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Recession-Proof Mommy (Part 2)

10 tips to stretch your dollar without compromising on quality (continuation):

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.


Recession-Proof Mommy (Part 1)

Everyone’s talking about recession-proofing. Like any other job, mothers are also in danger of getting fired. So for your benefit, I’ve decided to come up with a two-part series on how to value-add and make yourself indispensable.

With the economy in a state of crisis, it’s all the more important for mothers to make sound financial decisions. While we’re usually happy to cut back on that new Louis Vuitton tote, when it comes to our kids, mothers spare no expense.

Regardless of whether there is a recession or not, their bottoms need to be diapered and their stomachs fed. Then there’s the never-ending list of baby items you never thought you’d need, like strollers, socks and shower foam.

It’s a parent’s instinct to want to give their kids the best. I’ve forgotten the number of times I’ve chosen the $35 shower gel over another brand that’s half the price, or picked the most expensive diapers just so that his delicate bottom will be shrouded in softness.

10 tips to stretch your dollar without compromising on quality:

1. Breast-feed your baby.

It’s free and it helps you lose weight so you can save on those slimming packages. Need I say more?

Until I became a mother, I had no idea how extortionate formula milk is. It also doesn’t help that Tru drinks milk like he’s been starving for three days. I usually spend about $200 a month on his milk, which can easily be channeled to more important stuff like my spa sessions.

It’s also unlimited, so as long as you keep feeding or expressing, it will never run dry. You can keep feeding them till they are 12 and after that, you can use it for cereal, cakes, cookies and cooking. There’s no need to buy fresh milk ever again.

2. Get plugged in to motherhood forums.

It’s a community where mothers gather to sell off excess items or swap for other stuff. You can find virtually anything that you need at cutthroat prices (with a bit of patience and dedication). I’ve been trawling the forums since Tru was born and here are some of the best bargains I’ve found so far.

  • New Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP car seat (RP: $339) bought for $100
  • Preloved Maxi Cosi Priori SPS car seat (RP: $398) bought for $100

Check out sites like singaporemotherhood.com or idobaby.com

There’s a downside to bargaining though. Occasionally, you may get cursed and hexed for low-balling the price and end up having to spend unnecessary money on getting treated.

3. Share and care.

Pass on baby clothes to other mothers who have babies after you do. Kids outgrow clothes faster than you realize, and it would be a waste to let it grow moldy in the drawers. Free up space by passing it on to other moms who will have better use for it. And don’t be too shy to take over clothes from your friends. Tru’s collection of clothes are mostly passed down from friends and he still manages to look like a superstar.

Although, it’ll be good to choose your friends wisely. Those with bad taste can make your kid look like a hobo or a tramp (or both).

4. Organize or join sprees to save on shipping.

It’s a globalized world and that means we can take advantage of clearance sales halfway around the globe without losing out on shipping. Consolidate items with other mothers to save on shipping from anywhere in the world. Plus, you get your hands on limited edition stuff from overseas without paying through your nose for it.

  • Buy clothes from Gap.com without having to wait for the local store to bring it in and shipping usually costs about $1-2 per garment.
  • Get First Teeth Baby Toothpaste at $6 (shipping included) from US or UK instead of $20 from the local stores.

Just make sure you don’t ship melamine-infested milk powder from certain countries. Death is not an attractive outcome for being too cheapskate.

5. Sell off excess items at lower prices.

We often find ourselves laden with excess stocks of diapers and milk powder after our kids outgrow them. Rather than chucking them away, the best thing is to sell them off at cheaper prices to other mothers. It’s a win-win situation for all.

Alternatively, you can trade them for bigger sizes or other items that you may need. Barter trade is still very much in style.

*to be continued…