7 Ways To Save Money On Halloween Costumes For Kids

Halloween is coming soon and if you are not careful, the scariest part of the creepiest holiday could be the cost of all of the costumes! The sticker shock of some costumes can make any parent faint in fear. But, have no fear! I am here to save the holiday. I have collected seven ways to save money on Halloween costumes for kids, and the best part is most can be applied to saving your budget on adult costumes too!Save your budget and your sanity this Halloween by learning 7 ways to save money on costumes!

7 Ways to Save Money on Halloween Costumes for Kids

Save your Halloween costumes to use as hand-me-downs.

All of my girls have wanted to be a witch at least once. All of them have shared the same basic costume, but with little tweaks to emphasize their unique personalities. My oldest daughter was the cutest mean witch- with blood red lips and a gigantic wart on her nose. We used a pick and a ton of that glitter hairspray to make her curly hair stand on end and she was DARLING! My middle daughter was a star witch. We added some sparkly tulle adorably decorated with shiny stars. We made a broom out of tulle similar to this one and somehow stumbled upon a clearance witch’s hat that resembled her skirt so much you would have no idea we didn’t purchase the skirt and hat as a set! This year, my youngest daughter is going to be a Hello Kitty witch. It is an actual costume that I purchased (at a discount shop), but will be recycling the same broom as soon as I convince my hubby to find it in the attic. Another costume that has made the way down the ranks is the ninja.

Hand-me-downs are a great way to save money on costumes for children.
Hand-me-downs are a great way to save money on costumes for children.
Don’t “discount” discount shops!

Seriously. The aforementioned Hello Kitty Witch costume is still brand new in the package. It comes with the dress and the hat, and cost SEVEN dollars. What?!!!! I bought it at this store that is set up in an old warehouse. The closeout shop is only open during specific hours and reminds me of the love child of a outlet store and a flea market. I actually was hesitant to enter this place because I am not always fond of outlet stores. While I will never, ever claim to be the most organized person, I do prefer for the stores I shop in to be organized. I typically find that some of the outlet malls or stores are difficult for me to navigate, and thus a waste of time. However, if you are trying to get a big bang for a little buck, discount shops are the way to shop for Halloween costumes!

Buy used Halloween costumes.

I know that some people really see this as a faux paux. I’m not one of those people! In order to save money, I’ll scour Craig’s List for costumes and/or props. I also belong to many of those “mom” groups on Facebook. You know the ones- supportive, swap, or sell groups. Just like the discount stores, some of these Facebook groups can be difficult to navigate and/or trust. Sometimes people do not represent their “product” correctly, or can do other actions (such as raise a price) that are not agreeable. If you do not feel safe, DO NOT DO IT! I typically meet in a public place, without my kids, and escorted by my husband. If you prefer more secure methods of purchasing used costumes, consignment shops are a great option. I have also scored some super cute Halloween costumes at garage sales for a steal!

Consignment shops are great places to find great deals on Halloween costumes for kids!
Consignment shops are great places to find great deals on Halloween costumes for kids!
Shop for clearance Halloween costumes.

This does not necessarily mean shopping the year before, but that can definitely be a good way to save some serious cash. I will take the kids shopping when the Halloween outfits (and decorations) prices are slashed. This usually means that the aisles are pretty picked over, and most likely a monster of a mess (See what I did there? Monster? That’s funny!), but sometimes you can find some serious steals. I will let them pick out a tentative outfit for the following year if the price is right and the size seems plausible. If their tastes change between now and the following Halloween (yes, it can happen), then I can sell the costume that I bought for 90% off for more than I purchased it on Craig’s List or one of those Facebook mom sites. Win-win!

Be creative and make your own!

Oh, don’t check out just yet! I am not suggesting you tackle sewing, painting, and bedazzling (Still a thing, right?) in order to create the BEST. COSTUME. EVER. But, use your imagination and bargaining skills a little bit. One of my girls wants to be an angel this year. I already had the wings and halo from about six years ago, but could not reuse the dress. Hellllllo discount store. I bought her the “perfect” (her words, not mine) white dress at Burlington Coat Factory for less than 13 bucks. D.O.N.E. Sprinkle her with some glitter and she is ready to go. However, I have to dress up at work this year- with my team. All of our costumes are going to revolve around a theme. Do you think that we are going to spend a bunch of money? No!!!! We got on Pinterest and had a great time trying to figure out what we were going to make for cheap (as in less than $5, cheap). You can even layer different items of clothing for a quick no-sew fix. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to all things Halloween.

