Family Finance

Have you ever had to purchase a special occasion outfit for your baby or toddler, a special dress for a party, a little suit for a wedding, a costume, and wondered to yourself why on earth you were spending $30, or $40 or $50 dollars on a tiny little outfit that your child was going to wear once? It seems like such a ridiculous waste of money, and yet we spend it anyway, because, what else can you do. I’ve often wondered to myself, wouldn’t it be awesome if there were a place where you could “borrow” an outfit for your baby, kind of like a baby clothing library! Well, it turns out there is!

It is called Wooky Baby.

Babies grow fast!  Wooky Baby, a clothing rental service for size 0-3T, was founded with the goal of reducing the “cost-per-wear” of children’s clothing.  At an average of $8 per outfit, a customer can save upwards of $50 by renting instead of purchasing an outfit that a child may only end up wearing once or twice.  Wooky Baby clothing rental service is not only cost-effective but also environmentally responsible.

The option to purchase outfits (new and used) was recently added to the site.  Wooky Baby offers unique, fun clothes that are changing daily.  Labels include Burberry, Florence Eisman, Good Lad, and Bonnie Baby.

Here’s How it works:

 

The Wooky Baby online catalog works like most shopping carts.  There is a $5 flat rate shipping fee which includes the cost of a label to return the items when the child is finished wearing the clothes.  The clothes can be returned with the supplied shipping bag and label provided via email.  The shipping bag will be picked up in the mailbox by the postal service.  The cost includes a one-month rental, but the clothes can be kept for longer.  A recurring fee will be charged for each month the clothes are rented.   The $5 flat rate shipping fee applies to both the rental and/or purchase of as many outfits are in the order.

As the mother of two girls I know how expensive it can get buying clothing for them, especially those special occasion, one wear type outfits. Having a place to go where I can rent a beautiful dress for a wedding or a party seems like such a fantastic idea. I love what Wooky Baby is doing, the service they are offering to parents. I’ll definitely be scouring their site looking for a dress for Anna for an upcoming wedding we will be attending. I’m much more open to spending $8 to rent a dress she’ll wear once instead of spending $40 to buy it and have it hang out in the closet after one use.

Now for the best part! One lucky reader is going to get a chance to give Wooky Baby a try for free. Wooky Baby is giving away 5 free rentals to one lucky reader, that’s a $50-$85 dollar value! All you have to do is leave a comment telling me about a time when you wish you had been able to rent an outfit for your child instead of having to buy one. On Monday, February 27th I will draw the winner.

You can find Wooky Baby online, on facebook and on twitter.

*Open to US residents only.

*I received no compensation for this post and the opinions within are my own.

Children learn about money, especially young children, by observing what their parents and other respected adults in their lives do.  The information the soak up in watching us with our money will greatly impact their own opinions of money down the road.  Whether they are spenders or savers, logical with money or irrational with it will depend in large part on what they learn about money growing up.  Even if you don’t actually talk to your children about you will still be teaching them something about it.

Sadly, there isn’t much teaching going on when it comes to money, especially in school.  Unless parents sit down and talk to their children about money, make it a point to share what they know, what they’ve learn, children will likely only have those observances from their childhood to fall back on.  Most schools do not specifically teach children about money, about the value of money, about what spending versus saving means.  Although this is valuable and necessary life information it often gets over looked.

There are many things you can do as a parent to help teach your children about money.  Things like:

  • Taking them to the bank or ATM with you so they can witness and learn about some of the different transactions that take place involving money.
  • Taking them shopping with you and teach them about spending wisely.
  • Giving your child a little bit of money and teaching them about saving versus spending.
  • Giving your child a means to save money, like a bank account of their own, and teaching them about the importance of saving up for big purchases.
  • Letting your child watch you pay bills and talking with them about using the money in our accounts to pay for our expenses.
  • Teaching your child about spending wisely by clipping coupons, looking for sale items, etc.
  • Talking candidly with your child about money and not making it a hidden, secret topic.

There are some great online resources that include activities you can do with your child to help teach them about money.  Here are a few:

By teaching your children about money, sharing your financial experiences with them, you are giving them some of the tools they will need to be successful in their own life.

Every parent knows that back to school shopping can get expensive.  Between the new clothes, the new shoes and all the school supplies it can really add up.  Many State governments offer parents a bit of a break by offering a tax holiday in the weeks leading up to the beginning of the new school year.  Some states offer a weekend of tax free shopping for certain items while others offer a whole week.

Listed below is are the States that offer tax holidays including when the holiday is for 2009 and on what items it applies.  You can always contact your local state government if you have questions about the tax holiday in your state.

