Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lists: A Single Mother's Best Friend

I think, as a mother, I can honestly say that without lists, I would be useless. They do for me what my short-term memory is no longer capable of. (By the way, new mothers are allowed to end sentences with a preposition, up until their baby sleeps through the night. It's a new grammar rule. Look it up.)

Sometimes, though, even a regular chicken-scratch-on-the-back-of-the-pharmacy-receipt list is just not enough to get me through the day. Here are some excellent tools for creating Super Lists that will not only make your more organized, but save you money, too.

Grocery Lists
Immediately sign up for Shortcuts.com. If you shop with a rewards card at any grocery store (Kroger grocery stores, such as Dillon's, are one such grocery store with free rewards cards), you can download all kinds of extra coupons directly to your rewards card. You can also get cell phone coupons for places like Taco Bell. Plus, a nifty-difty feature lets you organize an online grocery list, automatically reminding you which products (everything from diapers to yogurt) you have coupons for. Just print off the list, and bam! You're good to go.

To-Do Lists
Sign up for Cozi and create the ultimate interactive to-do list. The service will send you reminders-- or anyone else who might need to remember when it's time for your toddler's antibiotics (your mom, babysitter, baby's daddy, etc)! It also keeps track of appointments and runs as a cellphone app. In addition, if you sign up now, you can get a free hardcover photo album of your digital prints.

Where'd-My-Money-Go? Lists
The free service Mint is an all-in-one budgeting tool-- allowing you to plan your budgets, and see where your money actually went. It's nearly effortless, too-- It automatically downloads and categorizes your finances and transactions.

Wish Lists
If, anticipating the holiday season, your child has refused in advance to wear any itchy mauve knit sweaters from Great-Aunt Mirabel, you may be in need of the Wish List from Toys R Us. Basically, it follows the same principles of a baby registry or wedding registry: you only get hand towels in a color that goes wit the rest of your bathroom. Or, in kid terms, you get exactly the Nintendo DS Pokemon Pearl videogame you wanted, and you don't wind up with the unwanted (but, to adults, seemingly similar-sounding) Gameboy Advance Pokemon Diamond.

With the help of these lists, you can become (or at least seem like) a mom who has it all together.

And don't feel bad if you next print-off grocery list reads as: 'Milk, Eggs, Vodka.'

You're not alone.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Single Mom: the stay-at-home/ working-mom combo

When you don't have a partner to lend a hand, you basically have to be two people at once-- both the stay-at-home mom who tends to the children and the house (cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, helping with homework, coaching PeeWee soccer, etc), as well as the bread-winning working mother who supports her family (unless you regularly and reliably receive a massive child support check... hahaha riiiight...).

With the doubling up on more jobs than one person can reasonably do, we'd all like to spend a little less time at work... but we need the money (Remember, money does not make happiness; money frees us to do the things that make us happy). Here are some ways to save some money or make some money on the side, so we can cut back on the overtime and spend those hours relaxing... er, working our second job as a stay-at-home mom! =)

We all want to afford the best for our children, but you don't have to pay big-time for name-brand! Get discounts-- and freebies-- with the Name Brand Mommy.

Just switch from Google to Swagbucks, and every time you use the search engine, you'll have the chance to win points. Points are redeemable for giftcards, Apple products, cell phone ringtones, designer clothes, and other stuff you'd like to buy for your kids (or you!).

Ever wonder if other mothers have a baby with an oozey belly button? Want to share your secret tip for stopping tantrums? Need advice on how to deal with your baby's daddy? Join the message boards at MyLot. Just post questions and reply to others, and earn money just for being active.

If you make money online and want to share the secrets to your success, or you want to find out how to work from home from other mothers who've actually done it, consider joining Moms Making Money Online. This great site allows you to exchange resources with moms across the world who get to stay at home (Wouldn't that be nice? Only having to work ONE 24/7 highly-demanding job?).

I hope these resources can help you spend a little less time at the office! And if you have some more tips for other moms out there with the same dilemma, be sure to share the wealth and post your tips-- either as a comment here, or on a site such as MyLot or Moms Making Money Online! Thanks!

And like always, kudos to you and your wonderful kids. =)