Cutting Our Shopping Bills Through Strength: A Guest Post

Be Bold and Strong by Mary Heston

Cutting our shopping bills through strength!

Many moms hold many titles within their family corporation. They are Janitors, Lunch lady, Nurse, Tutor, and many more job titles. One of the most important jobs we share is CFO (chief financial officer) in charge of making sure our family budget stretches to its maximum without going over.

As the editor of Stayathomemom for the past 15 years I hear from Moms all the time who are
concerned about managing their family budget. Here are some of our favorite tips to take charge of our family finances.

1. Turn off the TV

If someone says that we are not affected by commercial advertising then it is a wonder why companies will spend millions of dollars to advertise for 30 seconds during the Superbowl. Yes we are impressed by commercials and TV news. If you are going to watch TV then plan ahead and TIVO your favorite show and watch TV on your terms.

Don’t ever compare yourself with anyone on TV. You live your life with strength and beauty in your own way.

Our kids are particularly susceptible to TV commercials. It is best to just turn off the TV from November to the end of December and stick with DVDs or Netflix. Even then you have to watch which kids shows you are watching as more and more companies rely on product placement to get their message through on the movies our kids are watching.

2. Cruise the Perimeter and stick to the list

When you are grocery shopping stay out of the middle of the store as much as possible. Stay in the fresh food section for a healthier food selection. Many stores will have their discounted sections either right at the front or all the way in the back. Check out the closeout cans and stock up on canned food when you can but check expiration dates. Avoid the middle of the grocery unless you have something that is on your list. Then go in quickly and get out as fast as you can.

Remember, the grocery stores often put the biggest impulse foods for our kids right at their eye level. So, teach them early that when you go to the grocery store you only buy what is on the list. That will mean that you have to stick to what is on the list as well. You have to teach your kids by example on this one. (Check this out for more on this topic.)

3. Talk to yourself

For the most part, if people see someone talking to themselves they would worry that that person just might be crazy. Crazy like a fox! When you are about to jump in and buy something exciting that is off the list remember to talk to yourself and ask yourself one little question – Is this purchase going to make me stronger or will this make me weaker. If the answer is unclear then clearly it is in the weaker column.

Only make purchases that make you and your family stronger.

4. Take the eBay test.

Recently, I did this myself and it was brutal. Walk around your house and look at EVERYTHING.

Then ask yourself if you could sell each item on eBay. The answer may be yes but of course you
would never sell that item on eBay because it has a lot of sentimental meaning to you. But there will be a lot of items that you could let go of and that you could sell on eBay (so do that). There will also be a lot of things in your house that you will look at and find that they share two qualities: 1) you could never sell that on eBay because it wouldn’t make any money and 2) that you are not emotionally attached to. Get a box and get the stuff that does not pass the eBay test out of your house. Now.

5. Family Game Night

Spend a Friday night sitting on the floor playing board games, card games, or story games with your kids. Or sit around taking turns telling each other about your favorite stories or jokes that you heard over the past week.

Then look around. Your kids will have loved spending the time with you. Tally up the cost of your
evening. Your kids want to spend time with you having silly fun. It makes them feel loved and it
makes them feel safe. You can’t put a dollar amount on that.

A couple of years ago I was invited to a Mother’s Day Tea at my daughters school. Many of the kids got up and read a prepared statement about their favorite memories of the times they have spent with their moms. None of the kids talked about Disneyland or shopping at the big shopping center. They all talked about making cookies or sitting with Mom doing laundry. All of the kids talked about their favorite moments spent with Mom and they were all quiet moments doing what we might consider “nothing”.

Be Bold and Strong. You make your family stronger when you make strong purchase decisions.
Remember that the most priceless gift you can give your child is your time.

Mary Heston is editor of Stay in touch with Stayathomemom on Facebook at or Twitter at

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