Clothes on the Cheap
When buying clothes for small children, it's important to remember that until about the age of 8 years, kids could care less where you buy their clothing. But as they get older, they'll become more picky. Take advantage of the younger years by getting hand me downs from friends and relatives, and buying from discount stores. Buy clothes for children in durable fabrics that will stand up to a lot of wear, especially if your're counting on hand me downs. Avoid thin, flimsy fabrics and shirts with novelty items glued on that will come off in the washing machine. Choose clothes with an elastic waist or without a defined waistline so they'll grow with the child... Try to buy play clothes in darker colors or prints that will not show stains as easily--most kids will end up getting spots on everything they own (specially the white shirts or pants). My kids sure have gotten their share of stains on clothing.
Back to school clothes
Just as with school supplies, many stores will have bargain prices on socks and underwear during the back to school season. Stock up on socks and underwear for the entire family during these terrific sales.
Starting at about age 11, children will want to have clothes like their peers. Self esteem is very important for pre-teens and teenages; they need to pick out their own clothes. At this age it is a good idea to give them a certain amount of money and let them pick out exactly what they want to wear. Try not to be critical of their choices (so long as they're appropriate) Let your children learn to shop and stay within a budget.
Kitchen Tips with Kids
Instead of buying expensive novelty ice cream treats at the grocery store or from the ice cream truck, make your own. Bu a low cost gallon of ice cream and some cones. Dip the ice cream into the cones and let them freeze hard. You can even dip them in chocolate or sprinkles for an extra special treat. By making a bunch of them at one time, you will have treats on hand without having to stop and dip ice cream for them. When the ice cream truck drives by and the kids start begging for a treat, simply pull one out from the freezer and save.
A lunch box willed with prepackaged snacks and other expensive foods will quickly cost more than the price of a school lunch. But you can save 50 percent or more by packing your children's lunches with inexpensive items.
Here are several low cost lunch items to choose from:
Sandwiches: turkey, tuna, bologna, egg salad, peanut butter and jelly, leftover meat (such as pot roast and chicken)
Cookies (homemade or store brand)
Fresh fruit (in season)
Fun in the tub
Little kids love the bath, especially when they can play as they get clean. Bath time sponges for kids in animal and other shapes are at least twice the price of regular sponges. Buy inexpensive foam sponges and cut your own shapes. For more low cost bath time fun, add a drop or two of food coloring to the water. You can make the tub a blue ocean, green lake, or pink paradise. Or, you can put a few drops of coloring into a plastic jar and add water. Give the jar to your kids and let them pour the mixture into the bath. Plastic measuring cups, spoons, and funnels can make bath time fun and educational. Kids learn to pour and estimate amounts without making a big mess. Save plastic strawberry baskets and use them to entertain kids in the tub. Dip them in soapy water, then wave them through the air. They will make clouds of bubbles. Let your little ones join in the fun of cleaning.
Graphics set from
Apple bullets from
Kids tips taken from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Household Solutions