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How to Afford Being a Stay At Home Mom

Want to be a stay at home mom, but worried about the financial implications of transitioning to one income? This post is full of practical advice and helpful encouragement on how to afford being a stay at home mom!

how to afford being a stay at home mom

Guest post by Kristine of SurvivingMoms.com:

Giving up a full-time or part-time salary isn’t easy, but my sisters and I wanted to stay home with our kids.

To make it happen we knew we needed to get creative with lowering our monthly expenses.

Here are 19 things we did (and still do) to save money:

We Cut Hair Ourselves:

Even at Walmart a haircut for a child costs $12 — and that doesn’t include tip!

Instead of going to the hairdresser, we ordered some nice clippers off Amazon and now we cut everyone’s hair at home as often as we need to.

We Use Grocery Pick-Up:

We love using grocery pick-up! It is convenient and saves us money as it helps us avoid impulse shopping.

We also love that every time we add an item to our cart, we can see the total go up; this allows us to decide if we really need that item this week or if it can wait.

We save an average of $20 per week by using pick-up only!

We Don’t Eat Out:

Eating out can blow a monthly budget really quickly!

We plan a weekly or monthly menu for our family and stick to it. We try to cook our meals at home no matter how good take-out sounds.

We also try to get the whole family involved by giving each kid a job to do.

Dinner tastes so much better when you are proud of what you have made — and that goes for kids, too.

Psst! Check these extra tips to help you stop eating out!

We Buy Used Clothing:

We buy gently used clothes for our children.

Shops like Once Upon a Child, Goodwill, Facebook Marketplace, and garage sales are great places to start!

See if there is a friend or family member that you can swap clothes with. This has been a huge blessing to our family.

We Sell Outgrown Clothing:

We sell our outgrown clothes at a local kids’ consignment shop and then get store credit, which usually offers more money to buy the next size up for our kids.

We Use the Honey Extension:

We installed Honey on our computers and it will alert us when items get marked down and if it’s a good time to buy.

You are able to see the price trends and if there are available promo codes you can use.

We love using Honey!

We Watch for Christmas Deals Year-Round:

Rather than shopping for Christmas presents in November and December, we look for deals all year.

It is easy to get pulled into impulse buying with all the advertising during the Christmas season.

We Buy Used Items off Amazon:

When we find an item we want to purchase off Amazon, we check to see if they have the same item “Like New” or “Used, Very Good.”

These items were typically opened and returned. We have had great success finding brand new items marked down this way!

We Ask Before we Buy:

Shopping online is SO easy… maybe a little TOO easy!

To reduce impulse purchases, we wait and talk to our spouses before we purchase something. This makes us aware of what we are spending our money on, plus it allows us to say whether or not we think it is the right use of our money.

We Make Our Own Baby Food:

Baby food is expensive.

Pinterest has lots of recipes for making your own healthy baby food at a fraction of the cost of buying it from the store.

We Canceled Cable and DirectTV:

This is an expensive monthly bill that isn’t necessary.

We have used Hulu, Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney Plus instead of cable, so we can still enjoy our favorite shows and movies while paying significantly less.

We Switched to an Off-Brand Cell Phone Service:

We have our cell phone bill down to $50 a month for two smartphones with 5 GB of data each.

Honestly, the service isn’t as good. We do drop calls frequently. We mostly text though, and it was worth the annoyance to lower our monthly bills.

{Psst! Looking for an inexpensive option? Twigby has phone plans that start as low as $9 per month!}

We Implement Meatless Monday:

Meat is one of the biggest expenses in a grocery budget. Having a meal once a week without any meat allows us to lower our grocery budget significantly.

If you need some inspiration, try one of these great meatless meal ideas!

We Share One Vehicle:

When possible, we share a vehicle with our spouse.

This cuts down on gas, car insurance, and other car-related expenses. It’s hard at first but worth it when we look at the savings.

We Always Look for Free Activities:

We take advantage of free classes/activities offered by our local libraries.

