Save Your money and make lunches for your kids

Want a logical way to keep your kids’ lunches healthy while saving yourself some money?  It’s simple: make their lunch.  Sure, it takes time and a bit of organization, but if you follow these easy tips, it will become part of your weekly routine (that’s right—weekly) in no time.

Step One- What Does Your Healthy Look Like?

Everyone has a different definition of what healthy is.  For some, only freshly made, organic foods make the cut, while others are okay with giving their kids the occasional prepackaged treat.  You have to figure out what works best for you and your kids—after all, you wouldn’t want to make them a lunch they didn’t even eat, as that would be a waste of money.  You also need to determine how  much your budget will allow you to spend—the bigger the budget, the more you can spend on organic items if that’s something that’s important to you.

Step Two-Gear Up

While simply brown-bagging it is fine, a lot of healthy foods will be fresh and will need better storage to keep them that way until they’re consumed.  Think about spending some money upfront and getting a good insulated lunch bag, some BPA free Tupperware, and a lunch box size ice-pack.  These items will last you a long time and save you from having to buy plastic sandwich bags—a win for the environment as well.

Step Three- Buy and Bag

Now that you have all you need to get started, it’s time to buy your food items.  Buy in bulk dry foods if you can and fresh fruit and vegetables that will last through the week.  Right when you get back from your shopping, separate your lunch provisions into individual servings.  It will take some time, but when you’re finished you’ll have a stock pile to grab from and throw into your lunch box.  Why is this important?  Because it cuts down on the “things getting in the way” factor.  Things like being tired, stressed out, having errands to run, or just simply forgetting.  Putting lunches together will take just a minute of your time because you already got the hard part out of the way.

Step Four-Weekly Preparation

Each week you’ll just need to make sure you have enough items to get through the week and you’ll need to set time aside to get your lunch supplies up.  Don’t forget that you can freeze items that will thaw out before lunch—think about making 10 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Sunday and freezing them, then just grabbing one or two out of the freezer when you need it for a lunch.  You can freeze all kinds of things—yogurt, applesauce pouches, even fresh fruit.

Step Five-Just Do It

The last part is just remembering to make your children’s lunches each day.  It’s easiest to do right when you get home in the evening—just grab from your pre-made supplies, add in some fresh fruit and veggies, and you’ll have a healthy, balanced lunch for your child in no time—while making sure you’re keeping in budget.

Making your child’s lunch to save money isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, but some people don’t do it because they can’t figure out how to get themselves organized enough to make it cost effective.  Well, now you do—so get started today.

6 Halloween Costume Hacks for Budget-Conscious Parents

With Halloween just around the corner, parents and kids are already eyeing the racks at stores for that perfect costume. From Disney characters to Marvel comics to irresistibly cute animal outfits, the choices are endless and it’s understandable how families get wrapped up in the spooky celebration. While Christmas is still the most spendy holiday, the cost of Halloween has been climbing. The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates Americans will spend about $950 million on kids costumes alone this year.

1. DIY.
Undoubtedly your child may be set on dressing as one of the hottest characters this season. While there will be plenty of Minions and Star Wars characters patrolling the sidewalks Halloween night, you don’t have to pay a lot to achieve these looks. Ashley Ann Photography has some great DIY tips for Star Wars costumes, while many costume ideas use simple apparel that you can find at craft stores for less.

2. Raid The Closet.
Chances are your child already has something in his or her closet that can be repurposed for Halloween. A ballet leotard is an easy base for a number of costumes, and an old pair of overalls is perfect for a Minion costume. Old costumes from years before can also be re-worn and redecorated to make something new. For more cheap and easy costume ideas, check out this blog post of over 50 ideas for kids and adults.

3. Be Thrifty.
When it comes to Halloween, thrift stores are your best resource. Many stores like ARC and Goodwill sell Halloween costumes for popular characters like Disney princesses and superheros. You’ll pay a lot less buying these gently used than you would from pricey costume stores. Also check out; during October, the online consignment store hosts a costume exchange so parents can swap outgrown costumes for new ones. Grab ThredUp coupon codes for even more savings from deal sites like Coupon Sherpa.

4. Create a Challenge.
A fun way to let your kids have a blast creating their own costumes is to make a contest out of it! Money Crashers suggests setting a budget for each child and letting them explore the stores. Dollar stores are a great place to let them create, since most things will be cheaper and they can get more for their money. For a little competitive fun, you could host a costume contest afterwards and award the winner a prize.

