I co-hosted a Blogger Briefing this week on behalf of Kodak for a group of influential mom bloggers. I shared some savings tips (see previous post) and then asked for their ideas. As I expected, they had some terrific ones. Here are just a few quick highlights:
-Heather from LittleMissKnowItAll.com suggested dumping Netflix or other movie-by-mail services in favor of RedBox, where you can get first-run movies for $1 a night. (There are 12,000 locations, including one right in front of my local grocery store, so I’m planning to give it a try.) Heather adds that RedBox often promotes codes online for a free movie to get consumers to try the service, so do a Yahoo search (or check her site for the codes).
-Nicole from Mom Trends, whose blog focuses on style, just redecorated a nursery by throwing a bright splash of color on just one wall (requiring one can of paint rather than three) and using wall decals rather than expensive wallpaper. She also recommends repurposing artwork — the most expensive part of framing is the frame and the glass, she points out. Remove a tired print, buy a new mat and frame pictures of the kids.
-Nicole also recommends finding a food co-op in your area to save on groceries; she belongs to one of the nation’s largest — the Park Slope Food Co-op, which has 14,000 members. You have to volunteer a few hours a month, but Nicole says the savings are worth it! To search for a co-op near you, click here.
-Amy from Selfishmom.com says giving an allowance to her four- and seven-year-old saves money. The kids know that certain treats — such as the ice cream from the truck jingling its way up the street — have to be paid for out of their personal stash. (I’ve also found giving kids control of their own purse strings also cuts down on the “Mom, can I have….” every time you walk into Target.)
-Marcy of The Glamorous Life Association is a big fan of bartering. She trades advertising on her blog for kids’ services, getting a 50 percent discount on her son’s Tae Kwon Do class and free entertainment for one of her kid’s birthday parties. “They were thrilled with the trade,” she says. “It never hurts to ask!”
-As for family vacations, Christine from FromDatestoDiapers just took her six kids to Las Vegas for the week. Rent a unit that has a mini-kitchen, or at least request a microwave, she advises. (Some hotels send them to the room, just as they’d send an extra cot.) Buying cereal and muffins for breakfast and packing snacks while touring saves on the budget; click here for her funny observations on the trip.
We usually rent a condo and buy groceries on vacation, but Katja from Skimbacolifestyle offered an idea I hadn’t heard before: If you bring food from home, freeze a case of juice boxes and put them in the bottom of the cooler. Her family travels everywhere by car, and she swears this keeps the food in the cooler cold for three days.
Thanks to all the mom bloggers who participated in the briefing for their tips! I would love to hear your tips as well. You can comment here or email me at laura at laurarowley.com.
(Full disclosure: I am the spokesperson for Kodak’s Print & Prosper campaign. However, Kodak did not pay for this post, I just really liked these ideas. M&H.com does not accept payment for posts.)