The Frugal Ways Of A Single Mom or Dad

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How to Save More Money, Time, and Energy as a Single Parent

When you’re a single mom, frugal living is a priority that can make your life easier and more enjoyable. These tricks will help you manage your home, your kids, and your life in ways that help you stretch those dollars even further than you already are.

Make room for what really matters with these frugal savings tips for single moms and dads.


1. Teach Your Kids Life Skills and Get Their Help

Almost all kids want to be involved in what you do. Take advantage of their interest by teaching them valuable life skills—and get a helping hand around the house.

Once they’re old enough, they can help you in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. As soon as they’re capable of using the washer and dryer, they can do laundry. They can help you fold laundry from an even younger age. The best part is that these hold house chores can be exciting for them while also building valuable mental and physical dexterity.

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Everything you do, they will need to learn—so why not teach them now? From dressing themselves to teaching their own younger siblings, your kids are eager to learn and more able than you might think. Take some of the pressure of yourself and do your kids a favor by asking for their help.

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2. Make Cheap Meals a Priority

A lot of families waste money on expensive food that isn’t nutritious. Cut out extravagant ingredients and junk food that you don’t need. Soda, candies, chips, cookies, and the like will just run up your grocery bill and leave your family hungry for more.

Instead, opt for cheap and nutritious meals that include things like roasted vegetables, affordable proteins, and canned beans. Oh, and the idea that fresh veggies are healthier than frozen veggies is a myth. So, stock up on those healthy frozen foods when they’re on sale!

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3. Build a Vegetable Garden with Your Kids

What’s even better than getting veggies on sale? Growing them at home! This savings hack could save you enormous amounts of money depending on how large you scale your garden. Choose family favorites like eggplants, zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, and more to make garden-fresh vegetable medleys. Whatever you can’t eat, you can freeze or can to consumer later.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can add fresh herbs like basil, thyme, rosemary, mint, and cilantro to the mix, too!

4. Learn the Art of Recycling Leftovers

Throwing food away is like putting money in the garbage, which means if you want to live a more frugal lifestyle, you should avoid food waste at all costs.

Leftovers don’t need to get boring. Most foods freeze well, and others can be “recycled” into something new. Some of the best foods can make great toppings, fillings, or ingredients for things like pizzas, strombolis, fried rice, soups, and casseroles. Don’t be afraid to get creative and search for unique recipes!  

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Oh, and if you throw a lot of food away because your kids don’t always finish their plates, let them serve themselves in smaller portions and take more from the “community” bowl if they’re still hungry.

5. Feed Kids Inexpensive Snacks 

Even though you’re not buying junk anymore, you can still serve your kids some sweet snacks. Here are a few inexpensive snack ideas you can try:

  • crackers and peanut butter
  • toast or bread with honey
  • apple slices and peanut butter
  • dark chocolate and graham crackers (heated in the microwave for a soft cookie substitute)

You can also create a mock Lunchables by giving them a kids’ charcuterie board that includes everything above, plus:

  • grapes
  • banana slices
  • orange slices
  • preserves, jam, or jelly
  • salami, pepperoni, or ham
  • cheese slices

Get creative and add your kids’ favorites to the board!

6. Stock Up During Sales

If you can afford to, stock up during sales on non-perishable pantry items and frozen foods. You can save serious money in the long run just from being smart and strategic about grocery shopping. Also, consider buying these items in bulk at stores like Costco and Sam’s Club.

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7. Teach Kids About Conservation and Sustainability

Let’s be honest. Kids waste more money than just the food they throw away. Toothpaste, toilet paper, shampoo, paper towels—even water and electricity—all become increased expenses when they don’t need to be.

When you teach your kids the little things about conservation and sustainability, they can start saving you money around the house. Show them why it’s important and how to take quick showers, turn off the faucet when brushing their teeth, and use fewer paper products.


8. Don’t Let Spending Money Become a Habit

For some parents, spending money becomes a bad habit: eating out at restaurants, buying takeout and fast food, going to the movies, window-shopping trips that turn into actual shopping trips—you get the idea.

Avoid the unnecessary expenses that add up by making things meals out and movie trips reserved celebratory spends for special occasions.

9. Lower the Water Bill with Low-Flow Faucets

In addition to teaching your kids to conserve water, you can lower your water bill by installing low-flow faucets in places like sinks and showers. The best part is that they’ll also help increase your water pressure while reducing the water output!

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10. Do Less Laundry 

Laundry is an expense that slowly eats away at your wallet—but it’s also one you can’t erase. You can reduce it, though. Go through less water, soap, dryer sheets, and electricity with these simple tips.

First, start showering at night instead of in the morning. Going to bed clean means that your sheets will stay cleaner longer. Also, reuse your bath towels. Just because it’s wet doesn’t mean it’s dirty. Hang your towel up to dry, and then reuse it for a week or so before washing it. If you have a hard time with moisture (and mildew) in the bathroom, consider creating places for everyone’s towel in their bedroom or (if you have one) in the hall near the bathroom.

You can also re-wear clothes that aren’t dirty. Even though you or your kids wore it once doesn’t mean that it needs to be washed. Consider creating a not-so-dirty bin for your kids to put worn clothes that they can wear again.

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