When it comes to kids, the little things all add up

Little fingers and little toes mean big expenses – heaven knows! They’re worth every penny and more we spend, but there’s no denying that life with kids can get expensive. You may have already done all the big things you can think of to save money. But fortunately there are plenty of little things you can do that will help keep your kids happy and healthy while saving money too.

Photo: Stellie Bellies

1. Shop resale

You can find tons of nearly new clothes and toys at resale shops for a fraction of the cost of new. Common belief is that newer items are better quality, when in actuality older toys and pieces of clothing were typically made from sturdier and better materials. A little wear simply means it can withstand the test. Inspect items carefully before purchasing. Check clothes for stains or rips and make sure toys have all of their parts. If you’re worried about germs, don’t be. Wash machine-safe items in plenty of hot, soapy water and give toys a good spritz of disinfectant when you get home.

2. Use coupons

You don’t have to go extreme to enjoy real savings at the grocery store. Make the most of your store’s weekly circular and shop on double coupon day. Coupon shop for items you would normally buy; don’t be tempted into buying some expensive prepared food you wouldn’t usually get. Fifty cents off of “too expensive” is still too expensive. And coupon use can extend well beyond food savings.  You can use coupons for everything from haircuts to laundry detergent.

3. Pass it

If there’s a children’s museum or zoo your family likes to frequent, ask about purchasing an annual family pass. Passes can save hundreds of dollars per year and you’ll always have rainy day entertainment, even during those tight times between paychecks.

4. Ban the bottle

With safe, clean water coming out of your tap for free, bottled water is an unnecessary expense. Keep a pitcher of chilled water in the refrigerator for kids to enjoy. Tempt them by placing slices of citrus fruit, melon, cucumbers, ginger or leaves of mint in the water to give it a boost of flavor. Have the little ones lend a hand in deciding what kind of flavored water to make this week.

5. Double down

Cooking at home is already a great way to save money, but doubling a recipe and making two dinners at once will save even more. Place the second meal in the freezer and you’ll have dinner ready for one of those busy nights when there’s no time for cooking. Cooking two meat loaves or two batches of homemade spaghetti sauce at once also lets you take better advantage of sales – stretching your dollar even further.

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6. Visit a park

Parks are often overlooked as a free, fun and safe place for children to play. Instead of digging out money for movie tickets or a shopping trip when the kids are bored, take them to the park. Some parks even offer free concerts or entertainment. Your kids will get exercise, and meet new friends and so will you!

When you find little ways to save here and there your family can continue to enjoy a full, fun life without breaking the bank. There’s an old adage that states “Mind the pennies and the dollars will take of themselves.” Whether your family is stretched to the limit or just trying to find ways to economize, the little things really do add up.

About the author
Mrs. Hatland is a 30-something married, mom of 7 and the face behind the popular online publication, Motherhood Defined. Known as the Iowa Mom blogger by her local peers and “The Fairy Blogmother” worldwide. She has professional experience in working closely with clients on brand ambassadorships, client outreach services, content creation and creative social media advertising exposure.

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