MoneySavingMom.com
FREEBIE LIBRARY!
Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

How I Save Money While Rarely Leaving the House

Guest post from Rebecca of A Beautiful Ruckus

I’ve been following MoneySavingMom.com since before we had kids. As a newlywed, I enjoyed shopping drugstores and finding all sorts of great deals even though we didn’t have a big family yet.

And then we had children. Quadruplets to be exact.

That’s a bit of a game changer!

Suddenly, even though I was a mom, not all of the money-saving strategies worked for us anymore. Instead, I had to find a few different ways to save money that still allowed me to take care of our two-year-old quadruplets.

Clothing: Shop Consignment Sales

We were blessed with two boys and two girls, but unfortunately, they wear the same sizes, which means hand-me-downs among siblings are non-existent. Because of that, I had to get creative. First of all, I shop consignment sales whenever possible. While garage sales often have cheaper prices, I can’t feasibly jump in and out of the car with four toddlers in tow and still find what I need.

Instead, I joined a multiples group in town and shop their bi-annual consignment sale. I also work at the sale and sell baby items we no longer need which gives me pre-sale privileges. I go with a list and load up on everything I need for six months at a time to last me until the next sale comes along!

Food: Price Match Groceries

I used to love playing the drugstore game, but having quads makes it difficult to hit four CVS’s in a row or keep track of deal scenarios. For now, I’ve chosen to give up on that money-saving idea — the stress isn’t worth it at this point in my life.

Instead, I now spend my coupon time focusing on price matching at the grocery store. I clip coupons for food items when possible, but that’s where I stop sweating the small stuff. I keep a price book on my computer with the lowest food prices for items in my area and update it weekly when the sale fliers come. Once I know what is at a rock-bottom sale, I try to build my meals for the week around it and stock up when possible.

Therapy: Bake from Scratch

Before kids, one of my hobbies was baking and decorating elaborate cakes. I found it relaxing! Post-kids, I’ve found that I just don’t have the same time or energy. Instead, I’ve adjusted my therapy baking to include baking our bread from scratch, mixing up healthy muffins for my kids, and making the artisan bagels my husband enjoys. I still get my time in the kitchen, but I’m saving my family money and making sure they are eating better as well!

IMG_9347logo


Some people think that you have to be in the thick of deal shopping to save money. Since my babies came home, most of the last two years have been spent in doctor ordered lockdown due to their prematurity and low immune systems. Because of that, I haven’t been able to leave the house much.

I can definitely vouch that there are still ways to save money without driving around town. You have to be a little more strategic, but isn’t that what saving money is all about?

Rebecca Ishum is a blogger at A Beautiful Ruckus, living her dream job as a stay-at-home mom…she just didn’t figure it would include quadruplets! Along with documenting her kids’ milestones, her blog includes resources and tips on motherhood, marriage, and staying organized while raising so many little people at once.

photo credit

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!

68 Comments

  • Heather says:

    We are foster parents and almost 8 months ago we went from 1 to 4….ages 6, 3, 3, and 3. I am so with you on not being able to do this. We spend a lot of time at counseling, therapy, and doc appts. Our perspective on money has changed a LOT. And we have learned to be ok with that in this season of our lives. I’m with you!

    • I actually found it really freeing once I came to accept that I couldn’t do everything.

      Wow! That is incredible what you and your husband have taken on. That is so wonderful that you are willing to open your hearts and love on so many kids. 🙂

    • Angela says:

      I think a lot of women do these things like the drug store game and extreme couponing really have a lot more time on their hands than some of us. They are probably stay at home moms that don’t have a lot of children. The drug store game and finding deals are more like hobbies for some of them I am guessing. My husband and I both work 40 hour weeks, but I do work at home which gives me some more time than Moms that work outside the home. Even still, I would not have time for a lot of the things that these women talk about doing. We use coupons here and there and shop at Aldi but we don’t have time to shop every store in town every week for all the “deals.” Doing that could be like a whole other full time job! I should point out that even with the deals we do find and the coupons we do use, the husband helps a lot with it. I think we are the more typical family with two parents working and small kids that maybe don’t have a way to do all of these things. Even so, I like following blogs like this one to get ideas here and there.

  • I used to play the drugstore game, but it is so much work! I’d be driving all over the place, and half the time the shelves were wiped out already. Now I usually stick to one grocery store and I recently started baking a lot from scratch as well. I get almost all of our clothing online by combining coupon codes with clearance deals. Time is money, and sometimes all the work involved in grabbing the best deals is just not worth it. I could probably save more if I tried harder, but for me a more relaxed lifestyle is worth paying a little extra for.

