“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” -Warren Buffett

Choices: Kids Stuff

This is our last post in our Choices series... And this one is about kids stuff!  All the toys, games, gear that kids seem to "need".

We have chosen not to spend a lot on kids toys and games they will quickly outgrow over the last 8 or so years.  Our children have always had what they need, as well as many wants and toys on top of those necessities.  Here are a few tricks we used to save a ton of cash, and allow us to save more for what matters for our family (saving for their education, our retirement, and to fund the life we want to live with our kids).

Tip #1: Buy used where possible.  

This is especially true with the many baby items one "needs" like a swing, bouncer, and all the rest.  These items are used for such a short bit of time, and we found with both kids we were able to buy used and sell for the same price when we were done with it, and then we aren't left storing it in between!  It might be different if you are planning multiple small children in a row, but we were never quite sure when and how many children we would have so we bought as sold as needed along the way.

Find a good local consignment shop as well for clothes, books and other items.  It will be invaluable as your kids grow to purchase and then be able to sell back anything that isn't worn out when they are done with it.  For minimal cost you can keep 'trading up' in sizes as you need for a fraction of the cost!  And it's one more way to contribute to greening our earth, less "fast-fashion" for kids, less waste.

Tip #2: Do without where you can, use a multipurpose item where you can't.  

Some things are required, like car seats, but many other things like swings, bouncers, pack and plays for babies, or a whole ton of LOLs or Barbies are not.  Many pack and plays have a bassinet feature you can use instead of a separate bassinet, or swings that also have vibration/bouncing features.  High chairs that become booster seats.  Dolls that can be used for many things, or some basic sets of lego that allow you to build anything your heart desires are much more useful than specific sets that aren't as easy to use interchangeably.  I've found that when my kids have SO many of one thing, they end up not taking care of it and keeping track of it the way they do when they have one precious item.

Tip #3: Prioritize.

Happy kids playing with some ice
and dressed in consignment clothes
If you must purchase new prioritize and purchase as needed and based on available sales and coupons.  Shop around when you can, price check online before you head into the store.  Often you can double up an online coupon with ebates and get free shipping to save a bit on a necessary purchase!

Bonus Tip #4: Hand me downs!

If you are willing to take used items, let people know.  I often run into people saying they have this or that to give away.  If you need that item, let them know and see if maybe you have something they need (or make them some muffins or cookies as a thank you).  I can guarantee once you make it known that you are open to hand me downs, people tend to gift things your way.  You can then keep what you need and pass along the rest to another family.

Those are our best tips, what have you done to save a little cash while providing everything your little person needs??

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