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  #1  
Old 01-07-2010, 12:34 PM
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Default Money Saving Strategies for Daycare Providers

I am sure we all have our own little things we do to cut back and save a few dollars running our business. Let's share.

I make my own foaming hand soap. Fill pump soap dispenser 1/4 full of liquid handsoap and fill with warm water. Put lid back on and shake and you have a new container of soap.

I cut paper towels in half and fold them and place them on the bathroom counter to wipe hands with.

I keep a spray bottle with water and a little dish soap in it to spray off the table and high chairs.

I also cut napkins in half to place snacks on at the table.

When printing almost everything, I choose draft quality to save on ink.

I buy all my preschool supplies when school supplies are out.

I made my own sleep mats out of a twin size egg crate from Walmart for $12, cut it in 4 pieces, wrapped it in a piece of shower curtain I purchased for $1.97 (got 2 out of each) and used duck tape to secure and I ended up with 4 over 1 inch thick mats. Much better than the kindergarten mats sold at Walmart and Target. I made cheap pillowcase type covers for them. Pillows from Goodwill and pillowcases for 50 cents from Goodwill.

All my preschool activities come off of websites for free. I pay only for one, Kidsoup.com at $23 per year and I love it.

I'll keep thinking.
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:18 PM
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That's awesome!! Thanks for all the hints and good ideas!!
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  #3  
Old 01-07-2010, 01:50 PM
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Please providers, share your cost cutting money saving tips.
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:56 PM
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I do the same for napkins, for snacks, since I started doing daycare. I rip them in 4's. It really saves on them. I will think of some other things I do, and write them on here.
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac60 View Post
I am sure we all have our own little things we do to cut back and save a few dollars running our business. Let's share.

I make my own foaming hand soap. Fill pump soap dispenser 1/4 full of liquid handsoap and fill with warm water. Put lid back on and shake and you have a new container of soap.

I cut paper towels in half and fold them and place them on the bathroom counter to wipe hands with.

I keep a spray bottle with water and a little dish soap in it to spray off the table and high chairs.

I also cut napkins in half to place snacks on at the table.

When printing almost everything, I choose draft quality to save on ink.

I buy all my preschool supplies when school supplies are out.

I made my own sleep mats out of a twin size egg crate from Walmart for $12, cut it in 4 pieces, wrapped it in a piece of shower curtain I purchased for $1.97 (got 2 out of each) and used duck tape to secure and I ended up with 4 over 1 inch thick mats. Much better than the kindergarten mats sold at Walmart and Target. I made cheap pillowcase type covers for them. Pillows from Goodwill and pillowcases for 50 cents from Goodwill.

All my preschool activities come off of websites for free. I pay only for one, Kidsoup.com at $23 per year and I love it.

I'll keep thinking.
Thank u for all the amazing tips. I am starting my very own daycare soon Your idea with the mats sounds really good. With the foam mats did u purchase 2 & cut both in half and, with the shower curtains are they the clear ones that u wrapped them in? Again, thanx 4 the info!
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:23 PM
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The mats were out of twin size egg crate mattress pads at Walmart. Depending on how many you need, you may get a better deal buying a full or queen size pad.

With the twin size, I simply cut them about 19" wide and they are 35" long. I purchased the clear shower curtains at Menards. I was able to cover 2 mats with 1 shower curtain. You kind of have to play around with it to figure out how to cut it right. I just wrapped the mat like I would a present and used duct tape to secure it. I have used them now for about 2 months with no problems. If someone pees at nap, the mat is protected and I just clean the plastic and disinfectant it. I will try to take a pic of them later and post it.

I used an xacto utility knife to cut the foam.
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mac60 View Post
The mats were out of twin size egg crate mattress pads at Walmart. Depending on how many you need, you may get a better deal buying a full or queen size pad.

With the twin size, I simply cut them about 19" wide and they are 35" long. I purchased the clear shower curtains at Menards. I was able to cover 2 mats with 1 shower curtain. You kind of have to play around with it to figure out how to cut it right. I just wrapped the mat like I would a present and used duct tape to secure it. I have used them now for about 2 months with no problems. If someone pees at nap, the mat is protected and I just clean the plastic and disinfectant it. I will try to take a pic of them later and post it.

I used an xacto utility knife to cut the foam.
Ok, great info. I'm so new to all of this and appreciate the feed back & post. Looking forward to the day when I can post & help with things I actually know and experienced
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:37 AM
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I am required by law to use a bleach solution on tables/counters highchairs in the kitchen, but awesome ideas.
Another thing I do is on my monthly newsletter I let my parents know if there are craft or curriculum supplies I need for the upcoming month, or borrow things for specific themes. My parents are happy to help out. I also am lucky whenever kids are bored with toys or activities my parents bring toys from home that they've outgrown & donate them to us.
We save a lot of grocery money in the summer by planting our own garden. I used just a few 2 1/2 by 8 raised beds along my fenceline, and info from "Mini Farming for Self Sufficiency" by Brett Markham. My kids have tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, beans, peas, carrots, cucumbers, melons, strawberries and more for the cost of a few seeds all summer. Its easy, fun, the kids learn and are very proud, and I save tons of money.
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  #9  
Old 01-13-2010, 11:24 AM
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I was feeling so cheap by cutting the napkins into smaller pieces. I'm so glad I'm not the only one!