5. Wait.
If you’re serious about Halloween saving, consider waiting until the last minute to purchase a costume for your child. Most stores mark their Halloween inventory way down a few days before the holiday to make way for Christmas merchandise. Though this method may not work if you need the costume in advance, it can mean big savings for those with flexibility. Also check the stores right after the holiday for savings of 50% or more for next year’s event.

6. Swap with Friends.
Every year, children request to dress up as their favorite cartoon character or animal for this one-day celebration. Since most kids don’t want to re-wear the same look the following year, parents are stuck with unusable costumes. Instead of letting those popular looks collect dust, set up a swap with family and friends to trade gently used costumes and accessories at no cost. Serve light snacks and request that each attendant bring at least one item to exchange.

Baby Items You Don’t Need

There’s no question about it: Babies are expensive. From nursery furniture to car seats to clothing, the cost of raising an infant can really add up. And let’s not forget the monthly expense of diapers, wipes, and food. While there’s no getting around certain baby-related expenses, you can cut corners and save money by being smart about the things you buy. In fact, there are plenty of popular baby items out there that you can easily do without. If you’re on a budget, here a few you’ll probably want to skip:

Wipe Warmer

It’s natural to want your baby to be as comfortable as possible, but here’s the thing: Wipes were designed to keep babies nice and clean, and they do their job just fine at whatever natural temperature they come in. Unless you’re storing your wipes in the refrigerator (and why would you?), there’s no need to warm them up before applying them to your baby’s bottom. Save your $30, or, if anything, spend it on a nice warm blanket.

Baby Bullet

There’s no need to spend $60 or more on a food processor with cute packaging. Want to know what does a fine job at pureeing baby food? A regular food processor. If you have one already, there’s no need to spend money on the baby version.

Plush Stuffed Animals

Sure, stuffed animals are nice and soft, and they’re perhaps fun to look at, but there’s no need to buy your infant an expensive one. In fact, many stuffed animals are actually unsafe for babies, as they come with removable eyes and other hazardous components for infants. Instead of stuffed animals, invest in some learning and development toys for your little one.

Shopping Cart Covers

Germs are a part of life, and while it’s natural to want to keep your baby in a virtual bubble, one day you’ll realize that you can only do so much to prevent your child from catching whatever’s going around. Until then, do yourself a favor and save your $30 or $40 by taking that shopping cart cover off your list. Not only does it only serve a limited purpose (your child can still reach out and touch other parts of the cart), but it’s also going to add to your already out-of-control laundry pile.

Crib Bumpers

Crib bumpers are cute and all, but these days, doctors actually advise against using them. The logic is that young babies can roll over and get caught in them, thus creating a hazardous sleeping environment. There’s no sense in spending extra money on something that’s not even safe for your baby.

Sheet Savers

Sheet savers are only effective if your infant stays absolutely still during the night. Once your baby starts squirming around in his or her crib, those sheet savers are rendered completely useless. You’re better off spending money on an extra set of sheets.

Remember, the people who market these baby products are very good at what they do. Give them a chance, and they’ll have you convinced that you absolutely need these products to give your baby the best start at life. In reality, there are plenty of so-called baby essentials you can skip, and your infant isn’t going to suffer one bit in the process. Stick to the basics, and use whatever leftover money you have to make your life easier. Or put it toward your baby’s college fund. Just don’t waste it on useless gear you’ll only regret buying.

How to Spend Less on Diapering

Whether you have a single baby in diapers or multiple children in diapers at the same time, the cost of keeping little ones clean and dry can really add up. A single diaper can cost anywhere from $0.20 to over $0.50 depending on the type you buy, and since most babies go through 5 to 8 diapers a day, that’s a lot of money all in. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to reduce the amount you spend each month on diapering supplies.

Get a Diaper and Wipes Subscription

Common baby supplies like diapers, wipes, and ointment are available via monthly online subscription programs. Retailers like Amazon and offer these programs which make diapering supplies not only more affordable, but more convenient. Rather than have to run to the store all the time, you can sign up to have the supplies you expect to need each month delivered to your home automatically. Best of all, you’ll pay considerably less than what you would at most physical stores.

Use the Same Brand and Collect Points

Many diaper companies offer rewards programs to encourage brand loyalty among their customers. Once you find a diaper brand that seems to work for your baby, sign up for its rewards program online. Then, collect the codes that come on your packaging and enter them into your account, and before you know it, you’ll probably have enough to snag some free supplies.

Search for Coupons

There are tons of coupons out there for diapers, wipes, and other such supplies—you just need to be willing to look for them. A simple online search will probably reveal a number of them, but you can also look for coupons in baby magazines, newspapers, and local circulars.

