- Personal Finance
Best Money Saving Tips for Frugal Moms: How to Get More for Less
Are You Fighting High Costs of Living?
The economy being the way it is these days makes it harder to make ends meet, and if you're a frugal mom or you have a new baby in the home, you may already know just how expensive an addition to the family can be. Luckily there are a number of ways to save money on baby items, and I'm going to share some of my best money saving tips for frugal moms. These are tips I've tried myself and that I use every day to get more of what I need for a lot less money.
Diapers and How to Save Whilst Getting Value for Money
Every mom out there complains about the cost of disposable diapers at some time or another, so we all know how expensive it can be! When I first learned that I was expecting, I was readying myself to become a cloth-diaper mom. I bought around 40 cloth diapers, a sterilizing bucket and the sterilizing solution well ahead of time.
The Truth About Cloth Diapers
Most moms consider cloth diapers to be a more economical option, and if you compare initial outlay to having to purchase disposable diapers on an almost weekly basis, they may be right. Here's the catch: Cloth diapers may be reusable, but they have to be sterilized, washed, and dried before Junior can wear them again. I did a little experiment early on and added up the costs of the sterilizing solution, the water used, the electricity for the washing machine and the tumble dryer, and worked it out over the period of one month.
Money spent on things like electricity, water, sterilizing solution, and waterproof briefs, made cloth diapers just as expensive as their disposable counterparts. In addition to it being just as expensive, cleaning, sterilizing, washing and drying cloth diapers can also be a time consuming process.
Expensive Disposable Diapers Versus Cheap Ones
This is another mistake I made early on. You'll no doubt see advertisements for all sorts of high-end disposable diapers on television, but there are cheaper alternatives out there. My partner noticed a cheap imported brand of disposable diaper at one of our local China shops, and it literally cost half as much as the diapers we were using at the time. Cheap is good, right? Wrong.
The cheap diapers did not hold up well at all. I ended up having to change diapers every 1-2 hours, and these diapers would leak through very quickly. They were not very absorbent, and I ended up using twice as many cheap diapers. Moral of the story is that the more expensive brand performed better and I would have to spend the same amount of money anyway.
This is one of my best money saving tips for frugal moms: Use disposable diapers, it's going to cost you just as much as the cheaper disposables or cloth diapers. On top of that it'll save you heaps of time and hassle as well.
This is another handy baby item that could potentially save you money on disposable diapers. If your little one is very 'regular', you may find that using liners help save diapers. When my son is teething, he has a bowel movement up to four times a day and this is when a diaper liner works wonders. It's best for solids though, so it's not the best choice for an upset or runny tummy. Just remove the liner along with any solids and you should have a clean diaper underneath. If not, you'll need to replace the diaper as well.
When I first paid real attention to the goodies in the baby aisle at my local supermarket, I was amazed to discover scented baggies for used diapers. I thought it was a marvelous invention, until I noticed the price tag! Here, you can expect to pay anywhere from $4 and more for a single container of scented/unscented/colored diaper bags.
My partner and I noticed the plastic baggies they use to weigh loose vegetables and fruit, and decided to ask if we could purchase a roll from one of our local supermarkets. A roll of these plastic bags cost us around $4.50 and we get around 500 bags on a roll. The bags are made of slightly thinner plastic, but they work just as well as the special diaper bags. They are not scented, but for the price, it's really not an issue.
Another good way to save on these baggies could be to buy in bulk and buy larger packs so that the cost per bag is lower. I've never bought these myself, because they are so expensive, but plastic baggies in general come in very handy when you need to pack goodies into your cloth diaper bag. It's a great way to prevent spills as well from things like baby lotions, or even bottles filled with formula or milk.
Disposable Wipes versus Face Cloths
This is another lesson I learned early on. I started off using ordinary facecloths to wipe and clean my son during each diaper change, but let's face it, it is a messy option. These facecloths have to be rinsed, sterilized, and then washed after each use, and it's not only time consuming, but costly because of the added water, electricity, and sterilizing solution. Face cloths are also bulky and are difficult to carry around, especially if you're heading somewhere and Junior has to go with.
I gave up after a month or so of using facecloths, and purchased a large pack of wipes. I noticed that the larger the pack, the lower the price per wipe. This is a handy way to save money if you're planning on using disposable wipes. Also, look for bulk packs where more than one pack of disposable wipes are sold together. I can get a bulk pack that contains 3 big packs of disposable wipes for the price of two loose packs, so buying in bulk definitely has its advantages.
Don't scrunch, Fold
This is going to sound so strange, but if you fold the wipe when using it, you can get away with using just one instead of two. I discovered this trick early on, and it's saved me a lot of wipes over the last year and a half. Don't just scrunch up the wipe and then wipe away whatever you can, start at a corner of the wipe and gently wipe using that side, then fold that corner over and use the other side. Continue wiping and folding, and you'll find that you get more cleaning power out of just one single wipe. When you have a neat square or rectangle, use it to wipe the entire bum again, just to make doubly sure everything is 100% clean. It might sound almost insane, but it really does work!
Disposable Diapers and Wipes: Bulk Buying, Combo Deals and Coupons
This is another one of my best money saving tips for frugal moms, and if you're constantly on the lookout to save on these baby basics, you should always look for combo deals and discount coupons. Many stores will offer coupons for specific brands, and if you can get your hands on a coupon, buy that brand to get the discount.
Buying in Bulk
I've found that some diaper manufacturers will offer a pack of wipes free of charge with the diapers every so often. I will say this though: I do not substitute the brand of diapers I use. It's Pampers or nothing. Even if another brand is on special, I don't buy it, simply because Pampers beats the living daylights out of all the other brands I've tried. I will purchase diapers in bulk, if I can find them. Economy packs often offer a lower price per diaper because you're buying 70 or more at once.
Don't be shy asking for coupons. Around here local in-store clinics often hand out coupons to new moms for baby products, and if you write to your favorite baby item manufacturer, you should ask for coupons as well. These companies love hearing that their products are appreciated, and sending a loyal customer a few coupons is a sound investment in their eyes. Also, coupons can be found online as well, so visit the sites of your favorite brands and see what they have available.
Don't forget: If you have medical insurance, you may be eligible for a baby hamper! Some insurance companies send out gift baskets to new mommies, so make full use of that. These hampers will often include other baby products as well like shampoo, lotion, talcum powder, and baby oil, to mention a few things.
These are some of my best money saving tips for frugal moms, and I really hope that this has helped someone. I learned all of this the hard way, and hopefully these tips and money saving ideas can save someone else the time, hassle and expense. Having a baby is expensive, but there are a few ways to cut the costs while still taking excellent care of your little one. If you have tried some of these tips, let me know. I'd love to hear about it! Or, if you have a tip you'd like to add, leave a comment so we can help out other frugal moms out there.