10 Ways Moms Can Cut Costs Right Now (PHOTOS)

Liz Alterman | Sep 24, 2014 Money

mom with money

If you feel like cash is flying out of your purse at all times, you're not alone. 

As moms, some days it seems like all we do is spend, spend, spend. Between groceries and regular household expenses, it's hard to imagine any money left over to go where we'd like it -- in the bank.

If you're like me, you're always trying to find ways to save a few dollars for a rainy day. Here are 10 easy ways you can cut costs right now

Take a look-see at our slideshow (#1 is my downfall!) and then tell us: What are some of the ways you've cut costs at home -- are you good at #8? 


Image © C.J. Burton/Corbis

  • Stop Ordering Take-Out


    Image via iStock.com/PeopleImages

    I finally said "enough is enough" to take-out and delivery dinners when I realized I'd spent $60 in one week on pizza. That's crazy! How did it happen? It's quick and easy and everyone likes it, that's how. Throw in a playdate or two and semi-empty fridge and you've got a recipe for overspending. 

    But I'm not alone. According to TheSimpleDollar.com, the average American family spends $225 a month eating away from home. That includes dinners eaten out, quick snacks grabbed, and coffees ordered and consumed on the run. Yikes! This is a great first place to look when trying to cut costs. 

    Plan ahead so you don't get caught short and find yourself reaching for those menus!

    More from The Stir: The Costs of Raising a Child: One Mom Shares the Real Story

  • Share Babysitting


    Image © Erica Shires/Corbis

    According to UrbanSitter's 2014 Childcare Rate Survey of nine major cities, the average babysitter in New York City is paid $15.34 per hour, while a caregiver in Denver earns $10.84 per hour. 

    If you have a neighbor or friend who's open to the idea, consider arranging a babysitting swap. You watch her kids and she'll watch yours, or even have the sitter take care of the kids together. If the little ones get along, it's a win-win. Save some cash and have an instant playdate.

  • Use Your Library


    Image @JimCraigmyle/Corbis

    Rather than spending money on books, DVDs, or even Netflix, check out your local library and check out (see what we did there?) those titles for free!

    Hooked on ebooks? No problem. More than 11,000 libraries in the U.S. offer public library books for Kindle, according to Amazon.com. Books can be sent directly to your device, and you don't even need to open your wallet -- except to take out your library card!

  • Consider a Consignment Shop


    Image © Randy Faris/Corbis

    Doesn't it kill you to blow a bundle on an outfit (or shoes!) you know your child will probably wear only once? Consider visiting a consignment shop for that sports jacket or Halloween costume you know won't be making it into the regular rotation.

    Likewise, think about collecting some extra cash by selling some of the nicer pieces your son or daughter has outgrown. 

  • DIY Cards


    Image © VStock LLC/Tetra Images/Corbis

    Is your calendar full of birthday parties? Not only are gifts expensive, cards will break the bank if you let them. In those excited moments before you drive your little guest to the big event, pull out the markers and some paper and have your budding artist craft a homemade and heartfelt card.

    Depending on how many you buy per year, this savings can really add up. Plus, it's a fun way for kids to express themselves. Same goes for thank-you notes!

  • Avoid 'Dry Clean Only'


    Image @HeroImages/Corbis

    Everyone knows ironing isn't a whole lot of fun, but neither is paying for dry cleaning. If there are pieces like blouses or your husband's dress shirts that you can iron yourself, do it. To break up the utter boredom, make a phone call while wiping out those wrinkles, watch TV, or listen to music. You'll be done before you know it! 

    Another tip: Avoid buying clothes that are "dry clean only" when you can. The ones that go either way, you can just wash yourself at home. 

    If you can't bypass dry cleaning completely, look for coupons or deals on sites like Groupon or LivingSocial. 

  • Carpool


    Image© Hero Images/Corbis

    Whether you're on your way to school, a soccer game, or a birthday party, chances are someone in your neighborhood is going in the same direction. Arrange a carpool when you can to save on gas and time.

    Nothing would drive me crazy like knowing four families on my street were also going to the same place. Working out a carpool not only saved me $10 a week in gas, it gave me extra time, which all moms know is priceless!

    Or, if possible, take a walk instead. There's nothing like bonding on a stroll with your child while getting some fresh air and exercise!

  • Negotiate


    Image © Dirk Rees/Corbis

    If you think you're paying too much in credit card interest or for your cellphone package, you very well may be. Don't be afraid to call and ask to have rates lowered. Many credit cards offer 0% interest for a certain period if you agree to transfer your balance. And with so much competition, some are willing to vie to keep your business! 

  • Bank Online


    Image © Tim Pannell/Corbis

    Do you ever find yourself driving from one bank to another to transfer funds to pay the mortgage or credit card bills? Taking care of banking online can save you time and gas. Also, paying your bills on the computer eliminates the need for stamps, and at 49 cents a pop, that adds up quickly! 

  • Resist Temptation (& Tell Us How!)


    Image via Jeff Van Campen/Flickr

    How many times have you seen the words "BIG SALE!" or "50%" in the subject line of an email, and even though you don't need a thing, you click through and make a purchase? Why? Because who can resist a good deal?!?

    Resist and eliminate temptation by getting off all those mailing lists of merchants you know will lure you in with the promise of "savings." Let's face it: If you're spending money, even a great deal on something you don't really need is an unnecessary expense.