Buy More Than You Need
It may go against everything you have been taught, but when trying to save money it’s best to buy more than you need. The reason for this is that if you stock up on a favorite product when the price is low, you can avoid paying full price for it in the future.
There are obviously exceptions to this rule. Do not buy more than you need if it is going to take up too much of your budget. Buying 50 cans of Tomato soup when it hits the lowest sale price is not going to do you any good if you can’t afford to buy any other groceries for the rest of the week. Tomato soup is great but if it’s going to mean you have to eat it every day for the next week then it won’t be on hand when you need it in the future anyway so you’ll still have to pay full price. It’s best to buy a few extra of something when it’s a good deal than devote your entire budget to one sale item.
The other exception to this rule is you don’t want to buy more than you need of things that are perishable. You will, however, be surprised at how few things are truly perishable. Many items, such as shredded cheese, yogurt, and milk can be frozen without losing much quality. My kids eat frozen yogurt as treats all the time and enjoy frozen yogurt in school lunches because it thaws by lunchtime, leaving them with cold yogurt. The texture or taste of some items, such as milk, may change with freezing but many busy moms find that the change doesn’t bother their family.
Buy the More Expensive Option
You’re trying to save money so you always buy the cheapest option, right? Wrong. In many cases, buying the cheapest option, whether it is clothing, furniture, or baby products, will actually end up costing you more money in the long wrong. High quality products will generally have a longer life and can often be sold when they are done being used to help recoup some of the cost.
A good example of this is baby gear, such as a stroller. You can find many lower cost stroller options, without all the bells and whistles of the more expensive brands. The problem is you aren’t just paying for the bells and whistles. You are paying for the quality of the product as well. A cheaper stroller may break after anywhere from a few months to a year, leaving you searching for another stroller. For the cost of a few lower cost strollers you can buy a higher quality stroller that you can use until your child outgrows the need for a stroller or for multiple children and still sell it for a fair price when you are done with it.
If you have more than one child, name brand clothing is often a good investment. Cheap children’s clothing often falls apart before you can pass it on to a younger sibling (or a give it to a friend or family member) while name brand clothing is very likely to make it through multiple children and still look great.
Many moms assume that living on a budget means that you have to do without treating yourself to anything special. The problem with this is that if you go without the things that you enjoy for too long you are bound to spurge on something that is out of your budget down the road. Include small, well planned splurges in your family budget and you will find that you don’t feel the need to splurge on larger purchases.
If you enjoy eating out, don’t give it up all together because you are trying to cut costs. Search for coupons for local restaurants, take advantages of lunch time specials, or look for nights when kids eat free so you don’t feel deprived. If you enjoy going to the movies, treat yourself to a matinee, rent a Redbox movie, or look for free movie premiers in your local area. Local deal sites, such Groupon or Juice in the City which is geared towards moms, offer local entertainment and dining for a fraction of the normal price. It takes a bit more research but you will be surprised at how living frugally really can allow you to enjoy more of the things that you love rather than less.
Don’t Put Too Much Energy into Saving Money
Saving money does take a little extra effort, but it’s a marathon not a sprint. Don’t go overboard in the beginning or you’ll risk burning yourself out. Small steps are easier to make than drastic changes and they are more likely to become long term habits, which will save you a lot more money than big changes that don’t last. There will always be deals that you miss and sales that you go overboard on. You are saving money to help your family so be sure that saving money doesn’t get in the way of quality time with the people you love. Give yourself permission to be imperfect and just keep making small, frugal steps.
Buy Name Brands
Most busy moms have probably been told that it’s best to buy store brand items to save money. There’s a secret to shopping though and it all comes down to marketing – name brand products are marketed more heavily than store brands and they offer deeper discounts in order to make their brand YOUR brand. By combining sale prices, store promotions, and coupons, you can get name brand products for a fraction of the cost of store brands.
Living a frugal lifestyle doesn’t have to camp your style. By shopping around and watching for deals, you may be surprised to find that you can do a lot more than you did when you were spending more money.
Photo by o5com