How to Be Thrifty Not Cheap: Easy Budgeting Tips for Moms

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Need to save money but don't want to be cheap? You can raise a family and enjoy a thrifty lifestyle without feeling like you're missing out. Check out these easy and practical budgeting tips for moms.


These practical yet easy budgeting tips will help you be thrifty, not cheap with your family.


Stephanie, of Military Travel Mama, shares these helpful budgeting tips for moms. Roll up your sleeves and get ready to enjoy saving money!


Cheap vs. Thrifty: There IS a Difference

There's a healthy balance between being thrifty, and being cheap. Raising children is expensive and requires you to be thrifty. But you've got to be careful that you stay on the line of “thrift” and avoid becoming “cheap”. When you become “cheap”, you're buying sub-par options that only halfway fill needs, leading to desire which becomes a splurge later.

Use these practical yet easy budgeting tips for moms so you can be thrifty, not cheap with your family.


  1. Thrifty Coffee Prep

Being thrifty often means solutions that are qualitative, but less expensive. So let's start with some basic thrifty tactics.

First and foremost, what are you doing with that expensive coffee? Why in the world would you spend $4 a day on a cup of coffee? That equals:

  • $28 a week
  • $112 a month
  • $1,460 a year

Those numbers, for buying a cup of a coffee a day, really add up!

Instead, get a coffee machine and buy the grounds you like. Get the sugar and cinnamon and cream (or whatever you like to add to yoru coffee to make it special) and put it all in a cabinet in the kitchen. Then, you have what you need for good coffee when you want it, without having to leave your home.

If you don't want to make coffee in the morning, look into cold brew prep methods. Grab a glass of your cold brew in the morning and you'll be set.

Even if it costs you $460 a year to make coffee at home, when compared to $1,460, you're still saving $1,000 annually. In eighteen years, that's $18,000. Enough for an AA degree, first car, college fund, or other big-ticket expense one of your kids may need as they grow up.


  1. Meal Preparation

Next, look into meal prep. Cooking at home will save you money, but it can take time.

One of the best ways to save time with meal preparation is to make meals for the whole week on one day. Store those meals in the fridge and either heat them up using the microwave during mealtimes, eat them cold if that's appropriate, or use the oven to warm up food before mealtimes.

There are many different ways to go about meal prep that works for you. The key is consolidating time rather than spreading it out. If you spend 3 hours a night cooking and cleaning, except for Sundays, that's eighteen hours a week!

Meanwhile, if you spend six hours one day a week making meals for your family, you just freed up twelve hours without diminishing the quality or quantity of the food you made. That's thrifty, easy, and smart! Involve the kids in clean up and save even more time.


Mom wearing green sweater smiling with daughter wearing polka dot shirt holding pink piggy bank and adding coins and mom with pony tail wearing yellow tank top smiling as she does meal prep with vegetables with her son & daugther

  1. The 50-30-20 Rule

I encourage you to check out creative means of saving money which don't break your soul.

Yes, you want to squirrel away every penny you can, but this method will eventually make you want to splurge. A better way is to exercise the 50-30-20 rule. Basically, spend half your paycheck on what you need, put 1 out of 5 dollars into savings, and blow the rest on whatever.


Check out these practical yet easy budgeting tips for moms so you can enjoy a frugal & fun family life.

Potential Savings From Using These Budgeting Tips for Moms

Let's look at an example of the type of money you can save while still enjoying your life.

In a year of $4,000 a month income, you'd save $9,600 through the 50-30-20 rule. In ten years, that's $96,000! Add $18,000 from deferred coffee spending, and you're up to $114,000 in ten years.

Now consider your meal savings. If you spent $800 a month on food, but cut that in half to $400 a month through at-home prep, that's another $48,000 over ten years, for a grand total of $162,000 saved in ten years.


Remember: there are ways to save money, save time, and decrease both stress and workload. You've just got to have a mindset that's as thrifty with time as it is with money. And then you can enjoy that extra time on fun with your kids!

Do you struggle with being thrifty yet having fun? What's your #1 block?


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