3 Things Moms Can Do to Save Money

When I became a mom, I knew I’d be taking on not just the logistical and mental task of raising kids, but the financial challenge as well. The most recent USDA data on raising children puts the cost at $233,610 through age 17. But that’s based on 2015 expenditures and a report released in 2017. Based on recent inflation trends, it’s fair to say that the actual cost of raising kids is significantly higher these days.

That’s why, as a mom, I’m constantly looking for ways to save money on our household expenses. Here are some tactics that have worked for me through the years — and they may work well for you, too.

1. Buy groceries and household products in bulk

When you’re feeding a small crowd and have certain products you use regularly, it often pays to buy them in bulk. My go-to source for bulk purchases is Costco. I find that the prices there are low enough to make up for my $120 annual Executive membership fee (you can also spend half that much on a basic membership instead).

However, you don’t have to join a warehouse club to enjoy savings on bulk items. Just look around your local supermarket and you’re likely to find certain items in larger quantities. And stores like Target and Walmart commonly offer things like personal care products, groceries, and cleaning supplies in bulk, too.

2. Maximize credit card rewards

Swiping credit cards when I shop doesn’t always save me money right away, since it’s not like you get a discount for using a credit card (if anything, some merchants now impose a surcharge for using a credit card, and that’s something to always look out for). But over time, using the right credit cards puts cash back in my pocket, which is a form of savings.

I maintain a running list of which credit cards I should use for which purpose. One card of mine, for example, gives me extra cash back on gas, so I use that one every time I fill up. A different card in my wallet has a better cash back rate on travel expenses.

Your credit cards might also have revolving categories for bonus reward points. Pay attention to what those look like to maximize your benefits.

3. Buy kids’ clothing secondhand, or get hand-me-downs

I got into the habit of buying secondhand clothing and asking for hand-me-downs when my children were pretty young. And through the years, I’ve saved thousands of dollars by not insisting that every item my kids wear be new or fancy.

These days, my children are a bit older, so I’m willing to invest in newer, higher-quality items. For example, last year, I bought my twin daughters winter coats that were more expensive than what I’d normally spend because they were super warm and seemed high quality. And lo and behold, they wore those coats not just last winter, but this past winter as well.

It’s OK to spend more on clothing when your kids’ sizes are more stable. But during the infant and toddler years especially, you may want to stick to secondhand items since your children are likely to outgrow their clothes in the blink of an eye.

It’s not easy being a mom, and it’s certainly not easy coming up with the money to raise children. But these tips may result in some savings for you — and a lot less financial stress.

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