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In today’s world parents need to stretch every dollar and penny to the fullest. Children are expensive and I have some tips and tricks to help you out. Remember thrift stores and garage sales are your friends.
Living Frugal with Children
I grew up in a frugal household. I never understood why mom clipped coupons and spent hours at thrift stores until I had my own children. So needless to say, being frugal is in my blood. Although, I did have a short period of my life when I was about 19 where I threw out my frugal upbringing. I bought new outfits every week from a name brand store, I literally never wore the same pair of socks twice (I did donate them after washing them). Yes, I went crazy. Well, that was very short lived. By the time I was 20, I met my husband and he already had a daughter, so right into mommy role I went. I welcomed back my frugal up bring and even came up with my own systems and ideas. Make sure you check out my last post, on what motivates me to be
Make sure you check out my last post, on what motivates me to be frugal. This has a small explaination of the cost to raise a child.
I know when I found out I was pregnant, I instantly had visions of the perfect nursery. With matching furniture and beautiful wall hangings. This was a great vision until reality hit, and I started pricing out the furniture and wall hangings that I loved. Then I remembered, babies will not remember that ever. Yes, it makes for a great photograph, but in reality, babies will not even remember their room until they are 3 or 4 years old.
So, garage sales and thrift stores here I came. I was able to get a crib, bassinet, stroller, changing table, high chair and vibrating bouncy seat for about $45.00. How awesome is that! You can not even purchase a good bouncy seat for that price in a big store. I also was able to get about 2 years worth of clothes for less than $100.00.
Garage Sale Tip
Do not be afraid to haggle their prices. If the seller is asking $30.00, I automatically ask half the price. Then we can go back and forth. I usually only go $5.00 over my half price offer, and typically walk out with the item. People who have garage sales want an instant gratification of a sale, and if I am offering something they know I am interested. If I am interested, I will likely buy if the price is right.
Thrift Store Tip
Get to know your thrift stores. Most have sales on certain days of the week. I personally do not like the smell of thrift stores, so I know my sales before I go in, and I do not deviate from what I am looking for. If it is green dot day, I only look at green dots.
School aged children
Private school or public school, both are expensive. Once you decide on schooling, now to have to purchase uniforms or regular clothes for school. Again, do not be afraid of your garage sales and thrift stores. My children do attend public school, but the district decided on uniforms, and personally I love it. I have had great luck finding uniform pieces at the thrift stores.
I dread the school supply lists. Folders, crayons, pencils, markers, colored pencils, hand sanitizer, tissue, paper towels, and this is just a small list. The teachers always want crazy amounts of everything. I know teachers do not make enough to cover the costs for the children’s needs, and many parents can not afford them either. So, I budget my summer months to include being able to purchase school supplies all summer long. I would much rather purchase crayons in the summer when they are .25 cents a box versus waiting until fall when they are back up over .50 cents. I will literally purchase 10 boxes over the summer. This way I do not have to purchase any more until next summer. This saves me money everytime I get a letter from the teacher that she needs more supplies.
Middle and High School
I can easily say, the high school years are the most expensive. Now you have 7 teachers wanting supplies. After school activities, proms, homecoming dances, winter dances and graduation. Also by now, your kids will start wanting real name brand clothes. Now, my kids do get the benefit of name brand clothes when I do find them at the thrift stores or garage sales. This is when the thrift stores and garage sales could really benefit you.
Prom Dresses and Homecoming Dresses
I can honestly say, I never once stepped into a department store for a prom or homecoming dress. My mom and I would shop around the thrift stores and wait until the perfect dress appeared. All of my dresses were under $20.00. It typically cost more to get my dresses dry cleaned than it did to actually purchase my dress. Doing this gave me many benefits. I had more money for hair, nails, make-up, and accessories. I also NEVER had to worry about crying in the bathroom because someone else had the same exact dress as me.
Senior year and pictures are expensive. I would recommend having the school take the required pictures for the yearbook, but when it comes to the purchase, go somewhere else. I like to find a local photographer that is starting out, who will give me the rights to the images and then I can go to Walmart and print them out. Doing this, allows you to be able to customize your photos, and be able to afford to share them with the family.
All in all, we know kids are expensive. It is easy to spend more money than needed for our kids. Honestly, I save what I can so my splurges on the kids are something they will remember for a lifetime. Not a particular piece of clothing. What are some of the ways that you save money with your children?