Do you remember when you first found out you were pregnant? The anticipation to welcome your new little family member was overwhelming. There were so many things to do & buy before you brought home your new little bundle. If you were like me, you started brainstorming for themes for the nursery right away. You chose the perfect pattern & needed to compliment it with just the right furniture & paint. It would all be added to your baby registry of course. You saw a million adorable outfits & you wanted to buy every one. After your baby shower you came home with enough loot to last you what looked like a lifetime. It did not last a lifetime. It was more like 1 one year & 4 months. After your baby out grew all those beautiful outfits that you received (half of which never even got worn) & you packed up all those infant toys, it was time to hit the mall for new clothes, shoes, toys, books, etc, etc, etc… Cha ching!! Holy Crap, having a kid is expensive.
Right now my daughter is wearing high waters because she has outgrown most of her pants almost overnight. Thank goodness it is summer & we can pass them off as capris. With their little bodies growing out of clothes every few months & their interests changing almost as quickly as they learn, it could bankrupt a mommy & daddy. Luckily, there are ways to cut costs..
1. Hand-me-downs: If you are lucky enough to have a friend that is willing to give you their children’s old clothes, TAKE THEM. Hand me downs are one of the greatest things you can give to a mommy. We have clothes, toys, books & videos that have been handed down from assorted friends & family members. I have taken many hand-me downs & given many as well. As long as it is new to them, kids don’t care whether it was bought new.
2. Tag Sales: If you don’t go to tag sales you should. Tag saling is just fun. There is something about finding a great deal that makes you feel like you just uncovered a buried treasure. This is a great place to find kid’s stuff. You can find clothes with tags still on them & great toys & books for just cents. Our town just had a town-wide tag sale. We went this weekend. My daughter was in paradise. We left with a few treasure for her & even something for mommy,
3. The library: Our whole house is over-run with books. Our daughter loves to read & so do my husband and I. We would go broke buying new books all the time. That is why I love the library. Many libraries even have a kid section with a seating area & toys. Our local library has a Lego table that will entertain my daughter for hours. I pick out books for the whole family while my daughter happily plays away. Here is the best part, it is all free. How can you beat that?
4. Cut coupons & look for sales: I am not going to lie, I am terrible at cutting coupons. I am good at looking for great deals though. I have found amazing things on clearance. Buy out of season clothing for the following year, this is especially great for items such a winter coats which tend to be pricier.
5. Second hand stores: Do not scoff at thrift shops & second hand stores, if you are willing to take the time to poke, you can find great deals. There are even some stores that only deal in children’s items, such as Once Upon A Child. They sell everything. You can find gently used toys, furniture & other must haves such as strollers & pack n plays for dirt cheap.
6. Group Exchange: If you are Facebook or any other type of social media, I am sure that you have seen some sort of a children’s group exchange. People post photos of their old kid’s items & sell them at a reasonable rate.
7. Pick free activities: We love going on fun family outings with our daughter, but it can get expensive. If you are a family on a budget, pick activities that do not require any money. Take a trip the park, go to a local pond or lake, as I said before the library offers a lot of fun options.
8. DIY: If you or your husband are crafty or are able to sew, knit, quilt or build, Do It Yourself is always a great way to go. We are lucky enough that our mother in law both sews & quilts. She has made us sheets, clothes, washing mitts & one beautiful ABC quilt that I keep trying to get her to reproduce & sell on Etsy.
9. Recycling Toys & Books: There is no need to keep buying new toys & books. Pack away toys & books and rotate them. After they have been out of sight for a while they become new and exciting again.
Tonight I am enjoying a fun family night playing the Ants in the Pants game that I bought for 50 cents at a tag sale & then following it up by reading good night stories from the library .