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My girls are currently 6 and 7 years old and my boy is 7 months old. For my kids, I’ve come to realize that there are just some things that are useless to spend money on. This list, of course, mostly applies to little girls as I don’t have much experience with little boys yet.
1. Books– Kids love books, but books are very fragile. Babies chew on books, toddlers colour on books and rip pages, and older kids bend and crack the spines of books. Our family buys most of our books at thrift stores. When the girls get a little bit older, brand new books may become logical, but right now they’re just not.
2. Shoes– It’s no secret that kids grow like weeds. I always buy things like boots and running shoes a size or two bigger than the current size in order to be able to keep them fitting longer, but it still seems absolutely ridiculous to me to spent anything over $30 on a pair of kid shoes. It’s a fact – Kids will put holes in running shoes, scuff the top of boots, and get sandals dirtier than can be cleaned. Most of the time they don’t even stay in good enough shape to be passed down to a younger sibling. Payless Shoes has clearance sales a few times a year where I pick up “fancy” shoes for $9.99. I also watch Walmart, Joe Fresh, and other stores for their seasonal clearance and stock up in bigger sizes for the next year.
3. Pants– It seems like once a week my girls are ripping or staining their leggings. It boggles my mind because they aren’t rough kids at all. The problem is that sometimes they fall (hole in the knee), sometimes they sit down in the schoolyard and catch on something (hole in the butt), and sometimes they kneel on a bunch of grass and rocks (hole in the knee + intense grass stains). Walmart sells leggings for $4 a pair in pretty much every colour possible and to be honest, the quality is the same or better than everywhere else I’ve purchased from. Because of this, I will not buy leggings anywhere else if they are more than $4. If you’ve got some really rough kids, Dollarama is now selling decently constructed leggings at $3 a piece.
4. Outdoor Play Equipment- I seriously don’t know why anyone buys this stuff new. Swing sets and jungle gyms are meant to be played on and they get dirty and scratched no matter what. For example, this is the jungle gym that we currently have in our backyard. As you can see it retails for nearly $600. We found it on Kijiji for $150. We also have several smaller climbers that we found on Kijiji for $50 or less. Kids get bored of what’s in their backyard quickly and also outgrow play equipment faster than you think.
5. Colouring Items– My kids fly through colouring books, markers, and crayons like you wouldn’t believe. Why? They leave the caps off of markers, break crayons in half, and will colour one line on a piece of paper before saying they messed up and need to start over. We currently buy notebooks, markers, and crayons at Dollarama and buy colouring books at the dollar store or Michaels ($1 per colouring book and most are character licensed!). We also recycle everything we can. Sometimes I’ll come across a $10 colouring book and wonder who would ever buy it, but people do!