It’s impossible to do everything, especially on a busy day. So a great strategy for busy moms is to automate anything you possibly can!
As a parenting coach and mom blogger, one of the primary frustrations I hear from my clients is how difficult it is to do everything. And often, budgeting or financial issues are pushed to the back burner in favor of raising tiny humans.
Here are my best tips to save money on autopilot so you can focus on more important things and make life easier.
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1. Use a Subscription Service for Paper Goods, Cleaners, and Pet Items
You probably don’t even notice, but paying for paper goods, like paper plates, toilet paper, and paper towels, is almost always more expensive at the grocery store.
Cleaning products and pet food are usually more expensive at grocery stores as well. When you include them in your grocery shopping list, you’re more than likely wasting money.
And if you ever have to run into a convenience store for a bag of dog food, you are most definitely paying too much!
The way around this is to set up an auto-shipment for all these items. It does take a little effort upfront, but you can set it on autopilot, and it will save you money and time in the future.
How to Get Started
First, make a list of non-grocery items you use daily. Guess how much you use in a month. Then, do a little price research to find the absolute best price on that item. Check popular retailers like Amazon.com, Target, and Walmart. For pet food, check pricing on Chewy.com.
Some retailers give you an additional percentage of your total for setting up auto-shipments. Take this into account when you’re pricing products!
Once you identify the best pricing on each product, set up a monthly auto-shipment, you may end up getting a shipment from two or retailers each month, but that’s ok!
Make a note on your calendar to revisit your auto-shipments to verify you’re still getting the best price. I like to do this every 6 to 9 months.
Over time, you can add more products to this auto shipment process to maximize your savings, like shampoo, body wash, hand soap, etc.
Pro Tip: Stock up on a month’s worth of products and store them in your basement or garage. So, you’ll never run out! This strategy will prevent and impromptu trips to the store and the frustration of paying more than you need to for these essential items!
2. Use Free Grocery Pickup Services
Nearly every grocery retailer is offering the option for grocery pickup nowadays. Many of them offer it for free. But even if there’s a nominal fee for the grocer to pick your groceries, it’s almost always less than what you would spend on impulse purchases. So take advantage of this!
How to Use These Services
The best way to utilize these services is to decide ahead of time what day (or days) you will order groceries. Once a week is enough for most families, but I like to order groceries twice a week. I choose to order once from a mainstream grocery store, Hy-vee, and then my second order is always with ALDI, the popular discount grocer.
I keep two lists on my fridge: one for anything I can purchase at ALDI (at a much lower price) and a second list for any special items I can only get at Hy-vee. For example, one of the groceries may have specific freezer meals or unique ingredients for slow cooker meals (everyone loves a good chicken pot pie).
When it’s time to order groceries, I grab the list and order only what’s on the list. This list prevents me from picking out items that look yummy or making impulse purchases at the checkout line. You can use a home binder if lists are not your thing.
The benefits of free grocery pickup are plentiful. I don’t spend any money on items we don’t need. I don’t have to haul my kids into the store (which is always a disaster). And I save loads of time by not picking my groceries.
The Biggest Complaint About Grocery Pickup
You might be saying, “But I like to pick out my produce and meat!” I hear you. I get this comment a lot.
But I can assure you from my own experience and feedback from another mom that the people picking groceries are now good at their jobs. I’ve been using this service for years, and they seldom disappoint me.
There have been a few times where I’ve had to call the store with a complaint. And guess what – they always rectify the situation. I am not worried, but I feel refreshed!
For instance, a couple of weeks ago, I placed an order with Hy-vee, and they picked the wrong ice cream bars. All it took was a 2-minute phone call, and they delivered the correct ice cream bars to my house within an hour for free (and I got to keep the wrong ones).
In the end, I think you will find your time and sanity are way more important than picking out the perfect peaches.
Pro Tip: When you place an order, leave the grocery picker notes if you have special needs! If you want green bananas, say so. If you prefer lean cuts of beef to fatty ones, tell them. They want to make you happy!
3. Let Apps and Web Browser Extensions Save You Money
A lot of people are so overstimulated by apps that they just tune them all out. But there are many apps, websites, and browser extensions that can save you boatloads of money. I’ll share a couple of my favorites with you, but I would encourage you to regularly think about the types of products you purchase.
Use Google to see if there’s any kind of savings app or reward program that would benefit you. For example, if you spend a lot of money on soda, there’s probably an app for you to get rebates.
The two apps I regularly use (like almost every day) are Honey and Paribus.
Honey is an app and web browser extension that finds coupon codes for me. I do a ton of shopping online. Any time I’m on a checkout page, the Honey modal pops up.
I don’t have to remember to check; it just notifies me when there are potential savings. It will run through every single coupon code it has and then applies the best one to my cart.
Last December, I was purchasing customized calendars for eight people in my family. They all wanted calendars with pictures of my kids. And these calendars were about $10 each.
So after tax and shipping, my bill for eight custom calendars was about $100. I was ready to pay this price, and then the little orange box popped up and said, “Wait! I can save you money!”.
I let Honey do its thing, and it saved me 60%. I paid about $40 for those calendars.
Paribus does a few different things for shoppers, like notify you about price drops and helps you with returns. But the thing I use it for is to identify late shipments, especially from Amazon.
As I said, I shop online A LOT. Amazon is my best friend!
As an “Amazon Prime” member, they have a two-day shipping guarantee. If an Amazon shipment is late, Paribus lets me know, and I shoot Amazon a quick email.
They usually give me a month of free Prime membership or a $5 credit. Either way, Paribus has essentially paid for my Prime membership for years.
People expect busy moms to wear so many hats! And the truth is that most mom responsibilities take a lot of work and is a full time job (you’ll always be a working mom). Developing your parenting strategy should be one of your top priorities in taking care of your family home.
We should be busy mothers and not busy coupon clippers!
Use these three strategies to save you time, money, and frustration so you can have plenty of time for the essential things for life. And if you’re ready to involve your kids in your money management strategies, get them involved in these processes!