Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Saving Money With Kids

I'm currently on maternity leave for a year (perk of living in beautiful Canada) with two kids, a two year old and a five month old.  Being on EI when you only work part time to begin with really doesn't give you a ton of money and kids can be expensive but I've found ways to be frugal:

  • Use coupons whenever possible.  I buy the Entertainment coupon book every year because there's great savings in it for eating out and attractions such as the Zoo and the Aquarium.  There are also coupons for those indoor play centres now that my son is old enough to go to those places.  For even better savings try and only use coupons for product that is on sale.  I save every coupon I find and when something goes on sale I'll buy as many as I have coupons for that way I rarely end up paying full price for the food we eat often.  Some stores even let you use more than one coupon on one product but that's a whole other post on it's own.  See here if you would like more information on couponing in Canada.
  • Don't be too hung up on certain brands and be willing to switch and try other products that are on sale or that you have coupons for.  Even using store brand can save you a lot of money and the product is usually just as good as the name brand.  For reasons I won't get into yet my daughter couldn't breastfeed so we use store brand formula with her and it's half the price of the name brand!
  • Only buy stuff on sale or out of season if possible.  I recently picked up a lot of clothes for both kids for summer and only paid $1 each item!!  I often buy their stuff a season or two ahead of time when it's on clearance and often pay less than I see people selling used stuff for and it's brand new!  
  • Plan meals around food in your cupboards.  It would be a waste to throw something away so I make a weekly meal plan (which can save you money too!) around what's in my cupboards or freezer.  Often I'll have excess of something that I picked up on sale (pasta sauce for example).
  • Buy food products close to expiry date.  This stuff is often discounted and can sometimes be found in it's own section of the store or in it's usual spot and usually has a bright sale sticker on it so they can be spotted easily.  At Superstore, where we do most of our shopping, they're bright pink.  I'll buy meat and bread like this then put it straight in the freezer where it'll be good for a while or I cook it right away.  
  • Buy stuff used.  I recently bought my son a pair of rain boots and winter boots for $8!  They'll only fit him this year so I don't see the worth in buying them brand new.  Kids grow really fast and I've been very lucky to receive lots of hand me downs and baby goods free for both children!  I'm returning the favour by passing stuff on to others that need it.  
  • Eat at home.  It's nice to go out once in a while but restaurants can be expensive even with a coupon so we go out for a treat sometimes but most of our meals are had at home and planned one week at a time.  

I hope these tips can help you save money like I do and I'll be going into more detail in future posts.

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