Penny-Wise Parenting: 5 Secrets of Money-Saving Moms

momsmomsOverall, having kids and being a parent can be expensive when considering all the classes, activities, and unexpected expenses. Here are 5 ways to be a frugal mother and still have a life.

1. Get Thrifty

To furnish your apartment or home, search through local thrift stores, consignment shops, and yard sales. You'll find many great, comfortable pieces of furniture at a significantly lower cost than buying new. You can also check out the clothing racks at these same places to supplement your closet without spending a fortune on new designer duds.

Related: 10 "money-saving" tips that actually leave you broke

2. Listen In

Make a concerted effort to find baby and child gear in good condition before you sink a lot of cash into buying new. There are swap sites online as well as rental sites that can help you find everything you need without breaking the bank. While you're at it, don't forget about your needs. Maybe you could find a used purse online that would spruce up your wardrobe

3. Don't Blow Off Free Entertainment

Many schools will offer free events throughout the year so be sure to take advantage of them rather than spending all your cash at more expensive restaurants, bars, or concerts. College towns, especially, offer feature community entertainment events that are free including festivals and other gatherings. Take the whole family out for a fun, free event.

4. Potluck with Friends

If you can't afford takeout or want to bypass the dining hall fare, schedule a few nights a week with friends and other families to have a potluck. Each person can bring one ingredient or one dish to create an evening meal. You can eat home-cooked meals rather than Ramen noodles at little cost to you and without the costly prices at local restaurants.

5. Cash in on Your Skills

To keep extra spending cash in your pocket without getting a job, promote your skills around your group of friends. Charge a few bucks to do ironing, sewing, babysitting, or some other chores you know people don't like to do for themselves. Think about what skills you can promote.

-By Anna Newell Jones

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