Many of us moms do everything we can to find good deals and discounts to save money and lessen the financial burden of shopping (especially for holidays like Christmas). There are a lot of ways you can save money, some you may not have heard of before!
While I can’t help you determine how much you spend, I can help you find ways to pinch some pennies. I do, however, have a family budget spreadsheet you may use for free if you want to determine your spending abilities each month.
Below are some tips and tricks to help you (these are services or tactics I ACTUALLY USE):
Buy Nothing Project
First, there is a way you can get free items right in your neighborhood! The Buy Nothing Project is a hyper-local giving program (usually through Facebook groups) that connects you with your neighbors who are giving items away for free. In my group, I have seen furniture (nearly every type!), toys, clothes and anything else you can think of! And around Halloween, I always start to see items being gifted like artificial Christmas trees, wrapping paper and decorations, To learn more, see my article here.
Ibotta is a program that helps you get cash back through discounts at online retailers (like Macy’s, Amazon and many many others) and, basically, digital coupon clipping for your grocery shopping (with, at times, larger coupons for spirits and alcohol if that’s your thing). I like to scan the app before grocery shopping for coupons AND the reward card digital coupons I can use at my local grocery store (both have apps so I just need my phone!).
Ebates is similar to Ibotta, but mostly offers discounts to online retailers. They will share coupon codes the retailer may be offering (for example, a retailer may have a 3% cash back offer through Ebates and a buy one get one free deal coupon code for the retailer). They do offer in-store cash back deals – you need to link the credit or debit card to your account you will be using to pay at the store. I have not done this myself.
Swagbucks is another option similar to Ebates and Ibotta, but they also offer ways to make money by filling out surveys and doing other tasks. It’s not a huge payout, but every little bit helps! Personally, I use a browser extension (which you download from Swagbucks) that shows a pop up on your computer when there is a cash back deal available for the site you are shopping on! You just click the button on the pop up to activate the deal.
I love shopping on Zulily. Sometimes I just look at all the discounted items and wish I had the budget to take advantage of the deals (like clothing and endless kid toys). The biggest drawbacks for me is the shipping time for some items (make sure to look at each listing for shipping time!), shipping charge (I’m spoiled by Amazon) and a lot of items are not available for return (which is problematic for clothes).
The PeggyBuy site has amazing deals, though the products can be quite random (and the ads on their site can be quite in your face…). A lot of times there is a deal or coupon you can also use (listed next to their logo). I use this site mostly for unusual gifts when the need arises.
Amazon Daily Deals
Every once in a while, I will look through the daily deals (lightning deals) to see if there is anything of interest. Since I am on a strict budget, there have only been a few times I have purchased anything (usually gifts).
Find your favorite stores or brands online and sign up for their email newsletter. I regularly receive sale notifications and coupons (online and/or in-store), especially around basically any holiday (even ones like Memorial Day – they are really looking for any excuse to get you into their store or to buy their product). I have a bookstore I go to regularly, and I receive a 15% off coupon almost every month.
Store Rewards Cards
A lot of stores now offer reward cards, some even require them to take advantage of in-store sales. For example, I have a reward card that gives me store credit for all the groceries I buy (usually about $20 a quarter – it’s not much but it’s a nice surprise to get in the mail every few months).
My local grocery store where I do almost all my shopping also has an app that allows you to digitally clip coupons. Before I go to the store, I look to see if there is a coupon for any of the items on my grocery list. If so, I add them to my card and the coupon is automatically applied when I use my store rewards card!
Yes, yes we all know that thrift stores are a great place to find great, used items. But I cannot tell you how much money I have saved with great, gently used finds at thrift stores! My son has an amazing, wooden toy kitchen that I got for $15 in great shape ($130 at full retail!). One trick is to find out when the new stock is put out each week (or the best times of day) and shop before they are picked clean of the good items.
Cash Back Debit Card
Check with your bank to see if your current checking account debit card has a cash back offer. I have a debit card that I can receive cash back for specific offers that change over time (though I have to go in and manually activate each of the deals for them to work). I’ve saved money this way on ordering flowers, getting coffee at Starbucks, buying cat litter at a local pet shop and others.
Cash Back Credit Card
Firstly, I in no way wish to encourage getting yet another credit card. But, if you have a credit card that doesn’t have benefits, you may want to look into credit cards that offer mileage or cash back on qualifying purchases (like gasoline, groceries, etc).
If you are an avid Amazon shopper (like me) and a Prime member, you will receive 5% back on all qualifying purchases (sold by Amazon). I use this card for all my Amazon and PrimeNow purchases (and most gasoline since you also get a percentage back). I make sure to pay it off in full each month. Get the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card.
Amazon Baby Registry
Expecting a baby? Sign up for an Amazon Baby Registry and if there are items left unpurchased from your registry you get a 10% discount (15% for Prime members) on qualifying items (sold by Amazon) to complete your registry! I used this discount to buy items off my registries for both my kids.
- When I find a good deal on meat in a store, I stock up a bit and throw most of it in the freezer for meals later.
- If you don’t want to sign up for a brand or store’s email newsletter, you can always look for the weekly ads in your regular mail (if applicable) or in newspapers (namely on Sundays).
- The obvious is to do regular coupon cutting from your local paper or papers you get in the mail. I will admit I rarely do this unless it’s a percentage off coupon.
- Meal plan once a week to know exactly what you are going to get at the grocery store BEFORE you go shopping. I cannot tell you how much money I have saved by stopping my impulse buying! If you’ve never meal planned before, check out my article here (with a free meal plan printable)
- While I don’t do a lot of shopping through them anymore, eBay is a great place to find used items online.
- If you have a baby getting ready for solids, try making your own baby food. I saved hundreds on making my own purees. Found out how here.
- I have not tried it, but you can sign up for services like Paribus that will scan your emails for receipts to see if the price has dropped on an item you have purchased. If the price dropped, you may be able to get a refund for the difference (which Paribus handles for you apparently).
Do you have ways YOU save money not listed above? Feel free to share it in the comments to help your fellow mamas!