So my husband and I differ on the subject of money and it can be the cause of many arguments. I’m the saver and he’s the ‘money grows on trees’ spender! I make sure we’ve covered the mortgage, he helps us have fun and be generous.
We’re not on a high income so it’s essential to find cheap ways of doing things that don’t break the bank. So, for fear of sounding like a cheap skate, here are some things I’ve done since having kids that help us not break the bank. Please don’t judge me!
1. Buy second hand!
I am ALL about charity shops and carboots, you can find such bargains and hardly used things. I get most of the kids clothes and toys second hand and they don’t know the difference.
I regularly find Zara, Gap and The White Company clothes for Sienna at charity shops and I’m helping a good cause too 👍
When I was first pregnant I found my car seat, baby bouncer and play mat all at a car boot! Babies use things for such a short amount of time that they were all in great condition.
I also sell the stuff that they have grown out of at car boots and make some of the money back.
Also, look for online forums of mums selling second hand baby/children’s things in your area – facebook has loads of these pages. And then there’s always ebay and Gumtree – second hand baby stuff is generally hardly used and you’ll save loads.
Join your local freegle (www.ilovefreegle.org) and you can pick up things people no longer want completely for free! We got a nearly new ikea cot on there which has been amazing. Also great to get rid of things you’re done with quickly and help someone else out. Love a bit of community spirit!
3. Up cycle
The kids bedroom furniture is all old stuff we used to have, with some white paint chucked on! I think their nursery stuff cost us about £25 in total – which I think was just for the bedding (white company – with a voucher code!)
4. Waitrose free coffee
Enough said – get yourself a ‘my waitrose’ card and you can get a free tea or coffee with any purchase (we normally get a banana for 25p or a babychino for 30p).
Ours happens to be next to the library so makes for a great free outing!
5. Make the most of the sunshine
When it’s sunny go to a park over a soft play center – you’ll save yourself the entrance fee and the coffee you’ll inevitably buy!
6. Take a packed lunch
Get organised and pack snacks, a drink and lunch for your toddlers – they eat such a small amount and are pretty fussy it doesn’t make sense to pay for a kids meal. And if you’re buying coffees and cakes for the adults, cafes usually don’t mind.
When we go to the park, the over priced ice cream van is often there and Sienna is obviously more interested in this than the park, so sometimes I take a little cooler bag with some mini milks in. Then she doesn’t feel like she’s missing out, I’ve saved money and they aren’t as bad for her!
4. Vouchers and discount codes
Sign up to a shop’s mailing list and they will regularly send you discount codes and money-off vouchers. Every year I get at least one £10 voucher with no minimum spend from The White Company and Boden.
Before buying ANYTHING, Google ‘discount codes’ for the shop/restaurant/holiday site you’re buying from and you will often find codes for money off and free delivery.
As your little one gets older they begin to have ALOT of birthdays to attend! When they are under a certain age you can save some presents they get at birthdays without them noticing and give them to other kids! Might sound harsh but Sienna regularly got doubles of things or so many things she was overwhelmed so we’d save some for other kids or for her Christmas etc.
Also kids have no idea the cost of something, so save your money and pick up some fun things from poundland. Tiger is also a great store for picking up cheap but fun things.
I have amazing friends who are also trying to save money where possible. We often do coffee at each other’s houses for play dates rather than going out (also avoids the stares of people who don’t have kids who are trying to have a quiet coffee whist your kid is having a monumental meltdown when you get them the apple juice they asked for as they now want a babyccino 😁). We also lend each other kids clothes and toys when ours have grown out of things – this has been a huge help to me and I love being able to help others in this way too.
8. Find free activities!
There should be free things going on in your area so hunt them out! Libraries are a fun outing and often do free sing and sign or craft activities, we have a local farm that runs off donations, take a picnic to a park or find family centers to see what’s going on (ours has a cheap cafe and a free small soft play).
So those are my tips; be savvy not snobby. Your kids won’t know the difference and will thank you in the long run when you’re not in debt.