Look for Warehouse Club Deals

Warehouse clubs tend to offer discounted pricing in exchange for buying in bulk, and diapers are no exception. While warehouse clubs don’t always carry a full range of diapering supplies and sizes, it pays to check if your local club has the diapers you need in stock. You may be able to buy them at an even more discounted price than a subscription program offers. As an added bonus, some warehouse clubs offer monthly specials or coupons that allow you to score a discount on top of their already reduced prices. If you’re not already a member of a warehouse club, it may not pay for you to join one just to save on diapers; but if you’re paying that yearly membership fee anyway, you might as well take advantage.

Don’t Always Use a Wipe

It’s natural to want your baby to be clean and comfortable, and if your little one pops a stinker, there’s no question about it: You’ll need to use as many wipes as it takes to get your baby nice and clean. But in the absence of a poop situation, there’s really no need to use a wipe every single time you do a diaper change—especially if your baby’s diaper is only slightly wet. Being a little stingy with wipes can save you a nice chunk of change over the course of a year.

While the cost of diapers may be taking a toll on your finances now, there’s good news: Your child will be potty-trained eventually, and when that happens, you can kiss those diapers goodbye. Until then, be patient and hang in there.

Creative Ways for a SAHM to Make Money

When I became a SAHM, it wasn’t long before I felt the need to contribute in more ways than just changing diapers, washing clothes, and being on-call for 24 hours a day.  (You know, like new moms need more to do!) I realized that in order for me to stay at home, it was important for me to also contribute financially—and that meant even if I couldn’t work in a traditional job.  Pinching pennies in order to stay at home with the kids is nothing new for families scrambling to make it on one income, but there are some ways you can actually bring in some money- or at least recoup money you’ve spent.

Sell All the Things

My husband is a giver.  He wants to give things away to people.  It’s a really nice trait, but I’m not a giver.  I’m a seller.  When our son grows out of clothes, I sell them.  Toys?  For sale. That stroller he outgrew?  Sold.   Any and everything that can be sold will be.  It takes planning and organization to sell items on Facebook sites, Craigslist, or eBay and you’ll need to be prepared.  Or you can look in your area to find a resale shop that takes gently used kid’s items.  You’ll make more money if you sell things on your own, but if you try and no one’s biting, take them to a resale shop for a quick cash pay day in your pocket.

Become a Freelance Writer

The Internet is huge.  Websites are begging for new content all the time so they can stay relevant and competitive.  In order to do so, they need to post original posts several times a week, if not every day—sometimes multiple times a day.

And while they just might seem like words on a screen on a website, those words–that content–was written by a person, most likely a freelance writer.

Freelance writing is a fantastic way to earn extra money as a SAHM.  The vast majority of positions allow you to take on as much or as little as you’d like, while working from home.  There are lots of websites out there that can link you up with companies interested in writers, such as,, and

Don’t forget to put aside some money for taxes—most freelance jobs are 1099—meaning they don’t take out taxes for you and the position is considered a contractor.

Offer Services If You Have a Talent

Just because you aren’t working in your career field anymore doesn’t mean your experience and knowledge aren’t valuable.  If you worked in education, you could tutor students in subjects like math, English, social studies, or foreign languages.  Other ideas include:

  • Doing hair/nails/massage out of your home (for former hairstylists/cosmetologists)
  • Data Entry (Some companies offer data entry jobs that can be done from home)
  • Lesson planning
  • Making crafts—Are you talented at making something? Could you open your own Etsy shop and make it worth it?
  • Childcare—Take on a few more kids—it doesn’t have to be all day—but what about moms who want to just get away for a few hours?

Being a SAHM in itself is a full-time job, whether you have one little one at home with you, or several.  If you find yourself in a position where you’re able and willing to take more on, there are opportunities out there for you that are fun, flexible, and make sense financially.  You might have to put in a little more legwork to find ways to make extra money from home, but it is possible!

5 Things You Really Need When Having Your First Baby

Seeing the results of a pregnancy test can leave you feeling shocked, overwhelmed, excited, and anxious. But those feelings pale in comparison to how you’ll feel after taking your first trip down to your nearest “baby” store.

After losing yourself (and possibly your mind) for hours and hours in aisles filled from top to bottom with all things baby related, it’s likely you might leave the store questioning if you’re fit to be a parent. After all, don’t good parents buy things like wipe warmers and ergonomically designed pacifiers for their babies? And if you don’t or can’t, what does that make you?

