I’m often asked, if we focus on helping moms who are short on time, why I include scratch recipes like Lemon Raspberry Muffins and activities for kids like our Soda Bottle Compost Science Project It’s way faster to buy premade food and entertain your kids by buying a kit or turning on the TV.
The answer is simple.
First, some things are WORTH spending our time on. Our kids are worth it. Our health is worth it. At times we have to reevaluate our priorities to make room for the things that really matter.
Second, saving money actually helps you save time in the long run.
Don’t believe me? Think about the hours you’ll have to work to pay for some of life’s conveniences. Sometimes the tradeoff isn’t worth it. You’re spending more but it’s taking time away from your family. Whether you are the breadwinner or not, you’re sacrificing family time.
1. Use Coupons – Yes, using coupons takes time, but you can still save money without spending hours and hours a week doing it. You’ll not only save hundreds on your grocery bill but you’ll also be able to stock up on essentials so you can limit the number of grocery trips you need to take. Think of how many hours you spend running to the store when you’re missing just one ingredient. Use the Unclipped Filing Method to cut down on prep work. Services like Grocery Smarts are free and do most of the work for you.
2. Stick to a Budget – Most financial waste happens when we don’t know where our money is going. Creating a budget, and a plan to stick to it, can save you countless hours debating whether or not you can afford purchases, large or small. I don’t know about you, but when I’m stressed about money, I tend to waste a lot of time trying to de-stress and I end up not getting the things I need to done. If you don’t want to mess with keeping track of how much money you have in each category of your budget, try using the digital envelopes method.
3. Make a List of Your Bills – This falls along the same lines of sticking to a budget but knowing what your bills are and when they are due is a HUGE time saver. Think of the hours you’ve spent trying to pay a bill at the last minute over the phone (hold music anyone?). And what happens when a bill comes out and you weren’t expecting it? That’s time spent on the phone with your bank trying to transfer money or beg to have fees removed. Totally not worth it. A simple list can solve that problem for you and save you time and money.
4. Buy Less Stuff – The most basic way to save money is to simply buy less stuff. An unexpected benefit of buying less is that you have less stuff to clean and take care of. If you already have to much stuff in your house, you’ll need to learn to declutter, but you may find that once you get into a project that decluttering is actually kind of fun. . . or course I take way too much pleasure in throwing away toys that were left on the floor.
5. Don’t Overschedule your Kids – Kids activities can be expensive, especially if you have more than one or two kids. I don’t want to think about how much I spent on swimming lessons for 3 kids this summer. Extra-curricular activities can be great for kids but they also take up a lot of time and if they aren’t chosen carefully they have the potential to stress your kids out. Limit your kids to 1 or 2 of their favorite activities. By allowing them to focus on the things they truly enjoy, you’ll not only save money but you’ll save yourself the stress of spending your days running frantically from one activity to the next. Check out our #RetroSummer posts if you need some ideas for frugal summer fun.
6. Cook from Scratch – I talk to a lot of busy moms and a common theme I hear is “I don’t have time to cook dinner”. I’m not immune from falling into this trap. My family has eaten their fair share of convenience foods. The problem is, connivence foods are misleading. They don’t really save you any time. Think of this common scenario:
You’ve had a hectic day. At 5:00 you realize you’ve completely forgot to plan dinner so you give yourself a break and run through the drive-through/run to the store and buy something quick and easy/eat cereal for dinner.
The problem with this situation is, you really aren’t saving any time and you’re spending a lot more money. Going out for food takes time. Even a quick run through the drive through often takes you out of your way. A solid menu plan cuts a ridiculous amount off your monthly food budget and saves you from running all over town trying to track down something to feed your family when mealtime rolls around.
How do you give yourself more time by saving money?