Mom-mom’s top 10 ways to save money
I love my mother-in-law. My kids call her Mom-mom. (In the picture, she is posing with my daughter, BunBun.) She is not my mom, but she is a mom and a friend to me. She is generous and hardworking. One common interest we have is saving money. We may call it being thrifty or fugal. Regardless of what it is called, we both see the value in saving a buck, and we love sharing stories of our wins with each other. One way to be better at saving is to learn what others are doing and see if it can fit into your own life. Here is a little of her story on how she saves money.
Saving for a rainy day
Mom-mom wasn’t given a how-to-save manual as a child, but she saw how her mother saved. Her mom shopped at thrift stores. She bought used furniture and fixed them. Her mom told her to save money whenever she could, as a kind of insurance, because savings could help with the unforeseen “rainy day.”
Using cash envelopes
When she got married, she and her husband put money in envelopes for bills and other budget items. (This was long before Dave Ramsey’s envelope system was published in a book. You can buy Dave’s Ramsey’s book, Total Money Makeover*, as well as an envelope system*.) Using cash helped them see where their money was going. When the money was gone, it was gone. Her mother-in-law gave her advice: put away money that isn’t needed in a budget category to use on items that often get missed in the budget. In time, the savings would build up. *affiliate links
Learning to live without
Now that her kids are grown and money isn’t as tight as it used to be, she still looks for ways to save money. Saving is no longer about survival but has become an exciting challenge. She hunts for good deals, waiting for the right price at the right time. However, when the deal doesn’t come at a price she thinks is good, she uses the biggest frugally-minded secret to saving: learning to live without.
Saving to be generous
More important than the thrill of finding a good deal, Mom-mom chooses to save on expenses so that she can be generous. She puts money into savings with each paycheck and she pays her bills. With the rest of the money, she is frugally creative so she can give. How cool is that!
Learning from success and failure
Over the years, Mom-mom has learned that being frugal doesn’t always pay off in big savings. Sometimes, the better deal isn’t always a better deal. There were times she chose to pay more for quality items thinking they would last longer and save over time only to discover that the cheaper option would have been just as good or better. There were times she bought clothes on sale (thinking they were the right size) only to find out later they didn’t fit. Even the impressively frugal person has less-than-shiney stories. Saving is learning with the successes as well as the failures.
Setting aside a little time each week
On an average week, Mom-mom spends 15-20 minutes working on couponing and looking at sales papers. She and her husband enjoy doing some of this together. (Her husband, aka Poppie, is an amazing couponer.) She knows what she’s willing to pay full price for (like a good pair of shoes and a good cut of organic meat). And, what she’s not willing to pay full price for (like clothes and books—unless she is buying a gift). Setting aside some time and knowing what you will and will not pay full price for is a great start for anyone who wants to save money.
Here are Mom-mom’s top 10 ways to save money:
- Looking for sales and advertised deals
- Using large pieces of meat for several meals (planned leftovers)
- Growing my own vegetables
- Thrift shopping
- Making my own (i.e. dish clothes–15 free crochet patterns)
- Using essential oils in place of medicines
- Buying gas at a place that uses points
- Shopping locally saves on gas and, sometimes, you get better prices
- Buying at Farmer’s markets
- Sharing/trading veggies
Using our money wisely takes time. Time to learn and time invested. Even if the amount of money set aside is a small amount, those savings can build over time. Take these words of wisdom from a woman who has been learning about frugal living since she was young and see which of these ideas can work for you.
What are some ways you like to save?
Do you have an idea that isn’t in Mom-mom’s list? Is there one in the list that is your favorite?
Did you know?
Did you know there are free resources available for you to wisely manage and plan out your finances? One such resource is Personal Capital’s retirement calculator. It’s free and is designed to help you understand where your finances stand so you can make good financial choices for your future.