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Frugal Living Tips For Parents: Living Simple

Updated on October 4, 2012

Thank you Sasha!

I want to give credit where credit is due. This article was inspired and suggested by a good writing friend of mine; Sasha is her name (Mama Kim 8) and she is a writer on HubPages and a parent who had some great ideas about this subject. She passed them on to me and asked me to write this article. Sasha, your wish is my command.

Living frugally is a necessity for many married couples with children. Expenses mount exponentially, or so it seems, when there are children in a home. Parents are constantly balancing budgets and trying to make the paycheck last through the month.

Living Simple is really the only logical program to adopt unless, of course, there is an abundance of money and expenses mean very little. The frugal living tips that are listed in this article will at the very least save money; it is hoped that once a couple begins to see the advantages of Living Simple, then they will continue to find new ways to cut expenses by living frugally in every facet of their lives.

Living simple!
Living simple! | Source


Do you know how easy it is to make your own baby food? Okay, not as easy as going to the store and buying pre-packaged foods, but still, relatively easy, and it saves money.

· Decide what you are going to use; choose between grains, vegetables, fruits, berries and meats.

· Put the ingredients in a blender and blend to the consistency you desire.

· Feed to your baby!

Now how tough was that? The big health kick lately is Smoothies; you are just making a Smoothie for your baby! Make it in big quantities and freeze some for later use! Pretty cool, huh?


If you have several children then it’s time to follow the time-honored tradition of hand-me-downs. We did it when we were kids, and if we couldn’t find what we needed from our siblings then the neighbors were more than helpful in providing clothing from their children.

Have you seen the price of new clothing for kids? Paying $50 for an outfit for a two-year old is lunacy and totally unnecessary. As for gender-specific, forget about it. Of course you aren’t going to put a girl’s dress on a boy, but little children look fine in tops and pants for either girls or boys.


Now we will find out whether you are ready to adopt the frugal way of living. Remember, there was a time, and it was not that long ago, when there were no disposable diapers. Mom and Dad washed cloth diapers and re-used them on a continual basis. I did it! You can too!

On average you will spend close to $2500 on disposable diapers by the time your child is potty-trained. The cost of cloth diapers is about half of that total. You really only “need” disposable diapers when you are away from home.

As for washable wipes, they are so simple to make and will provide you with hundreds of wipes per item. What you need:

· 2-3 flannel blanket

· 2 cups of water

· ½ cup baby oil

· ½ cup baby wash

Take the blankets and cut them into squares. Fold them neatly and put them into a baby wipe tub. Mix the water, baby oil and baby wash together and then pour over the baby wipes. Seal the container and they are ready for you to use. Wash them when they are dirty and make sure you use bleach to kill germs, and they are ready once again.


Living Simple is more than just about saving money. It is returning to days gone by when families actually spent quality time together, and kids learned to enjoy the great outdoors.

I like a good toy as much as anyone else. I’m a big fan of Legos because they teach motor skills and foster critical thinking. Believe it or not, I also like video games for many of the same reasons. However, I am not fond of any toy that becomes a babysitter and is used for hours on end.

When we were kids we invented games outside. We would explore the outdoors, play games of tag and kick-the-can, and do role-playing games in a fantasy world. We not only got physical exercise but we learned to interact with other children.

We also went to the park a great deal of time with our parents. You know, that family-bonding thing that seems to be disappearing from the current scene? Most parks have Big Toys so why do you need big toys at home? Living Simple is about a lifestyle change; get rid of the old ways of thinking and do without the expensive toys.


When I was teaching I would quite often go to the lunchroom and have lunch with the kids. I was astounded by the number of kids who either bought their lunches or had pre-packaged lunches in their lunch box. Talk about expensive!

Every penny counts when you are living frugally. You can buy ingredients for a home-packed lunch on Sunday for half what you would spend on pre-packaged lunches or lunches purchased at school. Half!!! Buy five bananas, make five fruit cups, a loaf of bread and lunch meat for sandwiches, and you are all set for the week. And please, no soda pop! It is bad for your kids and expensive.


This was one of my favorite activities with my son while he was growing up. There are enough recyclables around the average house to keep kids busy for hours. My personal favorite is the empty toilet paper roll; we built some great bridges using those. What else do you have around the house?

· Plastic pop containers? Try making birdfeeders out of them!

· Pipe cleaners or coffee filters?

· Popcicle sticks? We made some really cool bridges with those.

· Empty aluminum cans? Decorate them and they become storage containers.

· Old t-shirts? Teach your kids to tie-dye!

The bottom line is that you have enough supplies in your house right now to keep the rainy day blues away indefinitely, and when you are finished your kids will be proud of their creations.

One other thing you might do is show your kids science experiments using many of these items. You can make parachutes and airplanes, rockets and cars. We made a great car using a flat piece of wood, four old CD’s for tires, and a mouse trap and string for propulsion. Now that was a great project!


Here is a great idea that will pay dividends all during the growing season. Buy your kids their own set of gardening tools, and then build an easy 4x4 or 8x8 raised garden bed. Designate it as their gardening space. Help them plant the seeds of their choice after they have prepared the soil, then put them in charge of watering and weeding. I promise you they will have smiles on their faces when the first seedlings appear.

Do you have scrap lumber around the yard? Help your kids build their own greenhouse. It doesn’t have to be large; just big enough to put some plants in early in the growing season. Your children will learn responsibility and also learn about plant life, and at the end of the summer they get to eat the bounty of their labor.

Our backyard raised beds
Our backyard raised beds | Source


There is so much you can do to cut back on expenses and get in touch with a simpler lifestyle, all the while spending more quality time with your children. That’s what it’s all about, right?

I did not include coupon clipping but really, that’s a no-brainer, right? I can’t imagine a parent not clipping coupons to take advantage of great shopping deals.

I did not include giving your child a piggy bank and teaching them the value of money, but you should! Give them daily chores appropriate for their age, and teach them about saving money. Set up a lemonade stand out in the front yard and help them earn their own money.

Well, there is a great deal I did not include, but there will always be another day and another article. This should be enough to get you thinking about frugal living and Living Simple.

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)


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