Busy moms, like anyone else, can save time and money if they just put a little bit of extra effort and use a little strategy.
This is a guest post by Angie Picardo, a staff writer for NerdWallet.
Busy Mom Finance
These days everyone is short on time. Moms in particular are always short on time, because they have to balance the lifestyle of being a mother along with having a job. When things are that busy, it can seem like you don’t have time to do your daily activities, much less start thinking about saving money and time.
Hope is not lost. Busy moms, like anyone else, can save time and money if they just put a little bit of extra effort and use a little strategy.
To save time and money in their daily lives, moms have to plan out and strategize many of their normal activities. Part of the problem with being very busy is that people tend to go into autopilot, and make choices that are not efficient. A busy day of activities with the kids can leave a mom exhausted and have her reaching for the telephone for takeout, or into the freezer for a prepared meal, both of which are usually more expensive and less nutritious than a home-cooked meal.
By setting out and planning activities and meals, moms can take the pressure out of some of these situations. Spending an extra hour on Sunday preparing your own homemade frozen meals can save hundreds of dollars throughout the year and saves time on those busy weeknights.
That’s just one example, but moms have everything to gain from planning out expenditures and other activities. Being prepared is the first step to cutting back. While some of the other steps below may not apply to every mom, this is one that absolutely must be followed if you want to save time and money.
It’s incredibly difficult to plan out activities, meals and anything else if you don’t actually sit down and do it. To do that you’ll need to make time.
Making time means making an assessment of your weekly activities and figuring out where to squeeze a few more minutes out of the day and then making a commitment to your activity. If you want to prep dinners for the week, set aside an hour to do it and actually following through! People frequently talk about things they want to do, but never get around to. Well, if you don’t make time for it then it’s most likely not going to happen.
Meals are the easiest way to save money. Many people eat out or buy expensive, prepared foods on a daily basis. They seem like a time saver or a great value, but they are usually significantly more expensive than home cooked food and packed with salt.
You don’t have to be a world class chef to save money on food for your family – just keep it simple! You don’t need to make a 5 course meal every weeknight. Save that fancy stuff for big events and prepare a simple main dish and one side or a one pot meal.
Also, prepare simple foods that can be made in bulk, and frozen in individual bags or packages. A big pot of chili (you can make it vegetarian, if preferable) can be frozen in batches and feed your family for several days without compromising nutrition and it’s very inexpensive. This works for soups, stews rice and pasta dishes too.
You can also cook things that can be transformed for a second meal. Leftover pot roast can be shredded and turned into tacos or burritos. Leftover baked potatoes can be turned into everything from hash browns to potato salad with little effort. Spending a few minutes making extra potatoes or roast on Sunday turns into extra time with the family during the week because you aren’t spending all that time prepping and getting the meal ready.
Planning meals also allows you to save money by buying in bulk. That doesn’t mean you need to buy everything in bulk, plan this out too and only buy things you know your family is going to use. Many people waste money at warehouse stores thinking they need everything in bulk. That isn’t true—you are in control of your own meals and finances and can make those decisions.
Lots of Options
The world is always a busy place for moms, but it doesn’t have to be an expensive place. With some careful planning and dedication moms can save lots of money and have more time to spend with the ones they love.
Angie Picardo is a staff writer for NerdWallet. Her mission is to help busy moms save money on the go with NerdWallet’s best gas station credit cards.