A complete and utter parental failure. The baby hasn’t even arrived yet and you’re already letting it down. Way to go mom and dad.

The truth is most of the thousands upon thousands of items in those baby stores are not necessary for raising a thriving, healthy baby. Sure, there are lots of products that will help you in your quest to become the parent you’ve always wanted to be, but in general, there are just a handful of “must-haves” when it comes to taking your first baby home.

#1-A Good Crib Mattress

You don’t need the latest, greatest, state-of-the-art crib, but the crib mattress?  Well, that’s another thing altogether. Pinching pennies on a crib mattress may very well result in a saggy, unsupportive mattress in just a few months’ time and you’ll find yourself once again spending cash on another mattress. Save yourself the second trip and just get a better quality mattress to start with. You’ll sleep better and hopefully, so will your baby.

#2- A Video Monitor

The first few months of parenthood?  You might find yourself going a little insane.  You’re tired and constantly worried about this tiny little person you’ve just brought in to the world.  You might be so anxious about SIDS that you actually find yourself sleeping on the floor next to your baby’s crib as if you’d be able to fend it off.  Some parents get a monitor that lets them hear their baby’s cries and later, baby’s babbles.  I’d suggest taking it a step further and getting a video monitor so you can actually see what’s going on.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard a few sounds, ran into my son’s room to see what was wrong, only to find out he was  making sounds in his sleep and my running into his room in panic mode only resulted in waking him.  A video monitor lets you see and hear your sleeping angel—giving you much needed reassurance.

#3-A Sling

It’s no secret that babies like to be held.  Some of them will make you hold them forever.  And if you’re lucky enough to get one of those babies, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to have dinner/a clean house/a chance to do laundry for a few months.  Get a swaddle, wrap, or sling, bundle your little guy or gal up in it and enjoy hands’-free parenting at its finest.

#4- A Quality Stroller

Your baby will spend quite a bit of time in his or her stroller in the first year or two of life, but make sure it’s one you really like too. There are so many options out there, it really just depends on your lifestyle and what you plan on using the stroller for.  My go-to was the City Mini.  Everything about this bad boy was easy—and it made traveling a snap with its quick release fold handle.  My favorite trick was when we’d be in the security line at the airport.  No one likes to get behind a family with a kid and stroller, right?  Well, they’d be shocked when I’d just yank the handle up on the stroller and the whole thing just collapsed like a house of cards.  Mic drop.


For you, not for baby.  Sure, it’s kind of a joke, but also kind of not.  Shrill baby cries got you down?  Earplugs.  Is it your shift to sleep, but every whimper or sniffle wakes you up?  Earplugs.  Has your spouse’s voice inexplicably become extra annoying (this will return to normal in a  few months.  Maybe.) Earplugs.  Take the edge off and be that super-parent you’ve always dreamed of becoming.

Don’t buy into the hype.  Babies are simple little creatures that don’t need much—it’s us parents that over-complicate the situation by thinking we need it all in order to be a gold star parent.

How to Save Money Dining Out With Kids




No matter where you go or what you order, eating at a restaurant is almost always going to be more expensive than preparing a meal at home. Whether you dine out with your children once a week, once a month, or just several times a year, there are a bunch of steps you can take to keep your costs to a minimum.

Look Out for Specials

It’s common for family restaurants to offer promotions ranging from discounted appetizers to a free child meal for each adult meal purchased. One of the easiest ways to save money on dining out is to take advantage of these specials, even if it means going out a little earlier or on a weeknight instead of a weekend. Similarly, check your local mailers for coupons issued by the
restaurants you tend to frequent.

Share Entrees

Children don’t tend to eat as much as adults, so if your kids are small and not particularly big eaters, consider either having them share entrees or having you and your spouse share your entrées with them. If you’re worried that it won’t be enough food, try ordering one extra side dish as a supplement.

Skip the Kids’ Meals

Kids’ meals aren’t always all that economical. Sometimes a kids’ meal will cost only a few dollars less than an adult-sized meal, but will also consist of a lot less food. If you dine at restaurants where the adult-sized portions tend to be generous, try having your children share a single full-sized entrée.

Drink Water

Going out to dinner is a nice treat by itself; you don’t have to load up on overpriced, unhealthy beverages to enhance the experience. Though some restaurants do offer free soft drink refills, the cost of buying a round of sodas can really add up. Instead, stick to water, and save the sugar for dessert.

