How To Be A Cool Mom On A Serious Budget

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Mom On A Serious Budget? No Worries, I Got You!

When you’re a single mom, it’s hard to make ends meet….that is, when you don’t have one of those fancy jobs, because being a mom is already a full-time job and when there’s no man in the picture to bring home the bacon…things can be tough. Having a smaller income can make simple things like buying good quality clothes for your little ones, keeping up with organization, groceries, toys, and activities can be a lot and can leave you broke and struggling. Our kids come first and so making sure all of their needs are met and they have everything they need to be healthy, happy and stylish is a top priority. So what’s a mom to do? Read my blog for great tips of course!

I Like To Consider Myself A money savings guru….

For years now, since the birth of my son I have searched, scavenged and hunted for the best deals, the cheapest stores, the greatest sales etc and it’s much easier than you think to save yourself a few bucks when buying things for your kids or even keeping yourself from looking like an extra from The Walking Dead.  So here are my top tips for pinching those pennies!

CONSIGNMENT STORES.  You have probably heard of these or even have shopped in one before but consignment stores are a heaven send.  Trust me, once you’ve had the consignment experience, you’ll never go back! Not only can you buy gently used clothes, toys, books, bedroom furniture and more at a children’s consignment store for amazing prices, but they will pay you for yours! That’s right! When you’re kids have outgrown their clothes, toys, videos, bed sheets etc, and as long as they are still in great shape, the consignment store will take them, and you will have two options, you can either take the cash once your items have sold in the store, or use it as credit to buy things from the store! When I first learned about this I was mind blown! Just think…when all the items that you’ve donated have sold, you can use the credit to buy all new stuff from the store and therefore never spend a penny! Practically an exchange! Like what? How cool is that? Oh, and consignment stores are also for adults too! Just find one that sells woman’s apparel or any adult consignment store and the same thing applies there! I can’t tell you how many name brand, super cute clothes, handbags and shoes I’ve gotten for free just by selling things I no longer wear to my local women’s consignment store! Check out all the consignment stores in your area! You won’t be sorry and your wallet will be just as happy!

Free Online Printables. Need activities for the kids? Do they like to color? Do you homeschool? Well, the world of free online printables is your new friend! I use these printable activity pages, storybooks, color pages and homeschool lessons all the time for my son, no need to pay for expensive school books, coloring and activity books,  just search up what you’re looking for and simply print it out! Easy peasy.  Everything from toddler activities, preschool, all the way up to high school age activities and stories can be found online in a free printable format. Saves you time, money and keeps the kiddos busy! Here are some great websites to start you off! http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/printables-list    http://www.jumpstart.com/parents/worksheets    http://www.thekidzpage.com/colouring_menus/activities/

Image via Pinterest
Image via Pinterest

Dollar Stores & Thrifting. Shopping at The Dolar Store and thrift stores are a lot less icky than they may have been back when. You can actually get all sorts of treasures at these places. Everything from toys, party supplies, wrapping paper, snacks, home organization, school supplies and more can be found right in The Dollar Store.  Thrift stores are treasure troves, I love thrifting and hit my local thrift shops every month and never walk out empty handed. They are great places for finding play clothes, household items, movies, and things to use for amazing DIYs. Pinterest anyone? Don’t be afraid to shop these kinds of places, you won’t regret it if you do. 😉

Groceries & Coupons. So this may be a no-brainer, but when you want to save some dough when buying some dough, grocery coupons come in handy. I’m not talking go all Extreme Couponing on me and have a basement full of boxes of rice, packages of gum and sticks of deodorant but….coupons are wonderful. Clipping coupons seems like such a chore and let’s be honest…a little Stepfordy? So, I wish to welcome you to the new generation of couponing. Most grocery stores have rewards or member cards, if you don’t have one already, you need one. They’re free, so just ask for one at checkout. Once you get your card set up, you can go online to the store’s website and add coupons to your card, and when you purchase those items at the store and swipe your card you save all kinds of money. Boom. Also, there are websites that email you coupons you can print out and also ones you can use for various places online! Pretty awesome stuff if you ask me, so if you want to save a little money while running your errands, picking up dinner and so on, remember to get some coupons! Here are some websites for online coupons: http://www.coupons.com   http://www.coolsavings.com/coupons   http://www.redplum.com/section/printable-coupons