Hiking, visiting National Parks on free days, and bike trails are other activities we regularly have on our schedules.

We Make Coffee at Home:

We make coffee at home instead of buying one at the local coffee shop.

Even using a Keurig at home only costs 26 cents per cup compared to almost $2 per cup. This adds up when we start each day with six cups a cup of coffee. 😉

We Look for Coupons:

We compare ads and use coupons or store apps when grocery shopping.

We also plan our menus based around meat that is on sale that week.

We Use Groupon:

We shop Groupon in advance to buy tickets and get the best deals.

We used Groupon to get a great deal on tickets to Sky Zone for the whole family.

We Use Cashback Sites:

We use cashback sites like Rakuten to stretch our shopping budget by getting money back on online purchases.

These are just a few of the many ways we save money every single day.

These little (and big) savings all add up to allow my sisters and I to stay home with our children!

What are some of your favorite tips on how to afford being a stay at home mom?

Katie, Nicole, and Kristine are sister-in-laws with eight kids between them. They now blog at SurvivingMoms.com about mom survival tips, what is helping them get through their days with their kiddos, and how their true hope and encouragement comes from knowing their Savior, Jesus Christ.

5 Things You Should Never Do If You Want to Save Money on Groceries

Are you trying to save more money on groceries and stick to a grocery budget? NEVER do these five things!

Psst! Looking for more ways to cut your grocery bill? Check out my FREE cheat sheet on how to cut your grocery bill by $50 this week!

Guest post from Katrina of Frugal Fun Mom

If you’re a busy mom, I’m sure the last thing you want to do is go to the grocery store — let alone go to the grocery store with cranky kids and still try to find ways to save money on your groceries.

I get it. I feel the same way!

While I do enjoy saving money on groceries, the actual process can be daunting — especially when time is limited and you have kids who would rather be doing anything but grocery shopping.

If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to saving money on groceries, my advice is to never do these 5 things…

1. Never Use Grocery Delivery or Pick Up Services

I can hear the gasp – yes, I said it. You should never use grocery delivery or pick up services.

What?! Yes, never… at least not if your goal is to save money on groceries!

While these services are super convenient, they come at a cost and some of these costs are hidden. While a lot of grocery or delivery services are free, most are only free if you buy a certain quantity of items – which can mean you overspend just to make sure you don’t have to pay delivery fees.

Also, most of these services do not allow you to use coupons. I think we can all agree that coupons are like free money, so you always want the option to use them when you shop. Yes, you can choose to buy only those items which are on sale, but you still can’t use coupons – your free money – to buy those items.

If I haven’t convinced you already, the main reason I don’t use grocery delivery or pick up services is that I miss out on all the hidden deals inside the store. I’m talking about the deals you find in the clearance bins, discount section, or the manager’s specials aisle. Plus, when you find a great deal in clearance and can use a coupon on top of the deal, you have just scored yourself an even better deal than you never would’ve found using grocery delivery or pick up services.

2. Never Go to the Grocery Store Without a List

Make sure you always go to the grocery store with a list of stuff you need – don’t go into the store blind! If you do, you will overspend and most likely buy things you don’t need.

Make a list of the things you need and try your best not to deter from your list while shopping.

3. Never Go to the Grocery Store Without Looking Over the Weekly Ad

Always look at the weekly ad before you head to the grocery store! Make sure you know what is on sale, and what is not.

If you have multiple grocery stores in your area, compare prices and deals by looking at the weekly ads.

If you don’t have a newspaper subscription and don’t receive the ads, you can always find the weekly ads online or by downloading the grocery store app to your smartphone.

4. Never Go to the Grocery Store Without Your Coupons

This one should be a no-brainer, but just in case you forgot – make sure to always take your coupons with you when you go shopping. You never know when you will come across an unexpected or unplanned deal at the store. Especially when you’re digging through the clearance or markdown bins.

