Be a Penny Pinching Provider and Save Money

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Whether you are center or home provider, it is likely you are on the lookout to save money. Here are some good ways to get started on a budget.

Shop Smart

  • Buy at the best time. You can often find good deals and bargains after a holiday or "post-season." This is the time to stock up.
  • Buy in bulk. Plan ahead and store what you can use later.
  • Visit flea markets, yard sales and rummage sales to save money. Get it for free. Don't be shy to ask for donations. Many providers maintain a wish list, ask parents, or approach local businesses for donations of goods and services.
  • Visit our Freebies page for child care related freebies.

Make What You Need

Here are some instructions for making various items you may use in child care:

    • Playdough
        • 2 1/4 cups non-self-rising wheat flour
        • 1 cup salt
        • 1 T. powdered alum
        • 4 T. vegetable oil
        • 1 1/2 cups water
        • food coloring
        Add all ingredients except the food coloring, and mix over a medium heat. When mixture starts to form a ball, remove from heat. Let cool and knead in desired food coloring.
      • Finger Paint
          • 1/2 cup liquid starch
          • 1/2 cup soap powder
          • 1/2 cup water
          Beat together until desired consistency, add more water if needed.
        • Baby Wipes
            • 10 cup container with lid (Rubbermaid)
            • 1/2 roll of Bounty paper towels
            • 2 T. baby oil
            • 2 T. of baby bath (Baby Magic)
            • 2 cups water
            Cut roll of paper towels in half, remove center cardboard, mix liquid ingredients, pour on top of paper towels, pull first towel up. Each roll of towels makes 2 containers of wipes, which lasts about 3 weeks.
          • Animal Bookends

        Take two same sized stuffed animals and cut a slit in the back of them. Remove a handful of stuffing and replace it with marbles. Resew the back. Glue a patch of rubber matting on the bottom to stop sliding.


          • Gift Wrapping Paper

        Use color comics from the Sunday paper. Decorate opened brown paper bags with stickers or stamps.

          • Homemade Books

        Save money by making books for infants/toddlers out of fabric...Make the pages out of material wrapped around foam or batting to make the pages puffy. Then you cut letters, numbers, animals, shapes, or colors out of other fabric and glue or sew them onto the pages. Then tie them together with ribbon or use plastic hoops.

        Visit Other Resources

        Here are some other websites to check out for frugal ideas:

        © 2004 Joni Levine