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Parents develop a natural tendency and attitude to not go for any compromise when it comes to kids. This can come in many different forms. Starting with baby registry, baby clothing, baby toys many parents find it essentially not so important to save money on kids spending. This has much to do with emotions and we totally agree with that.
However, if we think of personal finance as a creative approach rather than a strict discipline after few days we would be amazed at the amount of money spent on kids items, how we ended up purchasing more useful items, still find some money left behind for the sake of their future which can be invested in 401K on pre-tax basis, plans like 529 geared towards kids education to name a few
Here are some simple creative strategies parents can adapt while purchasing kids toys at reasonable price:
1) Plan Prepare Purchase – This 3P strategy works out in essentially all purchases. Kids toy purchase is no exception. Say you plan on buying christmas gifts for your kids, look out for toys out there in market 3 to 4 months well in advance. When you find 10 mins, 15 mins or 1 hour try to explore many different toys out there in market. Depending on how old your kids are, list of toys already in stock, list of toys they might be interested in, toys that will be useful can be nailed down. Once you decide on what to purchase with your top 5 choice list, go for price comparison in google. Often this helps us determine big difference we can find during toy purchase. Track the prices for say 10 days to 1 month. There are some toys that will unexpectedly fall in prices. Purchase during off-peak when an item is not in demand. This simple strategy of planning well in advance, preparing checklist, purchasing in off-peak time might help you save money
2) Second-hand Toys – Though this will give us a big hit psycologically if we look for deals on websites like amazon waehouse the used ones, ones with little scratch come at half the price or fraction of price of original ones. All we need to do is use sanitary wipes to clean the toys before letting our kids play with them. Check for deals in websites like ebay, amazon etc
3) Free toys – Some websites like freecycle offer benefits of getting toys for free toys. Check for free toys for sale in craiglist. Some parents choose to donate toys or offer for free while cleaning garage. Check local classifieds websites for timely free toys
4) Garage sale and yard sale – This is a better place to buy second hand toys are best possible price. Again cleaning toys with wipes before giving it to kids is the way to go
5) Look at deal websites – Some sites like woot, amazon offer deals on toys. ebay is another prominent website to buy new as well as used toys. Online websites offer best pricing on toys
6) Learn creative work to save on toys – In addition to saving money kids find emotionally attached if the toy is created by parents. Crochet, knit simple yarn toys to start with. They are non-toxic, washable and kids would life to retain it for lifetime
What can I do with saved money?
Look for options to save for kids future in plans like 529. Buy some interesting stocks today that does grow big tomorrow