23 Clever Ways To Make Parenting So Much Cheaper
Harvard ain't cheap... so it looks like you'll have to be.
Zoë Burnett / BuzzFeed
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asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what products, tips, and tricks they'd recommend to help parents save money. Here are their useful suggestions:
Swap out your kid's toys every few months so old toys feel like new.
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"Rotate your toys. Don't have all the big ticket stuff out at once — put the train track away for a while, replace with toy kitchen or doll house. Hide one away and replace with another when your kid's interest fades. Same for jigsaw puzzles, books, etc. That way there is always something 'new' and you'll be less tempted to just buy something to combat boredom. Also, scavenge! I shamelessly drag huge empty cardboard boxes home from outside shops, (I ask first if I can take them), and they become dens, or rockets, or whatever. Old cardboard tubes, packaging, add to the fun." —
Get these toys from Amazon: train tracks for $22, doll house for $40, or a toy kitchen for $70.
Take advantage of your local library. You can save tons of money by checking out books and movies for free.
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"Library card. I got one when my daughter was 2-months-old and we use it all the time. Thousands of books and movies for us both, and cool programs! If I really like a book or movie, we buy it, I did the math and in one year and I save enough not buying books and movies to pay our property taxes." —
And keep track of all the free things your city and neighborhood have to offer in order to entertain your kids, or set up an engaging outdoor space that'll keep your kids captivated but won't cost you anything in admission fees beyond the initial investment.
"Do free stuff as a family. Go to the playground, community water park, on hikes, bike rides, buy a sandbox for the back yard, browse at the pet store. There are so many engaging things that kids love that don't cost a thing." —
Get this sandbox for
$60 and sand for $27 from Amazon.
reusable diapers instead of disposable ones to save you thousands and thousands of dollars over the course of your baby's diaper time. And, yeah, "Ewwwww! Poop!" But when you have a baby, there will always be poop in your life.
"Cloth diapering is the best. When my youngest was born she used them — HUGE savings. They're way better for your kid's skin and the environment than plastic diapers, too! I've heard people say, 'ewww you're putting poop in your washing machine!' But um, really, no. They get rinsed off before wash day, and a diaper cycle takes a couple of fierce washes. Babies blow out onto their clothes all the time. If your infant poops up the back of their onesie do you throw it out or wash it? It just seems to me that getting so easily grossed out is not worth the thousands of dollars in disposables, but hey." —Sonnet Fitzgerald, Facebook
Get a pack of 10 cloth diapers for
$12 and a pack of five reusable fasteners for $13 from Amazon.
If you just can't imagine using reusable diapers, try generic brand diapers with high reviews, like these
"Target brand diapers are cheaper than brand name, and legit good quality. It's the only brand I buy. Also, get a
Red Card and subscribe to essentials you have to buy — diapers, baby wipes, toilet paper, etc. You get free shipping, save 5%, AND don't have to remember to go the store to buy them." —Natalie Anastasia Green, Facebook
Get Up & Up brand diapers from Target for
$21. (Available in different sizes and quantities.)
On that note, buy
generic brand baby formula that parents swear by from places like CVS.
"If you formula feed and your baby will take it, for the love of God, buy generic. Even with all the coupons
Enfamil and Similac send you, the CVS brand is still about half the price — and they have sales all the time. We saved hundreds once I switched formulas." —Ashley Sheridan, Facebook
Get it from CVS for
Cook at home as often as possible! Eating out is expensive, especially for a family. Getting inventive in the kitchen can be a family activity that saves you some serious $$$$.
"My mom cooks at home whenever she can. Cooking at home saves a ton of money and you can tailor it to everyone's taste. ❤" —
meal plan for your family to prevent ordering out on those days when you're too exhausted to cook.
"We have a family of seven and before we meal planned, we wasted so much money on things that weren't on sale, but we needed desperately. Don't waste leftovers, either! Your youngins' will like leftovers for lunch just as much as dinner the night before." —
Get a pack of seven meal-prep containers from Amazon for
On a similar note,
use your freezer to store easy meals for those same exhausted days.
"Use your freezer! FROZEN VEGETABLES ARE AMAZING! Honestly, frozen kale is 99 cents a bag. If you see a protein on sale, stick it in the freezer. Stick leftovers in the freezer, too. Have a
jar of sauce, and a packet of microwaveable rice in the cupboard for the same reason. Get shake pancakes for a nice brunch at home, so you're not tempted to go out." —Olivia Fitch, Facebook
Get a set of 50 freezer-safe storage containers for
$20 and a freezer for $212 from Amazon.