I use a ton of scrap paper for printing off the computer. My mom's work always saved it, but they hardly used it. She gave me a ton and it's lasted for about a year! She doesn't work there anymore, so I'm going to have to find a new "supplier" soon. I dread the thought of actually having to buy paper.
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by kitkat View Post
I was feeling so cheap by cutting the napkins into smaller pieces. I'm so glad I'm not the only one!

I use a ton of scrap paper for printing off the computer. My mom's work always saved it, but they hardly used it. She gave me a ton and it's lasted for about a year! She doesn't work there anymore, so I'm going to have to find a new "supplier" soon. I dread the thought of actually having to buy paper.
Put a request in you're newsletter- maybe one of your families has access to paper from work that thay can donate, or ask a local copy place for their recycle piles of misprints etc to use the back of.
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:18 PM
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We use face clothes instead of paper towels for hand drying and that's worked out quite well. One mom suggested the idea of using wash clothes for cleaning hands and faces after meals and snacks (right now I use baby wipes). At first I didn't give it much consideration, but now I'm thinking it may actually save a ton of money. My thing is that I'd have to have them wet and ready to go throughout the day. Anybody have any ideas? I'm sure just having them in water may encourage mould or bacteria growth. I would wash the used ones each night, of course, but there may be some clean ones left over that wouldn't get used til the next day.
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by DBug View Post
We use face clothes instead of paper towels for hand drying and that's worked out quite well. One mom suggested the idea of using wash clothes for cleaning hands and faces after meals and snacks (right now I use baby wipes). At first I didn't give it much consideration, but now I'm thinking it may actually save a ton of money. My thing is that I'd have to have them wet and ready to go throughout the day. Anybody have any ideas? I'm sure just having them in water may encourage mould or bacteria growth. I would wash the used ones each night, of course, but there may be some clean ones left over that wouldn't get used til the next day.
I've been thinking about trying it myself. Another daycare provider I know using Golf towels- (they have a grommet for hanging, small tea towel sized) in different colors for each child. After meals she just rinses them off in a water/bleach solution to disinfect & hangs -I think on rubber suction hooks to dry. Then she just gives it a rinse in warm water before she uses it. She seems pretty happy with it.
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Old 01-14-2010, 04:36 PM
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I use washclothes for meal clean up too. Each child has a different color. I bought those 3M hooks to hang them on, which works really well. I also buy almost all my toys/baby equipment at garage sales/goodwill...I buy wipes in bulk at a wholesale club--i do get Huggies brand though, otherwise I find myself having to double up, which makes the cheap ones more expensive b/c I'm using twice as many. I buy holiday craft supplies AFTER the holiday to use the next year. We need to do everything we can to keep a little bit of money that we work so hard for!
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  #14  
Old 01-15-2010, 01:10 PM
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Talking hand towels

I buy $1 t towels form dollar store and cut them in 1/2.
If you are a baby 1 piece is made into a bib and other I crochet a tie on. So they have matching set so I know which one belongs to whom.
If they are older I make 1 piece w the tie for bath and other crochet trim for hand washing.
3 and older they are just 2 ties. 1 for bathroom & 1 for after meals.
Newborn to 6 months is both 1/2s made into spit clothes. Ruffels for girls and boys plain border.
I wash every night & reuse.
As for keeping them wet w meals I put the 1/2 on the table or tray & have a squirt bottle w soap. I spray their hands and they wash them. and then wash their faces too. and dry w hand towel. I use Dove soap. I also use a squirt bottle of same soap at the changeing table with papertowels cut in 1/2. I spray a squirt or 2 and use the papertowels. With coupons 1 buy 2 roll pack of Marcal small steps (enveiromentally safe for .79 and then get 560 wipes out of 1 pack. where as a pack of 400 + wipes is over $8.

Last edited by Michael; 01-15-2010 at 07:43 PM.
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  #15  
Old 06-15-2010, 12:27 PM
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Love this thread...wanted to bump it up for new ideas!

I also use washclothes for cleaning faces. I have a different color one for each child and I throw them on the line to dry outside when not in use. (The clothesline is right outside the dining room/kitchen area). I also cut up paper towels to use. I go through less that way. I do not do a newsletter but am thinking about starting up one. I ask the parents from time to time to bring in things and Ive only had one parent do that for me so far. I can barely get my parents to read the bulletin board!!

Anymore cost saving ideas????
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  #16  
Old 06-15-2010, 01:20 PM
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Default Coffee Filters

Thanks for resurrecting this thread Greenshadow! It was one of my favorites.

