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How to Save Money on Baby and Toddler Expenses

Having a child is one of life’s great adventures. Each one brings love and adoration into your household, but they can also take a big chunk out of your pocketbook. Many parents plan for the big purchases, such as college or a car, but don’t realize how much the little things can add up.

Here are some common “small” expenses that add up quickly – along with tips on how to save.

1. ‘I Want’ Syndrome – Shopping with a toddler is always a risky proposition. Have you ever visited the grocery store just to pick up a few things, with a toddler in tow? It becomes an adventure! Toddlers tend to want everything that they see, and you can spend more than $10 dollars per trip just placating your child by purchasing toys. Avoid this by leaving the child at home (with a spouse or friend) until the child gets a little older.

2. Baby Care Items - Babies and toddlers have sensitive skin and many personal care items like shampoo, conditioner, and lotions that are meant for adults can end up irritating their skin. Plus, any parent who has ever tried to wash their child’s hair without using ‘tearless’ shampoo learns a lesson they won’t forget once their child gives them an earful. Save on these necessary items by staying away from brand names. Many store brands offer the same product at half the cost.

3. Secondhand Shopping -  Those $40 Nike shoes meant for toddlers might seem adorable, but this is a premium price to pay for a shoe. Little feet grow fast. Babies more than double in size during their first year of life. Toddlers also go through growth spurts, and a pair of shoes that fits one week is too small the next week. Garage sales and thrift stores are all good options for secondhand clothing, but by far eBay is the best bet. Local shops just can’t match the size and selection available on eBay. It’s also a great place to get hard to find Christmas and birthday presents.

4. Safety Equipment – Parents plan in advance for the big safety purchases like a car seat, but the truth is that babies and toddlers can get into a lot of trouble outside the car. Once a child starts crawling, it’s time to baby-proof a house. Light socket covers, cabinet locks, and door handle protectors are all necessary purchases, but they can also get expensive, particularly if you have a large house. Purchase these items used from eBay to save some cash.

5. Toys - Who knew there were so many types of toy trains or toy dolls? Children love their toys, and parents love giving their little one a special treat, but some of the prices on toys are outrageous. Try staying away from name-brand toys. For example, a Thomas the Train toy set can cost more than $100 while non-name brand trains run at half that cost.

6. Local Parent Magazines - One of the best ways to save money is to subscribe to a local parenting magazine. You can get coupons for local stores and upcoming events delivered right to your door or inbox. This simple trick pays back big time when you take the entire family to the local amusement park or zoo.

This article is by Kennedi at Face & Fitness, a blog about budget-friendly beauty and style for women.

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