I grew up in a household where we were always aware of what was in our budget. Even though we lived like this growing up I never felt like I was without whatever I needed. I am thankful for growing up in a household that is budget conscious because it has carried me well in my adult life. People know me as a budget conscious adult and I am proud of it.
If you’re looking to tighten up your budget this new year, here’s a few tips I’ve learned along the way as a busy mom of two boys. A few of our other contributors have chimed in with their budget hacks as well.
And remember, it’s always an acceptable answer to decline an activity, trip, etc. for your family because it isn’t in your budget. I promise, it gets easier with time to say that to friends and family!
Basic Budgeting Tools I Use
I don’t use any fancy apps. I simply write down on paper what our fixed bills are before we make big purchases or decide if we can afford the item. Be aware of what you are spending monthly.
Our family has one checking account, and two savings accounts. We also have one credit card that we use for everything and pay it back every month. (This is key with credit cards/ALWAYS PAY IT OFF THAT MONTH).
Our credit card gives lots of points and I use the cash back option to deposit into our savings account.
I also take advantage of my direct deposit and have my check split automatically and it goes into a savings account at a local credit union that is harder to access which forces me to save.
Decide Where to Splurge/Save
My family lives in a modest house and we did the same growing up. Our family did big vacations and had newer cars instead then and now!
I am an experience and trips type of person and I hope to bring my family up to be one, too.
‘It’s Not in my Budget’ IS OKAY TO SAY!
My mom is a CPA. She taught me the motto “It’s not in my budget”, rather than saying I don’t have the money.
Through my 20’s and now 30’s it was always hard to say no to something if it wasn’t in my budget for that month or week.
Be mindful when your friend says they can’t.
It maybe because they can’t afford it that week and don’t get your feelings hurt!
We have all been there. This is why it is nice to go to someone’s house, or find something less expensive to do with that friend.
9 Local Budget Hacks from East Valley Moms Contributors:
- Eat before arriving to an attraction/experience (our go-to meal: DIY homemade lunchable pack we can eat in the car on our way to an attraction)
- Shop the kids eat free nights at local restaurants (mom hack: we have them all rounded up here for easy reference!)
- When traveling, plan a few meals in the hotel/home rental to save on eating out. Here’s a quick cheat guide on how we stock hotel mini fridges for toddler-approved meals.
- Most kid attractions here locally (aquarium, pop-up experiences) have better deals during the work week. If you can muster up some cool mom vibes for a weeknight outing, it’s an easy way to save money.
- Follow your local city government’s Facebook events; they host so many events for kids that are 100% free, but they don’t advertise them well.
- Follow our weekly e-blast for weekly giveaways to local kid’s attractions! Seriously! We give away tickets and passes every week!
- Consignment store sidewalk sales are better than Goodwill pricing! A few times a year, it’s worth the trip when Kid to Kid rolls out their clearance bins to make room for the next season.
- Take advantage of your neighborhood/city’s ‘buy nothing’ groups on Facebook. You can easily score hardly used toys (especially baby stuff) and when it’s right in your neighborhood, it’s easier to take advantage of these freebies. (Here’s our guide to the best local Facebook groups for moms)
- Be sure to check out my other post, Realistic Budget Tips from a Working Mom, for more easy to implement budget practices to try.