For the majority of my high school career, my mother was in school finishing her Master’s degree in library science. She was able to juggle school, her two teenage sons and be a full-time mother. She was busy, to say the least.

Due to her tight schedule and a single income household, she found some creative ways of saving time and money on daily tasks and purchases. Here are several of her tips and tricks that might help other mother’s seeking or already in school:

Saving Money

• School supplies — with three of four members of our family in school, back-to-school supplies became quite expensive. To save money, we waited several days into the school year to buy supplies. This enabled us to only buy what we needed and if we could re-use notebooks, pens and other materials, there was no need to make a run on the back-to-school aisle.

• Shopping — Just because it’s bulk doesn’t mean it’s a deal. For a while, my mother would buy in bulk, but we would often tire of pop tarts or a certain type of cereal. Consequently, a lot of food would go to waste. So, she would take some time on the weekends to think about the meals for that week and only cut coupons for those recipe items. That way she was able to save money while not wasting food. Planning is key!

Saving Time

• Cooking — My mother is an excellent cook and just because she was back in school didn’t mean dinners would suffer. In fact, they were even more delicious. Enter: the slow cooker. My mother would wake up around 5:30 and begin making the night’s dinner in the slow cooker. That way, if she had a class, us “boys” could take care of ourselves (and it also taught us to fend on our own, which led to some interesting concoctions). The hearty, slow-cooked meals were great during the winter, but a bit heavy for 90 degree summers. Fish and shrimp are easy to freeze, take 5 minutes to thaw in water, and cook in 5-10 minutes in a pan. Pair that with 5-minute couscous and 3-minute microwaved peas and you’ve got a delicious meal in 10 minutes!

• Car pool — This was huge. As my parents had one car and four people needed to be in four different places at once, logistics was incredibly important. Everyone would pile into the car and based on proximity and when we needed to be at a given destination would dictate who got dropped off first. Although there was a lot of waiting, everyone learned a good lesson in patience.

These are just a few tips I learned from my mother and now that I’m living with my fiancee, I can pass on some of my mother’s wisdom. And I hope this helps any mother’s wanting to go to school or are already taking classes to more effectively use their time (to fit in a bit of “me time” once in a while) and save money.

Guest post by Ethan Lyon.  Ethan Lyon is a blogger for, a resource that matches prospective students with accredited online colleges.

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