Don’t Pay for the Things Your Kids Won’t Eat

Children—especially younger ones—tend to be picky eaters. If your child orders a meal that comes with a side or accompaniment that you know your child won’t eat, ask your waiter to have that item omitted, and politely request a modest discount on the meal price as a result. This is often more economical than asking for a replacement side, as restaurants tend to charge extra for substitutions.

Say Yes to Leftovers

Restaurant portions tend to be large, so if you wind up with untouched food on your children’s plates, ask to have it packed up to go, even if it is a small amount. You can probably serve it as lunch or as part of your kids’ dinner the next day, which means you’ll avoid wasting the leftovers while trimming your food costs.
Dining out with children doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you employ smart strategies and pick restaurants that are reasonably priced. Besides, it’s nice to occasionally treat yourself and your family to a different dining experience, and there’s certainly something to be said for not having to do all the cooking and cleaning up yourself.

How To Teach Kids the Basics of Budgeting and Spending Responsibly

Budgeting and spending responsibly aren’t skills that should be developed later in life. Money knowledge is on the same plane as reading and being polite. By instilling positive, responsible spending habits, you’ll set up your kid (or kids) for success.

Set an Example

There’s no doubt about the fact that kids are great observers and absorb what’s going on around them. So, be cognizant about how you talk about money and how you actually spend money. When it comes down to it, practice what you preach.

An Allowance

In the world of parenting, allowances are extremely common. However, they are about more than just simple cash every week. Make an allowance something that is earned from doing chores/homework, not something that is a given. If they aren’t good or tasks aren’t completed, don’t give an allowance. This shows kids the connection between doing work and receiving money.

Additionally, you can also use allowance money and birthday/holiday gifts to form a mini bank. Let them know how much money they have. You could keep the information in a notebook or maybe display it on the fridge, so it’s visible.

When they want to buy something, like a toy, have them look at the cost of it. Then, have them compare the cost to the amount of money they have. In order to help them make educated choices, help them set goals. Good questions to ask include:

  • What do you really, really want? Based on its cost, how many weeks would you need to save to get it?
  • Is there anything you can do to get to your goal quicker, like a lemonade stand or additional chores?

It can be helpful to keep the money that accumulates in two jars: spend and save. Instead of the traditional opaque piggy bank, try something see-through, so kids can visually see money adding up.


For young kids, it may be difficult to tell the difference between game currency and actual in-app purchases. A good amount of parents have been surprised when they’ve been charged for in-app purchases when their kids use their tablets.

A great lesson revolves around the difference between play money in games and actual currency. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to block in-app purchases, either.

Real Budgets

As kids get older, they can handle more complex information about money and finances. Of course, you probably don’t want your kids to know the ins and outs of your personal budget, but what can you share? Think it over by yourself or with your spouse, and share what you feel comfortable with.

Explain your thought process and let your kids know when you’ve run into challenges. That way, they’ll be able to see that budgeting isn’t a black and white process, and it can be difficult sometimes – beyond just buying a recreational item.

At the end of the day, whether you’re a mom or a kid, budgeting is difficult. There is always more to learn (after all, that’s probably why you’re reading this blog!). Emphasize this to your little ones as they grow up into young adults, and you’ll be sure to see them flourish financially.

Five Ways to Throw a Kid’s Birthday Party on a Budget

If you’re looking to throw a kid’s birthday party on a budget, we’ve come up with five things you can do to save money but still have a great time and a party your child and all his or her friends will remember.

These days, more and more parents are embracing the trend of throwing crazy, over-the-top birthday parties for their children, even those who aren’t old enough to understand the concept. For some parents, the idea of a kid’s birthday party on a budget just doesn’t register.

Some parents rent out banquet halls. Other hire actors to portray their children’s favorite TV characters and take over their local kiddie gyms for hours at a time. Those with large enough backyards have been known to rent amusement park rides, cotton candy machines, and snow cone makers to rival the carnival experience. And let’s not forget the celebratory junior spa day, where kids as young as four or five will spend hours getting pampered with age-appropriate face masks, manicures, and mud baths.

Even if you actually have the desire to throw such an elaborate bash, you may quickly run into one major problem: money. Unless your only aim is to impress the other parents, these extravagant birthday affairs are never worth their exorbitant costs. You’ll end up spending  the next 12 months paying off a credit card balance for an event that will last just a few hours. It is a little ridiculous considering that kids don’t care how much you spend; they have just as much fun and possibly much more fun with a low cost affair.

With a little creativity, you can find a cost-effective way to say “happy birthday.” Thankfully, you’ve got plenty of options for throwing an awesome kid’s birthday party on a budget.

