Moms are always trying to find things to make our lives easier and more efficient. Although there’s no magical wand we can wave to remedy all the challenges and complete all of the tasks we face on a day-to-day basis, I have discovered a few things that can make the daily grind more bearable. Here is a list of some of my favorite “mom hacks”.
1. Two Night Dinners This hack incorporates a bit of meal planning, but definitely saves time and money. Our family’s two night dinner meal plan may look something like:
Saturday/Sunday-Chicken Marsala, Potatoes, and Broccoli
Monday/Tuesday-Tacos, Yellow Rice, and Black Beans
Wednesday/Thursday-Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad, Garlic Bread
Friday-Take Out or Out to Eat
I like structuring our meals in this fashion because a) I usually only have to cook 3 meals a week 2) It keeps our grocery list smaller in terms of number of different items I have to get each week.
Look for a future post with detailed weekly two-night dinner ideas!
2. Kids Eat For Free or Discounted
Going out to eat isn’t cheap, and the bill seems to grow exponentially with each additional child you have to pay for. Finding places that offer free or discounted meals for children makes a lot of fiscal sense!
Here is a pretty comprehensive list compiled on wallethacks.com.
3. Grocery Delivery
Albeit, our family no longer resides in the Midwest where the Winter months can be downright frigid and the thought of doing weekly grocery shopping (especially with kids) can be the last thing we want to do- grocery delivery is something that still possesses a lot of appeal for busy families. When we were having our groceries delivered each week I discovered advantages such as more time to do other things on my never ending to do list, saving money since I was also more organized and intentional with my shopping and I wasn’t going through the store and picking up additional things randomly. The only major con was sometimes an item I ordered was out of stock and couldn’t be delivered so I’d have to make a quick trip at some point to get said item, which definitely cut into the time saving aspect.
I have to say that Friday night is my favorite night because it’s the night “mommy doesn’t have to cook!” If we have enough energy to head out to a restaurant on a Friday evening, we’ll make a go of it. Otherwise, take-out or to-go seems to be the standard. A lot of restaurants will offer to-go coupons or discounts. We happen to frequent the O.G. (Olive Garden) and yes I’m aware I’m probably the only person who calls it that-as my husband likes to point out. Be that as it may, I signed up for their emails and they are pretty consistent about sending a 10 or 15 percent off coupon for To-Go orders.
In addition to traditional take-out where you go pick up your meal (and usually get one of the very coveted close parking spots), there are a variety of meal delivery services (Uber Eats, Door Dash, Post Mates) to make your cook-free nights even more effortless.
5. Buying in Bulk
We have a Costco membership and I have to say for our family, it’s definitely worth having. Before we had a membership, my husband and I questioned whether we’d really use it or if it would actually save us money. Nearly 5 years and 2 children later, I can say quite definitively my answer would be YES to both questions. From paper plates, toilet paper, meats, cereal, pasta sauce, medicine, dishwasher soap, laundry detergent, fruits and veggies, shampoo, napkins, etc. we’ve been able to save so much from buying in bulk.
You can also utilize savings at other stores such as Target when you buy in bulk. For example, today I bought a very large amount of toilet paper that was on sale and I also received a $15 gift card for doing so.
6. Monthly To-Do List
I‘m the type of person who tends to forget everything she needs to do unless it’s written down. I have a monthly calendar that has a to-do section in the column to the side. I make a point at the beginning of the month to write down any unfinished tasks from the prior month and list anything new I can think of. This way, during the craziness of the days I have something to refer back to. I also like the feeling of accomplishment when I finish something on my list and can cross it out. A to-do list may seem minor (or even obvious), but it keeps me organized and functioning (for the most part)!
7. Rewards Points/Cash or Credit Back
When my first was born in nearly 5 years ago, I signed up for Pampers Rewards through their app and have accumulated a hefty amount of points that can be used for various items such as gift cards, toys, more diapers or wipes, or baby gear. It can be a little tedious, but it‘s worth it if you have the patience to keep up with logging your points.
Credit card companies are always competing to provide incentives to consumers so you’ll sign up with them. I‘m not a proponent of consumer debt, but if you use a card for it‘s benefits and pay it off each month, it may be advantageous in the long-run. For example, Target offers 5% off purchases with their Red Card and if you happen to use their Cartwheel app, you can save even more. Amazon offers 5% back on purchases through their site that can be used in the future. If you’re a mom who drives a lot, a card with cash back on gas purchases may be beneficial. If you travel for work, a card rewarding you with travel incentives or miles may be appealing. You get the gist. Finding the right fit for your family and lifestyle is what’s important.