I have been a stay-at-home mom for several years now. I am constantly looking for ways to trim our budget and ease the financial strain of being a single-income family. Here are a few areas in which I have been able to cut costs over the past few years.
3 Areas to Trim Your Budget in 2021
I remember the first time I heard someone say they shopped at Aldi. She told me about the small weekly budget they were able to stick to by shopping there, and I was shocked and decided to give it a try. The first big difference about shopping at Aldi is the shopping carts are located outside the store, and you will need to bring a quarter to use the cart while you are there. You will get the quarter back once you return it at the end of your shopping trip. This is just one way Aldi states it is able to keep costs low by not having a worker scheduled to retrieve the shopping carts from the parking lot.
Once inside, you will notice that the store is very plain and seems much smaller or simplified compared to most grocery stores. I have learned to stick to mainly grocery items in the store as other items might not be as competitively priced. The biggest cost-savers for me at Aldi are snacks for the kids, produce, and meat. I try to buy all or our grocery items there and then fill in with items from other stores if they are out of something or they do not sell a particular item I need for a recipe. When you checkout, you will notice another big difference, they do not bag your groceries, which is another way they are able to reduce their costs. I keep reusable bags in my car so I am prepared for my Aldi trips.
Our family has saved so much by making this small change. We save anywhere from $30-$50 a week by shopping at a discount grocery store.
I am amazed by the amount of money I have saved by reducing the times I physically enter a store. Order pick-up has been a great service that many retailers have added. My favorite place to utilize this service is Walmart. Though this can take more preparation, usually requiring me to make my list on their app and place the order the night before to secure a pick-up time, it has been worth it to stick to a budget for each order. You can choose through the app whether or not you would like for them to pick replacements for you, should your items be out of stock. They will email you when your order is ready and the replacement items will be listed at the bottom of the email. You can then accept or reject the replacements when you pick up your order. Usually when they have picked a replacement for me, it has always worked out to my benefit. I tend to shop only store brand products to save more, and if they are out of their store brand, they will upgrade you to a name brand product without charging you the difference.
It never fails, if I actually walk in the store, I end up spending more than I had planned because I see something, or my children see something that ends up in the cart. In addition to saving money, I have saved many meltdowns with my children by utilizing this service. My children are much happier waiting with me in the car for our order, rather than sitting in a shopping cart.
This has admittedly been a harder area in our budget for me to reduce since we had our children. I have agonized countless times on spending $15 on yoga pants for myself, while I have had no problem dressing my children like fashion models or members of the royal family. Over the past year through the pandemic, I have realized how little clothing really matters, especially when children grow so fast.
If you happen to be fortunate enough to receive hand-me-downs, cherish those items like gold. It is so nice to be able to save money on clothing. If you do not have access to hand-me-downs, another idea is hosting a clothing swap with friends that have children of varying ages. This is a great way to have everyone trade clothes and to leave with items that work for their children for the current season or future seasons. Since we are still dealing with COVID-19 issues, hosting this virtually might be a great option to help everyone feel more comfortable.
This is another one of my favorite ways to cut costs for clothing. There are numerous consignment sales in the area to consider, which give you plenty of options to buy and sell gently used clothing. Most of the ones I have participated in are focused on children’s clothes, but there are others that have teen, maternity, and women’s clothing as well. I have made a great deal from selling my children’s clothing at these sales, which I have then been able to use to fund their clothing for the next season. My husband calls this “recycling money” and it has made a big impact on our budget.
Clothing Resale Apps and Social Media
In the past few years, I have seen a great number of clothing resale apps pop up. I have two favorites that I use to sell our family’s gently used items: Kidizen and Poshmark. These apps help you reach a much larger population of others that are also buying and selling similar goods.
Social media has provided yet another platform for buying and selling. I use Facebook pages that are specific for brands or categories of items to sell, and I use Facebook Marketplace as well. It can get tedious to sell on social media, but if you stick with it you can positively impact your budget here as well.
Over the years I have learned so much from my mom, and one of those things is to have a gift closet. If I see something while I am out shopping that looks like a great gift, I will buy it and save it for a future gift opportunity. Usually for these items, I pick up things that have been marked down that might not usually get marked down, and occasionally they are just great items that I might have room in the budget for that day. Being a single-income household, this helps me to have several gifts on hand in case we get invited to a party that is in a time of the month where our budget is tighter.
The gift closet is a great place for saving items you want to regift as well. I never regift anything that I would not actually like to receive myself, but sometimes I do save items that we were gifted that we might already have, or if I know someone who might enjoy the items even more than I would, I save it for their birthday or other holiday.
Wrapping Paper and Cards
I have saved so much by buying wrapping paper and cards ahead of time. My favorite place to buy these items is Dollar Tree. They have a wide variety of cards to choose from and most of them are 2 for $1.00. I usually pick up several any time I go there, and save them in a box so that I have them when I need them. The gift wrap options at Dollar Tree are also great. They have lots of gift bags and tissue to choose from for birthdays and always have a great selection around Christmas as well.
I hope you enjoyed reading about areas I have trimmed our budget. I am always looking for ways to cut costs.