DIY Halloween Costumes

As a parent, I do not like spending money on cheap things for myself or for my family.  I think that overall it is a waste of money.  I would rather save and buy something that costs a little more, but is better quality.  This is really true when it comes to Halloween costumes.  Last year was the first year that my children kind of understood that they had to dress up and walk around to get candy.  So off we went to the stores to find the costumes that they wanted to wear.  My son wanted to be Jake from Jake and the Never land Pirates, my daughter it didn’t really matter.  After checking out a few stores, I was shocked at the poor quality of the costumes.

I really didn’t want to spend the money on those cheap costumes.  I proceeded to call my mom and ask her if we ever bought our costumes and if so, were they always that cheap.  She informed me that we always made our costumes.  She explained that it was cheaper and better quality to make our own, it may have not been exactly the same, but we didn’t know the difference.

So off to the fabric store I went with a picture of Jake in my hands.  We were able to create my son’s costume with a pair of sweatpants, a white t-shirt and some fabric.  Was it exactly like Jake?  No, but my son thought it was great.  So what is going to happen this year?  This year my son is going to be Batman, and my daughter is going to be a flapper.

Here is how we are going to do it and not buy a specific costume.  My son is batman, which really includes an all black outfit, a belt, cape, mask and a batman logo on his chest.  So he will have a black shirt, black pants, I have already made him a cape, the belt and logo I will be making using a pattern online.  The only thing that I didn’t really want to make was the mask, so my wonderful husband picked up a perfect better quality mask for $5.  He will have the whole outfit for less than $15.  The best part is that he will be able to wear the shirt and pants many times over.

My daughter is going to be a flapper, which is really a fun dress with fringe on it.  We picked up a pink one at a consignment event for only $12.  It is a little big, but she can wear it more than once.  The best part is it is a Children’s Place dress.  All I need to make or buy is the headpiece.  So for less than $15 she will be a flapper.  The best part is that she will be able to wear it again and again.

So how can you make your child’s Halloween costume this year?

Cloth Diaper Calculation

When my mother cloth diapered us, it wasn’t the most popular mainstream thing to do.  Actually it was somewhat looked down upon as “hippy” or “Weird”.  In 20 plus years the times have changed.  Since I made the switch to cloth diapers I have met more people who cloth diaper and follow the same eco-friendly ways.  In my endless nights awake, I stumbled up a blog post about cloth diaper calculation. Move it Forward Everyday had actually done a really good calculation comparison between disposable diapers and cloth diapers.

Cloth diapers can be expensive or very inexpensive depending on what you get.  For my husband and I, it was always about the cost savings, so I didn’t really care what the diapers look like (yes there are some really cute ones), I only cared about function.  So we sat down recently and calculated how much money we have saved using cloth diapers.  

Before we started we were spending on average $54 on Luvs (using Amazon Mom and Subscribe & Save) for both my children a month. When we first started we purchased cheap diapers from china on eBay.  These diapers work great, but are cheaply made and in my opinion do not last long.  For us it was more about not spending a lot of money on cloth diapers not knowing if our lifestyle would accommodate all the extra washing and taking care of the messy diapers.  Purchasing cheap diapers allowed us to save up money to purchase better quality diapers as money permitted.  After about 3 months of cloth diapers we had enough money to purchase better diapers and a full stash.  We purchased 24 brand new cloth diapers for $135.  October is a year, and we have saved at least $500.  This amount includes deduction for purchase of cloth diapers, and additional $5 per month in water bill.  This amount does not include the resale value of the diapers.

Now I know how addicting it can be to purchase all the cute prints or colors, but we decided to cloth diaper to save money.  I was not going to get addicted to purchasing a large stash.  The 24 diapers lasted us 2 days with 2 in children.  This amount will vary from family to family (my youngest was 6 months old when I started).  Keeping that in mind has really made our savings even more.

So what if you don’t have the extra money for a full stash? There are many different ways to get a starter stash for even pennies. 

  • Use old t-shirts/sweatshirts (buy baby safety pins to hold together)
  • Use flannel receiving blankets (use baby safety pins to hold together)
  • Make your own (Joannes, eBay, Hobby Lobby, Hancocks all sell the supplies to make them)
  • Buy used via facebook, eBay. craigslist
  • Buy on eBay 
  • Prefolds and Covers are extremely inexpensive

There are a ton of videos on Youtube on how to sew cloth diapers, how to fold cloth diapers, and so much more information.

Personally, when we we started we didn’t have a full stash.  We figured out how much each disposable diaper cost us and for every cloth diaper we used we saved double the amount of the cloth diaper.  We also took that time to calculate an average amount of diapers we used per day.  Once we had enough for both for 2-3 days we purchased our full stash.

To save an extra $12 a month on wipes, we slowly moved to cloth wipes.  We were already doing the laundry for the diapers, it wasn’t anything to add the wipes.  We don’t do anything special, just wet with water and use.

Want more information on Cloth diapers? Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 on Cloth Diapers.


Consignment Sales Events!

I have written before about how to save money on Children’s Cloths.  I have also written about how making Baby Food can help you save money.  Today I am going to write about how to save money on other children items.

As my children grow, I have been on the hunt for a few different items like a sit and stand stroller, sippy cups, books, toys and more.  I would not like to pay full price for these items that I may only use for a few months.  Thanks to a friend, I found out about Tot Swap, a huge consignment sales event held a few times a year.  These sales have everything you would need for infants, toddlers and children.  I have been able to pick up toys, diapers, bottles, books, clothes, strollers for pennies on the dollar compared to them new.  The best part is that once I am done using the items I am able to consign at the sale too!

As usual when I pick out anything pre-owned I check to make sure that it is not on the recall list, it is in good condition and it is something that I truly need.

When purchasing pre-owned items I am able to get name brand items for a lot less.  My children still get the same great toy to play with and I still have a few dollars in my pocket.

I strongly recommend you check out if there are any consignment sales events in your area and check it out.  It is totally worth it!



How to Save Money on Childrens Clothes

I have been told many times not to spend a ton of money on clothes because children grow out of them so quickly or wear them out.  I understand now that they are only in the same size clothes for at most a season, so paying a lot of money every season can really break a budget.  I have a few tips to save money on children clothes.

  • Always accept hand-me-downs!  I am thankful for all the hand-me-downs from my friends.  I keep what I like and I pass along what I don’t.  For my daughter I don’t need to buy any clothes for at least a year.
  • Shop at thrift stores – The Salvation Army near our home has half price on all clothes on Wednesday.  We are able to pick up some good clothes for less than a dollar a piece.
  •  Shop at consignment stores.  These stores look over items before they sell them so you’re getting the best of used clothing.  The best part is once you are done with your children’s stuff you can consign it back to the store for credit.
  • Yard Sales.  During the spring and summer months you can find a yard sale almost every week. Shop Clearance.  At the end of the season clothes go on clearance.  Purchase the size you would need for the next season.
  • Buy Big.  When you can buy clothes once size bigger than what you think.  This make them last longer.

Do you have any ways that you save money on children’s clothes?  We would love to hear them!

Ashley Myers