1. Open Up Your Home

Throwing a birthday party at home means opening up your space to an influx of kids. It’ll take time to do the setup, and you’re almost guaranteed to be left with a mess. The good news? You can save several hundred dollars by not having to rent out a space.

2. Don’t Serve a Meal

Between food allergies and pickiness, feeding a room full of children is a challenging prospect to begin with. Rather than serve a meal, time your birthday party for 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon so that there’s no expectation of lunch or dinner. This way, all you have to do is serve up some snacks, put out some beverages, and bust out a cake. Speaking of which…

3. Make Your Own Cake

Even if you’re not a baker, you can whip up a simple, delicious cake for a fraction of the cost of a bakery cake. The secret? Cake mix. Don’t be ashamed of it. Lather it with a $3 jar of store-bought frosting, throw on some sprinkles, and you’ll be all set. It may not look as cool as the custom superhero or construction zone cake your neighbor’s son had at his party, but at 1/5 the cost, it’ll probably taste just as good.

4. Forego the Party Bags

Most parents don’t want extra candy or small, plastic toys lying around, so why spend money on stuff nobody needs? Instead, have the kids do a craft for entertainment and let them take their creations home.

5. Skip the Invitations

Every parent has email these days. Rather than print and mail out invitations, use email or free tools like to let your guests know they’re invited.

As noble as it is to want to throw your child a birthday party he or she will be raving about for weeks on end, it’s not worth busting your budget for a mere two hours of entertainment. And besides, once the party’s over, it’s all about the presents anyway.

Save Money on Groceries: Simple Ways to Slash Your Grocery Bills

It takes money to keep a family well-fed. The average American spends $150 a week on groceries, and if your diet is rich in fruits and vegetables (as it should be), you’re probably spending more. If the cost of food is wreaking havoc on your on budget, here are some ways you can save money on groceries without compromising on the quality of the meals you’re serving up:

Plan Ahead

Some people get to the store, see what’s on sale, and make purchases based on what they think they need for the week. By doing this, you’re more likely to waste both money and time. Instead, plan out your meals before shopping and make a list of the ingredients you’re missing. This will enable you to stay focused when you hit the supermarket and help you avoid having to go back later in the week.

Track Your Inventory

A lot of people waste money on groceries by buying things they don’t actually need. One way to combat this is to keep an inventory spreadsheet of the things you have in your pantry and fridge. Print out an alphabetized, easy-to-scan copy before heading to the store, or make sure it’s accessible on your mobile phone. This way, you can compare what’s on sale to the things you already have stocked and avoid spending money on unnecessary supplies.

Get a Store Card

It’s usually not a good idea to open too many credit cards at once, but store cards aren’t like that. It makes sense to get a store card for every supermarket you shop at, including the ones you visit infrequently. Often, you need a store card to take advantage of sales and promotions. Some supermarkets, for example, offer holiday bonuses, like free turkeys around Thanksgiving time, for spending a certain amount of money the month before—a perk only available to cardholders.

Check for Digital Coupons

You may be used to checking the circulars that come in the mail for weekly sales and specials, but how often do you go online to look for deals? Many supermarkets offer additional savings via digital coupons, which you can find online and load to your store card. Remember, you won’t save money on groceries with coupons if you buy stuff you wouldn’t ordinarily buy just because you have a coupon.

Buy in Bulk, But Only When it Makes Sense

Buying in bulk can save you money if you do it wisely. If there are certain staple items that you use frequently, by all means, stock up if the price is right. But if the on-sale bulk item in question is not a popular one in your household, you’re probably better off passing up the so-called deal. Remember, even canned goods and pantry staples have expiration dates, and if you wind up throwing out food, you’ll have wasted money for no good reason. If the bulk price is truly unbeatable but you’re not sure you’ll use up your purchase before it goes bad, try finding friends, family members, or neighbors who might be willing to split the goods—and the cost.

Embrace the Season

Seasonal items tend to go on sale to coincide with consumer demand. Barbecue staples and condiments, for example, are usually available at a discount before holiday weekends, and baking supplies are often reduced in the weeks leading up to the holidays. If you start running low on non-essentials, before you restock, think about whether waiting a few weeks will bring you closer to a lower price.

Never Shop Hungry

It’s a tried and true piece of advice: The hungrier you are when you hit the supermarket, the more likely you are to make impulse purchases. Do your shopping after a meal, or grab a quick, energizing snack before you go. Otherwise you could wind up buying things that are not only bad for you, but bad for your wallet.