Today’s post is a Guest Post written by Julie at Living On Less. I invited Julie to share this post with you because it’s been a VERY long time since I’ve had to budget for living with babies and toddlers, and sharing information relevant to all household types (and ages) is important to me.
A little about Julie: “I have one son who turn 3 this week and another son on the way – due mid-July. I’ve been married for 5 years. I started blogging about Living on Less when friends asked me how I was surviving on my husband’s part time income after his hours were cut. It has been 15+ months and we are still surviving on that same income. I’ve always been pretty frugal but this experience has taught me how to take it to a whole new level.”
Having an active toddler in the house can make Living on Less a challenge but here are few things I’ve learned about over the past 3 years.
Buy clothes one season ahead: Sometimes it can be hard to guess sizes, but I always try to have at least a few shirts, 2-3 pairs of pants, and 2-3 pairs of pajamas on hand for the next season. I pick these up for pennies on the dollar at the end of the season. Right now, I am picking up long sleeve shirts for just a few dollars so that I will be ready for fall.
Look for frugal activities: One of my son’s favorite things to do is go on a treasure hunt around the neighborhood. We take a walk and look for sticks, rocks, etc. This entertains him while we both get some exercise and fresh air. Another idea is to go to story time at the library.
Repurpose items into craft supplies: I have a boy who is more in to cars and blocks than crafts, but we still do a few projects a week and craft supplies can really add up. When I print something and no longer need it, I turn it over and our son uses it to color on. He much prefers a blank piece of paper to a coloring sheet but when he does want one, I can usually find great printables on the internet. Also, I’ve taken his broken crayons and turned them into crayon muffins. He thinks these are cool and they did not cost a thing to make.
Use nap time and bedtime wisely: I try to use half of nap time for getting things done around the house and half just for me. I find I’m much more refreshed if I can have a little down time mid-day. I use the working half to get things done that are hard to do with an active toddler – clean bathrooms, clip coupons, etc. I find some things are just difficult to do when your toddler is “helping” out.
Share babysitting with a friend: Babysitting can really add up but we all need a break from time to time. I participate in a co-op where one day a month I get the morning off to do whatever I want. One other morning a month, I work at the co-op so another mom can have time off. My son loves playing with his friends and I enjoy getting errands or doctor’s appointments in. I also pair up with a few friends to trade babysitting on an as needed basis.