I realize that being a parent is not only difficult, it can cost a ton of money. Is it me or do they just not stop eating? They already outgrew the shoes I bought them? Those pants are too short? Now they are begging for the latest toys. Christmas is soon to be over and this time of year can wreak havoc on many of our bank accounts. Maybe you want to start the year off a little more fiscally responsible and looking for ways to save. We are always looking for ways to save money when we can. There are some of the obvious ways such as couponing, but I am not an expert in couponing so I won't be offering any tips on that. Shopping at places like Aldi or other local markets for certain items have helped us save. Aldi has been a Godsend for diaper purchases. Their large box of diapers are less than $11 and can last for a few weeks. I am not an expert in grocery shopping savings. I need to get better. I am probably paying too much. No, I have found other ways to save.
1. Clothes Shopping
Clothes can be very pricey. We were obviously given alot of clothes for the baby shower but most of those were for the first few months of life and she outgrew them in what felt like weeks. Now that she is in the toddler sizes, the clothes are lasting longer (about a year) but they can still be pricey. I want Bree to look cute but I also don't want to break the bank on something she may wear only a few times or that she will mess up. I don't know about your kid but mine is still a mess eater and also enjoys rolling around on the floor where it can get dirty. I would rather her get more affordable clothes dirty.
My typical MO is to shop clearance sections and big sales and buy things a size up. This is how most of her 2T clothes were bought. Kohl's clearance, Carter's, Target, Children's Place and Gymboree are great places to get super cute clearance clothes. She also gets clothes from her birthdays too. Right now I am working on her 3T wardrobe. She won't fit into it until maybe September or October next year (her birthday is in September). Gymboree has a huge 50% off sale and I found a bunch of great fall items like leggings and long sleeve tees. I will look at Carter's and Children's Place as well to get some great pieces to stock up on. Let's face it, kid's clothes aren't always "trendy". Kids will look cute in clothes even if they are a year old. I don't need this years models for Bree to look in style and cute. Target has some great $5 sweat pants and sweatshirts going on as well.
This was my recent splurge of Gymboree clothes that I found. I spent probably about $40-$50 on all these items which includes 3 leggings, a pair of sweatpant joggers, a sweatshirt, a tee, and 4 long sleeve tees. This is a great deal for a place like Gymboree when one outfit alone could cost about $30. I don't expect any of these items to not be in style next year. They are all pretty nice basics that she will for sure look great it. Jackpot!!
2. Large Toys
As Bree gets older, her toy interests start getting a bit bigger and more expensive. Lately, we have had interest in some bigger toys like a toy kitchen, outside slide, toy box, etc. These items can come at a big price tag. Have you tried your looking on the Facebook marketplace? We found an outdoor slide for free! We found a toy kitchen for around $20 when they can run hundreds.. We are often scouring this marketplace to find great deals on this expensive items. The stuff we found so far has had some wear and tear but nothing that prevented Bree from having a full, fun use of these toys. Bree is only 2 so she doesn't know the difference if something is brand new or used and frankly she doesn't care. A new toy is just as exciting whether it is brand new or just new to her.
I also look at Goodwill. This is a bit hit or miss. It obviously depends on donations and what has been donated. Sometimes I can find great things that need a bit of a face lift and sometimes I can't find anything. I have found an old wooden kitchen stove that I converted into a chalk board table. We keep it in our garage and Bree loves to play with chalk out there when daddy is having his man cave time. The time I put into fixing up this table was more than what I actually paid for it. I wrote about this in a previous blog post over the summer but a picture of this DIY project is below.
3. Activities and Outings
Our kids can get bored and it is important to engage them in activities and have family time together. This can get really expensive when there are things like admissions, buying meals, souvenirs, or anything else the outing entails. One way I have used to combat this is by utilizing Groupon or Living Social. We have found reduced entry costs for the Dupage Children's Museum, reduced entries for different parks around the area, cash back on meals. We use Spot Hero to get reduced cost on parking when we go into the city. We try to see whatever we can do to cut costs. We want to give Bree great experiences and a fun time but we also don't want to break the bank. Often it isn't where we decide to do something and then look for savings but I scour the Groupon and Living Social apps and purchase things that look fun and plan our weekends and time around these.
Feel free to comment if you have any other ways your family is saving money or let me know if there are any other topics you are looking to get cost-cutting savings ideas about.