You don't have to be a professional to create your own costume!
Use different materials to alter clothing you already own.
Swap costumes with another budget conscious momma.

I have done this a couple of times and it was awesome! I lent a Star Wars costume to a friend that had a son that was dying to be Darth Vader. The following year she lent us a Ninja Turtles costume. As long as it is someone you know will take care of your stuff (and return it), then this is a great money saving option!

Sell your old costumes to offset the price of new ones.

Remember those places that I suggested you search for used costumes? Those are also great places to unload your unwanted costumes! My warnings from before are also applicable here- only do what makes you feel safe. Like I said earlier, I will buy clearance outfits and sell them the following year. I also have bought costumes at a garage sale and sold them for more money.

Hopefully these tips made Halloween a little less frightening, at least to your budget! Do you have any other tips that I didn’t think of? If so, leave them in the comments!

Related: Check out Create Your Family Budget in 14 Easy Steps.

Halloween is not the only time a budget can be scary!

Create Your Family Budget In 14 Easy Steps

I am constantly talking about ways to stay on track with a family budget, so is it hard to believe that up until recently we didn’t actually have a set budget? We really just created an actual budget. We kind of just cruised on this notion that as long as our bank account stayed out of the red, we were on budget. But there are many flaws to this system including the glaring problem- what happens in case of some unplanned, unforeseen circumstance?budgeting, family budget, create, saving money

Our story.

Well, we found ourselves facing this exact question when our only “reliable” vehicle decided it did not want to be a moving, working vehicle anymore. In the middle of a 12 lane intersection. During rush hour. On the day that I had a very important meeting at work.

Good times. Not!

Unfortunately we had to make a difficult decision and purchase another vehicle. This was an aha! moment for me. While our income may object, we definitely needed to start finding more ways to save money. We needed to start being more accountable for our finances. We needed to start some serious adulting and it was going to be hard.

I will say this, however. Setting a budget for our family was definitely a difficult task, at first. Once we actually started implemented our family budget, I felt better. We were more conscious about what we needed and what we wanted and were very quickly able to assess if we were being smart with our money or a little frivolous.

My husband and I thought we were money conscious before, but really we were just aware of the bottom line at the end of the month. There really is a difference.

Here are some ideas on creating your own family budget.

  1. Make sure you have the time dedicated to make your budget. This is not a conversation that your family should have five minutes before soccer practice. Serious thought needs to go into this, and some emotions may run high. Also, be prepared for this to extend to more than one meeting. If something is truly important, it deserves to have undivided attention which can be extremely difficult with a large family.

    Emotions may run high when creating a family budget.
    Emotions may run high when creating a family budget.
  2. Consider who is included in the planning session. This definitely varies family to family. While the majority of our conversation consisted of just my husband and I, we did take input from the children. My husband and I explained to the kiddos what we were doing and how important it was. Then we also were clear about the fact that some things were going to change, and not all of the changes were going to be desirable. We felt that our decision to include them was important for two reasons. First, it reinforced that we value their opinions and input. They may be little but they mean a whole lot, and we try to remind them of this consistently. Also, it helped the children understand the importance of what we were doing. We are not that family that tries to act like money is not a contributing factor in many decisions we make, but we also understand that they may not comprehend money restraints due to their ages and maturity levels. This meeting helped our children have a little window into our reasoning when we deny that awesome, amazing, EXPENSIVE camp that they are dying to attend this summer.
  3. Make a goal (or goals). It does not have to be a publicized goal. Your best friend or your mom does not need to know what your goal is or why you set it, but you need to know what you are trying to accomplish. Perhaps you want to pay off debt, or save for a fantastic vacation. Maybe you want to cushion that emergency fund or prepare for retirement. Maybe you just want to see where your money is going. Maybe you have two short-term goals (should take less than a year to accomplish) and one long-term goal. Your prerogatives are your own. Write down possible goals to determine which goals are the best for your family.
    "<yoastmark
  4. Make the goals achievable. Please don’t set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic goals. I have soooo done that in the past. It makes you feel depressed and unsuccessful, causing you to slip and not make progress toward real goals. Think of what is truly important for your family and decide how that goal is possible. The word budget often seems like a negative thing, but actually it doesn’t have to be. Use your budget as a tool to reach your goals. It outlines where you need to be right now in order to get to your desired location- similar to a map.
  5. Have documentation in front of you. Have your bills and pay stubs so that you can actually see where the money is coming from and where it is going. We may think we know the money trail, but it may be a drastic difference once you are looking at reality. My hubby and I thought we were doing really well with our money. Then we printed our bank statement and started noticing how we were nickel and diming our way through our money. Once we highlighted the necessary expenses, we ended up staring googly-eyed at the other numbers. We definitely did not have the self-control we thought we had. Having the physical documentation in front of us was definitely an eye opener."<yoastmark
  6. Determine how your family defines expenses and income. This will definitely vary family to family. Some families share everything, including expenses and income, equally. Other families keep budgeting separate. I have friends that have such unique ways of planning family expenses I cannot begin to explain or understand them. There is not a blanket acceptable way and you should not worry about approval from outside sources. But if you are deciding to keep things separate, this needs to be addressed during your sitdown meeting.
  7. Calculate your net income. Your net income can sometimes be called your take home pay. Net income is listed on your paycheck but if you have various forms of income you may need to make some calculations. Your take home pay includes any money that you bring in- child support, alimony, side jobs, etc. should also be included. Items such as taxes, 401k and Social Security deductions, should not be included.
  8. Determine your NEEDS. These are the items and bills necessary for your day to day life- housing, food, medical expenses, etc. Is coffee a need? Probably not, but don’t despair. There is a much happier step down below.
  9. First, focus on the expenses that occur every month. Recurring debt should include your rent/mortgage, car payments, insurance, credit cards, etc. This is why you should have all of your statements and bills in front of you- so you don’t forget anything (such as one of your car payments, like we did the first we sat down to plan. Ooops!).

