I'll admit I've never vowed to spend zero dollars on my kids, but it just kind of ends up that way. Or close to it. And here's why:
- We LIKE hand-me-downs in our family. Our new neighbors heard that we party like that, and at least twice since we moved in September they have come by with a box of stuff for Piggy. And most of it is almost brand new! We even got two adorable little man-suits for him that I never would have spent my $$ on, but hey, if we've got em for free, darn tootin you're gonna take a school pic in that! On that note, I think I might have bought PigPen a pair each of sweatpants and jeans, some socks and underwear, maybe a t-shirt or two since he was born. He's 3 now.
- I abhor video game units. I'm not against the kids playing a few internet-based kids games, but I'll be damned if I'll spend $300 on a console plus extra controllers and games (really? $50 a GAME? Just, wow.) and and and and and. It's a total racket.
- What's the point of buying a gazillion toys for my kids when they have aunts, uncles, and grandparents who spoil them rotten?
- Brand name stuff wears out even faster than cheap crap. Case in point: $45 Skechers shoes for each kid before school started in late August. Those suckers were worn out (the soles had holes and the straps were broken!) before the end of September. If' I'm gonna buy $40 shoes for my kid, I expect them to last until their toes are cramping from being shoved in there! Payless and Target are my besties now.
- I adore Craigslist. And the community pick-up. And yard sales. And thrift stores. No really, I do. I mean, why should I go shell out sixty bucks for a set of Legos that's only going to be put together as a set one time, when I can buy over a thousand bricks & assorted pieces from a nice lady on craigslist for ten bucks? And why should I buy a fancy new desk when I can spend $20 to buy a solid wood desk and some paint, and give my kid a custom piece that can grow up with them?
- Lunchboxes & backpacks. Really people, there are almost brand new ones out there in the thrift shops and being cleaned out of some guys garage. I bought new before school, and Piggy's is the only one I haven't had to repair (mostly because he doesn't use it all that much). Lunchboxes get used until they are no longer repairable, even with duct tape. I'm currently envisioning the lenticular thing on the front of an old one as cool wall-art in the boys' room. I just have to wait to cut it apart until certain people aren't around to see what I'm doing.
Now, don't get me wrong. I can drop a dime on a really good piece of something just as quickly as the next girl. I've definitely got champagne taste on a water budget. Who doesn't? But more and more often, I'm finding that I can DIY something just a nice for a fraction of a fraction of the price. Granted, most of my project ideas make Grumpy's left eye twitch, but, in general, those project turn out awesomely great, so he can't complain too much. It's just that they might take a reaaaallllly long time to finally, um, turn out.