If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you’re a lot like me. You’re a mom. Money is tighter than you’d like. You’re trying to find easy ways to save money.
First of all, you and I aren’t alone. There are countless women out there who are just like us!
Note: This post contains affiliate links.
Our circumstances may be different, but one thing we all have in common is that we don’t need to add more work or stress to our lives, even if it means we save a little money. We need techniques that are easy to implement and hard to forget about.
You’ve come to the right place in your search for money saving ideas. I’m a pretty frugal person by nature and I’ve also been a stay-at-home mom for nearly four years.
I’ve tried so many different techniques, tips, and ideas that claimed to help me save money that I lost count of all of them ages ago.
And guess what? Most of them sucked. They either didn’t work at all, were super time consuming, or were a lot more complex than they were made out to be.
An upside to all my trial and error and the countless hours of time I’ve wasted is that it’s about to benefit you!
Here are 15 things that only the smartest moms are doing to save money.
Cash Back & Rebate Apps
This is always my go-to first piece of advise when I talk to someone about easy ways to save money.
Rebate apps and cash back apps like Ibotta, MobiSave, Checkout 51, Walmart Savings Catcher, and Receipt Hog are the best. Really convenient and less time consuming than clipping coupons. I’ve been using them consistently for years and I have zero plans of changing my ways.
If you’re interested, the number one app I recommend is Ibotta. If you’re only going to use one app, this is the one you should use. You can read my review on Ibotta here and don’t forget to check out my post about ways to increase your savings with Ibotta!
There are tons of survey sites out there promising to pay you big bucks, but there are only a handful that I would recommend based on my years of experience using these websites.
Swagbucks is the first one you should check out. Especially if you’re a stay-at-home mom with internet access and a computer or tablet.
Before I started this blog, I made a minimum of $50 a month using Swagbucks. And I basically did nothing all day. I let the website run on my laptop and checked on it periodically.
I use my laptop for blogging these days and I can’t just leave Swagbucks running on the screen unless I’m doing something else, like cleaning or cooking. My Swagbucks income has drastically decreased, but I make some cash off this blog now, so it’s worth it for me.
Right now, my favorite survey site to use is Pinecone Research.
After I joined, I gave them some extra info about myself and they now send me an email any time they have a survey that matches both my demographics and preferences.
Currently, they only email me weekly. Because that’s my preference. But I’ve yet to take a survey through them that took more than 15 minutes and every survey pays out a minimum of $3. Hypothetically, I could be making $12 an hour taking surveys through Pinecone Research.
You don’t have to be a super genius to know that budgeting will help you save money. Not only have you likely heard this advice from other people but it also just makes sense, ya know?
Taking a serious look at your finances, creating a plan, and sticking to it makes more financial sense than making and spending money without tracking (or even stopping to consider) where your money is really going.
I don’t currently have a downloadable budget spreadsheet I can share with you, but one of my absolute favorite finance bloggers does! Head over to Making Sense of Cents and get Michelle’s free monthly budget worksheet. It’s seriously the best place to start on your budgeting adventure.
Or weeks, or months. People actually participate in no-spend months where they spend money on nothing but bare necessities.
I prefer no-spend weekends, myself. They are a lot easier to stick to and, if I’m being completely honest, are an actual necessity in my house most weekends.
Check out this post I wrote last year about no-spend weekends. I included 55 different ways to pass the time without spending any money.
Since you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re going to assume that blogging is my side hustle. That assumption would be right, but it’s definitely not my only side hustle!
A ton of moms are taking advantage of their own talents, too. There are women who flip furniture and women who make jewelry to sell online.
What do you love to do? What are you exceptionally skilled at? No matter what it is, there’s a market for it and you can turn it into a side hustle!
For more ideas, check out my list of easy ways to make extra money.
Another tip you’ve probably heard countless times is to buy generic. It seems like it’s something all us frugal living bloggers push, doesn’t it?
I’m a little different, though. I don’t think you should purchase everything generic.
First of all, some generic products aren’t actually cheaper than name brand. A better tip is to look at the per ounce price of everything you buy. 9 times out of 10, the cheapest product is going to be generic, but occasionally you’ll see name brand products at a lower price.
Secondly, I simply cannot use generic everything. Some generic products just plain blow.
