10 Spring Life Hacks For Parents

Being that I'm a first-time parent, I feel like each season we start over with buying new clothes and season-appropriate toys (Swim crap) and snacks (Popsicles...).  What really makes it tough is we are a family that lives on a tight budget. Especially, now.  Covid and all...  

So, today I'm sharing a few of my favorite ways to save big on kid things for spring...

1. Make a list: 

I cannot recommend this enough, make a list of the number of shorts, shirts, and shoes that you actually need to start the season, also include seasonal toys and future big buys like bicycles, ride-on toys, balls bats... Having a list will put up guardrails. Only buy what you need! Also, put feelers out with family friends who may have hand-me-downs.

2. Shred those winter clothes: When it comes to outside playtime, kids get to get dirty, so the last thing you want them to do is grime-up the nice new clothes. Go through winter clothes that have holes in the knees or tears in the sleeves, and repurpose them into shorts and t-shirts. This way you save money on spring clothes and you won't cry when you can't get the grass or ketchup stains out.

3. Borrow Budget Busters: For those one-off family portraits or special occasions (wedding) where you normally end up buying an incredibly expensive outfit, your child will most likely only wear once, check out Etsy, eBay, and your friend's closets before paying full price for anything.

4. Secondhand Shops: Children's secondhand shops are full of clothes and everything else you need to cover an entire winter or summer wardrobe, for under $20. (Shoes too! Did you know Crocs are machine washable?)

5. Facebook Finds: I addition to the standard Facebook Market Place every city has at least one Facebook mommy group that has clothes exchanges and lists where big family sales are taking place. To find them, ask your Facebook friends if they know of any great mommy groups on Facebook and if they will invite you to join if the group is closed. I bet you'll get plenty of replies!

6. Garage Sale Heaven: Spring garage sales are a great place to pick up big toys that people want to get rid of because they take too much space, but you desperately need because it's time for your toddler to start riding a bike. 

On Fridays, go to your Nextdoor App, Craigslist, or wherever your city lists garage sales, and find ones close by. Look for multi-family sales then grab a friend and some coffee and start shopping!

7. Discount Dealers: I love Groupon and other sites that can offer great things at a huge discount or killer coupon code!  Retailers will be fighting for attention this season, so capitalize on it!  Most are even offering free shipping on the smallest orders.

8. Daily Deals: Did you know hundreds of websites crawl the Internet daily for the best online daily deals? They do, and then list them in an easy-to-search format so you can quickly search for items on your must-have list. My favorite is DealNews.com.

9. DIY For Family Health: When it comes to springtime treats and healthy fruit snacks, the budget can bust very quickly. I make our Popsicles, grow our fruit and cut out juice and soda, we are water drinkers during the warm months. If you have a sunny spot in your yard, patio, or balcony, you have a place to grow your own fruit! Did you know strawberries grow well in a pot? Head to the local nursery and ask for help finding the right fruits to grow for where you live. 

For a total of $20, I have strawberry plants, blueberries, and grapes thriving in pots around my yard. The best part is that I can use that fruit to make Homemade Popsicles!

10. Price Shop From Home.  There are way too many apps and websites available today that make price comparison shopping from home a breeze. Gone are the days of driving from store to store or waiting for the Sunday Paper deals. Pull out the list you made of spring must-haves and start going through each item online and list where the best deal is for that item. Once you've gone through your list, check the entire list for stores that overlap to save you a bundle on shipping and time. Between the coupon apps and the compare-and-save apps, there is no reason to pay full price anymore.

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com