These little ladies put my budget skills to the test!
I am so excited to have the title Mom on a Budget! Every Thursday I will be sharing money saving tips with you. Having 3 little ones at home (4 year old twins and a 2 year old), I know how important every dollar is. Whether you are trying to cut down your grocery budget or saving up for a big vacation, I am here to help.
Let me tell you a little more about myself. When I was little, I was the girl who was excited for the Sunday paper to arrive. I would clip the coupons and scan the ads for deals. In college, I didn’t really have time for coupons (hello, I was playing flip cup!), but I learned a few new ways to earn money. Since I have allergies, I signed up for research studies through the University and I started taking surveys online for cash and gift cards. When I first met my husband, he thought my money making schemes were crazy, now he has joined my ship. He uses coupons and tests products with me at a local research place!
When I was 20 weeks into my first pregnancy, we went into the doctor for the typical “let’s find out the sex” ultrasound. They informed us that we were having a girl…and another girl! We were shocked…how could we be having TWINS?! My bargaining skills kicked into overdrive as I had to learn how to save money on baby items. Sites like Money Saving Mom and A Full Cup taught me how to find deals. I took my coupon skills to the next level.
That was almost 5 years ago, and I’ve never looked back. No, I don’t consider myself an “extreme” couponer, but I believe you should stock up for your household as you see fit. Since we are quite busy, I do one large shopping trip a month, with weekly milk and produce runs. I have found this helps with our grocery budget. I will share many tips on grocery shopping for you!
Aside from coupons, I have found other ways to help our household budget. Since I am mostly a stay-at-home Mom (I work part-time on weekends as a demo chef in a local grocery store), our money has to stretch as far as we can make it. I have found many unconventional ways to earn money.
When my youngest, Gabriella, was 8 months old she started testing baby food at a local research place. In less than 30 minutes of our time, we earned gift cards for our local grocery store. For 16 months, our weekly trips testing baby food paid for diapers, wipes, car seats and other household items. I always tell people to look for consumer research places in their area; you might not even know they exist! All testing places vary in payment, but there are quite a few across the country! Ricky and I also go monthly to another testing place for quick cash payments. During the holidays or when we are saving up for something, these really help!
Recently, I have started mystery shopping for places like Costco and our local movie theater. I only sign up for places which we frequent; I will never go out of my way to perform a mystery shop. Since we already shop at Costco, it’s quick cash. The movie theater shop reimburses your ticket and concession! There are also mystery shops available for restaurants, auto places (free oil changes!) and clothing stores. By doing little things like this, we can try new restaurants and earn extra money.
As you can see, I like to talk about saving money! I cannot wait to start this journey with you and I hope that we can create an open conversation! Although I know quite a bit, you may be able to teach me a few things as well. Feel free to say hello on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram…I am slightly addicted to social media!