Parenting is Expensive. These Expert Moms Reveal How They Save Big
Being a mom is difficult, time-consuming and really freakin’ expensive.
Before your child’s first birthday, a family with a household income of $40,000 is likely to spend over $21,000, according to a recent NerdWallet study.
A chunk of those expenses stem from food (more than $1,100) and another chunk stem from miscellaneous items, like diapers, clothes, toys, and other things that come up (nearly $2,000).
Do these totals give you heart palpitations? Or are you nodding your head in agreement — maybe even wondering how it’s not more?
We scoured mommy money-saving blogs to find out how some power moms are saving on these essentials.
We found one thing many of them have in common: Busy moms love finding secret ways to save money — especially capitalizing on cash-back opportunities.
You’re not getting thousands of dollars back, but the small amounts can really add up.
5 Expert-Mom-Recommended Cash-Back Apps and Sites
We couldn’t help but laugh when Ashleigh Allman of Smart Cents Mom exposed her husband’s sarcasm in regards to her cash-back routine: “Wow! What are we going to do with those 10s of dollars you made this month from your cash back sites?”
She says she rolled her eyes in response — exactly as you should have, Allman, because every little penny counts when you’re dishing out $21,000 a year.
If you want to use some of the same tactics these women have, here are five mommy-blogger recommended tools.
1. Stop driving around town to price compare: Use Retale.
That’s not a typo; it’s Retale, a free app that aggregates weekly ads from all your favorite stores.
Jessica Morgan wrote about it in Jacksonville Moms Blog. She used it when she was running around town to try to find the best back-to-school deals for her kids:
“In an effort to save myself (and the kids) a morning of driving from one sale to another, I was determined to find a way to save time… The answer was as close as my fingertips.”
Retale lets you compare prices at different locations without Googling, calling or scoping out these spots
Download the app, choose “Find local deals” and select your favorite retailers. These range from Target and CVS to Macy’s, Dollar Tree and Whole Foods.
You can also aggregate your favorites deals within the app.
For example, Walmart’s latest coupons appear just as they do in a newspaper — but they’re not annoying and easy to rip. Flip through to find what you need. Then, click the thumbtack to highlight the one you want to use; it’ll get stored in your favorites.
You can also create a shopping list. Add your favorite brands. If a deal pops up, you’ll be alerted.
2. Use a cash-back card every time you swipe.
Earn points or cash back each time you go to buy another essential with a cash-back card.
Katie Quirk Dunyon, of Mom365, says this makes her feel better about dining out with her picky child:
“When you’re dining out, does your child frequently insist on ordering meals he never eats? Try this: Get a rewards card that gives you cash back or points on spending at participating restaurants. Then check your credit card statement and when it includes rewards from that last family meal out, well, it does help soften the blow of all that wasted food!”
Dining out is just one of the many instances you can earn points, depending on the card you use. We like the Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard® because you’ll get 1.5% cash rewards on every single purchase — with no limits.
That means if you don’t have the time or energy to eat out, you’ll still get rewarded for those endless diaper runs (here’s how to get some free ones, too).
Plus, when you sign up now and rack up a $500 tab in the first 90 days (which probably isn’t too hard with kids), you’ll get $150 back. Oh, and there’s no annual fee either.
Just make sure you pay the card off in full each month.
3. Earn cash for printing coupons on MyPoints.
This might sound too good to be true — earn points for using coupons? But it’s real with the MyPoints online portal.
Rayven Perkins, the brain behind Stay a Stay at Home MOM, highly recommends the tool:
“I love using my points to get free gift cards (though you can use them for airline miles and other prizes too). Sometimes I use these cards to spoil myself, sometimes I get cheap…er, thrifty, and save them for gifts for family and friends at Christmas, birthdays, or mother’s and father’s day. / But whatever the reason, it’s fun to get free stuff in the mail.”
She actually signed up for MyPoints way back when — before her son was born. (Context: Her son was 12 when she wrote this.) She earns points by shopping, printing coupons, playing games and taking surveys.
For example, shop through the MyPoints portal to earn 5 points per dollar you spend on Amazon. When you collect 1,590 points, and you can cash out for a $10 gift card.
Even better, you can get a $10 gift card just for signing up!
4. Take a Picture of Your Receipt
The Ibotta app has tons of rebate offers at over 340 stores, including Walmart, Target, Aldi and Trader Joe’s.
Ginny wrote about her love for the app on The Simple Moms blog:
“I recently stopped my newspaper subscription because I just plain don’t have time to do the coupon clipping. 3 kids under 6 years old makes my brain mush and life busy. The Ibotta app is my coupon alternative and has simplified my life.”
She’d earned $117 in rebates.
Here’s how it works: Find rebates on your favorite products before going shopping. Go do your shopping. Then use the app to scan the items’ barcodes and submit a photo of your receipt.
Some rebate examples include $5 back on select Huggies products from Sam’s Club, $2.50 back on a case of Bud Light from Target (in case you’re that stressed…) and $2.50 back on Similac infant formula from Walmart.
If you join now, you’ll also get a $10 welcome bonus.
5. Let Paribus scan your inbox.
We’ve already established moms are busy, and services like Amazon Prime can be huge time-savers.
And you can save even more money, too, with Paribus.
Lotus of Mommy to Max uses the tool:
“I don’t know about you but I buy almost everything I need on Amazon. I have an Amazon Family Prime membership (worth it for the 20% off on monthly diapers alone!) and it feels like I’m shopping on the site every few days. Anyway, I signed up for Paribus three days ago and I have already received $25 in refunds from Amazon (with $210 in purchases, that’s basically 10% back).”
Paribus registers any online shopping receipts in your inbox. It notes what you’ve bought, and if the price of the item decreases during the return period, it reimburses you the difference. Although it keeps a 25% service fee, your rebates can add up quickly.
It also checks the tracking info for your online orders. If something shows up late, Paribus will help you get money back for what you paid for shipping — up to a full shipping refund.
Many moms use it for Amazon orders, but it also works for other retailers like Target, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond and more.
Just sign up and connect your email account.
Your Turn: Do you know any secret ways to save money?
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