Updated: Mar 29, 2021
Having a baby is an exciting time. For new moms, we want to buy EVERYTHING! The clothing is tiny, inexpensive, and cute, and we think we need every new gadget on the market. When I was pregnant, my best friend warned me of the cost and expense of having a child. Initially, my main concern was the cost of diapers. My friend warned me of the cost of “buying things because the items are cute” is even worse.
She was right! I soon realized my son was growing out of sizes before he could wear the things we had purchased. I had so many pacifiers, clothing items, and other “gadgets” that we never used; unopened, still in the packaging. Luckily, I am a fast learner, and I quickly started to listen to my friend as her children were a few years older. I started listening to her and learning some things on my own and it has helped me save money, and I want to share some of these tips with you.
1. Buy separates for clothing
I wasted so much money buying outfits. There was always a piece that did not fit correctly; the top was too small, the bottoms too big, etc. I quickly learned separates were the best way to go as I could purchase the specific sizes needed in tops and bottoms.
2. Buy solid colors for clothing
It is fine to purchase cute clothing items with characters, etc. but what I have learned is when the bulk of the clothing items are a solid color or minimalistic, it is easier to coordinate outfits. In the beginning, I would buy pieces and not be able to coordinate them and I would have to go back and try to find things to match. I now find items that are cute, have a character or two on them, or large stripes or sections of a solid color. The colors do not have to be neutral, just basic enough to allow for matching with multiple items.
3. Buy clothing with room to grow
Children’s clothing should fit appropriately, but they grow out of clothing very fast. I started buying a range of clothing sizes to allow for growth. This helped us save A LOT OF MONEY. Instead of buying 14 days of clothing in the same size, we purchase about 60% of his clothing in his current size, and stagger out the remaining in the next size up. Seasonality also plays a part as well.
4. Buy bottoms with elastic or drawstring waist
This is helpful during transition of seasons. For example, having a drawstring allows use of shorts from last year when the weather is transitioning in the spring of the next year and it is not quite time to purchase shorts. For instance, this year, Teddy was still able to wear his shorts from last summer in the spring because they had a drawstring. The same applies for pants and other bottoms for boys and girls.
5. Take advantage of buy 1 get 1 deals
This idea came from my father in law. I found a shoe store that has shoes buy 1 get 1, 50% off. Initially, I was buying shoes in different colors at the same size. My father in law recommended getting the ½ off pair in the next size up instead of the same size. After all, how many pairs of shoes do children need at one time, especially when they grow out of them within a month or two. We now purchase 4 pair at a time; two in his current size; one white pair, one black pair, and two in the next size up.
6. Sign up for rewards programs, the coupons are great!
I have saved a lot of money signing up for rewards programs and consistently shopping at the same stores. The key is consistently shopping at the same store. I have been able to get $15.00 off purchases, 20-30% coupons, and more!
7. Re-sale clothing
There are children re-sale stores that will pay you for your child’s items that are in good condition. Notice I said GOOD CONDITION. I have been able to make upwards of $100.00 at a time when I go to these stores because the toys and clothing are in good condition. I take the money received from the re-sale and purchase his new clothing, shoes, and toys. Be sure to check out your local resale stores in your area.
8. Only purchase what you need
I have found I wasted the most money when I purchased things I did not need. Identify what you need, shop around for the best price, and only purchase what you need.
9. Buy toys with a good age range
Toys come with age ranges. Purchasing toys with a good age range allows for longer use and if you have multiple children, can be used by more than one child. We have had great success with toys with an age range and multiple uses and purposes, or “grow with me” type of toys.
10. Keep general toys that can be repurposed
There are some toys that can be used no matter the age. These types of toys include blocks, balls, plush animals, musical toys, etc. At this age, imagination and pretend play is important. Before throwing out old toys, determine if they can still be used.
11. Set up registries for Birthdays and Christmas
I never like to waste money whether my own or anyone else’s. Setting up a registry for Birthday’s and Christmas is a great way to ensure you get items for your child you can actually use. Have you ever received an item you could not use and felt bad that the person who gifted it to you spent their money on it? Always grateful and thankful for the thought and gift, just not able to use it. The registry is a great way to ensure all money spent is put to good use. Additionally, if people ask you want you need, don’t be shy, let them know what items, stores, or gift cards you could use.
12. Trial classes before signing child up for activities
As our children grow, they are learning about the world. We are eager to put them into activities. Many places have trial classes to see if your child is receptive BEFORE signing up or registering. Take the trial class, talk to your child to be sure they want to be in the activity before signing up.
13. Trash can be treasure-Arts and Crafts
There are a lot of items that can be used for arts and crafts that we would generally throw in the trash. Items such as popsicle sticks, diaper boxes, paper towel rolls, brown paper bags, tissue rolls, old buttons, water bottles, etc. These items can be great for arts and crafts as well as science experiments. One person’s trash can truly be another’s treasure.
14. Potty training
Potty train as soon as your child shows signs of readiness as it can save a lot of money on diapers and wipes per week. In some instances, a child may show readiness but trying to get a consistent routine of potty training can be difficult. Take the time, figure it out, as it is good for your child and your wallet to focus on potty training when ready.
15. Take advantage of the seasons
Summer is a great way to save money as most children like being outdoors. Walks, playing at the park, in the backyard, etc. are all ways to have fun, engage our children without spending a lot of money. Save the money for when the fall and winter seasons come and you have to contend with rainy days and cold harsh winter weather.
I am sure they are many other ways to save money with toddler, these are just a few of mine. Be sure to comment below and share your tips on how you save money with your growing kiddo!