5 Money Saving Tips for New Moms

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The cost of raising a child never seems to decrease. According to multiple studies, it’s over $230,000 (you can calculate your personal cost expectations here at the USDA website). Who has that kind of money? And frankly the estimate is pretty light in terms of the costs of quality child care or good education, not to mention hoping no one gets sick. So how can a new mom save money?

Part of my healthyish goal for the year is to get our finances into better shape. We’ve been a bit lax over the last few years about our budget, and though we aren’t struggling, we do have a new baby and I don’t want us to get into trouble. Besides my own experiences, I’ve also consulted with my mom. She raised 4 of us kids, had 2 of us without any health insurance, so she knows how to save a pretty penny or two. I’d love to hear your input, too.

Money Saving Tip for Moms: Ditch the Take Out

I hope I didn’t lose you here. I know how tempting that take out menu is. Everywhere I turn these days, there is a new meal delivery service offering temporary free delivery, and the days are short when you have a new baby at home (even shorter when there’s more than one hungry young mouth to feed). This article from Business Insider estimates that Gen Xers (like myself) spend on average almost $5000 a year on eating out. That’s a ton of cash. I myself went back to our credit card statement after my first daughter was born–we spent almost $800 that month alone! And I was on maternity leave, so no money was coming in on my side.

How do I Ditch the Take Out? 4 Simple Tips

I know it’s so convenient, but that money adds up super quickly. Besides, when you are taking care of kids, you get hungry. Fast. Take out can take up to an hour to be delivered, and how on earth do you even decide where to order from? Some days with a newborn, I can barely decide which tank top to wear. So here are a few good ways to cook a bit more at home.

Tip #1: Meal Plan

I am terrible at this but trying to get better. My mother, on the other hand, does this very well. I find this article from Food and Wine extremely helpful. Meal planning saves you money and helps you be healthier. I’m hoping to get better at this in 2019.

Tip #2: Cook in Bulk Using a Master Recipe

This is pretty much the only form of meal planning I can manage. Once a week either my husband or I (he really is a wonderful cook) make a master recipe like braised beef, roast chicken, pot of black beans, big pot of farro, etc. Then throughout the week we repurpose the leftovers. Beef tacos, black bean enchiladas, chicken and broccoli casserole, kitchen sink frittata…The options are pretty endless, especially with the ability to Google ingredients.

I also love our freezer. We freeze leftovers, make pans of lasagna or meatballs, and enjoy them weeks later when we have had a rough day and haven’t been able to cook.

Tip #3: Buy Frozen or Pre-Chopped Vegetables

One of the hardest things (in my humble opinion) to cook with a new baby is vegetables. I have no idea how (safely) to chop vegetables while holding a baby. Sure I could keep her in a carrier, but babies are squirmy, knives are sharp…I have a vivid imagination.

So buy frozen vegetables. They are cheap, usually on sale, don’t rot in the produce drawer and easy to add to soups, stews, skillet meals, and more. And they are healthy–buy the kind without additional sauce and they are salt-free.

The pre-chopped ones are great, too, but they are more expensive and can rot. So I usually lean on the frozen ones. I make an exception, though, for bagged pre-made salads. You know the ones, with the little bag of dressing and toppings? Love them. I doubt we’d eat salad any other way.

Tip #4: Use your Assets

Do you have an Instant Pot (I actually don’t but my mom loves hers)? I might not own the super-popular kitchen must-have, but I do have a slow cooker. And I love my slow cooker. Once or twice a week, I plug that in, throw in some ingredients in the morning, and later that day we have a hot meal. Plus we almost always have leftovers, so it’s a cook once-eat twice. Genius.

Money Saving Tip for New Moms: Turn Off Your Phone after 11 PM

tower of smartphones
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

I know, it’s so tempting. It’s 3 AM, you’re feeding the baby, half awake, and that smart phone is calling you. You just have to Google quickly: “why won’t my 6-week-old stop crying?” or “poop or chocolate?” or “what will put my newborn to sleep?” I’ve been there, too. I’ve Dr. Googled at 3 AM, felt mom shamed, and ended up with a $150 white noise machine.

Yup, they suck you in for that late night shopping. Hey, I get it: when you search for anything that helps babies sleep, 90% of it is products. Sleep suits, velcro swaddles, white noise machines…sleep seems like it’s just one click away.

Even though logically we all know newborn sleep is irregular. They have small stomachs and need to be fed regularly. Sure, you can do your 5 S’s from Happiest Baby on the Block but you probably don’t need a $150 white noise machine (learn from my mistakes). And let’s be honest–if you’re tired, you’re likely too tired to return that white noise machine.

Besides, the effect of your phone or tablet’s blue light most definitely affects you falling back to sleep. If it affects you, it might be affecting your newborn’s ability to fall back asleep, too.

So do yourself a favor and turn it off.

Money Saving Tip for New Moms: Outings Don’t Need to be Expensive

couple walking with stroller and toddler
Image by MabelAmber on Pixabay

When you’re a new mom, suddenly everyone wants to sell you something. “Do you take her to swim class?” “You know, there’s a great music class for moms and babies.” Why does your baby need a class? Yes, it’s great to meet other parents, but there are other ways to meet your new mom friends. Plus, most of those classes are during the week, and if you work, you are out of luck. So keep in mind that you are your kid’s best teacher. Go for a stroller walk (or a mall walk if the weather’s bad). When your baby is a little older, collect some leaves and branches and craft. All you need is some glue–you can use old boxes from that $150 white noise machine you accidentally bought at 3 AM. You know, just as an example 🙂

Inexpensive Outings with your Baby (or Ways to Make New Mom Friends)

  • Join a Meet Up
  • Check out local bookstores and libraries for infant/toddler story times
  • Check out Facebook groups in your area–lots of moms will post group hikes, stroller walks, etc.
  • Free events at your local zoo or community center
  • Talk to your hospital about a breastfeeding or new mom support group

Money Saving Tip for New Moms: You Don’t Need as Much as You Think You Do

I make an exception here for diapers and wipes: you always need more of those. Everything else, though? With my two daughters, I’ve managed just fine without a bottle warmer or a baby food maker. I don’t have a lot of baby shoes (my daughters never wore them until they started walking so we only have one pair we received as a gift). I have packs of waterproof sheets we never opened (only ever used 2).

Again, your kids are different than mine. But I recommend try not to buy too much in the beginning or before your baby’s born. Wait and see what you really end up needing, or what you can’t get from other people who have kids.

Money Saving Tip for New Moms: Sometimes You Need to Invest in a Little Help

Whatever your political beliefs, it’s a universal truth that being a mom is the most difficult unpaid job. Sure, you reap the benefits of raising good kids, but that doesn’t necessarily pay the gas bill. Nor, frankly, does it give you a break for your own sanity. I’ve had those weeks when I can’t remember whether I’ve showered. So, honestly, sometimes it’s worthwhile to invest in some child care–a mother’s helper, a babysitter, part time day care. Something to give you a moment for yourself, to be yourself. You need to take great care of you to take great care of your baby.

If you have some time for yourself, you could maybe save yourself from fatigue-spending at 2 AM. Or find time to start a blog that you could monetize (you know, just for instance). You could exercise or cook a healthy meal (or an unhealthy one, whatever works for you).

So though it is an expense, it might end up saving you money in the long run. It takes a village, after all.

What are your best money saving tips?

I’d love to hear from you. How do you try to save your hard-earned cash?

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