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Into the Minds of Frugal Moms:
Their Secret Secrets

Frugal Moms 2
{Photo by Jessica Shannon}
What does it take to be inducted into the wooden-spoon club of frugal moms? Is it thrift-shopping? Is it make-your-own-baby-wipes? Nope! (thank goodness) Their deepest-darkest, mother-of-all-secrets, "Secret of Frugality" is...

...drum-roll, please...


Yep! That's it. The phrase "Knowledge is Power" should actually be re-written to say "Knowledge is CASH".

And of course, you know the best thing about knowledge? It can be learned. (I'll wait for your gasp of shock to pass...) I'm so thankful that handling money wisely is a skill you can learn.

Before children, my husband and I lived a life relatively free of financial stress. We didn't make a lot of money (I was a social worker for Pete's sake!), but it was easy to control our expenses.

Once the babies started to come, I began to realize how much harder it is to balance the finances of a family of three... then of four...

That's when I decided to get serious about that "Frugal Moms" club. I'm happy to say it's been paying dividends.


A Rite of Passage...

Learning to save money on baby items is a rite-of-passage for many moms. A proper education is frugality begins with dispelling a few misconceptions

  • Misconception #1: Frugal moms have to joyfully accept Cousin Tilda's 1970's baby jumpers. (Nope! Time to donate!)
  • Misconception #2: Frugal moms shop at curbside "treasure piles" for birthdays and Christmas. (Until an older child embarrasses you by sharing your secret, i.e. "Mommy found that next to Grandma's house!")
  • Misconception #3: Frugal moms "re-use" non-poop-stained baby wipes to save money. (And you say your infant has a diaper rash? Again? Hmmm...)
And in fact, perhaps the largest misconception of all:
  • Frugal Moms "stick it out" and "get creative" so they don't have to shop.
In fact, a frugal mother will shop, in some cases, more. The difference lies in the quality of the shopping - not the quantity.

Okay, Time for the Nitty-Gritty

So what are the rules frugal moms follow in their quality shopping? Here are their top 3 SECRET secrets. Know thy prices, be non-commital with generics, and go for the good deals.

Know Thy Prices

  • Do you use a specific brand (or off-brand) religiously? Learn what the standard price is for that item. In fact, write it down on a note-card or mini-book to keep in your purse for easy reference. This will save you oodles when trying to figure out if a "sale" is really a sale.
  • Keep a calculator on you so you can determine price-per-item. It will help you determine if the price for a package of 96 diapers at regular price is better than the price of 56 diapers at sale price.
  • Price compare at Wal-Mart. If you show them an advertised price from a competitor's flier, they'll match that price for an identical item at the counter. It's a little-known policy that can save you a lot of money.

{Photo by iandeth}

Be Non-Commital About Generics

Ask yourself: Does the constant washing of soiled clothes due to leaking generic diapers save you money? Or is it costing you more in detergent, water, and your valuable time?

My Lauren was always on this-side-of constipation. This meant I could get away with generic diapers because leaking was seldom an issue. When Elena was born, I had to go through the "testing" phase all over again. Generally, if you're looking for low-cost, high-value, most moms report Luvs as a high-scorer. However, you'll need to try them on your baby to decide for yourself.

Go for Good Deals

The Internet is a frugal moms best friend. There is so much good information out there to help moms like us! By using the Internet as a tool, I save hundreds of dollars every year.
  • You can learn how to become a "power shopper" and weed out the grocery sales every month. In fact, I recently gave this a try and was shocked to see that it actually worked. (I was prepared for a hoax, to be honest.) You can read about my "Power Shopping" experience here.
  • Every month I get notifications from popular online baby shopping stores (like "Children's Place") giving me exclusive coupons and sales information to pass on to my newsletter subscribers. If you haven't subscribed yet, click here to see why you should.
  • Companies are always giving away free samples and products to new parents. You just have to know where to find them. Click here to see the Freebies Directory.
For more good information on shopping smart and becoming debt-free, check out frugal mom Julie's website,

As with the many other aspects of motherhood, joining the "Frugal Moms" club is more an initiation than inheritance.

You have to learn, practice, and then learn some more. The key is persistence! It's easier to splurge than to carefully plan. Just remember... Every little penny saved is a triumph won. Those pennies add up to college educations, safer cars, and longer vacations.

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