smart spending

4 places moms save money


With smart money habits By DIY On retail At the grocery store

At the grocery store

The average family spends between $750 and $850 per month on groceries, according to the Department of Agriculture. Stephanie Nelson, founder of, says she stopped working when her second son was born and had to embrace frugality in order to stay home. One tip she has for other moms (and dads) regarding grocery shopping? Advance planning.

"Plan your meals around what's on sale," Nelson says. "I'm flexible about the store I go to. Look at three circulars and go to the store that has the best deals."

This sort of flexibility also works in the grocery aisle. "Be flexible about your food brands," Nelson says. "Be willing to try the other brands. And certainly consider the store brand."

Nelson says another great way to save is to stock up on on-sale items -- even perishable ones, as you can freeze the excess for later. This is especially true of "buy one, get one free" sales.

Coupons can be a great asset to frugal moms, but Jonni McCoy, author and founder of, warns fellow moms not to go coupon crazy -- these are often for brand-name or convenience items, she says, and may not save any more money than switching to the store-brand version.

Reader tips:

  • Use coupons to increase savings where you can. Take advantage of double-coupon days.
  • Check out online coupon sites to find extra deals you may not get in newspaper fliers.
  • Check out bulk stores such as Costco and Sam's Club for deals on the items you use most often.

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