Take Great Value paper towels for example. Horrible quality. A roll lasts me about a half a week. Sure, the roll costs less than a dollar, but I’m using at least 8 rolls a month.
I’ve learned spending more money upfront for a higher quality paper towel costs about the same as purchasing generic in the long run.
So, my tip is to shop smart by checking per ounce prices and to consider quality when buying generic.
DIY Cleaning Products
I’m a big fan of making my own cleaning products and I’m not the only mom doing it.
Not only do you know exactly what you’re using to clean your house, but it also saves you money.
I love this carpet shampoo recipe simply because it costs a LOT to buy a gallon of decent carpet shampoo at the store. I haven’t done a real price check on my recipe, but I’d be willing to bet it costs me maybe $1 to make and it works just as well as anything I’ve ever purchased!
This laundry detergent recipe is a favorite of mine, too. I’ve made it countless times. Not only is it less expensive than store-bought detergent, but it’s also about as close to all natural as you’re gonna get!
This is something I’m not afraid to admit to doing. I’ve been known to call my internet provider on a yearly basis to negotiate my bill and it always pays off.
I suppose this is something I should write an entire post about, but since I don’t have any of my own info to share, check out Nerd Wallet’s tips for negotiating bills.
Visiting Discount and Thrift Stores
I’ve found some awesome things at great prices at both discount stores and thrift stores!
Head over to this post by The Krazy Coupon Lady for some tips for getting the best deals at thrift stores.
It seems too simple, right? A little inconvenient, too, in this age of direct deposit paychecks.
Carrying cash is definitely worth doing, though. It forces you to really pay attention to how much money you’re spending and what you are spending it on.
Check out what Jason at Part-Time Money has to say about what happened when he started using cash for everything he bought.
Growing Their Own Food
This is something you should be doing whether or not you’re trying to save money, in my opinion. It’s an important skill to know and one we should definitely be passing down to the next generation.
But, anyway, back to the money saving part.
You can grow your own healthy, fresh, organic produce for a fraction of what you’d spend at a store. Even if you don’t have a yard!
Turning off the Electronics
Admit it, some days the TV stays on 8+ hours. Sometimes the bathroom fan runs all night. Heck, there are mornings when we realize our kid had their bedroom light on all night.
Chances are you’re wasting money on electricity every single day, be it through something that plugs into the wall or something that’s battery powered.
I like to stroll through my house three to four times a day to do a quick check for wasted energy. If I find a bedroom light or one of Bee’s toys still on, I can turn it off and save a little money on electricity.
Taking Advantage of Free Entertainment
This is a great way for moms to save money!
Is there a concert at a park in town this weekend? Or a car show downtown? Maybe there’s a parade next Saturday?
Take advantage of free entertainment every chance you get!
Another great way to enjoy events in your community for free is by volunteering to work them.
If you live in a big city, this list of free events might help you out a bit.
Using Amazon Prime
I want to start by saying that I know Prime costs money. I spend $12.99 a month for Amazon Prime.
My favorite Prime feature, and the one I think really makes Prime worth the money is Subscribe and Save.
I have a lot of my household necessities automatically shipped to me and by doing this, I save 5-15% on those items.
You just need to shop smart. Really make sure you’re getting a better deal through Subscribe and Save. Some name brand items aren’t any less expensive than what you pay at your local Wal-Mart. Others, especially Amazon’s brand, are a much better deal.
Take their Presto! paper towels and toilet paper, for example. I received them for the first time in my last Subscribe and Save shipment because I price checked and they were both a little less expensive per roll than what I was paying at the store.
They turned out to be a better deal, though, because they are also better quality than what I’ve been buying. So I’m saving money now AND I’m getting a nicer product. It’s a total win-win.
There are freebies to be had everywhere, you just need to know where to look.
A lot of farm and feed supply stores carry free sample bags of dog and cat food. Some survey sites like Swagbucks and Pinecone Research send users free samples to test out (that’s actually how I ended up getting a bottle of my favorite baby soap ever a few years ago).
For more ideas, head over to Well Kept Wallet and check out their list of 28 places to find free stuff.
What are your doing to save money? Have you tried everything on my list? What worked for you and what didn’t?