Life as a mom who has her hands full
There are many ways to save money when you have children. At first, most of us get caught in the “new mommy” loop of buying new clothes and toys every other week. Our houses get cramped, our wallets get lighter and our children are no happier. As Americans, many of us are stuck in houses that are too full of STUFF..so what’s our solution? Buy a bigger house! Rent a storage unit! Buy expensive organizer systems! No wonder we are in debt as a nation. Once you realize that our children need less STUFF and more US, life gets a lot simpler. There are lots of ways you can save money when you have a baby. Here are just a few:
1. Breastfeed! According to The Simple Dollar, you can expect to save almost $1734 in the first year alone by breastfeeding. That is good news, especially when you factor in the many health benefits for you and your baby if you breastfeed.
2. Make your own baby food! When I first had my son, I decided to make my own baby food. I found books on how to make your own baby food..the best by far was Annabel Karmel’s, First Meals. If you have a chance to browse through it at your local bookstore I highly recommend it. There are nice color graphics as well as a step by step approach to making baby food for the beginner. Recipes range from purees for your 4 month old to meals for your whole family.
3. The best baby toys are often FREE! When my son was little, he learned to walk by pushing around an empty diaper box. Forget the expensive walking toy that sat in the corner and collected dust for the first few months, he pushed and cruised around Pampers style! After that we made a fun drop toy out of an empty plastic coffee tub. We cut a slit in the top and taped the edges so they weren’t sharp. We used a set of large plastic checkers we found at the $ Dollar store. Make sure they are large enough so they aren’t choking hazards. Many of us spend hundreds of dollars on our baby’s first Christmas, only to find our children enthralled with the wrapping paper and empty boxes! It’s the simple things…and they are usually FREE.
4. Use the library instead of the bookstore. I spent the first few years buying book after book, trying to enrich my children’s minds. Now we have shelves covered in children’s books that I can’t stand reading because I’ve read them TOO MUCH! Now we go to the library for all of our book needs. The kids and I get new books to read every couple of weeks without taking up valuable shelf space and without emptying our wallets. Baby books are especially great to rent. You can also rent various baby videos and parenting self help books without breaking the bank. Our library even lets us put books on hold ONLINE! When the book arrives at my library, they email me and I go pick it up!
5. Find kids clothing at Used stores and Bargain Bins! Our kids, especially our babies, don’t need the latest designer outfit to look cute. The majority of babies will usually outgrow their clothes every few months. Most of us have too many clothes in their closets and those clothes are usually only worn once or twice before they are outgrown. Try looking at used clothing stores or in the bargain bins at your local department stores. If you shop a season ahead, you can often find GREAT deals on clothes for the following season. BUT A WORD OF WARNING: Don’t buy too many clothes for the future. In addition to having to store them for a year or so, you may misjudge your child’s size and end up wasting far more money in the long run.
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