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10 Mom Hacks for Saving Money While Social Distancing

Amanda Mushro  |  May 8, 2020

Our top 10 money-savvy mom solutions for surviving (and thriving!) during quarantine.

Between keeping our kids entertained and educating them daily, on top of the nonstop cooking and cleaning, mom life under quarantine can feel pretty chaotic. While we can’t make bedtime come any sooner, we can give you a few of our favorite mom hacks that will add a little extra padding to your budget during social distancing, and hopefully make your job as mom a little easier.

Revisit Your Subscriptions

If you purchase items like diapers, wipes, or body lotion as part of a subscription service, now is the time to check other retailers’ options to see where you could save money. Many companies offer subscription services for the same (or similar) products, and companies nationwide are running “new customer” deals right now to lure in additional clients. See if you can capitalize on some savings before you place your next order.  

Use Sales to Plan Ahead

Right now, most retailers are offering deep discounts on clothing, toys, and electronics due to reduced (or non-existent) foot traffic in stores. If your budget allows, take advantage of these sales and shop for items you may need in the months to come. For example, you might want to order some clothing and shoes in a larger size for when your kids return to school. Likewise, if your little ones have a birthday coming up, snag a present while it’s on sale, if it’s something you know your kiddo will still be into by the time their day rolls around. 

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Share Educational Resources

As parents navigate online learning while schools are closed, you may be looking for educational websites to supplement what your kids may or may not be getting from their teachers. Before you pay for a subscription, reach out to friends and parents of your kid’s classmates to inquire about their favorite free resources, or to ask about the possibility of sharing a subscription. Not only will this save you money, but you’ll have other parents to compare notes with on their favorite lessons, games, and resources. 

Crafts from Your Recycle Bin

It can be tempting to fill your online cart with crafting kits to keep your kids entertained, but instead of spending money on these pre-assembled (and often expensive) kits, take a look in your own recycling bin for inspiration. Pinterest has endless ideas for up-cycled crafts that only require a few items, including paper towel tubes, boxes, aluminum cans, and more. Even if you aren’t a crafty mom, there are tons of basic crafts you can whip up that your kids will love, or that they can whip up themselves. Crafting with these materials takes little supervision, so you can (maybe, hopefully, possibly) squeeze in a break. 

READ MORE: Why I started Talking To My Kindergartner About Money And How It Completely Changed His Perspective

Take Inventory of Toys & Reimagine Them 

Kids stuck inside because of social distancing might tell you they have “nothing to play with,” but don’t be tempted to start ordering pricey toys. Do a quick search through your home for toys your kids never played with, forgot they had, or that you’ve been keeping for last minute party gifts. Pull those out and put them in a space where your kids can “rediscover” them. 

Also, with a little planning and creativity, your kid’s favorite toys can be repurposed into new items. Fill up a kiddie pool with bubbles made from dish soap, and toss in some bath toys for some soapy sensory play. Gather up your kids’ outdoor toys and sidewalk chalk to create a mini obstacle course that will exhaust (and delight) your little ones. And if you’d rather stay indoors, you can always drag that same kiddie pool inside and fill it with pillows and blankets to create the ultimate reading nook.

Cut Recurring Costs

Life in self-quarantine is very different, which means that some of the recurring costs on your credit card could be cut to save money. Often you’ll just need to make a few phone calls or send emails asking for discounts. Start with your children’s activities and find out which companies may be offering reimbursements or credits for cancelled sessions. Then, contact your cell phone carrier to ask about reducing your data plan since you’re usually home using Wi-Fi. Same goes for your car insurance —  ask if they can lower your premiums since your car is sitting parked outside your home. If you have a membership to the gym, now is the time to freeze or cancel. 

READ MORE: 6 Unexpected Ways To Cut Bills, Lower Debt, And Secure Your Future During The Pandemic 

Create a List of Free Resources

From virtual field trips to free concerts by amazing artists, right now there are so many free and fun resources out there for kids. But who could keep track of them all? Thankfully, you can, with minimal effort. Start a “notes” file on your phone, and jot down a quick reminder whenever you’re scrolling social media and catch something your kids would be interested in. Most of the time you can copy/paste links, or you can “save” or “bookmark” things on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This way, the next time you’re looking for free activities for your kids, you’ve got a running list of experiences to check out. 

Keep the Kitchen Organized

Are you exhausted from constantly cooking? Same — which is why it’s time to adopt the “cook once, eat twice” mentality for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This type of meal planning saves you money as well as your sanity. From large batches of pancakes that can be frozen, to popping a few extra peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the fridge for tomorrow, to doubling your dinner recipes to feed your family next week, you’ll be ready the next time your kids say they’re hungry. 

Skip the Jarred Baby Food and Pouches

Baby food in jars and pouches are made to be convenient and are great on-the go… But since we aren’t going anywhere these days, eliminating these from your grocery list can help you slash your food budget. Check out resources for baby-led weaning to skip the purees all together and feed your baby what you and your family are already eating.

Lights Out

With your family home all day long, it’s possible you might see an increase in your electric bill.  Make sure everyone is turning off the lights when they leave a room, and make sure you unplug all devices and chargers when they’re not being used. During the day, use natural light in your home for work and play whenever possible — and get outside! 

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