  • Mary Ellen says:

    And baking from scratch is MUCH healthier than pre-packaged junk even if that junk is a good deal.

  • Frances says:

    Thanks for sharing your heart (and pictures of your blessings from God)!

  • Staying home also saves you gas money. Plus, the less you are running to stores, the less you are shopping!

    When I had 3 ages 3 and under, I found it very hard to have room in the cart for food after putting the children in the cart. When my third was about 1 1/2 and I was expecting my fourth, he opened the carton of eggs while I was paying and started dropping them on the floor one by one. After that, I left them at home with dad while I went shopping alone at night or in the early morning.

    Now, I either go alone, or take one child with me. The one child gets to talk to me with no interruptions, which he loves.

    We have 7 children, ages 11 to 10 months, and staying home certainly makes life simpler! Plus, it gives me time to sew, bake from scratch, and garden!

    • Whoa, you are a busy mama!

      I love the idea of taking the kids one at a time to the store! Right now, I leave all of mine at home with my husband while I go grocery shopping. Once we are off of lockdown, I would love to use my weekly trip to the store as an opportunity to spend one-on-one time with them!

  • becky says:

    thank you ! I only have 2 kids but I get exhausted & frustrated when I think of all the “deals” I’m missing because I have to go shopping late at night (when dad is home) or not at all (because I”m exhausted).

  • Joy says:

    When my twin boys (now almost 11) and oldest son (now 14) were babies and toddlers I belonged to a mother of multiples group, too. I loved our bi-annual consignment sales. I always found a lot of nice things and in turn made money selling all of our outgrown stuff. Although, tagging the stuff to sell was a lot of work! Unfortunately, we moved out of state and the multiples group did not work into our new schedule. Plus, now we are closer to younger nieces and nephews so I just hand down our stuff to them.

    I don’t play the drugstore game either. It just seemed too complicated keeping up with balances and points. Plus, I can still get drugstore-type items that we need for cheap or free by stacking coupons (manufacturer and store) at Target or the grocery store.

  • alma says:

    Really nice post.. Great ideas, very nice lady and beatiful family.

  • Jess says:

    Consignment and Salvation Army are two of the biggest ways we save money with clothing our kids (our 3year old daughter and 1 year old triplets {B,B,G}).

    I also price check how much I can save through amazon and other companies Subscribe and Save…very often it’s quite a bit.

  • Jo Sauriol says:

    The best thing I did when my six children were younger, was to become part of a babysitting co-op. We had tickets we traded. One for each child for each hour. We each had a day of the week children could come to our house from 8 am to 2 pm, 5 families were involved, 4 days of available sitters. Your day you needed to be home, and available. You had to call ahead if you were planning to let the mom know you were planning to leave your children with her and how long. You could use your “free” time to shop, go to appointments, or go home without children to get a project done.

    It worked so well, we ended up taking a Friday night every 5 weeks to go to another’s house if reserved to babysit so that couple could have a date night!

  • Due to winter and having an infant, I find myself skipping a lot of the deals I normally would have jumped in the car instantly for before! I shop at Aldi because they have the lowest overall prices without the hassle of coupons and sales.

  • Chelsea says:

    I *love* baking from scratch! It’s one of my favorite. I never realized before that I can make pretty much anything I would buy at the store. My car is currently buried under snow, and my husband is taking our other car to work, so yesterday when we needed buns for dinner I just whipped them up from scratch instead of stressing about a trip to the store in the snow with my toddler.

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you for this post..last year I was rocking the coupons and since I had to drop my son off at preschool everyday I was right there at all the stores getting deals left and right…Had my baby girl and wow what a change!!!! Getting out with her is not as easy and I have seen a change in our budget because of it. I sometimes feel guilty. I have some days better than others buying something and knowing the deals I used to get it is frustrating. Our budgeting has changed, but I know though all our provisions come from God. My blessing are my kids and that I get to stay home with them and that is the best deal for me and them!!

  • Kathy says:

    Beautiful family, Rebecca! You are so blessed 🙂

  • Another way I save time and money has been buying online from places like Ebay, Amazon, Thred Up, etc.

    I was a buyer and occasional seller for almost 6 years on Ebay, before I opened my own store. I have gotten some AMAZING deals off of Ebay. I love the fact I can shop when I want and have what I need delivered to my door.

    Online shopping has saved me a lot of time and money. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

    • My husband does all of our Ebaying! If I need something, we always check there first. If we need something, he watches the prices until they get low enough for our budget and then bids on them. It’s a great tool as long as you don’t get carried away on the bidding in the moment! 🙂

  • de says:

    Great post! Good for you, blooming where you are planted and making the most of the opportunities available, while still considering your families needs.

