It comes to no surprise that having children can be expensive. It is estimated that to raise a child from birth to 18 (before university) can cost $243,660. Now that Hubby and I are expecting our first son, the need to start buying baby supplies. We were VERY fortunate to be given lots of gifts which ultimately limited the amount we had to buy for the Princess. We are now fully aware of the true costs, both up front and hidden, and are prepping for the arrival of our Rainbow. Here are just a few ways to save money on the initial costs.
- Buy on Sale. Seems pretty obvious but some people leave shopping to the last-minute and end up paying full price on things that routinely go on sale. Monitor stores that carry the items you are looking for and watch for them to go on sale.
- Coupons. There are many sites that you can sign up for coupons that are mailed to your home. In Canada, it’s much harder to Extreme Coupon but you are still able to save money on things such as diapers, clothes and baby wash. Many of these same sites will send you free samples. Also, feel free to email your favourite brands directly. I LOVE Johnson & Johnson products and wrote to the manufacturer explaining that I really love their products and in response, they sent me free high-priced coupons as well as a voucher for a free pack of their assorted products. The worst thing they can say is no and at the best, you receive free products and coupons. Also, to maximize on the savings, apply coupons to items that are on sale.
- Baby Item Swaps. As Mommy’s and Daddy’s, we have a group of fellow parents who like us, keep our baby stuff “just in case” we come to expect another baby. So why not capitalize on free stuff while making room in your closets. A friend of mine is expecting a girl and only has boys and I am expecting a boy and was elbow deep in girl stuff, so we met up and did a swap. We were able to trade items at no cost. A little piece of advice, don’t include clothes that are stained or torn.
- Donation Parties. In lieu of baby showers, a new trend is Donation Parties. Women who are expecting make a list of the things that they need and ask close friends and family who have baby stuff and go through the list and see who is willing to give you which items. This may not be for everyone, and that is why it is best to only invite people who you are VERY close with and not your neighbour whom you only see occasionally.
- EBay or Kijiji. These online sites are great for purchasing baby items at a lower cost. Babies and children grow really fast and only wear items for a short period so most of the clothes are in great condition. Be aware of what you are buying and ensure that it is the correct season for your child. Also, ask to see pictures and know if the items come from pet or smoke free homes. I wouldn’t recommend buying certain items, but clothing is usually pretty safe. Be sure to wash it before you put it on your baby.
- Buy What You Need, Not Want. You can find lists in every parenting magazine of things that you “NEED” for your little one. Everyone would love those wipe warmers and new fangled gadgets, but your baby doesn’t need them and more often than not, they are money traps. When we brought the Princess home, I dressed her in dress clothes, and what a disaster. I have learned that less is more. Sleepers and onesies are the best clothes in the first few months of life. Babies eat, poop, sleep and repeat and do not care what they are wearing. They have no preference for which items get stained in their latest diaper assault.
- Keep Stock of What You Already Have. If you already have children, keeping essential items is always a great money saver. Hubby and I kept our crib, breast pump, glass bottles, play pen and bedding (as it is gender neutral). Do keep an eye on certain items that may be too old such as car seats as they expire after 5 years.
Hubby and I have been doing a full makeover of our budget, and our grocery bill took a big cut. Prior to our budget cut, we were spending an outrageous amount a month on groceries for the two of us, Princess and our pets. We didn’t plan our meals, had a lot of food that spoiled and leftovers that didn’t get eaten. But once we sat down and really looked at what we were spending, we were able to cut our budget by approximately $200. We still buy our pet food, cleaning and toiletries and include that in our grocery shopping. So I have compiled a list of things that we do to cut down on our grocery costs.
- Plan your meals. I plan only 5 meals a week. Sometimes we have leftovers one night or we order take out or have family dinner’s elsewhere, but Hubby and I only cook 5 nights a week. We try to eat 1 meal of chicken, pork, fish, beef and a vegetarian dish a week so not to get bored.
- Watch the cut of your meats. Most people know that certain cuts of meats are more expensive than others. Boneless, skinless chicken costs much more than those with the skin on and bone in. Also, pre-made hamburgers cost more than ground beef and made at home.
- Coupons. While I’m no extreme couponer, there are many sites online where you can sign up for coupons to be sent in the mail or printed at home. You may not have your entire grocery bill covered, but a few dollars here and there definitely help.
- Don’t Shop Hungry. This may sound silly, but if your tummy is rumbling, you are more likely to buy food on impulse.
