5 Ways To Save $$ When You Have Kids
They’re certainly expensive enough to suck the joy out of us!
Here’re 5 easy-peasy money-saving tips. Plus, a chance to buy value-for-money stuff from kidpreneurs like my son Ayden, who is selling off his preloved toys, clothes and books at Liang Court this weekend!
1. Make a list, whip out your calculator, join sprees
discounts, exhibitors are often more generous with free gifts or samples ranging from breast pads to baby wash. I always save the samples for travel or stash them in the car or office for emergencies.
The top, and recurring, items on every baby’s shopping list are diapers and wet wipes. These disposables are thrown out anyways so shop smart. I splurged on top-brand, more absorbent diapers when they were on sale and saved them for nights. During the day, I used cheaper brands or even house brands like NTUC, since I was throwing out poopy diapers so often. I don’t believe that using top brands will automatically keep your baby’s bottom rash free; well, not if you leave Baby to stew in his pee and poop! Some mums try not to ‘waste’ their expensive diapers by stretching their use over a longer period. Me, I used cheaper diapers but changed them regularly, and invested in quality diaper creams to keep Ayden’s bottom clean.
Learn to calculate the cost of diapers based on per unit. One mum I know even had an excel spreadsheet where she worked out the prices, and even the cheapest places to buy them!
Similarly, I bought washable breast pads and saved my disposable ones for travel. They’re more eco-friendly and cheaper than buying disposables in the long run.
Widen your mummy network and join sprees to buy your necessities with bulk discount. Sign up with forums and groups like SG Baby Club and you’ll find a great support network and many, many opportunities to group-buy. Everyone saves, everyone wins!
Pink is for girls, blue is for boys? No such rule but yet, it is somehow ingrained in us to choose girly, frilly pink dresses for our princess and macho blue threads for our little prince. If you plan to have more than 1 kid, make it a point to choose neutral colours. Simple and functional onesies or basic separates in green, yellow, white, orange will fit the next kid easily. Tip: When friends offer to buy your child an outfit, remind them to select gender-neutral colours.
Having said that, we know many parents of little girls can’t resist dolling up their princesses. Indulge if you must but do it wisely. For instance, accessories like hair bands add a girly touch, especially on bald little girls who otherwise look like boys hahaha. They’re also more affordable than a full tutu dress. If you’re nifty with a needle and thread, you can easily make little bows or flowers out of cheap ribbons and safety pins. Just interchange and pin them on a basic hair band or plain onesies. There, a different hair accessory or brooch for every outfit!
But I’ve learned the hard way that as much as I liked seeing a pudgy baby Ayden in long-sleeved shirts that make him look like a little man, he simply didn’t feel the same way. I used to go mad buying Ayden smart button-down shirts so he could match his daddy’s Chinese New Year outfit. He always ended up crying and demanding to be changed out of the expensive and scratchy shirt, into a comfy tee. These days, I’d rather buy him tee shirts that I know he WILL wear, than fancy shirts that he hates.
Worse, Ayden often outgrows his new clothes even before he had a chance to wear them! And like all kids, he has his favourite tees that he will wear to death, while leaving others at the back of the cupboard with their tags still on.
Remember: A cheap outfit bought on sale is still too expensive when it has to be passed on before your kid gets a chance to wear it. Which brings us to the next point:
4. Accept — and ask for — hand-me-downs.
Babies grow up so fast, it just makes good common sense to accept hand-me-downs. Don’t be shy to ask for them, especially if you have more than 1 kid who will benefit. Most parents are only too happy to pass on their kids’ clothes so they don’t go to waste.
50% of Ayden’s baby wardrobe was made up of sensible basic pieces that we inherited from his older cousins. My mum, bless her, had diligently packed and saved all her grandkids’ clothes so we could reuse them. There were some 20-year-old vintage pieces in there!
Of course, we couldn’t resist buying some new pieces too. As Ayden is an only child, and his younger cousins are all girls, we regularly pass on his lightly-used clothes and shoes to friends with sons. We get so much joy when we spot our friends’ kids wearing Ayden’s old, or sometimes brand new but too small, stuff. Makes me feel like all that effort picking out the outfits didn’t go to waste!
There’s only 1 pair of shoes that I refuse to give away — a pair of Gucci kids’ leather loafers that we bought in Europe. They were so cute and cool (and on 50% off!) that I just HAD to buy them. I’m saving them for my grandson.