Become the Queen of Swap and Watch Your Bank Account Grow
Buying everything your baby needs may have you eating cat food in your retirement years if you aren’t careful. With the staggering amount of money it takes to raise a child, you’d better be prepared to work well into your golden years to compensate for what you spend when your kids are little.
But with a little bit of planning and some ingenuity, you might be able to save some serious bucks just by trading your time, talents or items you no longer need. Here are five ways you can cut some corners.
Even if you look around, you won’t be able to find someone who will cut a child’s hair for under $10. And if your child’s bangs grow rapidly, your child will need several haircuts a year. That adds up quickly.
You can always try to do it yourself to save a few bucks. But if you’re like me and your attempts to cut your child’s hair made him spend a few weeks looking like Jim Carrey in the movie, Dumb and Dumber, you need to put the scissors down and slowly back away. Then you need to think of all your friends who possess more talent than you do when it comes to cutting and styling hair.
If none come to mind, then think of any friend whose daughter always has the cutest braids or hairstyles. Chances are if she’s handy when it comes to crafting hairstyles, she’s probably good with cutting hair too. Ask if she’d cut your child’s hair and offer her something she needs in return. Maybe she has a sweet tooth, and if you are good in the kitchen, you can reward her with a freshly-baked treat.
Sometimes you buy an outfit for your baby, and before long, you notice one of the seams has split, leaving a big hole in the garment. You can run out and buy another outfit, or you can ask one of your friends who is handy with a needle and thread to stitch it up for you. It will only take a couple of minutes, and you may be able to offer her something she needs in return.
Kids, especially babies, have a very short attention span when it comes to toys. They’ll play with them a couple of times and then lose interest for months or possibly forever. When birthdays or Christmas arrive, you may be able to set up a toy swap with your friends that will save you all some money.
Bring in your best toys that your baby no longer uses and exchange them with a friend’s toys. You’ll want to make sure the toys are in good shape and are comparable in price, so no one feels like they are getting the short end of the stick. This may not work as well when your child is older, but in his younger years, he’ll never know the difference.
If you and a friend have babies who are around the same age, you may be able to swap baby gear to cut down on costs for both of you, especially when it comes to items that aren’t used frequently.
If your friend has one of those fancy thermometers that takes a child’s temperature just by swiping it across her forehead, you may be able to skip a thermometer purchase and borrow hers whenever you suspect your baby has a fever. Likewise, if you received two breast pumps as baby gifts and only intend to use one, you can trade your friend for something she no longer has use for.
Sometimes as a mom, you just want a night away from diaper duty, and you want to have fun with your partner or your friends. But you don’t always have the cash on hand to make a night out happen. That’s where a baby swap comes in handy.
Offer to watch your friend’s child one night in return for her watching yours. Babysitting can be outrageously expensive at times, and even then, you spend most of your night out worried about your child. It’s a relief to know that your baby is in good hands with a mom friend of yours. That night out may be just enough to preserve your sanity and your bank account.
Jenny is just another mom trying to do her best. She loves making lists and trying to help others find what they are looking for. When she’s not sharing the latest parenting hacks & tips on her blog, you’ll find her trying to help other moms save time and money by writing epic buyer’s guides on breast pumps, baby bottles, and other mommy essentials.