Monday, August 22, 2011

Hey, I'm Still a Mom!

Awhile back, I got on a frugal kick. My efforts included signing up for newsletters and going to blogs aimed at helping mothers save money.

They included freebies, coupons, giveaways, announcements of sales, and so forth. I was quite excited over the prospect of getting great deals and saving money for our family.

But as the months went on, I found these lists less and less useful. As the mother of four, how is that possible?

Turns out that these money-saving services aren't really aimed at mothers in general. They're aimed at new mothers, women with children who cannot use the toilet, feed themselves, or read.

If I still had the need for cheap diapers, strollers, board books, car seats, booster seats, high chairs, building blocks, bibs, bath toys, and videos with bouncing shapes and characters singing mind-numbing songs, I'd be having a ball.

But I don't, and I'm not.

See, my children are older than that. They're not only potty trained and can feed themselves, but they also dress themselves, one is learning to drive, another babysits for the neighbors, another is on a dance team, and the youngest steals my Kindle to read novels.

Since these newsletters and blogs are pretty useless to me, I've unsubscribed from several of them and delete the rest. (Those I haven't unsubbed from I hang on to with the dim hope that maybe, just maybe, I'll find something useful.)

I wish they were honest about what they're offering. They are not catering to moms. They're catering to mothers of babies and young children.

Based on their definition, I don't qualify as a mom. But I am most definitely a mom, and if I've learned anything in the sixteen years I've been one, it's that children get more, not less, expensive as they age.

Some ideas (a small but growing list, I'm sure) for making a useful mother's deal site:
  • Trade-ins for new jeans in the men's section because your son is having yet another growth spurt and the ones you bought two weeks ago are too short but look brand new.
  • By one, get one free, scientific calculators (with a bonus graphing calculator) for teens taking upper math.
  • School-supply sales that go beyond crayons and markers (my suggestion: case lot sales for pallets of binders).
  • Inexpensive locker decoration ideas (mostly for daughters).
  • Frequent-customer punch cards for local orthodontists.
  • Make-up sales (again, for teen daughters).
  • Rebates where you get college tuition instead of cash.
  • Notices on sales for hair products since all the kids now use not just hairspray, but mousse or gel.
  • Also sales on shampoo and conditioner, since with puberty, they need to wash their hair more often.
  • Giveaways on hair dryers, straighteners, and curling irons (with bonus entries if you have multiple daughters, since those things are dang expensive).
  • Two words: free gas.
And finally: deep discounts on massages. For Mom, of course. She needs it.


Raejean said...

Remember the good old days when we thought diapers and babysitters were expensive? That was just the beginning. I agree on the gas and older kids school expenses.

I'm a mean mom that makes my kids pay for the extras they want (like make up). My teenagers even pay for most of their clothes. Maybe I could trade them; I'll buy the clothes and they pay for AP tests and Dual Enrollment expenses!

Susan Anderson said...

As an empty-nester, I find myself following none of those money-saving blogs for moms.

What I really need is a money-saving blog for soon-to-be retired couples!


Luisa Perkins said...

Oh, YES. I used to fantasize about what I'd do with my diaper money once my kids were all in underwear, but now that my youngest is potty-trained, that money will be barely a drop in the bucket.

These are all GREAT ideas.

Mindi Battraw said...

Love your suggestions! If you ever start a list, let me know!

Lara Neves said...

Oh how I wish I could find a blog that teaches me how to save those ways! :)

You're right, all of the Mom stuff all over the internet just assumes you have babies and toddlers.

Stephanie Black said...

Great ideas, Annette! We have two in college this year. Watch that money flowing outward . . .

Anonymous said...

The one about jeans is exactly true for us. I just put 3 pairs of as-new, too-short-for-my-son jeans in a bag for the thrift store. I'm tempted to keep them for my younger son, but styles really do change a lot in 9 years, so I might as well allow someone else to use the jeans while they're still in style. But I would love to be able to trade them in, yes.

Unknown said...

maybe start a website for those already too small clothes? loads of mothers might be able to get eachother perfectly fine jeans that are just a state away?

I'm only 22, I just got out of my parents house and am not planning on kids yet, so no help for/from me here ;)

Melanie Jacobson said...

My kids range from 2-12 and I have to agree that the coupons I need MOST are for the stuff my 12yo requires. Sigh.

Jillybean said...

I love your list! (says the mom of a teenage daughter who chose to grow out of all of her school uniforms over the summer)

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Your list is exactly what I am looking for. I hate to even thing what it costs to raise a child these days. Thank goodness for second hand stores and kids who like the thrill of the hunt.

dalene said...

I'm so with you. Great minds indeed.

Nick and Dani said...

Wait, wait wait! I still have a need for those cheap diapers, strollers, board books,and videos with bouncing shapes and characters singing mind-numbing songs!!! Do you still remember the site? ;)


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