    Budgeting, housing, make a budget, save money
    Housing costs, such as rent or mortgage, should be included in your recurring debt.
  10. Now add in your flexible expenses. Items that possibly change monthly are groceries, gas, kids activities, family entertainment, etc. We always say that we are going to stick to a certain number figure for groceries, but rarely do we stick with it. If you need to cut back on spending, these are the expenses you may be able to trim.
  11. Identify some of the things that may not be a need, but are important nonetheless. Insert coffee here. And chocolate. And possibly wine.(Told you that you would be happy again later.) This is going to be different for everyone and can be of varying degrees. Perhaps you feel like a coffee from a chain makes you feel and perform better in the morning. Maybe you think that it is necessary for you to take time out for yourself and have a pedicure or a girls night out. Mommas need taken care of too and that’s okay. This is what will help you actually STICK to the budget. Family fun can be on budget if you plan carefully enough. Check out my post about Disney on Ice here.
  12. Match the numbers to your budget goals. If your goal is to double your savings in six months, are you on track to do so with your current spending habits? Or do you need to alter some of your spending patterns?Take the coffee, for example. I pretty much need it on Mondays (most humans who come in contact with me can confirm to this). I prefer to actually go to Dunkin on Mondays because no matter how hard I try, I cannot replicate it perfectly. However, for the other days of my week I brew my own coffee at home. I buy the huge bag of coffee because it is cheaper in bulk, then add my Dunkin creamer and Hershey syrup for my iced mocha. If you go to get your nails done once a month check to see if they ever sell gift cards at a discount during special promotions.
  13. Review and reevaluate often. Check back in one month and see how you did. Did you cut back if you needed to? Did you spend less than the month before? Or did you just make smarter decisions with your money? Decide if your budget goals are still appropriate. Maybe, now that you are more aware of where your hard-earned money is going, you want to save more. How can you adjust your budget to work for your family? If you feel like you are stuck don’t be afraid to ask for help. Family, friends, or even professionals can offer you insight that you may be overlooking.

    budgeting, review, save money
    Revisit your budget often to check for progress.
  14. Do not be too hard on yourself. Obviously you should be firm with your goals and attempt to work toward them. However, remember you are human. You can (and will) make mistakes. Just, as with everything else in life, learn from those mistakes and use them to guide future spending.

Do you have any secrets that helped you make and keep your family budget? Is there anything that you feel you need help cutting back on? Leave them in the comment section below.

Disney on Ice Survival Kit: How to Make it out With Your Sanity and Your Budget Intact

Make it out of Disney on Ice with both your sanity and your budget.

You did it! You are taking your kids to Disney on Ice! You just committed yourself to being the best parent in the world. You just purchased tickets to the live musical ice version of the Disney movie that is constantly tormenting you, I mean constantly on repeat, in your house. If you think that succeeding in suppressing your gag reflex while clicking the online purchase button was the hardest part of this commitment, you are sadly mistaken. Here are some valuable tips to surviving Disney on Ice.

