Archive for the ‘Cool Tools’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Tightening the Purse Strings with Twins

As most may guess, raising twins on one income at the height of a recession is tough. For the first year, we were so sleep deprived and hazy we paid no attention. We purchased a new home, made some improvements and just coasted by on some unemployment, one paycheck and savings. Once the fog lifted, it was hard not to worry.

I truly think that the best scenario for any kid is to be at home with a parent, particularly with twins. Twins, first of all, require twice the daycare payment and, in my case, they were later to develop and are talking later (we just started hearing the first words between googly googly recently). If this is a sacrifice (i.e. income) you are able to make, then you need to focus on cutting costs wherever you can.

I started with the frugal thinking prior to the twin’s birth. When I found out I was having twins I considered the price of formula and vowed to breastfeed for the first six months at the very least. I actually made it 14 months. When the boys started on solid food, I vowed to make everything from scratch. Both of these decisions were both healthier and more cost effective.

As the boys get older, I always try to find new ways to pinch a penny. Here are just a few methods that have helped make me a frugal mom.

  1. Collecting hand-me-down toys, clothing and books- Since I became a mother long after many of my friends it was easy enough to ask for the used stuff they couldn’t wait to unload. Since my house has plenty of storage space, I have plastic bins of clothing and toys stocked through age 5. I plan on continuing my collecting efforts as long as possible.
  2. Buy used: When I do need some toy (like when I realized my kids loved instruments) I try out Craigslist or garage sales to fill in the blanks. I have purchased some really nice strollers and toys this way. When we went to visit my folks, my Mom bought two playards for $30 total!
  3. Clearance and coupon: While used is great, sometimes the clothing you get does not satisfy the needs to two, nor the right size for the season. I take stock of what I have, make a list of what I might need and scour the clearance sales, along with coupons. I especially like the outlet malls. This has been great for shoes, which we always seem to need.
  4. Bring your own- Whenever possible I bring the kids our homemade meals, snacks and drinks. I check to see if food is allowed and pack what I need. Plus, my kids are so used to fresh they turn their nose up at processed foods.
  5. Don’t be brand loyal- Although there are times when I feel that one brand is superior to others, I try not to be brand loyal and shop around for diapers, wipes and other necessities. This means a combination of online, in stores and armed with coupons. This may require some research, planning and space for storage to really do it right.
  6. Cut costs in spending on yourself- It’s the name of the parenting game; sacrifice. So, we sacrifice. There are fewer date nights and parties at the house. In addition, we really look carefully at the money we spend on groceries and other essentials.
  7. DIY- Be realistic based on your skills. Not everyone is handy, but some who think they are not just haven’t tried. We have used our own skills and plenty of YouTube videos and blogs to slowly remodel our fixer upper home. We employ the DIY method for other elements such as bread making, repairs, lawn mowing, upcycling fashion, building a compost and raised garden and much, much more. For everything we need or desire we think long and hard about whether or not we can make it ourselves, the cost of materials and time and compare that to purchased goods or services. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense and other times it just doesn’t make sense right now.
  8. Yard sales and Craigslist- Like any frugal person I have tried to sell anything I don’t need. I used to donate everything, but those days of a disposable income are gone. To be honest, I have only once participated in someone else’s huge yard sale. Most of my items I have sold via Craigslist. I am currently planning a huge yard sale that will bring in money for little bikes for the boys (used of course!).
  9. Rewards Memberships- I have collected rewards or loyalty points wherever possible. For example, Huggies has them on their diapers and wipes. Since we buy so many it really pays off to save them and utilize the rewards points for coupons or freebies. Take it where you can get it!
  10. Barter- Wherever you can. Seriously. Barter with friends and family for babysitting, carpooling, memberships for places like the zoo and aquarium (many memberships allow up to 6 guests at a time), hosting play dates and more. You can even barter with friends on the task of cooking. You make the two month supply of black bean burgers and they make the casserole. This can be a time and money saving opportunity.

PostHeaderIcon One of my favorite things

Breastfeeding and general Mommy work makes me thirsty. I carry a water bottle with me at all times. The problem? I always drop them or don’t close them properly. I found the best product which solves all of my problems.

Contigo makes a reusable bottle with a function that allows you to sip when you want. Check it out: