Frugal Living

By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.

In today's day and age it is vital for parents to strike a balance between providing love and nourishment to their children and managing a household on limited income.

Here are some frugal tips to help you raise your child economically as well as efficiently::

  • Consider cloth diapers instead of disposables.
  • Breastfeed your child as long as possible. It is healthy for the mother and child both.
  • Make your own baby wipes using strong paper towels. Cut towels so that they can fit in a wipes box. Boil 2 cups of water and add 2 tsp shampoo and 2 tsp baby oil into it. Pour the mixture over towels and let it cool. You are ready to go!
  • Go to second hand stores and outlet shops to purchase toys, books and clothes for your kids.
  • You can use cornstarch instead of baby powder. Not only is it cheaper, it will not cause diaper rash on your child as it is non-fragranced.
  • Use a little bit of baking soda with a wet cloth to get off crayons and pencil marks off of walls painted with semi-gloss paint. You will save on cleaning expenses.
  • Save on babysitting expenses by looking for couples in your neighborhood with children the same age as your child. You can take turns switching off babysitting nights.
  • When you shop for your children and find a range of clothes on huge discount, buy similar outfits in two different sizes- one size that fits now, and one size up for when they grow out of the first.
  • Save on school lunch money by fixing quick lunches for your kids at home.
  • Send your child to school with partially frozen milk, so that it stays cool all day.
  • Encourage your child to trade his/her toys with a friend or neighbor.
  • If you have received too many toys or books as Christmas or birthday gifts for your child, don't take them out all at once. Your child will soon get bored of it. Instead, divide the toys and books in two parts and follow a rotation cycle. When you give your child one set of toys and books, hide the other; then after a few days do the same with the other set.
  • Wash clothes more often, you will buy clothes less.
  • Motivate children to save money by not giving in to their every demand. If they wish for a new toy for Christmas, encourage them to deposit a coin saved from their allowance in their piggy bank. Of course, at the time of shopping, you can match the amount and reward them for their efforts.
  • Put small toy pieces and instruction manuals in a plastic zip-lock bag.
  • Most parks, museums, theaters and other places of interests offer discounted rates for children. Always ask for children's discount wherever you go.
  • Instead of driving children to the local park, go on a bicycle. You will save on gas money and enjoy biking with your children.

Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center,