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11 ways to save money every month + not even feel the pinch

Get potlucky.

Instead of a monthly moms’ night out, rotate houses with your gal pals each month and have a potluck instead.


New foods, wine, girl talk, board games and an excuse to clean the house every now and then? Sign. Us. Up.

Have a mani-pedi party.

Skip the pricy salon mani-pedi and opt for a girl’s night instead! Not only will it be more fun, just think of how much green you’ll save. Yes, you and your friends have our permission to splurge and buy a bottle of the good stuff. ?

Just be sure to pick a host whose baby is a heavy sleeper. ?

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Know which products are (much!) cheaper online.

Shopping experts note that products such as books and magazines, water filters and even toilet paper are usually cheaper to buy online.

Prescription glasses are another item that can be found for much less online, according to Crystal Paine, author of Money-Making Mom and creator of Money Saving Mom.

“If you only wear your glasses part of the time or aren’t incredibly particular about how they look, definitely save yourself some money by ordering glasses online.”

Try Zenni Optical for glasses ranging from around $7 to $30.

Eat at home.

Food is expensive, mama. Especially convenient food. You could buy the fanciest dinner option at the grocery store and it would still likely be cheaper than eating at a restaurant. When you make your own dinners most nights, the savings will add up fast!

Plus, if you already make your tot’s lunch for home or school, do the same for yourself! Packing a lunch will save you money, give you healthier options, and even free up part of your lunch hour—instead of driving or walking to a restaurant or waiting in line at the company caf, you can spend that 10 or 20 minutes reading, taking a walk or even meditating for an afternoon pick-me-up.

You don’t have to spend much time making lunches. Buy everyone in the family the same kind of lunch box (I am currently in love with my convenient set of bento boxes) and start an assembly line.

Pack simple and healthy foods, like nuts, carrots, apple slices, whole grain crackers and hummus, maybe even a little chocolaty treat. Yum!

What’s the key to effectively saving money every month?

Set long-term goals and stay focused on them.

Whether you want to pay off student loans (one study shows the average student debt for millennial moms is $29,452), save up for that B&B you’re dying to open, or take that European vacation you’ve been longing for, keep your eye on the prize. What will it feel like to pay off that loan? How will you feel when you can call yourself a small-business owner? What will you see when you get to Rome? Feel that feeling and no impulse buy will compare.

Every penny saved truly does add up. Every. Single. One.

If you’re worried you won’t have the perseverance to hold out until you’ve achieved your goal 100%, create space in your budget to splurge every now and again. For some people, planning for occasional mini-splurges helps them stay on track and keeps that feeling of deprivation at bay.

After all, we mamas deserve a little indulgence once in a while.

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Order groceries online.

Make the most of your Amazon Prime account and do a little grocery shopping online without a hefty shipping cost. Many local grocers are getting in on the action as well.

Not only will it save you time and effort, it can save you money, too!

For one thing, shopping online saves you money on gas. Plus, if you don’t go inside a store, you won’t be able to peruse the many tempting (but unnecessary) offerings on display, making it easier to stick to your budget.

If you’re looking for a specific item, it can be much easier to shop around from the comfort of your couch, too.

When you shop in person, the #1 tip is to simply make a list and stick to it.

Be your own barista.

Skipping your daily Starbucks fix and making coffee at home could save you big bucks—we’re talking on the order of $35 a month (or $420 every year!). And that’s assuming you’re buying a boring old cup of black coffee at Starbucks. Feel free to splurge on much-loved coffees, teas or accessories at the grocery store, because these items will still likely be cheaper than buying each beverage ready-made at a cafe.

After a year or two of savings, you might just have enough dough saved up to buy a new espresso maker… or at least a new mug.

Cancel a paid subscription or service you rarely use.

One of the best ways to save cash is to find a non-necessity you won’t miss and ditch it, says CPA Lena Gott, creator of the site What Mommy Does.

“Odds are you’re a

busy person—and do you really have time to process all the input that comes

into your life? Find that one thing that costs you money that you don’t get

absolute happiness out of,” she says. “Something you probably won’t miss when it’s gone. A

magazine you never have time to read? A premium sports channel you never watch?”

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Hold out for the sale.

Have your eye on something you think you can’t live without? Wait for it to go on sale and track the drop in price with a plug-in like Shoptagr, which lets you save items and alerts you when they go on sale—score!

Your willpower will get a workout and you’ll feel like you really earned it if you can wait.

The best part? Bagging a bargain lights up the reward centers in your brain like a summer fireworks show, so you definitely won’t feel the pinch here!

If you think you just can’t wait and need a little help checking your impulse to buy, we feel you. Kristina Johnson, accountant and creator of Cents + Order, recommends thinking about the cost of an item in terms of work hours.

“How long did you have to work (or will your spouse have

to work) to buy what’s in your hand? Look at pair of shoes in your hand and realize you had

to deal with grumpy customers or a horrible boss for four hours just to afford

them. Thinking about purchases in terms of how many hours I put in at work

definitely curbs my spending!”

Try free activities + save on big-ticket trips.

Look into free weekend activities for you and the family to enjoy, such as camping, hiking, biking, going to the beach or even window shopping. Even if it’s just a trip to the park to throw a Frisbee, your children will love it just as much as pricier activities.

You’ll love it even more.

Alternatively, if your family is dying to try a new (but costly) activity, museum or amusement park, research annual family passes. They pay for themselves quickly, and having them on hand will give you one more option for a fun weekend event that won’t rack up extra costs.

Plus, many annual passes come with discounts and perks.

Bonus: The luxury of being able to return for “free” means you won’t feel obligated to stay until the inevitable meltdown that will ensue after a long day of fun.

Skip the gym.

A power walk, jog or bike ride is a great excuse to get outside. Or you can turn to YouTube and sweat in your living room with free, high-production-quality channels like FitnessBlender, Yoga with Adriene and Jessica Smith TV.

Stacey Rodriguez, the author of Secrets to a Successful Single Income Budget and creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, is a fan of cheaper (and more fun) alternatives to the gym. She explains:

“Skip the monthly gym

membership fees! Both my husband and I work out daily at home and have gotten

awesome results. It’s not important where you work out, and you don’t need fancy

equipment. What matters most is consistency and just doing it!”

Sell or trade clothes for you and baby.

Have a closet full of clothes that, let’s face it, you just never wear? Check out Poshmark to make money on the items you never wear... and buy new designer duds on the cheap.

Other much-loved sites that can help you get children’s clothes at a fraction of the price include eBay (try searching for “lots”—buying items like pajamas in bulk can help you save), ThredUp and Swap.com.

Lots of mamas have also had great success with in-person hauls, so check out local secondhand stores for deals on kids’ clothes. They grow so fast, many of the clothes for sale may be brand-new, anyway!

You might also try a maternity clothes swap with friends, trading wardrobes when one of you is pregnant.

In case you haven’t noticed, mama… kids aren’t cheap.

It costs about $245,000 to raise a child, not including college. Hey, those tiny Converse sneakers and Montessori toys aren’t going to pay for themselves.

If you’re looking for a few easy ways to save money every month, we’ve got your back.

Here are 11 techniques (proven by moms + experts) for saving money each month without feeling deprived:

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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As a mom of three, I frequently get a question from moms and dads of two children: “Ok, so the jump to three...how bad is it?"

Personally, I found the transition to having even one kid to be the most jarring. Who is this little person who cries nonstop (mine had colic) and has no regard for when I feel like sitting/eating/resting/sleeping?

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