Kids are expensive. No matter how many coupons we clip or hand-me-downs we acquire, there is no end to the amount of stuff our children need or want. Save a dollar or two so you can put more away in the kids' college fund or your retirement account! Here are a few tips you might not have considered.
You don't need to pay full price for books, movies, or CDs. Next time you want to buy a book or DVD for your child, check Half.com first. On this online flea market run by eBay, there are varying levels of items from brand new to used. Either way, there is usually a significant savings over paying full retail price. In fact, the biggest expense might be shipping.
2. Large consignment sales
Search online for annual or semi-annual consignment sales in your area that bring together hundreds of sellers of gently used toys, clothes, cribs, and other important items. These events can be a treasure trove and save you big bucks. Check out the Just Between Friends website for more info.
3. Free formula?
Many pediatricians receive free samples of formula. Ask for some and it might wind up saving you a lot of money.
4. Grocery store clubs
Many grocery stores have kids clubs that provide coupons and other goodies for parents as the stores try to build a loyal customer base. There are usually tons of coupons for necessities like diapers, wipes, detergent, and baby food. Many big box stores also have special deals that save parents money on stuff for the kiddos.
5. Parenting magazines
This is a terrific resource. Check out your local parenting magazines for info on free events or activities. For instance, you'll find information about activities or classes where the the first class for your child might be free. Many Mommy & Me classes or sports activity classes might waive the fee for the first class in hopes that you'll sign your child up for a longer session. Also, business districts might offer Halloween or holiday events for children that include free goodies or coupons.
6. "Kids Eat Free" nights
Lots of restaurants are offering these types of deals. They usually occur during the middle of the week when restaurants are typically slow. To take advantage, instead of going out on Sunday night try Thursday night instead. Check local publications and restaurant web sites for participation. Many restaurants also offer several healthy menu options through the Kids Live Well program.
7. Borrow from friends
Do you have a friend who cuts hair? Makes clothes? Ask friends for help and pay them back with either a meal, gift card, or trade of a service you might be able to provide. A little bartering could go a long way.
8. Corporate discounts
Does your employer offer any discounts on popular attractions? Are there complimentary tickets to sporting events or other activities? It can't hurt to ask and if the answer is yes, you could bank some brownie points with your kids and some extra money in your checking account.
What are your tips for saving money while raising kids?