I like to take my big coupon binder that holds all my coupons, as well as my mini organizer, with me every time I shop. I put specific coupons in my mini organizer that I know I will use at the grocery store based on their weekly ad. Then, when I bring my big coupon binder along with all my other coupons, I make sure to get maximum savings at the store when I find that unexpected deal because I have all my coupons with me.

5. Never Go to the Grocery Store Without a Budget

My final tip is to never go to the grocery store without a budget.

Why, you might ask? Again, because you will overspend. Even if you do find a good deal on an item, it’s not a good deal if you don’t have the money to buy it.

Make sure to have a grocery budget and stick to it.

If you have extra money after you buy all the things you need, then go ahead and buy those unexpected deals you find in the clearance bin that you can add to your home stockpile – but don’t overspend!

If you can stick to these 5 guidelines, I guarantee you will save money on groceries.

Remember that saving money on groceries is not always easy, otherwise everyone would be doing it. It takes a little work, but saving money for your household is so worth it!

You can do it, momma!

Katrina Rauch is a full-time blogger and a mom of three. Her blog, Frugal Fun Mom, is dedicated to helping moms discover practical ways to save money, find encouragement for everyday mom chaos, and be inspired with frugal fun ideas to enjoy their kids.

Cut your grocery bill!

Looking for more grocery savings tips?

If you’re looking for more ways to cut your grocery bill, be sure to sign up for my FREE cheat sheet on 10 Easy Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill by $50!

Plus, check out the links below for more grocery saving tips:

Grocery Savings that Come in a Box

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Do you struggle with the cost of produce for your family? If so, check out this solution for grocery savings that come in a box — delivered to your door!

Psst! Looking for more grocery savings? Sign up for my FREE cheat sheet on 10 ways to cut your grocery bill by $50 per week!

Misfits Market Grocery Savings

The following is a guest post by Samantha Hatcher from Inspired By Lucile and Self Care Mama Club.

The Cost of Produce

Have you ever gotten to the middle of the pay period only to discover you have either run out of produce or what you have has gone bad? That was my problem for years. Produce would go bad because I didn’t get to it fast enough, or we would be scrounging around for any vegetable to put with our main dish. (And with nine people in the house, this is a real problem!)

Besides meat, produce is usually the most expensive item for most people. When you are trying to make sure your family has a nice variety of fruits and vegetables, it can start to add up in cost. And when not everything is in season, the prices of out of season imported produce is even higher!

My family has their favorite veggies and fruits that I almost always pick up at Aldi, and while they have some of the best prices for organic produce, their out of season produce isn’t very flavorful. Think of a garden-fresh tomato and one from the store. They taste completely different.

The Struggle with Buying Produce

Buying produce can be overwhelming.

Maybe you pick up the same exact produce each shopping trip, despite being sick of eating it. Why? Because you know these tried and true purchases will work for your family.

Or perhaps you stand there not knowing what to buy, overwhelmed by the rainbow of produce in front of you.

Or maybe you’re the mom who doesn’t have time to go to the store to buy real food between work, errands, and kids’ activities. You don’t care what they eat; you wish it would show up at your door like magic.

I have dealt with all these struggles during different seasons of my life. I know the stress and brainpower it takes to plan meals, shop, put it all away, and cook all the meals. And the night of shopping, we usually just end up having pizza.

I’ve honestly gone through seasons when even going to the grocery store made me want to consider having my entire family fast.

This past year I realized I desperately needed a solution — one that would take care of all these struggles and not break the bank.

Enter Misfits Market

A few months ago, I discovered Misfits Market through a friend.

On a whim, I decided to sign up with her referral link to get 25% off my first box. And I was SO pleased!!

Everything was fresh, delivered with several cold packs, and was shipped to my house in two days. The variety of items was overwhelming, but looked like almost all of it was something I would have bought anyway. Things were a bit odd-shaped or sized, but I definitely didn’t mind!

