I know many people have kids and like to find ideas for saving money, and since I don’t have children I have turned to one person I know who has some history with raising 3 kids...I would like to introduce Linda (my mother) and her ideas and tips she learned raising us kids.


When we were first married and expecting our first child, I bought a portable sewing machine, which I used to make simple things like cafe' curtains (with straight lines) and maternity clothes (didn't need to be perfectly fitted). If a person is good at sewing (I wasn't), this would be a good way to save money on clothes, curtains, upholstery, gifts, or household decorations, depending on the level of competency; or if you can take sewing, tailoring or upholstering classes. Some expectant mom's make receiving blankets, quilts, changing pads and burp pads, and even cloth diapers, as well as baby clothes.

Although my grandmother purchased the first crib we had, I acquired most other baby equipment (bedding, strollers, car seat, infant seat, buggy, diapers) from garage sales or classified ads. It was more my style to go to garage sales, not only for bargains, but for an outing. As well as baby and kids' clothes, I would look for good quality household goods and appliances, toys and furniture. I would clean up and sterilize anything that I felt needed it. I would also shop at Goodwill, Salvation Army and consignment stores for things, including clothes for myself.

One time I bought some exceptionally good quality baby clothes from a woman who had only one son who was about a year older than our son. After making an initial purchase from her, I would contact her whenever I needed a certain size or type of clothing. Because they were both a little "chunky", I was able to have a good resource for clothing for my son, until we moved away from that town. So, if you find a garage sale or someone selling clothing that has kids a little older than yours, it's a possible resource for ongoing purchases.

Except for one car that we bought new in 1970, which we paid off in less than the allotted time, we have bought only good, used, pre-owned cars....usually from individual owners who kept good maintenance records, rather than from dealers. When we bought from a dealer, it was usually one we knew and trusted to give us a fair deal.

For a few years, we didn't have a TV in the house (and have never had cable). Besides allowing us to use our imaginations for entertainment, it cut down on many of the things we thought we "had to have", from constant exposure to commercials.

For entertainment, the kids and I would make frequent trips to the library & participate in reading programs and bring home books and videos. I watched the newspaper and listened to the radio for announcements of free activities for kids to participate in at the mall or elsewhere. The kids took part in the local Parks & Recreation Dept. sports, Red Cross swimming lessons and drama programs, rather than participating in more expensive leagues or belonging to country clubs. My husband doesn't golf, so we haven't had THAT expense, either.

Vacations were usually to the grandparents' or aunts' & uncles' homes. Sometimes we took our tent on a camping trip, but that wasn't a big favorite of ours. Some families love to go camping and fishing, though, which can provide some less expensive quality time together. A nearby Sears store would sometimes have refrigerator or washer boxes that we could take home for the kids to play with. We would pick up "grownup clothes" or "fancy" clothes, from garage sales, which the kids used for putting on plays or playing "pretend".

We didn't have pets very often, as they can be expensive to maintain, with medical concerns as well as food and grooming supplies, and any damage the pet might do to a neighbor's property. However, they can serve a good purpose in teaching responsibility to kids, as well as providing companionship.

I exchanged babysitting with a friend, so each of us could get out to do some volunteer work, shopping, going to appointments or working a few part-time hours. This gave the kids some social time together, and we moms would sometimes combine our leftovers for impromptu lunches or make lunches for each other that we both enjoyed but the husbands didn't care for. It kept us from always taking the kids to McDonald's.

I clipped coupons for food, health & beauty products, cleaning products, restaurants or 2 for 1 admission to entertainment places. I would stock up on things that we used frequently, when there was a good sale; especially if I also had a coupon for it! We had hair cuts done at the local school of cosmetology, although hubby preferred the barber.

We only bought a small amount of soda pop, which we saved to have when we fixed homemade pizza on Friday or Saturday nights, instead of ordering delivery pizza. We would eat out once every couple weeks, but usually only at places where I had coupons.

Because we lived in a college town, many people would move out of apartments, Greek houses and dormitories at the end of semesters, discarding assorted items at the curbside. Sometimes we would find decent-looking furniture or a mattress that we would take home for a tumbling mat. Departing international students would also advertise household furnishings and cars for sale, so some good "deals" could often be found that way.

I don't do gardening, but some people like to grow their own food to freeze or can. I've read that it's sometimes a wash, as far as saving any money by having a garden, and sometimes commercially frozen vegetables are fresher than home-grown, if the home-grown ones aren't tended to immediately after picking, but if you've made an initial outlay for canning equipment or already have a freezer, you can try it and see what you think.

Flowers planted in the yard can be used as gifts for friends' birthdays or for people in the hospital. Since I don't have a flower garden, I take my own vases, that I've received flowers in or have bought inexpensively at garage sales or Salvation Army stores, and have flowers arranged in them by the florist. I don't know if all florists will do that, but it's a lot less expensive, since you aren't purchasing a vase at retail price, too.

I still look for programs at libraries, community colleges and medical centers that have free talks and discussions on finances, investing, travel or health topics of interest to me.


  1. Free Energy Saving Tips // Monday, June 22, 2009 8:44:00 PM  

    Might I also suggest some simple energy savings. Although it doesn't make a ton of sense to play with your thermostat when children's health is involved, you can use energy wisely for baths, TV usage, light usage (using nightlights instead of normal lights) and of course using CFL's in place of incandecent ones!

  2. JT Locke -- The Frugal Housewife // Wednesday, June 24, 2009 8:36:00 PM  

    You've been awarded two awards... "The Best Blog Award" and the "A Lovely Blog Award". Please stop by my blog, The Frugal Housewife and claim your award!

  3. Deals Hunt // Wednesday, September 09, 2009 3:37:00 AM  

    lovely blog to save your money as we know money saving is important aspect of our life.thanks for sharing!!