Not too long ago, an expert mom was asked to field questions from readers on a popular “mom” website focusing on saving money, from your budget to seeing how frugal we could really be. She thought this was right in her wheelhouse, something she had been advising women on for years. And then the questions came. Questions that she soon realized she could no longer answer. The questions from this generation of moms seemed an entirely different world apart from the generation of money-saving moms that she was accustomed to. They asked questions about making your own laundry detergent, how to best keep track of your coupons digitally, or what’s the best app for coupons?
Even though she didn’t have all the answers, she was able to field enough of them that she felt comfortable with. However, this did make her realize that saving money over the years had taken on a completely different identity, as her own family identity changed. This was for the simple reason that she didn’t have the time she used to.
How Your Techniques For Saving Money Can Change
Perhaps when you were just starting out as a mom, you spent more weekend mornings than you can remember pouring over the newspaper ads, clipping coupon after coupon, organizing them by sale and store, and then shopping all over town to get the best deal. And when you found that great deal, you stocked up! Shelf upon closet shelf, filled with more of those everyday necessities (toothpaste, diapers, body wash, hair products) than you (or your husband) ever thought you could use!
Now everyone is a little older, perhaps you’re stretched in more directions, and you say a prayer before you open the closet door that perhaps there’s just one more toothpaste tube or bar of soap left in there somewhere. Who has time to clip and remember coupons? Oh, and those precious little toddlers that are so content to quietly sit in the cart and stare at everything have now evolved into noisy ping pong balls, bouncing all over the store and incessantly pelleting you with questions about what they can buy and what they can eat. Who has the time or sanity for more than one store?
Then those weekend mornings roll around. You are no longer comparing ads and cutting out various coupons. Maybe you work and these are the mornings your children just want you all to themselves! And so you pick and choose. Do you want to make sure you’re saving money? Yes. Do you want to clip coupons instead of kicking a ball around with your son or snuggling on the couch, reading a book? Of course not.
How To Make Sure You’re Still Saving Money When You Don’t Have Time
If this kind of busy and ever-changing life sounds just like you, then keep reading! There is still hope. But once you’re in this kind of situation, you need to help your techniques for saving money change right along with you! You made need to give your time and attention to strategies that give you more bang for your buck or take up less of your time. Maybe your focus needs to be finding ways to earn money instead of the nickel and dime approach to saving. Everyone is different, as we well know, but what remains the same is that our money-saving techniques need to change as our lives do.
Here are some techniques that may help if you find your time for focusing on coupons is past:
- Shoot for the big savings. Look for ways in your life to make choices that will save your family money in one big way, instead of lots of little couponing ways. For instance, one mom found that changing her family’s insurance plan to a healthcare-sharing ministry would save her $6,000 a year.
- Keep your lifestyle constant. And simple. Keep driving those reliable (and paid off!) vehicles. Stay in the house that you’ve always been able to afford. Who cares, in the end, what the neighbours have! But this can get you only so far.
- Aim for ways to earn more. You can do both: focus on saving big as well as increasing your income. If you find ways to bring in that extra money, it may soon exceed what you could’ve saved on shampoo and conditioner over the years.
- Use your local sales wisely and embrace used items. This is more of the little things that can add up. Plan your weekly menu around what’s on sale. Go to those warehouse stores and buy your usuals in bulk if you compare it to local sale prices and it still makes sense. Eat those leftovers in the fridge for extra meals without the extra groceries. Control your impulse buying, even (or especially) at the grocery store. Maybe avoid the snack aisle altogether!
Maybe your heart still is in clipping those coupons and you miss the days of getting conditioner and toothpaste for a few pennies, if not free. Missing the thrill of finding the best deal on, well let’s face it; anything makes you a bit sad. But your family is young and they need you. You need to let go of certain things and look to embrace techniques now that are still saving money for you and allowing you to focus more on your family time. And fear not! Maybe someday you can go back to those tried-and-true techniques that you’ve always loved. Adjusting your time and strategies now doesn’t mean it will always be like this.
But what’s most important, saving big or small is what you do with that money you save. As your life continues to change, embrace new strategies to help you continue to save while still focusing on what most important.