And invest in a
slow cooker that's perfect for preparing the types of meals that can be easily frozen and reheated later.
"I buy large cuts of meat when they're on sale, cook them in a slow cooker with different seasonings, divide them, and freeze for easy portions of pulled meats to thaw for sandwiches or other dishes." —
Get a slow cooker from Amazon for
$27. And explore recipes here.
Keep a lookout for deals, especially on
laundry soap because if there's one thing you'll probably need a ton of, it's soap.
"If you see a good offer on sensitive-skin laundry detergent, for the love of Mike, stock up. Nothing can prepare you for the amount of laundry created by one teeny-weeny baby." —
Get a bottle of Purex from Amazon for
Explore your local thrift stores or sites like
Swap.com to find amazing deals on second-hand kids clothes.
"Thrift stores for clothes, especially uniform pants and play-outside clothes. Also, if you can, hit up relatives who have kids and get their hand-me-downs. That way you can spend your money on coats and shoes." —
Get them from Swap.com: pack of three onesies for
$3 and dress for $3.
And set up clothing swaps and exchanges with other parents to avoid throwing down cash for new clothes.
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"Clothing exchanges with parents of similar aged children! I spend very little on clothing for my son thanks to a cousin that has a son just a little older than mine." —Casey Marina Garcia, Facebook
With that in mind, find parent groups where you can buy used baby supplies and toys. Chances are the other parents only used them for a few months before their kiddo grew out of them.
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"Check out local community resale groups on Facebook. My city has one specifically for children/baby things, and I found great car seats, strollers, and toys!" —
Make your own cheaper baby food using a
"Avoid 'kid' food. Just cut up fruit, (instead of buying pouches), or make baby food in the food processor." —
Get a food processor from Amazon for
Use the power of the internet. We're lucky to have a wealth of information right at our fingertips, use it to find money saving activities, coupons, sales, parent groups...you name it!
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"Use the internet, there are so many free activities and meet ups, you can leave the house, chat, and have the little ones entertained for free." —
Get rid of cable, pick up an
antenna for live TV, and use internet streaming services -- which are much lower in cost.
"Buy an antenna and get rid of cable. Doing this can save a lot per year and then invest it in an index fund for further growth." —Rand Althor, Facebook
Get an antenna from Amazon for
groceries delivered to save you time and make sure you get everything on your list.
"Order groceries online. You'll be less likely to forget something and, it'll save you money by eliminating impulse purchases. You can determine what to buy at your leisure. It also means no dragging kids through grocery stores." —
Sign up for Amazon Fresh
coupons! Whether you cut them out of your weekly paper, or find them online. Coupons are a great way to save big at the checkout.
"Listen honey, save those damn coupons! I don't care if people shoot you daggers for holding up the line at the grocery store. When you realize how much money you are saving, just by clipping those bitches, you won't care. You will be a savvy shopper and super mama." —
Explore tons of discounts at
Coupons.com and Retail Me Not.
Figure out a way to save a little money, even if it's just a few bucks a month. It'll add up fast and be a nice little emergency fund if you ever need it.
Walt Disney Pictures
"I save all my coins and one dollar bills. Say you buy something for $3, give them a $5 and save the extra. In three weeks I managed to save $75. Keep it up for a year and you can potentially save over $1000!" —
Get a membership to wholesale stores, like
Sam's Club, to get discount on the bulk items you need.
"If you are formula feeding, get a membership to Costco or Sam's Club. The savings in formula will more than pay for the membership fee." —
Memberships at Costco begin at
$60 and Sam's Club at $45.
Pick up this box of formula from Sam's Club for $20.
Only splurge on the things that matter, like a car seat, not on the things you'll only use for a short period, like high chairs and strollers.
"Only splurge on the important stuff. You don't need to drop a grand on a stroller or spend $200 on a high chair. Also, all the stuff Pinterest says you can't live without when you have a new baby — all lies!!! Buy those expensive toys used, your kid won't care as long as you sanitize them before. It's hard to resist the urge to buy only the best for your little one, but they will appreciate it more when you save the money for their education later on." —
Get this stroller for $63 and this highchair for $44 from Amazon.
Learn to do the things you'd normally pay others to do for you, like
"Learn to sew! Hand sew at least. You can fix a lot of holes in stuffed animals, or pants that rip and get more time out of them" —
Get this sewing kit from Amazon for
And remember, you're an awesome parent, regardless of how much money is in your bank account!
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The reviews for this post have been edited for length and clarity.
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