I checked out the price and picked the larger box, which says it is for a family of five and is 18-22 pounds. The box is normally $35, but with the 25% discount it brought it down to $26.25 — which is a great price, considering all of it is organic!

I was pretty hooked after my first box and knew that I couldn’t get that much produce at the store for that price, especially organic. I decided to give it a try, and knew that we could cancel the subscription if we didn’t like it.

Grocery Savings in a Box

Changing Up Our New Favorite Produce

I was the mom who bought the same produce over and over without thinking. And when I got tired of it, I just stood there and stared at the produce, hoping it would have some answers for me.

When my first Misfits Market box arrived, everything looked like something we would eat, except for eggplant.

I have only eaten eggplant a few times in my life. It was slimy and gross, but I was determined to give it a try. I found this great recipe for eggplant fries, and that changed everything! The first night we tried them, we ran out of eggplant fries instead of chicken, and my children were asking for more!

We had a hit on our hands. The next box contained swiss chard and more eggplant. We once again made the fries, and we roasted the swiss chard with gnocchi. Yum! Once again, something new was a big hit for our family.

When our third box arrives, my six-year-old said, “Oh, goodie, I hope there is an eggplant.” To her disappointment, there wasn’t eggplant, but we discovered how much we loved pomegranates!

Grocery Savings that Come in a Box

Because of the Misfits Market box, I no longer have to make a mid-paycheck trip to the grocery store, which would cost more than it should.

This Misfits Market box not only has saved me from going to the grocery store, but has pushed me to expand my culinary skills and our children’s taste buds.

Never did I imagine that any of my children would say they hope we got eggplant. Never did I imagine my kids would be so excited about new foods and finding recipes to try.

But here we are! I have cut my grocery bill by $250 each month, my family is trying new things, and my children are learning to like new things that I would never have bought before.

Because of all these reasons, I’ve become a faithful Misfits Market subscriber!

Samantha is a SAHM of 7 children who has spent 25 years learning how to live on one income. She used the wisdom of her Grandma Lucile, who grew up during the depression, to learn how to get the best bang for her buck. When she isn’t homeschooling her kids, you will find her blogging at Inspired By Lucile or the Self Care Mama Club.

How To Make Money Creating Printables

Did you know you can make money creating printables and selling them online? This is such a great way to make some extra income from home!

Guest post from Bridget of SunshineAndRainyDays.com

When my kids were young, I remember putting them to bed and just sobbing. I absolutely LOVED being a stay-at-home mom and didn’t want that to change, but I felt empty. I needed something more — something that would allow me to have my own identity.

As the kids got a little older, I poured myself into volunteer work. A friend and I started a MOPS group at our church, and I volunteered in my kids’ classrooms, with the PTA, and at church. At one point, I realized my volunteer hours had become a full time job. Counting Box Tops is no joke!

When the kids hit high school, the volunteer opportunities started drying up. I stepped away from my roles at church and decided it was time to pursue something just for me!

I followed a few bloggers, took one of Crystal’s blogging courses, and eventually started creating printables. That’s when everything started to click, and I realized I had found what I really, truly enjoy!

Printables made excellent opt-ins for my blog, but then I discovered you can also make money selling printables. Yay!

What Is A Printable?

A printable is a digital file suitable or fit to be printed or published. That’s a stuffy dictionary definition.

Are you ready for MY definition of printables?

Printables are digital files you can download to your own computer and print at home to make life easier, add fun to your life, keep you organized, or help save you money!

printables idea: Birthday Party In A Box

Examples Of Printables

The best printables to sell are the ones with everyday, practical uses. Think about what printables might make life easier or more fun, help someone stay organized or save money — the possibilities are endless!

Here are some examples below of printables I’ve created in the past…

Birthday Party In A Box — This one makes your life easier when you want to send a Birthday Surprise to someone you can’t celebrate with in person. You don’t have to come up with your own box decorations because we’ve done it for you!

