I am a busy mom and entrepreneur with an over-active social calendar. I don’t have the time or the patience (or the desire for that matter) for coupon-cutting and sifting through flyers to hunt for deals. However, with 2 teenagers and a toddler, a 5-person household can get quite expensive! So, in an effort to keep costs as low as possible, I have spent the past few years researching and testing the best ways to save money with as little time and effort as possible.
WAYS TO SAVE WHEN SHOPPING ONLINE:
As you can probably guess, I do most of my shopping online. It is one of the biggest time savers! And, the plethora of ways shopping online increases money-savings is underestimated! For one thing, when shopping online, it is much easier to avoid the impulse purchases. How often have you store-shopped and purchased more than you planned? And don’t even get me started on the little maze of random “toddler-tempting” items that you have to pass through just to get to the cash register! ARGH!
My next favourite online-shopping money-saving tip is RetailMeNot. I simply shop like I would anyway and then, right before proceeding to check-out, I go to the RetailMeNot.ca website and I check to see if there is an applicable coupon code. More often than not, there is. Often it is for free shipping or 15% off my purchase. But, on really wonderful occasions, I have managed to snag 50% off coupon codes that made my day!
WAYS TO SAVE ON GROCERIES:
You know those super moms on social media that post pics of their wonderful Sunday meal prep work? Those moms that take those great shots of the uber-organized, color-coordinated tupperwares filled with delicious-looking meals for the week? Yeah, that’s not me. However, what I lack in meal-prep organization, I fully make up for in meal-planning and money-saving organization!
Between the teenager’s activities and my own social activities, I may not be able to find several hours of weekend time to prep great meals, but I am always able to find an hour to plan out the week and save money in doing so! Even if that hour is done from the comfort of my bed right before sleep!
My process is simple:
Step 1: check out the weekly deals on the Checkout51 app.
Step 2: check out the online flyer of ONE grocery store (who has time to shop at more than one?!?!)
Step 4: check out the Ricardo website for a fun new recipe idea or two.
Step 3: plan this week’s meals based on the Ricardo inspiration + what is on sale on the app and in the flyer.
I often get back, monthly, from the Checkout51 app close to 100$! Plus, I only plan 4 meals per week leaving room for one supper to use up leftovers. My grocery bills are surprisingly low for such a large family! And on the Ricardo website, the week-night meal recipes often coincide with the local grocery stores sale items.
I have also turned meal time into bonding time with my children so it is much less of a nightly chore and way more fun! On Mondays, my 11-year-old daughter is “in charge” of supper and on Tuesdays, it’s my 14-year-old son’s turn. I teach them how to look for deals on the apps prior to choosing their meal recipes. Then we enjoy some together time while they are learning important life skills about cooking, meal planning, and nutrition. There is also a lot less complaining about what is for supper considering they understand the effort involved in make meals.
Money-saving in the digital age is not what it is used to be. Gone are the days of cutting out coupons and dragging your coupon wallet with you everywhere you go. But that doesn’t mean that the days of money savings are over! With a little planning and research, you can save even more money than before!
Sarah Birtwistle is a mom of 3, a self-proclaimed foodie and trend-spotter, and the owner of One Third Lab.