Are you a mom who wants to provide her family with a more natural life but think it’s impossible to afford?
You’re in luck, because providing your family with better, more wholesome foods and less toxic products can actually save you money.
Disclaimer: This doesn’t mean that all natural products or ways of life will save you money. Since many of these of products are produced to adhere more to quality than cost (Yay!), they often come at a higher price than their conventional counterparts.
However, when it comes to many items on this list, you can either do more of the work yourself or an initial investment will save you money in the long run.
In this post, I will show you the 10 top things natural moms do, and that you can do it, that save money!
1. Cooking from Scratch
When you move to a more “whole foods” diet (a way of cooking, not the grocery store), it might seem more expensive to buy individual ingredients. This is especially true if you have to buy a whole package when you only need a tablespoon or two.
This might seem like a bit of a shock when you’re first transitioning your kitchen over to more individual ingredients. However, with lots of ingredients, especially pantry staples, you won’t have to buy them again for every recipe or even every week.
While you might have an initial bit of sticker shock when buying whole packages of different ingredients, they can often last you through multiple meals.
By buying ingredients in bulk and cooking food yourself, your overall price per meal can often be lower than buying premade versions.
Cooking from scratch is also helpful because you know what is going into your food. That way, you won’t have to worry about random flavorings or preservatives that you would in most premade food. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can feed your family wholesome meals made from only a fraction of the ingredients
contained in something from the store.
It’s a win-win situation: healthier food that costs less!
2. Baking from Scratch
While there are baked goods with “good” ingredients available at all price points, baking them at home can save you money.
If you are strapped for time, just had a baby, or don’t trust in your baking skills (yet!), these premade products can help you feed your family healthier foods without spending a lot of time cooking.
When you buy the ingredients in bulk (or even a 10lb bag of flour if you’re just starting out), the cost per batch can be even lower. Homemade bread, whether it’s sourdough or yeast, can be made for just pennies a loaf compared to a store-bought whole wheat loaf you might get at a store.
Not confident enough in your baking skills yet to try bread? That’s fine! Here are a few simple baked goods that take no time to whip up, use good ingredients, and are just plain yummy!
3. Buying Less “Empty Calorie” Foods
When you start cooking with whole foods, including whole grains, meat, and full-fat dairy products, you might be surprised. You could feel fuller sooner, with less food, and stay fuller longer.
This is because many processed foods you’d buy from your local grocery or convenience store have been stripped of many of their nutrients and substance. They’re left with only carbs and sugar to give you a quick blood sugar/energy boost that leave you crashed and hungry not long after.
When you eat foods that have more substance to them, especially those with protein and fiber, you’re less likely to be so hungry that you or your kids need multiple between-meal snacks.
That isn’t to say that kids, with all the energy they burn playing, will never need a snack between lunch and supper. But hopefully it will cut down on the frequency of their snack breaks.
Buying less snack food, in addition to making your own when you do have snacks, can save you lots of money.
Need some ideas for snacks? Here are a few to try (in addition to the baked goods I linked to above):
- Homemade Trail Mix
- Fruit with (or without) dip
- Fruit Salad
- Veggies with (or without) dip
4. Using reusable products
Anything that can be reused over and over again has the potential to save you money.
This may not be the case for lower quality products that wear out before they’ve “paid themselves back”. However, when you buy a good quality product, it will pay itself back long before it has reached the end of its usefulness.
By reusing a product enough times, the cost per use can be the same or sometimes even less then its disposable counterpart.
Some examples of reusable products and their disposable counterparts include:
Washcloths instead of paper towels
Cloth napkins instead of paper napkins
Glass containers instead of disposable plastic containers
Stainless steel or glass water cup instead of bottled water
Reusable/refillable single serve coffee inserts for coffee maker instead of individual coffee pads
Plates, cups, and silverware instead of their disposable versions
Glass or stoneware pan instead of Disposable aluminum baking dishes
5. Cloth diapers
I purposely left this out of the above list because I feel like it has saved my family enough money that it deserves its own spot on the list.
I have found out that, for me, buying disposable diapers without all the chlorine or synthetic fragrances in them would cost me upwards of $60/month. That’s $720 per year!
Even if you buy cloth diapers brand new, they will pretty much have paid themselves back after only one year!
Considering that children are often in diapers for 2 to 2 1/2 years, you’re saving quite a bit of money even if you only use them for one kid. If you have multiple kids, that’s even more savings from one purchase!
Cloth Diapering on a Budget
I was blessed to have been given some pre-loved (clean) cloth diapers that just needed the elastic replaced. Since I already had elastic and thread, those diapers didn’t cost me a cent, just some time.
If you find someone who is done using cloth diapers or you’re willing to put in some work to fix some up, you can save quite a bit of money
compared to buying them brand new.
Cloth Wipes = The Perfect Cloth Diaper Companion
Another diapering item you can convert to cloth is wipes. While you can buy cloth wipes from a cloth diaper company, they’re really easy to make yourself.
All you need is some soft fabric and some pinking shears to cut them into wipe-sized squares or rectangles. Alternatively, you can also buy baby washcloths and use them as wipes.
I personally just wet the wipes down with water, so you don’t necessarily even need to bother with fancy wipe solutions.
Other Natural Alternatives for Moms
If you don’t have children, or your children are past the diapering stage, you don’t have to miss out. Another reusable product for women is reusable cloth pads.
While I haven’t personally used them yet because I’m still nursing my son and haven’t needed them, one of my favorite mom bloggers has a post on them
If you use cloth diapers, you can just toss them in the same wet bag and then into the washer really long side your diaper laundry.
If you have a baby and are looking for more ways to save money on baby stuff, check out this post
6. Line Drying Clothes
To me there’s just something about line-drying clothes and diapers that just makes me feel like I’ve reached the “natural mom” status. It makes me feel like my great-grandmother back before they had all the fancy electric household appliances.
I know it can take more time and effort to hang laundry on the clothesline instead of dumping it into the dryer, but it doesn’t take long. Plus, I f there’s sun and a slight breeze, your clothes can be dry in approximately the same amount of time as in the dryer.
Hanging your clothes on the line can save you maybe a couple dollars a month depending electricity prices and how much laundry you do.
It might not be much, but it can add up over time and is a good way to use less electricity, get some fresh air, and soak in some sunshine all at once.
7. Homemade Cleaning Products
However, you don’t need to buy any premade cleaning products, and not doing so can save you money.
How do you not buy cleaning products?
Well, just take a look in your kitchen. In your pantry and fridge, I’m sure you have lots of things that can be used to get your house sparklingly clean. These include:
How do you use these? Just search “homemade natural window cleaner” or “homemade natural tub scrub” or whatever type of cleaner you’d like to make.
Chances are, you’ll find one that you already have the ingredients for that will be just as effective, cheaper, and way less toxic than cleaning products from the store!
Whether you have a back porch and some pots, a large yard, or an acreage, you can start a garden.
Plants like herbs, tomatoes, and peppers don’t need much space to grow in and you only have to pay for one plant to get pounds of produce if it grows well.
While it does take a little money to get started gardening, chances are you’ll make that amount back in savings if your garden is at least semi-successful.
No matter what you choose to grow, it will almost definitely be cheaper than buying the imported produce found in stores, saving you money for only a little extra work.
In fact, there are so many way gardening can save you money, I wrote a whole post on it. Go check it out!
So, you have a garden. Now what?
A summer garden will only save you money on the summer’s grocery bill if you don’t have a way to preserve it for later use.
And while saving money even just a couple months out of the year is still money back in your pockets, preserving the summer’s bounty can help you continue saving you money year round.
There are many options for preserving, including drying, freezing, canning, fermenting, and storing in things in a cool location.
While some options work better than others, you’re bound to find a method that work for you and tastes great.
If you want some great resources for preserving your harvest, talk to your local library or extension office to see what they have to offer, or check out these resources.
If you’re like me, you think about “homesteading” and your mind immediately goes to living on a farm in the middle of nowhere, raising animals, and growing all your own food.
While that might be some people’s dream, and it definitely is part of mine, it might not be for others.
It might not be practical for you to raise chickens or have a really large garden right now be practical depending on your location or station in life. But if you dream of being more self-sufficient, you can start in smaller ways, back porch, back yard, acreage, or none of the above.
Whether you have a small porch garden and bake your own bread, or you go all out and buy a farm to raise chickens, cows, and wheat, moving toward raising or making your own for things you would normally buy can save you money. Just make sure you don’t overcomplicate it or spend a ton of money to get started and never follow through.
As with any of these ways to save money as a natural mom, it’s easiest to start small. Get one thing under your belt, then move to the next. Perfect one recipe before moving to the next.
Switch out one household or personal care product as your old ones run out. Don’t try to convert your whole cupboard all at once.
You don’t have to start all at once, and often it’s better to ease yourself into something so you have time to get used to it.
Pick one thing that interests you the most or that currently costs you the most money. Then move to the next. Pretty soon you’ll look back and see how far you’ve come, how much you’ve changed, and your body (and wallet) will thank you.