I am so pleased with the responses to my last post about saving money on groceries!! I was inspired to attempt to make my own laundry detergent as soon as my stash gets low. A lot of you had some great ideas - and some of you had great ideas and didn't post them!! :o I realize that my ideas are nothing new, and honestly, I had heard of all the ideas posted in the comments, BUT I believe what is gained from all these wonderful ideas is not some new found concept but rather MOTIVATION!! :) I plan to start implementing some of your ideas because YOU MOTIVATED ME! And perhaps some of my ways of saving money will likewise help others realize that YES, people really do that, and YES, we survive, and YES, we are content and as happy as ever without the "latest" and "greatest" cluttering our homes. :)
Saving Money with Babies and Children:
I stand in unbelief MOST of the time at the money people pay on items for their babies and children. I understand that convenience plays a huge part in today's society, but I guess I am willing to be a little inconvenienced to save money!! I do have twins and a toddler - 3 kids under 3 years - and my days can get pretty crazy! So I am not as thrifty now as I was when I only had one child, but I still have a few ways to stretch my dollars.
1. I nursed all three of our children. I'm not going to delve into the nutritional benefits and the fact that none of my children have ever been sick... aside from those benefits, it's FREE! :)
2. I have cloth-diapered all three of our children. Some use cloth diapers as a way to save the planet - I use them to save money. I use velcro tab covers with standard pre-folds, and it's as easy as changing a disposable diaper. I have not used them as much with the twins because of not being able to keep up with the laundry, but I do still use them periodically. With my first born, I even cut up my husbands old white t-shirts and used them for wipes. I've also made my own wipes out of thick paper towels and baby soap. I've found Amazon to be the cheapest place to buy disposables if I have a coupon. To get the best deal, I take advantage of the 30% discount for using "subscribe and save" and then just cancel my scheduled shipments when my first order arrives. I can almost always get my name brand diapers for .10¢ each or less.
3. I make my own baby food. I used to boil the fruits and vegetables, but now I prefer to steam or bake them as I believe they retain more nutritional value. I then use my blender to puree the food and add water and infant cereal to make it stretch even further. My children have never spit out the homemade food, so I guess it tastes better too! :)
4. I buy quality clothing over quantity clothing for CHEAP!! I can usually get an item new with tags in the store for cheaper than what it is going for at the local consignments or on ebay. After every wash, I hang the clothes to dry so that any stains I might have missed do not "set in" and so that the clothes do not fade and shrink. By doing this, when I no longer need them, I can sell them for almost what I paid for them. I've actually sold some things used for MORE than what I paid for it new and the buyer was still getting a great deal! Oh, and I make all my girl's hair accessories. :)
5. I spend money on CLASSIC books only, otherwise we go to the library. Same for movies and cartoons... I usually buy used for these type items.
6. I've found that with babies, less is more. Especially with the twins, I just do not have room for all the latest gadgets invented for convenience. I'm sure those with larger houses may be able to utilize more products than I, but I prefer simple! I even found it easier to give baths just in the tub instead of having to drag the infant bath out every time and warm the bath twice. I decided before the girls were born what items I couldn't live without and then I bought them used at less than 20% of the retail price. I've even borrowed items from friends who weren't using theirs at the time.
7. Along the same lines as less is more... children really don't have to have all the snacks and meals marketed to their age group. Sure, if you have the money, go for it!! But if you are trying to save money, don't feel like you have to buy the made-for-toddler foods. I usually make a big pot of pasta noodles and sauce and then divide it into containers and freeze for fast meals on the go or for when my husband and I are eating something that may be harder for my toddler to eat.
Maybe you've heard these ideas before, but have just never taken the time to implement them. You can do it!! Pick one area in which you can start saving more money and make it happen! Now, I want to know your biggest money savers for baby and children items... I need some motivation! :)