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4 places moms save money


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


One of the biggest -- and arguably most challenging -- components to frugality is learning to do things yourself instead of paying someone else to do them for you. For moms, this can mean preparing your family's food and even making daily items such as baby food and baby wipes. Several parenting websites, such as, provide "recipes" for making baby wipes and advice on using cloth diapers instead of disposable ones.

As for baby food, "Don't fall for the marketing; you do not need someone else to make your baby food for you," McCoy says. "Make it in a blender, fill an ice cube tray, and you've got a couple weeks' worth of food in a couple of hours."

McCoy suggests sticking with this method of making it yourself even as kids get older. "Make as much from scratch as you can," she says. However, keep in mind that there are always some things not worth making from scratch. "I tried marshmallows one day," she says. "It took four hours and they didn't taste good."

Preparing and cooking meals at home, McCoy says, was not as time-consuming as she thought it would be. It's certainly worth a try, and the extra effort may seem more reasonable once the savings start showing in the budget.

For other DIY ways to save, baking soda and vinegar are great around-the-house ingredients that can be used for cleaning and more.

McCoy also engages in "DIY" baby-sitting: She formed a baby-sitting co-op with friends where they trade baby-sitting hours instead of hiring a sitter. In this way, each adult has his or her own time to relax.

Reader tips:

  • Keep from wasting bread by freezing it. Seal individual portions in plastic bags.
  • Try baking cookies, bread and cupcakes to cut down on the cost of store-bought snacks.
  • Grow your own ingredients for salads: lettuce, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes and herbs.

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