Leprechaun’s Loot — Surprise your co-workers, friends, and family with Leprechaun’s Loot to make St. Patrick’s Day a bit more FUN!

Medical Binder — This one is a great example of one way to stay organized with printables.

Christmas Trivia Printables — These make Christmas party planning easier, the party more fun, you’ll impress your guests with your organized game, and you’ll save money because it’s a super inexpensive way to entertain!

How To Create Printables

In the beginning, I created printables using a combination of free programs like Canva, PicMonkey, Numbers, and Pages.

Then, I discovered Affinity Designer. I now create all of my printables in Affinity Designer and can make them look just the way I want with this one app. It’s so easy!

Here’s how to create a printable:

  1. Come up with a printable idea.
  2. Make a quick sketch of your design.
  3. Set up your page in your design software.
  4. Design your printable.
  5. Include your URL and copyright symbol.
  6. Print your design to try it out.
  7. Save as a PDF to share.

For more in depth instructions on creating printables, be sure to check out my guest post over at Your Blogging Mentor.

selling printables in Shopify

Where To Sell Printables

Are you excited to create printables, but you aren’t quite sure where to sell them? You actually have quite a few options!

Here are just a few ideas:

1. Gumroad — This is a marketplace for creators to sell their products. I like Gumroad because you can start selling printables without a monthly fee — which makes it a great way to test out your new products. At the time I wrote this article, they take $0.30 + 3.5% one-time fee per sale. You only pay the fee if your product sells, so there’s very little risk. And Gumroad collects the money for you and deposits it (minus fees) into your account. You can go here to see an example of a product I have listed on Gumroad.

2. Shopify — While I still have a few sales trickling in from Gumroad, I pretty much have exclusively switched over to a Shopify store. I love Shopify, because it allows me to create an entire store with different printable collections and they offer a great user experience for your customers. There is a monthly fee, so this is only a good option if you’re at a place where you’re selling printables on a regular basis.

3. Etsy — I have not personally ever sold anything on Etsy, but I know plenty of people who do and are very successful with it! The advantage of Etsy is the massive number of people who frequent the site looking for specific item. Buyers may stumble upon your printables in Etsy through a search on the platform.

4. Teachers Pay Teachers — If you plan to create a lot of educational printables, Teachers Pay Teachers is an excellent platform for you to sell on. Your very first product that you list has to be free, and then you can start charging after that.

5. Sell as a virtual assistant — If you aren’t interested in starting a blog or having your own online store, you have other options — one of which is to sell to bloggers! Most bloggers don’t have time to do everything, so they hire virtual assistants to create printables for them. A great way to find work with bloggers is by searching for Facebook groups where you can advertise your printables to bloggers. One example is this VA for Hire Facebook group. Once you make a sale, you can use a PayPal business account to invoice and collect payment.

6. Create printables for people you know — Another option is to create printables for people you know! Showcase your work on social media and get the word out that you are creating printables for others. As you do more and more work, the word will spread! It can be fun to create printables for customers, because you get to experiment with bringing their vision to life! Just be sure to correctly estimate how long the work will take you and decide on a fair hourly rate that’s worth your time.

Tip: When you create printables for others, be sure to look at it as a business transaction. They will likely have changes they would like you to make and that’s okay! That’s a part of the process and it’s important to not take it personally. Over time, you will learn the likes and dislikes of your customers. This will make future projects go quicker!

It’s nearly impossible to be on every platform, so I recommend that you just pick one to start with and dive in! Learn everything you can about the platform and try it out.

How To Advertise Printables

Once you’ve created a few printables, you need a way to point buyers to your product — which is where advertising comes into play!

If you’re looking for some easy ways to advertise, try one of these:

1. Advertise Through A Blog — The first printables I sold were through blog posts on Sunshine And Rainy Days. I used Gumroad to sell those printables and it worked quite well! (You can see one of my early months of sale from back in 2017 above.) And blog posts continue to be the primary way I advertise printables!

