Momming is an indescribably fun, all-consuming adventure marked by excitement, energy, and EXPENSES. There is not much that will drain your bank account as quickly as caring for your curious child.
You love your kids; so naturally, you want to buy them the best toys and experiences available. The problem with that is you fall into a trap of spending so much money on your kids that you’re taking money from their future.
It is possible to facilitate a magical childhood without breaking the bank. Here are 7 creative money saving ideas for you thrifty SmartMoms:
Teach Your Child to Love Experiences
It might be easier to buy your kid all the latest toys and gadgets to help them fill their time, but not only is that not good for your bank account, it’s not the healthiest thing for them. If you teach your kid that he needs toys or electronics to have fun, he will grow up with some issues. Take your kid to the park and let him roam free. Give your kids enough time to get bored, so they learn to make their own fun. The talent show at the park or the fort made of blankets is a memory that will hold so much more power than the five hours spent playing Minecraft.
Find What’s Free
Do a Google search and find out what sort of free fun is available in your neighborhood. Many libraries have weekly story-times for preschoolers. Call around. Local gyms will sometimes routinely put up a bounce house. There are many museums where kids get in free certain times of day. During the summer check and see if any of your local movie theater offer free movies for kids. Parks are free. Many swimming pools are free. Riding the car-shaped grocery cart at Publix and getting a free cookie from the bakery is free. Ask around. Google.
Buy Nicer Toys
This might sound like the opposite of being thrifty, but hear me out. When you’re trying to save money, and you want to make your children smile, it’s so easy to take them on thrilling trips to the Dollar Store. They’re excited. Your wallet is excited. Win win. Or is it? If you “nickel and dime” on cheap toys that break or are thrown away after a week, you’re throwing money in the garbage. Instead, save your money, and when you do buy toys on special holidays, buy sturdy toys that your kids will actually play with. Your little toddler will play with her wooden kitchen until she starts liking boys. Your boy will be into legos for a long time. Invest in books and wood and toys that last, so you’re not wasting your money on a pile of junk that you’ll end up sneaking into garbage bags during naptime.
Put Cash in Envelopes
If you hate counting and receipts and numbers in general (like I do), make budgeting easy on yourself by keeping “fun money” in an envelope. You know what’s in there. When it’s gone, it’s gone. That way, you won’t overspend.
Really Lose Yourself on Pinterest
Pinterest is a vortex of amazingness that can so easily overtake your life in that you can pretty much create a whole alternate existence for yourself – pins of your dream house, your dream meals, your dream toddler craft activities. Don’t get so sucked in that you forget to feed and bathe yourself and your family, but do use the site for creative (and cheap) ideas. Try typing in “sensory activities” or “toddler fun on a dime.” There are so many fun ideas for things you can do with your kids that won’t leave you penniless. For other tips on how to save money, check out HowToSaveMoney.co.
Stop Eating Out
This is so huge. Fast food and Starbucks and food court days can be so convenient when you have little kids. It saves time. You can run your errands. It’s just a few bucks here and there, but that adds up. Take the extra few seconds to pack a sandwich and a Ziploc bag of Goldfish before you leave the house.
Don’t Shy Away from Hand-me-downs
Clothing children can be so frustrating because as soon as you buy them a new wardrobe, they’ve grown out of it before they’ve even worn everything you bought them. Maybe you don’t like the idea of buying used clothing from a thrift store, but even so, you can find ways to get hand-me-downs. If you have mom friends in your life, chances are, they will routinely be purging clothes/toys from their life and might offer their hand-me-downs to you. If you don’t get any offers, sign up for a buy/sell site like Varage Sale where you can buy/sell from people you know through Facebook. It’s a much more economical way to clothe your little humans who won’t know the difference and who will grow out of that cute little sweater by the time you finish reading this sentence.
With just a little extra planning and intentionality, there are so many ways you can save money and live a thriftier lifestyle for the sake of your future and the futures of your children!