Alabama: August 7-9 on clothing-$100, computers-$750, books-$30, school supplies-$50

Connecticut: August 16-22 on clothing and footwear-$300

District of Columbia: August 1-9 on clothing-$100, school supplies-$100

Georgia: July 30-Aug 2 on school supplies-$20, clothing-$100, computers-$1500

Iowa: August 7-8 on clothing-$100

Mississippi: July 31-Aug 1 on clothing and footwear-$100

Missouri: August 7-9 on clothing-$100, computers-$3500, school supplies-$50

New Mexico: August 7-9 on clothing-$100, computers-$1000, school supplies-$15

North Carolina: Aug 7-9 on clothing-$100, school supplies-$100, computers-$3500

Oklahoma: August 7-9 on clothing-$100

South Carolina: August 7-9 on clothing, school supplies and computers (no price limit specified)

Tennessee: August 7-9 on clothing-$100, school supplies-$100, computers-$1500

Texas: August 21-23 on clothing, backpacks and school supplies-$100

Virginia: August 7-9 on clothing-$100, school supplies-$20

The idea of tax holidays is to ease the burden faced by many parents of trying to afford all of the gear and supplies necessary for back to school.  It isn’t necessarily much but every little bit helps.  Of course, this also means you’ll be shopping the same weekend as everyone else in your state for back to school supplies to be prepared for crowds!!

Do you usually take advantage of the tax holiday offered in your state?  Do you find it makes much difference in how much you have to spend?

The holidays can be a very expensive time of year if we’re not careful. With gifts, big holiday meals, cards, parties, the list is endless; you can find yourself spending a fortune and in credit card debt come the new year. Even in good financial times it makes sense to trim that holiday budget and plan not to overspend, it can become even more important in a bad economy.

Here are a few tips for keeping the holidays fun but a little less expensive this year.

  • Make some homemade gifts that you can give as gifts to teachers, neighbors, the host of parties you will be attending, or anyone on your Christmas list. You can get the kids involved in this project as well!
  • Set realistic expectations for what your children can expect as gifts for Christmas. Setting expectations early will ensure Christmas is still fun for all.
  • Don’t overdo it on the Christmas clothing purchases. You probably don’t need a new outfit for every Christmas party you will be attending. Use hand-me-downs for your children where you can.
  • Instead of buying gifts for everyone in your extended family consider drawing names. This will help save a ton of money.
  • Reduce Christmas travel where you can. If you usually travel to several different places during Christmas consider cutting back a bit. Maybe have everyone to your place, or if that isn’t possible just explain that you can’t make it every where this year.
  • Have your children make homemade gifts for each other and grandparents. A great Christmas ornament or a homemade Christmas book.

It can be so easy to overspend during the holidays. Buying great gifts for everyone you love is fun, but you can still enjoy the wonderful feeling of giving without going overboard.

If you haven’t done so already this is a great time to begin teaching your children about money. With the economy on questionable ground we are all saving more, spending less, spending more consciously and revisiting our budgets. Children have a hard time grasping the concept of money and the value of things unless their parents take the time to teach them. As you revisit your budget, put a little more in savings and shop more carefully talk to your children about what you are doing. The more they learn now the better of they will be in the future when they are managing their own household.

How you approach teaching your children about money will depend on your child’s learning style and most importantly your child’s age. It is never too early to begin talking to your children about money. Even little toddlers can learn a few things about money. The older your child is the more you can get into.

Here are a few suggestions on things you can do to teach your children about money:

  • Most importantly start a savings account for them. Consider taking them to the bank with you as there will be a lot for them to learn. Make sure they go with you anytime you are putting money into their savings account, as they will feel more connected to it.
  • For your younger children, get them a piggy bank and encourage them to save coins. Give them the change from your pocket or purse to save in their piggy bank.
  • Encourage your child to save at least some of their allowance, gift money and any other money they receive.
  • Get your child to pick out something that they really want and have them save up to buy it for themselves. If they pick what they are saving for they are more likely to be excited about saving for it. As they put money away for the special item talk to them about how much they have saved and how much more they have to go. Explain to them that the more they spend the longer it will take to save for their special item.
  • Talk to your children about the family expenses. You can do this while paying the bills, while at the grocery store, or while working on the family budget. This one works best with older children, but younger children can learn a few things too.
  • Get your child to help you clip coupons and explain to them about how important it is to save money on the things you buy.
  • Purchase a book about money for your child, like “The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money“. Children learn a lot from books.
  • For your older children, start to teach them the difference between a checking and savings account. You can do this with teens by getting them to pay a few of their own bills, like gas, car insurance, or buying their own back to school clothes.
  • Most importantly talk about money as a family. Be open about your family finances and use every opportunity you can to teach your children about money.

The more your children know about money, including how to save it and how to spend it wisely, the better off they will be as they go out into the world and begin managing their own money. Teaching your children about money is a great gift you can give them.

How do you teach your children about money? Have you found something that works really well for your family?