2. Create Pinterest Pins — Pinterest is considered a search engine and many people go to Pinterest to find ideas and solve problems. Create your Pinterest pin, highlight your printable, link it to the product, and pin away! Don’t forget to add keywords and hashtags in the description to help Pinterest users more easily stumble upon your pin in search!

3. Share On Social Media — You can also share your printables on social media with a link to your product. Share on your own page or in Facebook groups. (Just be sure to read group rules to make sure you’re allowed to share in the group.)

creating easy Christmas printables

Printables Have Huge Potential!

Last year, the kids wanted to throw a Christmas Party for their friends. I created three different printable Christmas games to play at the party and sold each of them in my Shopify store. Even though I didn’t create the games until toward the end of November, the sales were still decent.

One of those games was the Toilet Paper Snowman Game. In one month, I sold 31 digital copies of that game at $2 each. That’s $62 (minus fees) for a game that I made for my kids’ Christmas party and added to the shop.

Imagine if you had multiple products like the Toilet Paper Snowman Game!

Before I started a blog, I didn’t know this whole printables world even existed. Now, creating printables is one of my favorite things to do! The kicker is, I actually make money creating printables — the same printables that I create and use in my own home to make life easier, create more fun, stay more organized, and save more money!

In the near future, I hope to create printable bundles to sell at a higher price point and increase our income potential.

If you’re interested in creating printables, just start with one printable product and try it out. It takes time to create quality products and build up your store, but there’s no better time to start than right now!

It takes time to create your products and build your store. Start with one printable product. There’s no better time than right now!

Bridget is the wife of a super awesome principal and mom to two incredible teens! She spends her days cheerleading her songwriting son, plotting the next box to send the college student, and creating printables to share with YOU! DIY and Printables are her jam and it is her desire to inspire domestic engineers to make every day full of Sunshine and Happiness!

Get Free United Airlines Miles with Walmart Grocery Pickups!

The following tip was submitted by Kelsey of Orchard Reads

About a year before our 10-year wedding anniversary, my husband and I began dreaming about a celebratory trip to Europe for a few days — just the two of us!

With four kids and one full-time income, we knew we’d have to get creative in order to fund this trip, and we began by researching the best methods to earn points for free flights.

After significant research, we found that United Airlines offers most round-trip flights from the USA to many cities in Europe for 60,000 miles roundtrip. That is significantly less than the corresponding cash rates for both United flights and other airlines, and there are TONS of different ways to earn United Miles — you can go to restaurants, shop at certain retailers, and even take surveys in order to earn free miles.

One of my favorite discoveries about earning United miles is that you can get 450 miles every time you schedule and complete a Walmart grocery pickup order.

I always fill up my Walmart cart on my computer, but then I complete the order through the United MileagePlus X App on my phone. I often do Walmart grocery pickups once a week, which means I earn at least 450 miles each week!

We combined several different methods of earning United miles, and within about a year, both my husband and I were able to save over 60,000 miles each! The miles do not expire for 18 months, but each time I do another Walmart grocery pickup (or earn miles another way), the expiration date moves forward to 18 months from that date.

We are currently continuing to save United Airlines miles so that we can pay for several nights in a hotel on our Europe trip, as well!

Even if you don’t have a lofty goal to fly to Europe and back, United miles can be redeemed for gift cards, rental cars, and more. And if you already do Walmart grocery pickups regularly, you might as well earn 450 miles each and every time you do!

Kelsey is a pastor’s wife, mother of four, book lover, piano teacher, worship leader, and home economist. She writes about her family’s favorite books at Orchard Reads.

When The Thrill of The Hunt Lands You in a House Full of Clutter

Guest post from Julianna of The Simplicity Habit:

Do you love getting great deals? I do!

I’ve always been a frugal person. I was raised in a home where I was taught to budget and manage money well at a young age, and I’ve continued to hone my skills over the years.

It’s a running joke with my family that when anyone gets a great deal, they talk about how proud I will be. And I am! I don’t like wasting money nor do I like hearing when other people have spent too much on something.