You. So, you’re a mom…and that means it’s nearly impossible to squeeze in some time for self-pampering and keeping yourself from looking like a mess. When you do find the time, it’s easy to splurge for a fancy mani-pedi, hair stylist, or facial. But are those things really necessary? They’re expensive, and when you’re on a serious budget it’s just not smart. So why not just do it yourself? You can! You don’t have to be a pro, or even really know what you’re doing, it doesn’t take much talent to keep yourself fresh and fabulous. With the use of the proper tools, you can give yourself your own manicure for well, nothing. If you need a little help, there are plenty of YouTube tutorials to help you out. Hair color need a boost? Instead of paying a crazy amount for someone to color your hair for you, just pick up a box of a good quality non-toxic hair color and do it yourself! Or if you’re too afraid of ruining it, ask a friend to come over to help and make a girls night out of it! No worries! For a deep skin cleansing and detoxing experience, homemade facials are just what you need. You probably have all the ingredients you need right in your kitchen! No cost involved and only a few minutes of time! Just whip up some skin food and slather the natural gunk on your face, and let it get to work improving your complexion. Just look up home facial recipes, they really do the trick! Lastly, do you struggle with finding the time and money to work out? Well, not anymore sister. Did you know that YouTube has millions of workout videos? It sure does. Most of them you can customize for time 5-30 minutes, your level, your fitness goals, trouble areas, and what equipment you already have or don’t have at home.  Skip the gym memberships, expensive treadmills, workout systems and so forth. Just hop on YouTube, pick a video that suits your needs for the day and get on it, then boom, all done! Quick, easy and most importantly, free! You’re welcome. Some great channels to get started with are PopSugar Fitness, and Cassie Ho of Blogalaties.

Budget Friendly Stores & Kids Activities.  When you want to go shopping or take your kids out, it’s good to find places that don’t cost a lot or anything at all. When the regular department stores are calling your name and you need to keep the spending low, opt for less expensive stores that have the same high quality stuff as the expensive places. For instance, I love shopping at Ross, Burlington Coat Factory is amazing as well, and when shopping online Zulily has great sales on the cutest things for the kids, home, and you! So skip the big shiny store and head into the more budget friendly store, trust me, you’ll be glad you did. When it comes to activities for the kids, we are tempted to pay the big bucks for things like the membership places for classes, playtime and all that jazz? Yeah, you know what I’m talking about….or what about sports? Do you have any idea how much sports cost? Like geez you might as well by car. So, when you need to save some money, just take the rugrats to the park, let them run and play, kick a ball, climb, swing and roll around in the grass. Same benefits, but it’s free. Playdates are actually great too, organize for a few of your kids friends to come over, plan a craft for them to do, teach them how to play hopscotch, put out some snacks and let the magic happen. Your kid doesn’t really need some fancy class, or to be the star soccer player, at least not until you can actually afford for them to be. Keep your priorities in check, and when they need/want some fun socialization or fresh air, just go for the free options at hand. They’ll be fine, I promise and you will be able to keep the bills paid. It’s not easy being a single mom with a low income, but just do the best you can and save money wherever you can, and when they get older, they will thank us for it. At least, we hope they will, right?

Keep on keepin’ on, working hard and being money wise. You’re fabulous and no one can say otherwise. When times are tough, we gotta get tough too and I know we can handle it. For more tips, ideas and fantastic blogs such as this, please follow my blog and stay tuned for more coming at ya soon.

Much love, peace out.

-Jess XO

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