1) Buy Brand Name Clothes/ New Clothes
My first child was a girl so you can imagine the tons of clothes I purchased for her to be dressed in matching outfits with all the accessories required. I literally have tons of boxes with all those clothes, my husband and I still argue today as to what to do with them. I, of course, recall every item I purchased, where and when she wore it. The only detail that escapes my memory is, of course, the price, and he seems to recall the one simple detail. Anyway, what can I say she was my firstborn and she was my little doll! Fast forward to my second child, a boy and I recall not purchasing a single item of clothing until I was almost due and realized I only had pink outfits. Thankfully, my sisters donated tons of clothes to me as they had older boys. This brings me to a newfound love, second-hand children's clothes. I now rarely purchase new except for certain items; underwear and some footwear for example. I also purchase new items for a special occasion which is a few times a year for celebrations or family photoshoots etc.. So where do I purchase my clothes you wonder? Firstly from friends and family, Facebook sale groups, children consignment stores as well as sites such as Kijiji and Craigslist. It can cost upward of 800$ a month to clothe one child[note]http://www.moneysense.ca/save/financial-planning/the-real-cost-of-raising-a-child/[/note]. I now spend less than 200$ per child per month and sometimes less. I was recently browsing a major children's store and starting cringing at the sight of prices but there was a time when I never even thought of looking at the price until I got to the till. Yikes!
2) Skip all the needless Gadgets
When you are a new parent you have no idea of what is required to raise a child. You start buying all these items that are advertised as indispensable and then come to find out you never used any of them. One such useless gadget is the infamous diaper wipe warmer. I remember thinking about how innovative and brilliant this was until my sister talked me out of buying it. Now with my second child, I make my own diaper wipes and a warmer is the furthest thing from what I consider practical. It’s important to do research on these items before purchasing them and it’s vital to seek out real reviews from experienced parents. If something is gear for the very first few months of a child's life, chances are you will be able to do without them. Only buy what is absolutely necessary and never aimlessly browse the baby shops because these products are made to attract you.
3) Baby Food
One thing I have completely eliminated after my first child is the purchase of baby food. I have started making my own baby food and have found it saved me a ton of money. Yes, it does take more time to prep, cook and then freezes but it is completely worth it. A major motivation for me was for health reasons. Why introduce all these preservatives into my baby when I can very simply make everything at home and know exactly what I’m feeding him? Remember the baby food industry is worth billions of dollars, so their interest is in their sales but your interest is solely the welfare of your child. No one has more invested in the wellbeing of your child than yourself.
4) Baby Products
Baby Products are again one of those billion-dollar industries. Many of these products have harmful chemicals and should be avoided. With experience and knowledge I now know certain ingredients in baby items are actually harmful. This is why I make my own diaper wipes, baby body cream, and diaper balm. I was recently devastated to read that major brand name baby powder was linked to causing cancer. I am sure there are more products out there that have harmful consequences. I try to keep things simple and never purchase anything that has ingredients I cannot pronounce or understand. If I can make something at home I do, if I can have a simple organic or natural alternative I purchase that instead. A good example is Castile soap, this a natural soap derived from oils such as coconut, palm oil, and olive oil. I use this for bathing and also for making my diaper wipes. I think the single most important thing here is to educate yourself to make the best decision for your household.
Another money drain is children's toys, I can even count the times when I purchased something expensive and after a few days it either breaks or it no longer interests them. My house is full of toys yet each child scream that he has nothing to play with. This is maddening and it now irritates me to count all the money down the drain. But I know I am far from being alone in this reality. I see so many second-hand toys on sale so I know I’m not the only one dealing with this. I now rarely purchase new toys no matter how many agonizing hours of pleading I have to endure. I refuse to clutter my house with further items that will hold no interest to them in two weeks. I have started stashing away certain toys periodically and whenever they ask for something new I whip it up as a new toy. This surprisingly works like a charm, I’m grateful they have the memory of fish in this case. I also do toy exchange among my sisters and friends, this is a great way to save money and get new toys for the kids. When I do buy something new, it has to be durable, educational and something that I could buy further items for and that will ignite their sense of play.