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What Not to Buy

So let’s just get this out there right now … I am VERY money conscious. I can tell you what our family spent on groceries and household items in 2013 and 2014. I can tell you how much money I personally spent on fuel for my vehicle in the last two years. And I can also tell you how much it costs our family to live where we do for a year. Having said that, I have made a few money mistakes in my time. Thankfully, MOST have been quite minor. Today, I will focus on baby / kid stuff purchases that I have made and later regretted. Here’s to hoping you might learn from my mistakes.


1) Sippy cups with straws.
The mechanisms in straw sippy cups get built up with yuckiness. They are full of grooves that harbour more nastiness. The parts get lost or misplaced, which makes them useless. And perhaps worst of all, they have a rather annoying tendency to “boil over,” leaving an unpleasant little puddle in every place they are set. They also leak when left on their side, and let’s be honest, little kids leave their cups all willy nilly more often than not.


Specific cups I do not like …
Playtex 9 oz. Straw Cup


Cups I do like …
Playtex Spill Proof Cup (with handles)
Contigo Kids Spill & Leak Proof Cup (for kids who are a bit older)


2) Bibs.
Bibs serve a specific purpose – to protect your little one’s clothes as they learn to eat. However, not all bibs are created equal. First of all, I would encourage you to avoid cloth bibs altogether once you have passed the stage of merely using them to soak up drool or to wipe milk off your baby’s face. Cloth bibs get stained and look gross once they’ve encountered real food. Go with the plastic type after that. These can just be washed in the sink OR thrown into the laundry hamper to run through the washing machine.


Brands I Have that I Like …
bumkins
kushies


Specific plastic bibs I purchased and did not like …
JOE Fresh Plastic Bibs


3) Vtech Tote & Go Laptop ($24.99 – Sears.ca)
Frankly, this toy sucks. The screen is VERY small, and when attempting to play any games, it is actually difficult to distinguish what is highlighted and what isn’t, making it difficult to actually use this item for any kind of authentic learning. Big M rarely plays with this item for its original intention because of these flaws.


4) Fisher-Price “Rainforest Friends” Musical Lion Walker ($39.99 – Sears.ca)
We bought this for Little M for her first Christmas (she was six months old), mostly for the sake of buying her something; neither of the kids expressed very much interest in it, and it certainly wasn’t used by Little M as she learned to walk. Takes up a lot of space too!


5) Play-Doh (I mean the tubs that the real brand sells)
Seriously, for this one, I would encourage you to always make your own. There are great (and simple) recipes online for all kinds of homemade play dough (just always use a recipe with boiling water). The PlayDoh brand tubs seem to dry out quickly, while the stuff you make at home lasts forever.


6) My Way Electric Toothbrush
I bought Big M this toothbrush out of desperation during our epic toothbrush wars back in 2013. She absolutely refused to let us brush her teeth, resulting in 20 to 30 minute battles each night just to run a toothbrush over her pearly whites. Many times I wanted to just give up and forget about brushing her teeth. They’d fall out eventually anyway, right? Right. But I knew I couldn’t actually give up on this one; good oral health is worth the fight! Anyhow, back to the toothbrush … It requires two double A batteries, which isn’t a huge deal, BUT something rechargeable is always a better option. The flaw I can’t get over though is the fact that it is a one-piece unit, which means the brush heads are not replaceable. Toothbrush heads don’t last forever (obviously); with this brush, one really has no choice but to just throw it away when the head gets ratty. That’s not only a bit pricy; it’s also not very environmentally conscious. The solution? This year for Christmas, I spent a bit more and bought each kid an Oral B rechargeable electric toothbrush, the kind you can purchase replacement heads for. When asked about her best Christmas present this year, Big M said, “My toothbrush! It’s just like Mommy and Daddy’s!” Sadly, I don’t think Little M feels the same way. We have recently entered the epic toothbrush battle stage with her.


7) Reusable Ice Cubes ($4 from Superstore)
So in a moment of weakness while in the Superstore with Big M, I purchased a little mesh bag of reusable ice cubes, thinking they would be perfect to keep the girls’ drinks cool on hot summer days. Well, everytime I see these little balls in my freezer, a pang of guilt strikes … they were truly a waste of money (thankfully, they were only $4). Their innards don’t even freeze, which means they do a really poor job of keeping anything cool for any length of time. I know, this one isn’t a biggie, but these were not a wise purchase … regular, every day, watery ice cubes it is!

Unfortunately, I am sure that I will add to this list in the future. Are there any purchases you have made and later regretted? Be sure to share in the comments below.

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