    Something you might want to investigate. We have Amazon Prime. Free two day shipping all year long, plus free Kindle loans and video streaming for $79 a year. Some of their grocery prices are quite good, and you don’t have to go past your front door to pick them up.

  • Joanna says:

    I think staying home is a big key in saving money. We’re only just recently a two-car family (in anticipation of baby #4–there just wasn’t room for another car seat in the back of our old sedan). I love our minivan, but the thought of putting three kids into it and trying to keep them on good behavior while I shop is so overwhelming we just stay home most days. I figure I save a lot of money by rummaging through the fridge, freezer, and cupboards looking for something to turn into dinner rather than going to the store. I keep telling myself, “Maybe if it’s not snowing tomorrow we’ll go grocery shopping.” I can string our food out for days longer than I thought was possible!

    • Congrats on a new baby coming your way! So exciting!

      You are so right! Shopping the pantry is a great way to save money! And it helps keep items from expiring too. Not to mention all the energy you’ll save by not loading four kids in the car!

  • Abby says:

    I definitely agree with you that there are many different ways to save money. Staying home, making meals with fewer ingredients, stocking the freezer when food is on sale or when a recipe makes more than you expected are only a few ways that have helped me in saving money. I am still learning though and enjoy hearing how others save money.

  • karen b says:

    I love this, what an awesome testimony to your husband & kids. I have never “played” the drugstore game because I didn’t know about it till a few months ago. I have started checking & getting certain items cheaper if they are avaiable when I am at the store. One of the things that I enjoy is baking, Our daughter & I just spent this morning making muffins & brownies for the next week. We had some awesome bonding time & healthy food to boot. My children are older but I still remember how hard it was when they were younger:) You have a beautiful family:)!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Thank you, Karen!

      I’m really looking forward to cooking and baking with my kids! They just turned 2 years old today, so I might need to wait a little longer (I’m imagining four toddlers around a bowl of brownie batter), but hopefully we can start that tradition soon. It sounds like so much fun!

  • Alissabeth says:

    Twins here (17 mo). While I could continue the drug store and grocery game while they were infants, as soon as they were able to sit in carts, that period moved away! I don’t have time to coupon anymore, other than the few things that I am always getting. It’s just not as important and there are many other ways to save! Thanks for sharing!

  • lyss says:

    Totally agree!!! I used to do the drug store thing and came home with lots of goodies. I feel like at that season in my life, it was worth it to run around and get all the great deals. Now? Not so much. Yes, we’re tighter financially, but the time it takes to shop the drug store deals is so not worth it, especially since it seems(to me anyway) the deals as a whole are not as good as they used to be. I used to get tons of toiletries free and diapers I never paid more than $5…usually more like $3 or $4/package. Most of the “great deals” nowadays are for stuff I don’t even want. It’s freeing to not have to spend so much time and stress on deal shopping.

    And staying home more will naturally result in less money spent…well, unless you spend all day shopping online!

    • I’ve noticed the same thing. I haven’t been as impressed with the sales in the last year or two. It’s been over 2 years since I played the game weekly, but the shelves were more often cleared than not. I was disappointed many times. Yet another reason why the extra stress and rush isn’t worth it to me right now.

      $3 or $4 a package for diapers? Sadness. We could really use those now!

  • Jeni L says:

    I enjoyed reading this post. I gave birth to my first baby 2.5 months ago. I definitely don’t go out to the stores like I used to, on a daily or every-other-day basis. Now I plan for once a week (if that). It forces me to plan and be strategic. I also don’t put pressure on myself anymore if I don’t get a hot sale price.

  • Jill says:

    I’m so happy to read a story like this! I have twins who are 3, a 20mth old and I’m a little over halfway through my pregnancy w #4. My husband is in law enforcement w crazy hours, so I don’t have time to go to a bunch of different stores either. I no longer feel guilty abt it. You can only do what you can do. Sometimes for me it means just finding out at the last minute that I have time to make a quick grocery run (haven’t had time to check sales or anything) just grab my ongoing list from the fridge, fly out the door and hope hubby doesn’t get called in before I get through the checkout! We’ve cut the budget in other areas to make up for the lack of being able to do much w the grocery savings, though I do try to get to Costco once a week or once every other week for milk, cheese, fresh fruit!

