This post was sponsored by Regions Bank
I remember when my son was one and we were tackling our $93,000 in mortgage debt with vengeance. Every day became this sort of game for me to see if I could contribute to the household financially, even though I wasn’t bringing in a full-time income for my family.
Sometimes we don’t think about the pure and simple fact that we can contribute financially to our family by being creative with our spending. Meaning using your skills, talents, bartering, borrowing and couponing abilities to strategically spend less money on things you need to purchase for your family.
So I want to give you 5 creative ways you can spend less, save more and thereby contribute to your family’s financial forward progress.
Creative Money Saving Tip 1- Ask yourself if you can borrow that item.
Before you head out to the store to buy something you think you or your family needs, consider if you might be able to just borrow that item from someone you know!
There are many times that I’ve realized that I really needed something but the thought of going out and buying one seemed silly when so many people that I know own them.
For example, when I had my twin baby girls, I had one high chair. I really needed two to manage mealtimes. Instead of going out and spending one hundred bucks on a new chair, I called my BFF who’s current kids weren’t in high chairs and asked if I could borrow hers. I instantly saved my family one hundred dollars.
I highly recommend that when you borrow something from someone, that you keep a running list somewhere safe — maybe on your smartphone. Know when you borrowed it, who you borrowed it from and when you will return it. When you return that item have the person sign or put their initials beside the digital note or on paper. That way there isn’t a question or concern about whether you still have the item as time passes.
If you want more ideas like these, read this Regions Bank article titled, 10 Best Ways to Save Money.
Creative Money Saving Tip 2- Ask yourself if you could barter for the item.
Bartering seems like such a lost art. It’s like when we were kids we didn’t have any real currency to work with so we learned the skill of bartering. We knew that in the lunch room if we didn’t like our chocolate cake, we could trade it with someone else for their fries. That we could trade a piece of gum for a unicorn eraser. Somehow we grow up and lose our bartering skills the moment we can buy what we want with cold hard cash.
I honestly believe bartering is one of the most awesome money saving skills any mom can develop. For example, I no longer pay for babysitters when my husband and I go on date night each month. I arranged that once a month, I will watch my neighbor’s kids, if once a month she will watch mine. We both get a 3 hour break and no payment is expected. It’s the best zero dollars I spend all month!
Many moms barter already and don’t even realize it! If you are in a rotating car pool group where you take the kids to school two days a week and your neighbor takes them the other two days- that’s a barter!
This is one money saving option that does take some creativity. The most important thing to remember is that you can approach people with confidence to barter because it’s a win-win. They get something and so do you. Figure out what skill, talent or even item you own that could be of value to someone else and ask if they wouldn’t mind bartering.
Creative Money Saving Tip 3- Ask yourself if you could split the cost.
Several years ago, my husband was considering buying a pressure washer to clean off our house, garage and driveway. He got into a discussion with one of his friends about his plans. His friend commented that he also needed one and so they decided it made sense to just split the cost of one pressure washer. Now, whenever one of them needs it, they get to use it and it cost a lot less out of their pockets.
There are plenty of moms out there who create menu plans together and then head to their local bulk buy store and get everything they need and split the cost. Do you have a friend or family member that you could do this with?
We’ve also learned to split the cost when we go on vacation with family or friends. We rent one big house and we all split the cost of the house and groceries for the week! It usually affords us the opportunity to vacation in a really nice place while saving the most money possible!
Creative Money Saving Tip 4- Ask yourself if you should/could wait.
Sometimes it’s not that you shouldn’t buy something brand new. It’s really that it would be better to wait. For example, I know when the semi-annual sales come around in June and December. Therefore, I know to wait on buying my family clothing until then because I can get it at 70-90% off if I’ll just wait.
Same goes with school supplies. School supplies go on clearance a few weeks after school starts at ridiculously low prices. If you pick out the basics on clearance, you won’t have to pay full price for them the next year!
Depending on the item you are shopping for, consider when they might be at the best price of the year or when you might have a good coupon for it and then go for it!
Creative Money Saving Tip 5- Ask yourself if you could DIY that?
Over the years I’ve learned how to make my favorite latte at home using the exact ingredients my favorite coffee shop uses at a fraction of the cost. Before you spend a ton of money on something you want or need, consider if there is a way to Do It Yourself.
For me that means when I need a piece of furniture, I head to my local thrift store or flea market and look for a decent piece of furniture that I can paint and fix up easily.
When my son was born I needed a glide rocker for his room. I found one at a garage sale for $20 and simply dyed the cushions the color I wanted them to be. I saved over a hundred dollars just by being okay with doing the task myself instead of buying it brand new.
Creative Money Saving Tip 6- Know WHY you’re saving.
As I mentioned before, in 2010, my husband and I decided we were going to pay off our $93,000 mortgage. Because I knew what our goal was, I was able to strategically contribute to our debt payoff plan. If paying off debt appeals to your inner super saver, be sure you read this article from Regions Bank on How to Pay off Debt: 6 Steps to Success.
Because I had educated myself on how to make our goal happen, we paid of our mortgage in just under 2 years. Every extra dime I saved on groceries or other items, I would put it on the principal. We were totally debt free at 29 and even though I wasn’t working full-time at the time, I helped make that happen with my strategic spending and saving choices. You can do the same!
When you know your WHY or have a goal you are pursuing financially it can help give your saving and spending direction. Then you can get really creative!
If you are looking for new and innovative financial resources I recommend that you connect with Regions Bank online and check out a branch near you. They design tools and resources to help customers make better decisions with their money. At the end of the day those better choices are what boost the financial confidence of moms who want to contribute more their family’s financial health!
Here in Atlanta, Regions will be hosting a public event on April 24thfor women who interested in learning more about managing their finances successfully. Head over to the Transamerica Building (6475 E. Johns Crossing) at 5:30pm to attend and gain valuable insights on how to Empower Yourself Financially. This seminar will address why women need to be confident about their finances, how to determine your short-, medium- and long-term goals, why saving is important, and much more!
You have the ability to improve your family’s financial picture whether you stay-at-home, make a side income or work part-time.
Kim’s is the party planning, cupcake loving, celebration catalyst behind the Thrifty Little Mom Blog. Kim was a pro event planner for over 7 years before she became a full-time blogger. Kim is the author of: Live, Save, Spend, Repeat: The Life You Want with the Money You Have. She’s been featured on Time.com, Money.com, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day and more! Kim aims to inspire you to create parties, celebrations and gatherings that everyone loves!