November 19, 2009

My top 4 ways to save money with kids

1. Make peace with the thrift store and the Dollar store.  You would be amazed at the things you can get at both places.  Most of my children's clothes come from thrift stores, but most of them are also from Old Navy, Gap, Children's Place, Gymboree, and so on.  For a fraction of the cost. And kids ruin and grow out of clothes so fast, that it doesn't really matter whether or not their are new.

And I won't go into the benefits of buying household items secondhand.  We have purchased 75% of our furniture secondhand, but I dare you to come to my house and tell me what we bought new and what we bought used.  Not to mention all of the fun random stuff that you can find.

As for the Dollar Store, you would be surprised at the brands they have available. If you are throwing a birthday party, go to the Dollar Store first. If you crafting, go to the dollar store first.  We get most of our art supplies from the dollar store, not to mention birthday gifts, stocking stuffers, party favors, pinata filler, wrapping paper, and so on.

2. Buy clothes off season. If at all possible to guess what size your children will be this time next year,  shop clearance racks. I have found that the best time to go is in January when stores are trying to clear out winter clothes to make way for Spring. And in the summer go shopping at the end of July for summer clothes. You can get things at thrift store prices around these times.  Best values: Winter Coats.  You won't have as big of a selection, but I have always been able to find something.

3. Use expensive diapers at night and the cheaper ones during the day. It took me a long time to figure this one out. And if you use cloth diapers, more power to you. (That just wouldn't work for us, for a number of reasons that you don't want to know. . .)  So, as an alternative, find the cheapest diapers that still work for you and use those during the day, then buy the expensive ones and only use those at night. Doing this has effectively stopped my need to change the sheets on the crib every. Single. Night.  

4. If you have a baby sign up for coupons.  Most baby companies (diapers, formula, wipes, etc.) have a coupon program.  Generally, you can sign up while you are pregnant either online or at the Dr.'s office. Just Google the brand along with coupons (i.e. search: enfamil coupons) and it will bring up a form to fill out.  I didn't use formula with my last baby, so I gave the $5 checks to some friends who could use them.  I do, however, use just about every diaper coupon that I get.

I know. Four is kind of a random number. But here comes the fun part. I gave you all of my tips, now you share yours with me!


wonder woman said...

I second the clearance racks. At Target the other day and got a jean jacket for my oldest, and baby clothes: 2 onsies, pants, 3 clips, 4 outfits and a dress. All for $22.

A big money-saver for me making my own wet wipes. I did it when I only had Spiderman, but stopped when the Hulk was born and I had two in diapers. I was making them all the time.

Here's the recipe: Cut a roll of Bounty paper towel in half. Remove cardboard. Mix 2 cups water with 2 T baby oil and 2 T baby bath. Pour mixture over paper towels in a 6 cups or 3 quarts rubbermaid container. Let it sit for 12-24 hours.

Something else I'm going to try this time -- making my own baby food. Because buying it in jars is WAY too expensive!!

Emily is a good frau said...

Charlie has lots of thrift store clothes. It's easy to find stuff that's almost new and really cute. And I always check clearance racks, too.

Also, the Children's Place website always has really good clearance. (the forums) is a place where people post the great deals they find. We have saved lots of money using those.... or maybe not, because sometimes we probably buy things we wouldn't have, just because they are such a good deal.

This one isn't for kids, but I'm proud of it, so I'm gonna tell you about it. I have been searching for tall boots that would fit my enormous calves for years. YEARS, I tell you. I found some on a website that was offering 50% off your most expensive item with the purchase of any other item. So I bought the $70 boots and a $2 pack of hangers, so my total with shipping was right around $40.

I also cut Charlie's (and Dave's) hair. Over the 8 years Dave and I have been married, that's got to add up.

glitterbygrammie said...

When my older 3 were little I was single mom, no child support and no family around to help. I shopped thrifts stores. Now adays they are alot more expensive.
I season shop big time. Still do for grandkids. Clearance racks and figure out what size they wear next summer or winter.
I love going to yard sales. Saturday mornings you will not find me home. I love it when I can find a pair of jeans or a shirt for a quarter. I save my change all week. We all do including my husband. Then on Saturdays I head out usually with one of my daughters. My husband is always amazed at what I bring home for next to nothing.
I have a box in my closet that has clearance items, some from after christmas shopping or dollars store. Anyway I use this for unexpected birthdays. If I go to the dollars store I always purchase one item to put in that box. It is a large box. But if that neighbor invites you or your gandkis gets invited to a party there you have it. You wouldn't believe how that has saved me money in the long run.

Momza said...

Buying for Need, not Want.
Don't pay for FUN--create it in your own home.
Home made dinners, rather than carryout or drive thru.
It all adds up.

j@nAe said...

I have a friend who does cheap diapers and just puts the baby in the size larger at night. I've never tried it, but it seems to work really well for her.

Another way I save was mentioned by wonder woman: baby food is waaaay too expensive! I finally just nixed it when I had my second. But I'm not willing to put in the hours to make my own baby food. What I do is pretty lazy. I nurse exclusively until 6 months. When I start solids, I only do cheap things: powder cereal stuff (made with the free formula I get - woohoo!), applesauce (great value or western family brand in a big can/bottle), bananas I mash, pears (off brand big can, off course) that I mash, etc. By the time they can do finger foods, I do canned peas, green beans, etc. They are the perfect size and already all soft and mushy. By 11-12 months my babies eat straight off the table. So much cheaper!

Emmy said...

Great great tips!
The first tip that comes to my mind is right a grocery list. Planning meals and writing a list (and sticking to it) will save you a ton!

Then if you start shopping the sales at grocery stores and stock up when an item is a hot price and combine all this with coupons--it will save you even more than you can imagine.

Liz @ Sugarplum Creations said...

*Continue to have all girls {or boys} so that you can hand all clothing down :) Just kidding, of course, though that's how it has worked out for us. Not only do we save money on clothing, but it's fun to see baby #3 wearing clothes from babies 1 and 2. Nostalgic :)

*Grocery shop less often. The less often I grocery shop, the less I sepnd overall. If I were to grocery shop a couple of times a week, I would inevitably buy more than what we really need. I try to shop once every week and a half to two weeks. Then I just buy a gallon of milk in between if I need to.

*Bring snacks with you when you're out and about so you don't have to stop for fast food.

*Combine errands so that you're not running into town all the time. We live 20 minutes from any kind of grocery store or civilization in general. If I combine trips I cut down significantly on fuel.

blueviolet said...

Excellent ideas and I've found oodles of great things at garage sales!

Lourie said...

The Dollar Tree is awesome. Thrift stores are too. I often forget about them. Believe it or not, Black Friday. I got some amazing deals last year. And unlike the horrific news you always hear about it was actually very smooth and traffic wasn't terrible. I think Wally was the worst. But I know, you want year round...sooo buy no name/store name brands. Mostly they are fine.

Like Emmy said, make a list and menu plan.

Brimful Curiosities said...

And...Use the public library.

Jennilyn said...

Teach your kids that it is okay-family policy to be different. We had silly "Sad Meals" at McDonald's instead of the other kind. They know we can get more bowls of ice cream out of buying a big container than stopping to get single serving ice cream cones. And I agree about thrift stores-your kids can be dressed better for much less than friends spending 10 times as much money!

Mother Goose said...

We do the same thing with diapers at night. And I love the new Target diapers!

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