  • saverchic says:

    Love it! I have twins, and I loved reading something from another mom of multiples. It’s nice to know we’re not alone, even though it seems like it sometimes. 🙂

  • I have pretty much given up on snagging tons of great deals at stores- I have three kids ages five and under so the last thing I ever want to do is drag them to the store with me to get free toothpaste .

    I now fully utilize Amazon for a lot of my shopping (love my Prime membership) and buy all of my kids’ clothing online.

    I have noticed that I am spending more money, and though we are in a place right now where we are barely able to afford the extra money, spending it is worth it because it helps me keep a little bit of my sanity and cuts down on my stress.

    I also find that since I dread going the store so much, I do things that help keep me from going. I use cloth diapers and wipes (no running to CVS for deals on jumbo packs), we use rags (no running out of paper towels), I buy all natural concentrated all purpose cleaner and fill a spray bottle with it (one 128 jug makes 256 bottles of cleaner- comes to .10 a bottle), freeze bread that is about to go bad to use to make toast and buy my laundry detergent in bulk (a 1000 load bucket) as well as dish detergent.

    I also am now of the mindset that when we run out of something we can do without it until mommy feels like going to the store. No jelly?- oh well. Ran out of milk?- drink water with your meal. Bread moldy?- mama’s got a bread machine. I even have a stash of fruit cups (packed in juice), applesauce and dried fruit for when the fresh stuff has all been eaten plus lots of frozen veggies.

    Did I mention that I hate going to the store?

  • Carmen says:

    You have a beautiful family! I love this picture. I only have a 1 & 3 year old but I find couponing very difficult! I do miss all of the free stuff but there is no way I could take the time away from my kiddos to keep it up. I still try to do the best I can. I chose to focus my minimal couponing to only one drugstore and one grocery store. And with CVS, it’s usually a once a month visit when my ECBs are expiring! Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Kim says:

    Such an encouragement! I really felt like I was missing out on the drugstore game but with 2 kiddos under 3 and one on the way, I am exhausted! I am new to baking bread (a loaf of bread here is almost $3 and that is for the cheap stuff!) Plus I have always loved to bake so I completely get the therapy part. With 2 girls and another little lady on the way so hand me downs are fabulous!! Plus most of our friends have girls and my brother has 3 girls!
    Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Whoohoo! Someone else who gets therapy baking! 🙂

      Congrats on another daughter coming your way! That’s wonderful! And we LOVE hand me downs as well when we can get them. We have some very kind friends who pass things on to us sometimes as well!

    • Whoohoo! Someone else who gets the whole therapy baking thing! 🙂

      Congrats on another daughter joining your family! That’s wonderful! We love hand-me-downs when we can get them too! We have a few kind friends who pass on a few things to us as well!

  • Tammy W. says:

    I’ve found the same to be true with *only* two toddlers (and a baby on the way!), but we have some additional challenges since we live in the country. With no grocery stores that accept printed coupons within 30 min. and most major stores an hour away, I look out for free shipping + coupon codes for rare new clothing purchases, and Amazon.com is my best friend! When you figure in gas $, time, and the toll on everyone to go out and about extra times, it’s just not worth saving a few cents at the check-out.

    We do have a Rite Aid about 15 min. from us, so I do play their little game. And I greatly strategize when we do go out, coupons and deal flyers in hand! We also shop Aldi for as much food as possible, rely on Once Upon a Child for a lot of our kids’ clothing, and buy and sell furniture routinely on Craigslist (which does require some interesting drives, at times!).

    • Any number of kids is a handful! Especially if you are balancing toddlers with a newborn or pregnancy (congrats!)

      That’s awesome that you are able to do so much being so far from most stores. Clearly you’ve learned to make the most of your resources while prioritizing your family as well!

  • amber says:

    Rebecca, Consignment sales are the best with quads!!! We go to the Just Between Friends bi annual sales. Once we outgrow our bigger baby gear we can sell it there too!

  • Crystal says:

    I find that simply not leaving the house much in itself is a money saver. I too, have 4 children, different ages (thank goodness)… I too, used to shop all over town to save money, but much of that was shopping for things I didn’t necessarily need. Now I combine as many errands, and shopping as I can digging only for necessities on a well planned shopping list, and I make a lot of my own stuff like cleaners… I save tons on gas because I only leave the house once a week, and if it didn’t get bought that day, its because I didn’t really need it.

  • Erin says:

    I’m curious about stocking up on clothes – how many items do you plan per child?

  • Becky says:

    I noticed there is a typo at the top of this blog post. It states it’s a guest post from A Beautiful Rucku. I was thinking to myself that didn’t make sense until I read the rest of the blog and realized it’s supposed to be Ruckus. Thank you!

Money Saving Mom® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *