Planned or unplanned, the addition of children into one's lifestyle and the home does not happen without a significant adjustment to one's relationship with money. Not only does the millennial mom have to stay on course as a woman representing a transitional generation fighting to break barriers and stereotypes that have pigeonholed women of a certain age for decades, but we have to do it in a time and a country that is still healing from an economic recession.
Millennial moms have to be smart while also being frugal when it comes to both everyday expenses and more indulgent purchases. A large percentage of us are still paying off student loans that we may or may not have utilized in terms of procuring a career in the field we were educated in so we’ve got to pinch pennies for a myriad of reasons.
And let’s not forget that we are widely regarded as the most egotistical generation to date, meaning we’ve got to make being a mom look good while we invent new savvy ways to save.
We want the best for our children and we also understand that the nation’s economy isn’t what is was when we were growing up, therefore our financial decisions have to reflect that. Luckily, we’ve created and perfected some interesting methods for budgeting when it comes to raising babies, running a household, and paving the way for the next generation of moms that follow us.
The stigma associated with wearing clothes from your local second hand store has thankfully virtually disappeared. Gone are the days when labels like Nike and Adidas absolutely have to adorn the feet and bodies of the tiny humans on the playground. It’s not necessarily about the brand of clothes your kids are wearing anymore as long as it looks cute, and since the window of opportunity for children’s clothing is about three seconds, you can usually find some pretty cute items at a used goods store. Moms these days love to brag about their newest bargain vintage gems and their kids are either totally on board or too young to care.
With it’s catchy beat and satirical, yet surprisingly fiscally responsible message, Macklemore’s ‘Thrift Shop’ made all of us want to grab twenty bucks and head down to our own thrift shop; and when you can come out with the foundations of a new-to-you Fall wardrobe for your little one, it really is effing awesome!
If you give a millennial woman a smart phone and twenty minutes, she can find out more information about her ex boyfriend, your ex boyfriend or any of the women that they are currently dating, with more accuracy and efficiency than a private investigator. So it only makes sense that the ability to ‘creep’ social media serves as a handy dandy transferable skill when it comes to hunting for the best deals.
A millennial mom knows the best flyer apps, she’s set up to receive text or e-mail notifications when her favourite products are on sale or when the best services are being discounted, and she knows the best websites for markdown shopping. Whether we’re purchasing for our kids or ourselves, the rush that accompanies the satisfaction of getting that great deal far outweighs knowing that your ex and his new woman spent last Thursday night at the gym doing crossfit.
Moms have been multitasking since before we could walk up right. With our twenty-first century schedules busier than ever, we’ve turned this essential parenting skill up a notch. Moms seem to be able to channel a higher level of brain functioning to accomplish an impossible amount of tasks at once. Millennial moms in particular have perfected this craft. Advancements in technology have made the mundane tasks of motherhood faster and more convenient in most cases.
With the help of household appliances and a smart phone we’re able to nurse a baby while we simultaneously wash dishes, do laundry, answer an email, make an appointment, plan a meal and balance the budget. We thank all of the moms that have paved the way for us to cram a week’s worth of household maintenance into an hour, because ultimately, when you save time, you most likely end up saving money.
Most children might be lucky enough to wear that really cute outfit that grandma bought for them once before it not longer fits. Children grow out of toys and clothes at a rate that makes providing these items for them in brand new condition rather expensive. Millennial moms understand the benefit of swapping gently used items and/or selling items that their children have outgrown to other moms in need at a fraction of the cost.
One mom gets to recoup some of the cost of something her or her child no longer requires and another mom gets a steal of deal. It’s a win-win. There are countless platforms that make these sort of exchanges possible. Whether it’s Craigslist, Kijiji, Letgo, or Facebook, we know how to put our ‘creeping’ skills to use to avoid the inflated prices at department stores or baby boutiques. And since kids grow out of their stuff so quickly the quality is often rarely compromised.
Pinterest may have been created by a couple of guys but it’s women that made ‘Pinning’ an art form. Mom’s in particular collect and share inspiration for literally everything on Pinterest and it makes us feel like we can decorate the world on a dime. Millennial moms don’t have to aspire to be Martha Stewart, or watch hours of HGTV to master a specific decor theme to craft like a boss.
With the apps and countless how-to instructional videos that are available, we can do anything from reupholster an antique chair to constructing a to-scale solar system diorama. No need to buy Halloween outfits for the kids, we can make them ourselves. It’s not necessary to go spend time and money scouring stores for things like costumes or even the perfect household accent piece. You want to turn that vintage suitcase into a chic looking bedside table for less than fifty bucks, go ahead girl, there’s a pin for that!
If you want to eat healthy, control portions and avoid the temptation of ordering out, all while staying on budget, talk to a millennial mom about weekly meal preparation. Meal prep has become a science and millennial moms have the formula that ensures that their families are getting the nutrition they deserve while saving time and money after a long day of work or taking care of little ones. Not to mention the benefits of not being stressed about the ‘what to have for dinner tonight’ dilemma.
Mom’s generally spend one day a week cooking and organizing meals that simply require reheating for the upcoming days. With a meal preparation schedule, menus are planned in advance allowing you to shop for just the things you need. This eliminates some of the impulse purchases you make while strolling down the aisles of your grocery store racking your brain in hopes that something will jump off the shelf and give you recipe inspiration.
Millennial moms love a natural substitute for conventional mothering practices and we’re quick to jump on a trend as it’s emerging. For centuries, there were no synthetic diaper options and moms cared for their babies’ bottoms the only way that was available to them. Cloth diapers have increased significantly in popularity over the last decade as a choice rather than a necessity and while many mothers may have opted out on disposables for the environmentally friendly aspects of reusable nappies, research has emerged over the last few years suggesting that the production of cloth diapers and the extra carbon emissions from doing laundry more frequently may, in fact, be just as harmful to the environment as the alternative.
Regardless of whether or not you choose to go green to clean your baby’s brown messes, reusable diapers still end up saving hundreds of dollars a year compared to buying single-use baby bumwear.
Although breast feeding has been highly politicized lately with actresses like Olivia Wilde, Alyssa Milano, and Mayim Bialik speaking out in an effort to rid the stigma surrounding public breastfeeding, it really boils down to the physical capability of the mother and her personal choice of whether breastfeeding is ultimately the best decision for her and her newborn. There are plenty of legitimate reasons for and against it and we’re lucky to have access to an alternative if need (or want) be.
The mom shamers out there that quote scientific studies showing that test scores are higher among children that are breast fed vs children that are formula fed, giving new mothers undue guilt and anxiety, need to realize that the majority of these studies are done without taking into consideration crucial factors such as environment, socioeconomic status and accessibility to educational resources.
In fact, in the few studies that have been done where different children of the same household were fed breastmilk and formula respectively there were no significant differences in illness immunities or intelligence; however, the fact remains that considering breastmilk is completely free, it will always be the most cost effective choice.
Gender neutrality is totally ‘in’ right now and it just so happens to be a parenting style that can save you a lot of money, particularly if you plan on having more than one child. If you decide to blur the gender roles for your children you don’t have to worry about painting the nursery and buying clothes that are the right shades of pink or blue. Under gender neutrality guidelines, hand me downs are super convenient wether you have mixed or same sex siblings.
So what if your son plays with dolls or your daughter plays with trucks? Fashion designers and clothing retailers are already embracing the trend with colours like navy blue and grey being prevalent among children’s clothing options for boys and girls. It seems as though the jury is still out on the psychological effects of raising children under this philosophy but the benefits to your pocket book when you don’t have to buy a new set of everything to fit a particular gender stereotype makes it something worth considering.
Coupons are a millennial mom’s best friend. The coupon craze got so intense for a while that TLC decided to document those folks that took saving a few bucks to a whole new level on the show ‘Extreme Couponing’. And wouldn’t you know that many of the women on the program were young millennial moms. They dedicated hours a week to collecting, organizing and sorting coupons and planned their trips to the store with the precision of a tactical SWAT unit, often ending up being owed money upon completion of their transactions.
Couponing isn’t just limited to cutting squares from a flyer insert. The really savvy coupon moms know where to find the best product and vendor coupons online too; and then they’ll find a coupon that saves money on the ink used to print them off. They know the ways to save on everything from cereal to deodorant and have the stock piles to prove it. These stay at home moms prove that a housewife’s work can pay in a big way.
Children of millennial moms are often overstimulated as a result of the overwhelming lifestyles we lead and the overexposure to screens and toys that practically assault their senses. Melissa and Doug is a company that believes that the children of this generation are being robbed of the process of forming an imagination and they create toys that are geared toward sharpening cognitive skills that will help your child problem solve as they get older.
Moms don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on gaming consoles or race tracks that have seventeen different lights and and a dozen different noises that sound off every few seconds. Let your child master the art of finishing a solid wood dinosaur puzzle and bask in the sense of accomplishment he or she feels when they complete it correctly. This particular brand of toys are made so well that they’ll take the beating that your toddler will inevitably give them, and then some, without mom having to spend money to replace them every few months.
With all of the scary events happening around the world, millennial moms don’t necessarily have the luxury of letting their children play outdoors until the street lights come on. But that doesn’t mean that we keep them inside under constant supervision in a protective bubble. Moms have to be creative about socializing their children in a safe, yet unhovering way. Many communities acknowledge the need for kids to have a protected place where they can just be kids and are making efforts to build more playgrounds, splash pads and skateparks where they can hang out while parents hang on to their money.
A picnic at the playground costs far less than taking your child to a movie these days and a play date can be beneficial for the kids as well as for mom. Depending on their age, most children need to have a certain amount of physical separation from their mothers and coffee with a friend while your kids play together on the jungle gym can provide a welcome and overdue feeling of relaxation that money can’t buy.
What new mom doesn’t have at least a thousand pictures right now on her camera roll? The answer is zero. All millennial moms are practically pro photographers. We’ve graduated from Duck Face College and have moved on to taking pictures of smaller subjects who don’t mind looking a little plump; in fact, their robustness is celebrated. We have so many pictures of our babies playing, eating, sleeping, and growing that their childhoods are visually documented in obnoxious detail.
We fill our social media feeds with baby spam because we always have a camera handy and who doesn’t want to see little Jackson on the potty? Our photography skills undoubtedly come in handy when it’s time to take the family holiday greeting card photo or when your kid blinked in their school picture. No need to spend hundreds of dollars at a professional studio, just whip out your iPhone and snap away.
Millennial moms do not pay for cable. We know that the best way to utilize our budget for in-house entertainment is with a good wifi connection. Even at it’s newly inflated price of $14 a month, Netflix is still the best and most reliable source of television amusement for children (and adults). Overexposure to television and other electronic screens can obviously be detrimental to your small child’s development but it can also be the saving grace you so desperately need in those times of complete and utter chaos.
I don’t know of a single parent that hasn’t relied on the vivid colours and the catchy songs of a cartoon that entertains and distracts their children while they throw on a load of laundry, do the dishes, or simply require a few chaos-free moments of tiny human stillness. With the abundance of educational programs available on Netflix, this streaming service is definitely the smartest choice.
Check a millennial mom’s wallet and you will find a loyalty card for each shopping location within a fifty mile radius. Wether you’re getting discounts, receiving cash back or collecting points, moms know it pays to have a savings card for any and every store. These programs are often geared toward women, and mom’s more specifically because store owners know that we take the time to ensure that our dollars are spent wisely.
With most goods and services available online, brick and mortar retailers need to go the extra metaphorical mile to ensure that moms will drive a physical mile or two to part with their money instead of doing so from the comfort of their own homes with just the click of a button. While some of these so-called ‘savings’ cards are bogus and recoup whatever savings you think you’ve earned with inflated prices, there are others that make it worth your while to shop at the store they're attached to. Ask any mom if she’d like to get savings or discounts on things like groceries and gasoline and the only answer you’ll get is, “sign me up!”
Mila Kunis responded beautifully after being asked why her and husband, Ashton Kutcher have decided not to give their children gifts for Christmas this year when she said, “Yeah, we’re not gonna raise a**holes”. Obviously, the two former That 70’s Show co-stars aren’t exactly worried about the financial burden that holidays can have on parents but the A Bad Moms Christmas star makes a valid point. It’s completely unnecessary to spend ridiculous amounts of money for birthdays and holidays that your young child will neither appreciate nor remember.
These lavish gestures are usually self serving - not in a bad way though - it’s often quite innocent for parents to want to see the smile on their children’s faces when they open a particular gift but it can quickly become overwhelming and ultimately foster ungrateful behaviours and attitudes later on. Focus on small, multi beneficial gifts for your kids in those first few years and save your money while you can; their tastes get far more expensive as they grow!
Millennial mom’s are especially conflicted when it comes to finding the perfect work/life balance. We love our children; we want to watch them grow and feel like we’re actively involved in the process, but many mothers feel guilty when they have to reenter the workforce shortly after giving birth. Women and mothers all over the world are feeling more empowered than we have in recent generations and in the spirit of female empowerment we are seeing the millennial mom entrepreneur.
Millennial moms are finding ways to combine staying at home to raise their children while still contributing to the household income and they’re doing it in ways that only they could have come up with. We see moms that are able to monetize blogging with affiliate advertising or moms who offer automated online health and wellness coaching. These endeavours can be accomplished with part-time input and in some cases receive a full-time profit with minimal disruptions to your ideal lifestyle.
Life expectancy rates have been steadily increasing throughout the world for over a century now and as a result we saw women’s priorities begin to shift away from starting a family at a young age. The pressure to find a suitable mate and procreate before you’ve exited adolescence has thankfully begun to subside. Millennial moms are educated and many of them finished college, got a job and bought a house before they even considered having a baby.
A lot of millennials choose to have a sense of financial stability before they enter into motherhood which is why we’re the smartest generation of consumers. Our twenties, and maybe even our thirties can be about exploring our own identities rather than settling down with another person before we truly understand ourselves. Advancements in reproductive technology mean that you can slap on an iWatch and disregard the sound of that biological clock ticking for a few years longer.
Marie Kondo began the mainstream movement of decluttering and tossing aside any personal possessions that don’t ‘spark joy’. Her philosophy claims that if you touch a belonging and it doesn’t immediately elicit a joyful emotion then it is simply cluttering up your life. While moms no doubt have about a million things around the house that have to be there out of necessity (like diapers, breast pumps, Lego, Frozen paraphernalia, etc) that don’t exactly bring them joy, millennials are opting to engage in a more minimalist lifestyle.
Years ago a new mom couldn’t be seen in public without an entire arsenal of baby gear protruding from every pocket or storage compartment available to her but nowadays, simple, clean lines dictate on-trend design themes and the knick-knacks of the nineties are so passé. Organization and functionality win out over obnoxiously over preparing, which saves us countless dollars on essentially useless items.
Mom’s make thousands of small decisions everyday so it’s no surprise that millennial moms make the majority of their household financial decisions, too. Women have a better aptitude for foresight than their male counterparts and there’s often a more stringent thought process involved when a woman has to come to a conclusion about matters pertaining to family and household spending.
Quite often women have a better understanding of how to distribute income effectively ensuring that daily and future expenses are accounted for. The millennial mom has researched the products that she uses to cook, clean and care for her children so she knows which consumer goods she’s willing to compromise quality over price for and the ones that are non-negotiable. When it’s time to make a big purchase like a family vehicle, you can bet that mom had the final say; just take a look around at how many dads are unwillingly driving minivans.