29 June 2010, by Daphne Ling
10 tips to stretch your dollar without compromising on quality (continued):
6. Scout the newspapers for discounts and promotions.
Supermarkets often advertise their promotions in the papers and a quick browse through everyday will save you quite a bit. I used to mock those who cut out supermarket coupons and promotional codes, but it’s retribution, because I’ve been hoarding coupons like a bag lady.
But look who’s laughing now. I know where to get the best prices for all my essentials, which leaves me more money to buy non-essentials like my Coach baby bag.
7. Rent it.
Instead of buying items that you’ll not need for a long time, try renting it for a couple of months. In the first 3 months after the baby is born, a co-sleeper cot comes in very handy for those midnight feeds. With the cot right beside your bed, you can reach out and grab the baby, feed, and put him back without even having to get out of bed. But items like these lasts for a few months at most, and you’ll have to upgrade to a regular cot, which makes rental a very feasible option.
You can also rent toys for your kids to play with and rotate them on a monthly basis since they get bored of the same old toys very quickly anyway.
8. Most expensive is not always best.
It’s all a marketing ploy to make us think that costly items are far superior than the cheaper alternatives, but the truth is, a significant bulk of the cost goes to paying for advertising and branding. When choosing milk powder and baby food, what’s more important is the nutritional value and how your baby reacts to it.
Likewise, for other stuff like clothes and toys, look for suitability rather than blindly buy the most expensive item on the shelves. I’ve come to realize that Tru prefers playing with tissues, keys, insects and dirt way more than his very expensive toys.
9. Join a library or a book club.
Education is very important and mothers these days start reading to their kids at birth. Hah, but we started even before Tru was born, so he’s going to be like the most ingenious genius around, so there. Instead of buying books, I bring him to the library to pick out a few books to read.
Book clubs are also a brilliant way to start your child on reading programs. Mothers usually gather to share books and conduct storytelling sessions. So while your kids are distracted, you get to chill out with other moms over a cuppa and some scones.
10. Shop at thrift stores or flea markets.
I know it sounds terribly un – g.l.a.m.o.r.o.u.s, but before you go all Fergie on me, I’m pretty sure flea markets don’t actually have fleas (at least, not all the time). Once in a while, you’ll find some really good deals at these places, but you have to look past the grime and see the potential.
A friend of mine managed to buy a whole kitchen play set (RP: $150) for $10. It did take some cleaning up, but after that, it was almost as good as new. Even if you paid a cleaner $10 to wash it, it’s still a steal.
So what I’m trying to say is that being a mother is not that tough nor expensive. All it takes is a little bit of ingenuity plus lots of creativity, and you’ll be recession-proof in no time. And in the unlikely event that all 10 tips fail, it’s not the end of the world. McDonalds is always looking for people to flip patties.
Daphne is a mother of two and blogs at www.motherinc.org.