Clever Ways Your Mom Saved Money When You Were a Kid

Parent saving tips

RebatesMe 05/04/20 (PDT)

When you are a kid, finances are the last thing on your mind. But your mom - oh she probably thought about it constantly. Looking back, there are certain things you might have thought were part of the normal routine, but in fact, were actually little ways to save a bit of money.

Here’s a few things your mom might have done in order to save some extra dough.

She Air Dried Clothes

Why waste electricity using a dryer when you have the power of the sun? Air drying clothes is a great way to finish your laundry without using another machine. A bit more laborious than a dryer, however if done constantly this method can save a lot on the electric bill.

During the winter this might not have been an option, unless she was the type to have clothes hangers with wet clothes hanging out by the heating vents - then nothing could slow her down.

Every Trip was a Road Trip

Even when grandma lived 1,000 miles away, you always got into the car and drove. Stepping foot on an airplane was unheard of. Flying is expensive after all.

Now then, flying can be cheaper sometimes, especially with gas prices, vehicle wear and tear, and hotel expenses. But the more kids are in a household, the less and less it becomes a viable option. Each added plane ticket and piece of luggage adds up. Plus flying with kids is usually just a major headache anyways. It’s no wonder some moms want to drive everywhere.

Also, shout out to the parents that drove through the night to avoid hotels.

She Used Bread as a Meatloaf Filler

If you weren’t part of a meatloaf household, then this isn’t for you. If you were, then this might have been a little trick a lot of mom’s pulled. Meatloaf is a great stable dish for feeding a family full of kids, and two common staples of the dish are usually bread and meat.

Since meat is more expensive, it’s not uncommon to skimp out a little on the meat and add a bit more bread instead. The difference is often negligible and can be a handy little trick if there are many mouths to feed.

No Was the Only Answer to the Question "Can I Have a Dog?

Most kids want some kind of furry companion. And most parents don’t want to deal with it. Yes, owning a dog is a big responsibility (and this is most likely what your mom told you when you asked), but owning a dog is also expensive.

Vaccines, food costs, toys, and more add up. Not having a dog around makes a lot of sense for the budget-minded mom. But of course, breaking down the finances of pet ownership to a 7-year-old is tough, so a simple no or “maybe when you’re older” usually suffices.

Gave you Endless Hand-me-downs

Unless you were an only child, it’s likely you were given a large number of hand-me-downs over the years. This is probably the most universal method moms use to save a lot of money.

Kids grow up fast, what fits one year won’t the next. Hand-me-downs are a great way of getting more use out of the clothes your mom purchased for your sibling.

Mom’s who bought gender-neutral clothing were especially forward-thinking in this regard.

She Stocked Up on Gifts Year Round

If your mom had Christmas, Birthday, and other presents hanging around the house months before the actual event, chances are she was either just really into planning ahead, or she was a tactical shopper who knew when she was getting the best deal.

Shopping off-season is a great little money-saving tip for anyone. Why wait till December for that perfect gift when its on super sale in August?

Mom’s here were also the masters of hype. Telling you months and months in advance that that specific gift you wanted more than anything was “ridiculous” or “too expensive” only to reveal it to you at the perfect moment.

She Was Your Barber - Even Without Experience

If you didn’t have a great hairdo growing up, it might not have been your fault. Mom’s everywhere have been self-anointing themselves as child barbers for decades as a way of saving some money. After all, how hard could it be cutting a kids hair?

Turns out, its just as hard as cutting anybody’s hair. The only real difference is that your mom was pretty confident that you didn’t have an important interview or date coming up. Mistakes in that capacity were then deemed acceptable.

That’s why the buzz cut is the most popular style for self-made barbers. It's hard to go wrong when the instructions are simply “cut until there’s less hair”.

Your Grandparents Were Your Official Babysitter

For busy parents, having a babysitter becomes essential. The cheapest way of going about it is by using family members to take care of you instead of paying someone else.

This is actually a big win-win. Your parents get to drop you off with someone they trust and for free, and your grandparents get to spend quality time with their grandkids.

You Never Had Cable

Cable was expensive. For busy moms with no time to enjoy it for themselves, why splurge? Besides, you could get access to Big Bird on the public station – what else did you really need as a kid? It's not like you had 5 to 1 stake on a UCLA pre-season game.

She Mended Everything By Hand

Pants, jeans, blankets, curtains, it didn’t matter, if it had a tear, your mom fixed it with a needle and some string. Being a master sewer is a great way to save some money, especially with kids in the house.

Here’s an important lesson, if you have a mom that sews and you don’t know how to yet, ask her how. It’s a great skill to have and whether or not you have kids, it’s a great way to save money on some minor clothing hiccups.

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