The Thrill Of The Hunt

It’s thrilling when I can combine sales and coupons to spend as little as possible.

I once went to Kohls and bought 3 pairs of jeans and another pair of pants for a grand total of $1!

In case you’re wondering how, they were all 90% off combined with a coupon and a $10 gift card for it being my birthday month… and yes, I saved that receipt like it was a trophy.

Clutter Accumulation

While I still enjoy the thrill of the hunt and pride myself on finding deals, I realized these deals came at a cost.

I’d buy things I didn’t truly love or even want sometimes because they were a good deal. This was the first way I started to accumulate clutter.

The second way was from my creative endeavors. Over the years, I’ve tried a few different things including photography, sewing baby blanket sets, and furniture and thrift store finds flipping. Each of those came with a slew of supplies. I got everything on sale or even free.

In the end, it all became a stockpile of clutter in my home — to the point where I was no longer able to park even 1 car in our 3 car garage. Yikes!

Decluttering

Ironically, as I was stockpiling, I began reading books about decluttering my home and life. I had gotten to a point where I was so weighed down by the stuff that I knew things needed to change.

This journey brought me to my work now, which is as a professional declutterer and writer.

I learned a lot going through the process of decluttering my home, and while I still hold onto my deal-finding ways tightly, I’ve learned to be more mindful in what I purchase.

Before buying anything, I ask myself these 5 questions:

  1. Do I really want or need this?
  2. Am I settling?
  3. Will we be able to use this before it goes bad?
  4. Do I have the space to store this?
  5. What will it cost me?

1. Do I really want or need this?

It’s so tempting to buy something because it’s a great deal. There’s often scarcity with the product being on sale for a limited time or with limited quantities. and I don’t make the best decisions when I feel stressed.

If it’s something I already planned to buy then yes, I’ll snatch up that great deal. If not, I choose not to buy on impulse anymore. That landed me in a house full of clutter and I don’t want to repeat that mistake.

2. Am I settling?

Do you ever go shopping for a specific item and end up settling for something that wasn’t quite right because it was the closest thing you could find? For me, that always ended with money wasted and an item that became clutter.

I’m quite opinionated so if I don’t love something, I don’t want it. I don’t want to wear clothes that almost fit. There’s nothing more annoying than having to constantly adjust clothing. Don’t settle for good enough.

3. Will we be able to use this before it goes bad?

I ask this question primarily for food, but it works for anything that can expire. It’s awesome to get great deals on produce. It’s less awesome when that deal is rotting in your fridge a week later.

Be realistic about what you can use in the amount of time you have before it will go bad. Some things can be frozen and other things can’t. Be wise so that you aren’t wasteful.

4. Do I have the space to store this?

Along with using it before it goes bad, don’t intend to freeze a ton of meat if you have a tiny freezer. Know your space limitations. This can happen for things that don’t expire as well.

You know it’s turning into a problem when you’ve installed racks in your bedroom to store your toilet paper overstock because you found such a great deal. If you ever watched that extreme couponing show, you know what I’m talking about.

5. What will it cost me?

When shopping locally, consider the cost of gas and your time.

Yesterday I bought some applesauce pouches that were on clearance. I briefly considered driving to additional locations to buy more, but realized it wasn’t worth the cost in gas or my time.

The things we own don’t just cost us money. Once you bring something into your home it takes your time and energy to clean, maintain, and store it.

If you’re feeling burdened by your home and are suffocating underneath the clutter, it’s costing you breathing room and your peace. In trying to find my balance between simplicity and frugality, I started shopping less and being much more intentional with my choices.

I will always be a deal hunter, but I’m more thoughtful in what I buy so that the thrill of the hunt will never again land me in a house full of clutter.

Julianna Poplin is a wife, mom, professional declutter, and writer at The Simplicity Habit. She writes to encourage moms who want to declutter and simplify their homes and lives.

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