Today’s blog posting is courtesy of Jen Singer, founder of MommaSaid.net, and the very funny author of many parenting books, including her latest Stop Second Guessing Yourself – The Toddler Years. Here are her three tips on maintaining your frugality when you’ve got toddlers in tow:
Sometime near your firstborn’s first birthday, you start to realize, Hey wait a minute. I’m running out of baby shower gear. Your soon-to-be toddler has outgrown most of that free stuff you got months ago: the baby clothes, the cute bathtub, the toys, the baby swing, the baby blankets, etc. And now, you’re on your own. Plus, you’ve got a mobile kid (new shoes) who’s getting into things (and ruining clothes faster) and starting to eye up the potty (got the gear?).
But you don’t have to break the bank to gear up for toddlerhood. Here are three tips for being frugal with a toddler in the house.
- Resist the urge to placate your toddler with new goodies. You just want to make it through the supermarket without a temper tantrum, so you buy him a little treat, perhaps a toy car or those cute Elmo cookies in the bakery. But multiply out the price by your number of trips to the store each year, and you’ll see that it adds up. Besides, you’re teaching your toddler that you’re willing to buy good behavior. (Been there, done that.) The better solution is to keep one toy out of circulation and then present it as new when you’re out and about. Toddlers tend not to remember much past last Tuesday, so it’ll seem like a treat to him.
- Skip the pricey classes. You don’t have to shell out $60 to $150 for a regularly scheduled activity for your toddler. You can get her a little pre-preschool socialization by holding playgroups in your home or at the playground or park. Rotate houses with other moms so the burden (to hide your mess in the closet) isn’t all on you each week. And save money with BYOS – Bring Your Own Snack.
- Make friends with someone with slightly older kids. When their kids outgrow their toddler gear, they can hand them down to you. But be careful: If it’s been quite a few years since their kids were little, some of their gear might not meet current safety standards. Car seats that are older than six years old, or have been involved in an accident, are not considered safe. You can check whether a product has been recalled at The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s web site. There, you’ll also find the CPSC’s list of safety standards for cribs, which have changed over the years. And think about how important is it really to have the latest gear? Does your toddler really need the pink princess potty chair? Only if someone’s handing it down for free.
For more information on Jen’s books, please visit MommaSaid.net (where I happen to be a columnist). Thanks for a great guest post!