Before I had children, I never knew of the existence of discount sites, coupon codes, vouchers or anything like that. If I ever got anything at a discount, I was really happy about it. I started working for PlayPennies and suddenly a whole world opened up to me for the first time. Now I don’t think I can quite recall the last time I paid full price for a non-grocery item!

Odd as it seems to me now, I know there are still people out there who don’t know about these sites and don’t realise that with a bit of planning, you don’t have to dig quite as deeply into your pockets as you thought.

As an example, there was an offer recently at a chain store for a dolls house, reduced from £20 to £4.99. I have been looking for a dolls house for Ameli for ages now, but haven’t been able to afford it. This was too good to miss, so I bought one. I also bought another, because there are enough friends on our list who will be having birthdays soon, and quite frankly, nothing I can buy for under £5 is going to compare to this!

Now, I don’t have the time to trawl website after website every day to find the best deals, so that’s where companies like Groupon, My Voucher Codes, PlayPennies, Zulily and others come in – they kind of do the hard work for you, and you just sift through what you want and don’t want.

Of course, it’s not a bargain if you didn’t want it or don’t need it, so if you don’t want to sign up for emails, newsletters and RSS feeds from these sites, you can do something else that never occurred to me: do a Google search.

Say for example I want to buy my daughter a pair of shoes from Clarks, rather than just paying the full fee and postage, do a search for something like “Clarks Voucher” or “Clarks Discount Code” (it’s also worth searching independently for free shipping, i.e. “Clarks Free Shipping”) and seeing whether there are any valid discount codes. If you can unexpectedly receive your postage free, or 20% off what you were expecting to pay, just by doing an additional search, why not?

I really don’t believe that parenting has to be as expensive as people make it. In fact, I know it doesn’t. The best advice I can offer is to have a bit of money in your account specifically so that when you see something that is a good deal, you can grab it up, and put it away.

I have on more than one occasion woken up on the day of a second or third birthday party and found I don’t have a present for the child in question. A stop at a toy shop en route to the party normally means we arrive there late, stressed and having purchased something for the full price. With a little planning and a spare corner at the top back of my wardrobe, I now always have something that would be suitable, saving my sanity, and my pocket.

For more great saving tips check out and for you travelers with little ones see the Best Convertible Car Seats

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