Women who are raising children in today’s volatile and unpredictable economy face multiple challenges. No matter their income bracket, they need to pay attention to grocery prices, the current rate of inflation, the high cost of college, recurring monthly expenses, at the pump gasoline prices, and much more. Fortunately, there are all sorts of hacks and strategies that can give them a major dose of financial relief. What can they do to take pressure off their budgets and maximize the value of every hard-earned dollar?
Some of the top technique’s moms are using this year include retail coupon books, bulk grocery buying, student loan refinancing, shopping at second-hand and discount stores, monthly meal planning, taking public transportation whenever possible, and canceling unnecessary subscriptions. There are additional ways to deal with a challenging economy, but those have the greatest potential for saving money month after month. Here are the relevant details about each approach.
Use Retail Coupon Books
Those retail coupon books are still around and going strong after more than 50 years. A few of the modern versions are digital only books, but you can still buy the hard copy ones at major retail outlets and community centers in most major metro areas. Whichever kind you prefer, the cost of the book is small compared to the potential savings. In most cases, you only need to use one or two of the coupons to earn back the purchase price of the book.
Be smart about using the discounts by checking each offer and making a list of the ones that include products or services you regularly purchase. Read all the fine print carefully because there are usually a few limitations on quantities or similar restrictions, like expiration dates. Designate the offers you wish to use and note an approximate date when you plan to use them. Avoid riffling through the pages and then stashing the volume away in a kitchen drawer. Coupon books can save you hundreds of dollars if you use them carefully.
Refinance College Debt
Women who still owe a balance on their college debt can refinance student loans with Earnest and reduce monthly payments. Refinancing is an effective way for working and stay-at-home moms to turn an old loan into a brand-new one, complete with more favorable terms and lower payments. One reason the move makes so much sense is that people usually have better credit ratings a year or more after graduating.
Refinance agreements let borrowers take advantage of those higher ratings and thereby get a fresh loan that offers a whole new set of conditions, terms, payments, and rates. There’s no logical reason to let a lingering college loan occupy space on your monthly budget when refinancing can turn the situation around and deliver solid advantages. See how much you can chop off your bills by refinancing education debt.
Buy Groceries in Bulk
Bulk buying is a technique that has proven itself effective in the business world, and it can work for individuals as well. There are several approaches to purchasing large quantities of goods. The most practical one for consumers is to join a wholesale shopping club for a modest annual fee. Nowadays, most medium sized cities and large metro areas have one or more such outlets.
Be careful to make a detailed list before heading to the store because the typical outlets stock tens of thousands of items on their shelves. Experiment with quantities, being careful not to buy so much that you have nowhere to store the goods. If you wish to save even more, think about acquiring a stand-alone freezer for storing products like meat, vegetables, boxed dinners, and more.
Use Public Transportation
Driving is expensive. Minimize mileage by planning trips and combining them to include multiple errands. If you are a shopping club member, take advantage of special discounts on gasoline, remembering to fill up the tank with low-cost fuel whenever possible. Get a local bus and light rail book and study the routes you travel in your car. Most people find that they can reduce their driving miles by about 50% just by taking a few bus trips each week.
Plan Meals One Month in Advance
Meal planning is the secret weapon of parents who want to consume nutritious, low-cost meals with their families. You don’t need to be a gourmet chef to follow basic online recipes. To avoid dining out too much, plan 20 evening meals for each four-week period. Pack healthful, balanced lunches for your children and yourself. Eat breakfast at home. After a few months, you’ll likely be surprised at how much less you’ve spent on impulse shopping and restaurant meals.