Money Saving Tips for Parents

Do your children always want to buy the cereal with a toy in it? And you’d prefer to buy healthier cereal, at lower prices? You can recreate this same effect at home and keep everyone happy at a fraction of the cost. Buy the bran flakes, and slip a little cheapie toy into the bag when you get home. Be firm, don’t allow them to dump the bag in search of the toy, insist that each child takes his chance and pours his cereal – whoever’s bowl the toy finally comes out in is the lucky winner. You’d be amazed how many healthy bran flakes you’ll get down your kids.

Storage, storage, storage! You’re more likely to toss something useful away if you have nothing to store it in. I’m a zipper bag freakâÂ?¦ love themâÂ?¦ won’t be caught without them! If you go with plastics, and have kids, no matter how many sets you buy, you’ll have a cabinet full of bowls without lids and lids without bowls. For the most part, this is useless to you. You need something you can depend on to be there and close tightly. Zipper bags! For my money, I chose to pay a little more for the snap top lid plastic containers, the ones that the lids are actually attached – and just snap open and closed. Zipper bags are also great for quick sorting and storage of children’s small toys and game pieces.

A frugal parent always tries to multi-task so that no action or use of energy and resource is wasted. Arrange the pick up and drop off times of the children with errand runs. Planning is key! An inexpensive day planner is something I cannot live without! I buy ones big enough to write in, but small enough to cram into my purse. I’m conditioned to carry a purse as automatically as I am to breathe – anything outside that purse isn’t guaranteed to be remembered. Take the time to sit down and fill in the calendar in the planner with all your kid’s school function schedules, Medical and Dental appointments, yours and your husbands work scheduleâÂ?¦ and all the holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries you celebrate.

Now this can get complicated, so you’ll want to develop a system that works for YOUâÂ?¦ mine might not work for you at all. For routine things that happen all the time, daily or weekly, I created myself a “short hand” system of symbols. For instance trash day in my planner is an “X “on Fridays. I know what that “X” means and it doesn’t take up much of the limited amount of writing space in my planner. Meeting hubby for lunch is a check mark. Dinner at my parent’s house is a smiley face, dinner at the in-laws is a frown face. Pick symbols that have meaning for you, so you can remember them easily!

The smaller your children are, the faster they tire of new toys – and the more likely they are to break them or loose pieces. For this reason, a frugal Mom doesn’t always buy brand new toys. Hit the yard sales, second hand shops and consignment stores. A toy that might cost $20 bucks on the shelf can be found second hand for a fraction of thatâÂ?¦ and your kids aren’t going to care that it’s not in the box. I mean, get real – you throw that part away – so why pay extra for it?? As the kids get older and purchases become more useful to them for longer periods of time, now is when you would want to make new purchases. If it’s an item your child could use for several years – you’re going to want a warranty on that and a sales slip in case you need to return it for replacement.

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