Kids are expensive. Feeding, clothing, entertaining, and basically helping your child become a well-rounded and healthy individual costs a lot of money. I have three rapidly growing, very energetic, easily-bored boys, and I am always spending money on something for them. The trick is to figure out how to spend the least amount of money and garner the most benefit; loosely translated as keep them clean, fed, and out of trouble.
Start by checking deal websites daily. Websites like Bargainmoose.ca have a searchable coupon forum that you should always use before you take out your debit or credit card. There are coupons for everything from toothpaste to televisions, printable and online. You can literally save thousands of dollars over the years just by using coupons, and you won’t get blisters on your fingers doing it. The blogs on these sites tell you about the very best deals, and you can learn from the personal experiences of bloggers like me who know what they are talking about. It also pays to check Canadian-based sites so you don’t get dinged on duties and customs fees for cross-border stores.
I rarely pay full price for anything and neither should you—unless that’s your thing. You know who you are. If there isn’t a coupon or coupon code available, a sale is sure to come. Almost every company will have a sale on its products at some point, so if you are patient, you will save. The best way to save is to shop off-season. Kids don’t care if they have the very latest styles, so when last year’s snow pants can cost you $20, but this year’s can cost you $80, which are you more likely to pick? That $60 could buy you something nice, or buy the kids something else. If you are hung up on the newest styles, or your kid is “so not having it," many times there are pre-season sales. You might not feel like shopping for sandals in February, especially when you look at pedicure-needing toes, but trust me, it saves money.
It has been suggested that people shop consignment for children’s clothes, but with three boys, if I buy used to start with, my third will end up naked by the time it is his turn to be passed down the clothes. That might be cute as a toddler, not so much as a teen. On the other hand, if your clothes are still in good shape when your children are done wearing them, selling at consignment, on Kijij,i or on various online moms’ groups is great for your wallet.
Shopping online is the easiest way to shop. There is no searching on racks for your size, you know exactly what is available, and you don’t even have to get out of your pyjamas to do it. Many places offer free shipping for purchases over a certain amount. If you aren’t going to reach that amount, check with friends to see if they are interested in buying some items with you so you both save on shipping. Many stores also have free shipping days or weekends, which is great when you want to purchase heavily-discounted items, and don’t want to pay more for the shipping than the item itself.