- Buy Fruits & Vegetable that are in season. Fruits and Vegetables that are in season cost less than those that aren’t, so when planning your weekly meals, try for those that are in season. For an up-to-date list on in season fruits and veggies in Ontario, here is the Foodland Ontario list.
- Compare Prices. At most grocery stores, they will list the prices and sizes and sometimes in small print, they will have the cost per serving. I like to check these so while I may be paying a little more for a product, it costs less money per serving, so it works out in the long run.
- Make Big Batches and Freeze. Hubby and I are notorious for this. We like to spend a majority of our Sundays cooking soups, stews, and sauces and then we freeze them for future meals.
- No Name Brands. Paying for name brands can really add up. If you are to compare a name brand can of soup with a no name brand, the ingredients are very similar but the no name brand costs less as the cost for branding is much less than the name brand.
- Shop the Outer Parts of the Store. Not only are the food on the outer ring of the store better for you, but they are cheaper than the stuff down the aisles.
- Bring a List. When you bring a list with you and stick to it, you are less likely to buy things on impulse.
- Competitive Pricing. Some grocery stores have weekly flyers and also have competitive pricing. So if you bring a flyer to your usual grocery store and their item costs more than at another store, sometimes, depending on store policy, they will adjust the price to stay competitive.
Image from reneeks-ramblings.blogspot.com
Long gone are the days of doing my laundry once a week. Now the laundry pile seems never-ending and the cost is exorbitant. Chatelaine created a list of Eight Ways to Save Money on your Laundry and I have shortened the list below and added a few of my own.
- Use Cold Water. Using warm or hot water accounts for up to 90% of the laundry cost, so using cold water is the more economic option. However, sometimes you may need to use hot water to get those potty accident stains out.
- Use a clothes line or drying rack. Not using the dryer will save you money as well as it is a better option for the environment. If you live in an apartment, drying racks save on space as well as money. You can find inexpensive ones from Ikea or home furnishing stores.
- Use coupons. The cost of detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets can really add up, and they don’t always go on sale. Using coupons either from in store promotions or sites like P&G Saver can help cut down on the cost. It may only be $0.50 – $1.00 here and there, but over time, it really adds up.
- Make your own detergent. This may not be for everyone, but making your own detergent will be greener, both for the environment and your wallet. TLC Home has some great detergent recipes.
- Rewear your already worn clothes. My mother used to preach to me about putting clothes away that were only lightly worn. This doesn’t mean underwear, but if you wear a shirt or pants for a short period of time and they aren’t dirty, fold them up and put them away. This will cut back on the loads of laundry you will have to do.
It was has been widely argued that from birth to 18, children cost approximately $250 000 and that doesn’t even include tuition! That is a lot of change! So whenever you can get deal, you got to take them. I have compiled a list of sites where you can sign up from free stuff coupons and samples!
- Free Parent Stuff Free Parent Stuff is an online newsletter that searches the web for the latest samples and sends them to you once or twice a week. Occassionally you will receive an email if there is a special discount that is going on. It is easy to sign up. I have received free Olay products, diapers, wipes, formula, recipes, Pull Ups and other mommy and kid stuff.
- Pampers Pampers allows you to join Pamper’s Village and you will receive free samples, coupons (and no mere $0.50 off, more like $2 – $4.00 off) and other promotions. I am a Pamper’s fan and that was what my daughter used for a majority of the time. I have to say that the amount of Pamper’s sample diapers I received would probably have amounted to at least a full box. Granted not all at once, but 4 or 5 here and there. But it adds up in the end!
- Huggies Much like Pampers, Huggies has the same kind of program. They will send you samples and coupons, and also send you coupons for non-baby stuff like batteries, and other household essentials.
- Nestle Baby Club I signed up for the Nestle Baby Club while buying maternity clothes and I received a Diaper Bag, Baby Formula, Baby cereal and a growth chart…all for free!
- Similac Club For all those who formula feed, you can receive containers of formula for joining the Similac Club. I received at least 4 containers, not little bags, but actual containers of formula plus coupons for $15, $10 and $5 off. With formula costing what it does, you can’t go wrong!
- Kids Free Samples This website offers a wide variety of free kid samples and coupons from an array of trusted baby and child companies such as Pampers, Huggies, Enfamil and Similac and many many more!
- P & G Saver This site provides you with a coupon booklet of coupons for products that you yourself choose from and they mail them to you. I received a booklet of $50 worth of coupons!