You might say I'm tight. Personally, I prefer the term 'frugal.' And why not? In the first year alone, raising a kid costs some ludicrous figure, then unless you happen to have the winning 649 numbers, it's wise for moms to be as fiscally fit as possible.
Here are a few tips to get you saving.
And you shall know it’s summer when your neighbour empties the crappy contents of his garage onto his lawn, and erects the cardboard sale sign. But don’t knock the garage sale till you’ve tried it. If you’re willing to forgo the Saturday morning sleep-in (a tough trade-off for any mom), there are bargains to be had, dusty jewels among the myriad junk. Your best bet: send daddy and darling for a little together time. But be sure to leave strict instructions. Last summer my husband earned bonus points when he came back with a jogging stroller (retailing at around $500) for $50.
If you’re anything like I am, you are best not approached on the wrong side of 9am without a steaming cup in hand. As a recovering Starbucks addict, I wholeheartedly endorse the idea of buying your own percolator. Rest assured, the machine doesn’t have to be fancy or Italiano. My latest 12-cup Black & Decker wonder cost a mere $19.99 at Canadian Tire. It even has a ‘sneak a cup’ option, which cleverly halts the drip mid-flow so you can get your fix without having to wait for the brew to finish. And with Starbucks and Timmys now available in most grocery stores, you can sip from the comfort of your own bathrobe.
I’m not too proud to admit I love second-hand clothes, always have. Second-hand everything, actually. As a teenager I would drag my saintly mother to a charity shop run by a couple of grannies. There, I would rifle through bell bottoms, butterfly collars, kilts, velvet pants, and stinky three-piece suits that belonged to someone’s dead uncle (oftentimes with a crumpled Kleenex or ticket stub still in the pocket!). Back then, I loved any kind of retro, however kitschy. Now I’m choosy about what I buy. I check out stores like Once Upon a Child and Value Village for good quality toys, clothes, DVDs, and books. Occasionally, I’ll even score a great pair of jeans for myself, too, Jacob, Hilfiger, Gap. And the world at large: none the wiser…
In case you didn't know, the warehouse, with various locations across Canada, sells everything under the sun in supersize-me sizes. The key here is to buy what you actually need (32 rolls of toilet paper) versus what you actually want (32 bags of microwave butter popcorn). Costco is perfect for grocery staples and baby essentials like diapers, and enough zinc cream to last till your kid's fortieth birthday! The annual membership will run you around $50, but it’s well worth it if you stock up at least once a month. Just try to keep visits down to once a month. I double dare you.
There are so many sites out there to be exploited on the Internet. And since so many are exploiting you and your dollar, why not take advantage of some great deals when and where you can find them? Best of all, sites like Groupon and Sweetmamadeals send the daily discounts straight to your inbox, so you don't even have to surf around. Simply check your messages, see what the deal of the day is, and if you don't want to take advantage, just press delete. In some cities, the Entertainment book can be purchased. For a nominal fee (around $40), you will gain a tome full of vouchers for restaurants, activities, and retailers in your area. If you use even a few of the coupons, you are sure to get your initial outlay back, and then some.
It may not seem like much on the face of it, but a penny pinched is a Loonie saved. And the bottom line: every coin in the proverbial piggy brings you one step closer to that Disney (or college) dream.
As an established parenting writer and a trusted voice within the autism community, Julie M Green is a freelance writer and featured blogger at Huffington Post and Yummy Mummy Club. Her articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including Today's Parent, Globe and Mail and Parents Canada.
She lives in Toronto with her Irish hubby, a crazy bulldog, and an amazing 8-year-old son with autism.