10 Easy Ways to Save Money During the School Year

Raising a family isn't cheap! So while you can't put a price tag on the joy and love that kids bring into our lives, Mighty Mommy shares 10 easy ways families can start saving money today.

Cheryl Butler
7-minute read
Episode #293

Right now, millions of families across the country are all focused on a common goal: transitioning their kids from vacation mode to a brand new school year. And along with getting back into more structured school-year routines, we're also spending more time and money shopping for supplies, new clothes, electronics, and a multitude of other odds and ends that our kids will need to kick off another year of learning and adventures.

One thing we can all agree on is that it costs families a small fortune to take care of even these basic back-to-school necessities--never mind everything else that will come up throughout the rest of the year, even for one child.

According to a business report from CNN Money, it will cost an estimated $241,080 for a middle-income couple to raise a child born last year for 18 years, based on a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report. That's up almost 3% from 2011, and doesn't even include the cost of college. These staggering figures can truly take your breath away, and as a parent of 8 kids (three of whom are in college,) I know that raising kids ain't cheap!

To help, I am sharing 10 easy ways you can start saving money today. Whether you have one child or 8, if you begin implementing some of these simple strategies, you will soon hear some extra "ca-ching" in your bank account..

Tip #1:  Save on Energy Costs

The average U.S. household spends about $1,900 a year on energy costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. And the DOE says that anywhere from 5% to 10% of your residential electricity is sapped by devices that are plugged in 24 hours a day.

Experts say that while most plugged-in appliances generally only eat up low levels of electricity (just about a watt or two). some electronics--like computers and TVs (which most of our families are plugged into nearly 24/7)--consume a lot more power, even when they're just in standby mode. And it's the cumulative effect of having so many devices plugged in around the clock that can really add up--hurting your efforts to be both eco-friendly and cost-conscious. So here's a quick rundown of a dozen household appliances and electronics you should unplug to save both energy and money:

  • Desktop computers
  • Laptop computers
  • Televisions
  • DVD players and VCRs
  • Modems
  • Cable TV boxes
  • Cordless phones
  • Stereos and radios
  • Coffeemakers
  • Lamps
  • Toasters
  • iPods and electronic gadgets sapping energy from a plug-in transformer

We started by unplugging our toaster, phone chargers, and laptop computers, and within six months, we had saved nearly $450 on our electric bill! Ca-ching!


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.