love to know what your tricks are for saving money!! Leave me your favorites in the comments!