  1. Set a budget.

This is actually more complicated than some rookies may realize. Yes, the tickets are most likely going to be the bulk of your expense. However, they are most certainly not going to be your only expenses. These type of events will try to suck every last dollar out of you. Parking is typically not free and can vary with each venue so you definitely want to check into the cost ahead of time. Most dangerous of all, of course, are the souvenirs. Everywhere you look there will be light up swords, costumes, plush toys, and $15 bags of cotton candy. If you think that you dodged the bullet when you somehow maneuvered your kiddos past the onslaught of booths right inside of the venue, you are sadly mistaken. There will be peddlers skillfully navigating the maze of seats throughout the show and intermission as well. (Personal tip- Buy some “souvenirs” from Amazon, wrap them, and give them before you go. I then suggest we leave them at home so that we have nothing to “slow us down” while trying to make it to our seats.)

2. Plan your entrance, and your escape.

Those toys we talked about, bright flashing hunks of plastic that eventually are going to pad the landfill of the bottomless closet or toy box, are all available before the show. Know where your seats are ahead of time and plan for the entrance that allows you the shortest route. That parking lot you just paid to park in is about to be a catastrophic mess. All of the parents fleeing as fast as they can becomes a breeding ground for road rage and very unDisney-like behavior. My advice, park closer to the exit and take the extra time during the walk into the arena to remind your kids that they already have their “souvenirs” waiting for them safely at home.

parking, Disney,
Parking may be a disaster.
3. Be an adult.

Yes, Disney was created to be enchanting. Yes, it is nice to be swept up into the magic of make-believe even as an adult (hello- soap operas, romantic comedies, etc.). HOWEVER, Disney on Ice is particularly special for children. These little boys and girls are excited. They are overstimulated. They are going to be loud, rambunctious and possibly inappropriate. You need to be an adult and you need to NOT be inappropriate. You need to remember that while you spent a lot of your hard-earned money on tickets, so did the parent of the sugared-up Elsa doppelgänger kicking the back of your chair while singing “Let it Go” in an excruciatingly loud screeching voice. Suck it up buttercup and let the kid be a kid. (To the woman who rolled her eyes at my little Elsa, I hope you read this. By the way, you were turned into a lesson on how NOT to behave in public.)

4. Find your happy place.

If you are not one of those adults who can fall into the rabbit hole and slip back into childhood fantasies, enter the arena with a plan. I, personally, am not the biggest fan of these type of events. I am, however, a huge fan of my kiddos. I truthfully pay attention to less than a quarter of the performance. My attention is captured by the sheer joy that is radiating from my little Elsa and Ana (at least before intermission). I have more pictures of my Elsa frozen (hehe, no pun intended) in utter shock at watching her idol elegantly glide across the ice rink than I do of the show. My babies being happy is my happy place. If that doesn’t do it for you, then retreat inside your head. I won’t shame you if you spend the entire two hours planning your next project at work, or if you are replaying your favorite sappy movie in your head. And I definitely won’t blame you if you are inside the safety of your own head mentally punching the mom a few seats over that refuses to stop shooting dirty looks to your four year old because I may, or may not have, chosen to spend a few minutes of my experience doing the same thing.

5. Try to put down the camera (phone) and just be there.

If you like the show, watch it live instead of on video once you get home. If you are more interested in watching your kiddos, take a few photos here and there, video the rugrats singing their favorite song, and spend the rest of the time taking in the smiles and random hugs, kisses, and compliments. Sometimes we focus so much on capturing the moment that we don’t experience the moment.

smartphone, camera, pictures, Disney on Ice
Try to put down the smartphone or camera and just enjoy the experience.
6. Be prepared for after.

Did you think that having the pre-nap time show will equal a longer than normal nap time? Did you plan on the last show because you predicted that they would be exhausted after all of that excitement and bedtime would finally, finally be a breeze? If so, how did that work out for you? No matter how many times I have learned this does not work for my kiddos, I still  almost believe it may. If you are planning on not parenting after the show then you are probably planning incorrectly. They will either sleep on the ride home and bounce right back up as soon as you pull into the driveway, or they will serenade you the entire drive home and then reenact the show in your living room for what seems like the rest of eternity. Over stimulation does two things- it gets the mind juices flowing and/ or creates the crankiest little monsters you have ever met. Either one does not bode well for a relaxing evening after the show.

Following these tips may not guarantee that you actually have the time of your life. Following these tips, however, may just help guarantee that your little ones have the time of their life, and ultimately isn’t that all that matters?