Cute Kids Cost Money's picture

Before I had kids, I heard from friends that having children and meeting their needs could cost a fortune. I understood that feeding and housing them and getting great medical care for a family is expensive, but I was not clear on exactly what was draining every parent’s wallet. Then I had twins and two years later, another son. Raising three boys has made me ultra aware of spending. I don’t know any parent who doesn’t have the same concern regarding money.  Not many people are open to discuss the finances of their family, but I started to do some research within my own circle of contacts.

While we all want to feed our children fresh, healthy food, clothe them in the finest outfits and give them the latest and greatest childhood experiences, there comes a point when we have to get creative or go broke.  Things that have helped me to reign in the unnecessary costs associated with all things kids, I started to embrace the following ideas:

Second Hand Clothing – Now, we have all been given a box of outdated hand me downs, or been to a garage sale that was offering worn out, used clothes.  These situations may have forced you to give up the idea of USED CLOTHES. However, I have had lots of success at resale stores, consignment shops and local mom-to-mom resales. These types of places usually only sell clean, in- season, in style fashions for kids of all ages. Most are always willing to take a box of your goods and give you a store credit for new merchandise. I love to browse these shops for those high priced items on my boys’ wish list, like sports jerseys, quality winter coats and sometimes upscale dress clothes.

Craigslist – As my boys have gotten older, they are begging for things like an outside basketball hoop for the driveway, new fancy scooters, and even musical equipment.  After one season of park district basketball, my seven-year-old twins begged for a hoop and when I priced them, I had sticker shock. I immediately started looking on craigslist and found a quality portable hoop for almost 35% of the cost of the ones being sold at chain stores. I have been able to score amazing merchandise, in excellent condition that resulted in an incredible savings.

Library and local Used Book Stores – My children love to get the latest and greatest “Captain Underpants” release, rent the newest DVD movie as well as check out new video game options. These NEW items are always priced at a premium rate and I’ve discovered that bargain bookstores not only offer amazing discounts on an excellent selection of books that are relevant to kids, but will allow you to bring in old books as a trade for new books.  I use the local library to rent DVDs and games for kids, saving me bundles of money while letting me offer my kids more variety than if I was purchasing each item.

These ideas that I’ve implemented in my life for cutting costs have not only allowed me to save more, they have allowed me to enforce the "re-use, re-cycle” attitude that I am passionate about, as well downplay the need for them to be such 'consumers'. I am thrilled to hear them ask to visit the library than beg to go to the toy store, or prefer a garage sale then go to the mall.

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