For snack time, my cheap trick was that I used to cut regular sized paper plates in half rather than buy the smaller paper plates which are more expensive. Now...I just use coffee filters! Although they don't work for juicy or sticky snacks, they are perfect for dry snacks like cheese and crackers, pretzels, granola bars, a whole piece of fruit, etc. It's not nearly as thick as a paper plate but all I am really trying to do is create a barrier between the food item and the table I buy a pack of 700 filters at Costco for $3.29.

Funny thing is that no one in my house even drinks coffee
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Old 06-15-2010, 02:49 PM
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To clean I use white terry cloths. I keep a spray bottle with a water and bleach solution and spray surfaces and toys and leave for 2 minutes and then wipe dry with the terry cloth instead of paper towels. I even use it on my windows and glass table. To mop I dip the terry cloth into the bucket of floor cleaner and wring out a bit and put it on my swiffer mop and mop with that. Works just as well and keeps dirty water from slopping all over the floor and into the grout. I just keep a bucket for all of the dirty terry cloths and throw them all in the washer with a bit of bleach when the bucket is full.

Doing this cuts out windex, disinfectant, surface cleaner, paper towels, swiffer refills, and mop head replacements.
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  #18  
Old 06-15-2010, 02:58 PM
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I use the grocery game to buy all of our groceries. If you are not familiar... it saves us about 50-75% or more on our groceries every week! I don't mind using paper towels and cleaners/soap in full concentration b/c it barely costs anything! The concept is this: grocerygame.com tells you each week which items are for sale at your grocery store, and it tells you the date of the newspaper that had a coupon for that same item. You only buy the items if you have a coupon and it's on sale. You stock up whenever this occurs, and you never have to pay full price.
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:02 PM
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Sams club sells the white cleanup rags I think they are $12 for 50. We use those for a lot of things around the house & they get thrown when they get warn out out or DH uses them for something grubby. There great for cleaning the counters & wiping up the kids after they eat.

I also use email for communicating with the parents- saves on paper & I dont have to worry about talking too long on the phone.
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:23 PM
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I was at IKEA recently and they have a bag of terry cloths the size of wash cloths that have a different colored loop sewed on 1 corner of each. They weren't very expensive (for 1 dozen I think) but it gave me the idea to get bulk package of cloths from a restaurant supply and use scrap hem binding and ribbons and sew them on myself. That way each child could have there own wash cloth or hand towel and they would be marked with there own color.

I also take a roll of paper towel cut it in half with a serrated knife and pull out the cardboard tube, place each half into a empty wipes container and pour a baby shampoo and water solution over it for butt wipes or a bleach solution for disinfectant wipes. Just pull the center towel up and out and feed it through the center holder.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:42 PM
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I just went digging for this thread yesterday to learn how to make my own foamy soap. I recently found out my swiffer wet pad was making our dog sick, so I will definitely be switching to a washcloth on the end of my swiffer.

I am also out of clorox wipes and will be cutting a paper towel roll in half tomorrow. Thanks for that suggestion!
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:33 PM
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that dawn direct foam (dishwashing liquid) that's been on t.v. lately is just 1/2 dawn and 1/2 water. i bought the pump just to have the pump...and when it was half empty - filled it back up with water and it was the SAME!

i wonder how many people keep buying those pumps over and over.....
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Old 06-16-2010, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Lilbutterflie View Post
I use the grocery game to buy all of our groceries. If you are not familiar... it saves us about 50-75% or more on our groceries every week! I don't mind using paper towels and cleaners/soap in full concentration b/c it barely costs anything! The concept is this: grocerygame.com tells you each week which items are for sale at your grocery store, and it tells you the date of the newspaper that had a coupon for that same item. You only buy the items if you have a coupon and it's on sale. You stock up whenever this occurs, and you never have to pay full price.
Genius! I am totally going to play!
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Old 06-16-2010, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by QualiTcare View Post
that dawn direct foam (dishwashing liquid) that's been on t.v. lately is just 1/2 dawn and 1/2 water. i bought the pump just to have the pump...and when it was half empty - filled it back up with water and it was the SAME!

i wonder how many people keep buying those pumps over and over.....
Oh, love this one too!
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Old 06-16-2010, 07:26 AM
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I have different colored washscloths for the kids. They know which color is theirs and when they are done washing hands/face they hang them up on a wooden clothes rack that I have in my bathtub. This way, if their towel gets too wet, it just drips in the bathtub. I give them a new one each day.
I tried the papertowels into baby wipes before, but I had a lot of trouble pulling out the center one. I"ll have to give it a whirl again.
I also put water/dish det in a spray bottle to clean the kids table/chairs. My daughter has that responsiblity. That towel also gets put on the wooden clothes rack to dry, because my 5 yr old thinks that in order to really clean the table, it has to be really, really wet! Oh, well, by the time the kids get up from there naps, it's usually dried by then. LOL!
I buy the juicy juice in the big can and when I pour it into a pitcher, I add water to fill up the pitcher. Kids don't even notice the difference. They get less sugar and the can lasts a bit longer.
A local bent/dent store has been having powdered milk for $2. It makes about 6 quarts. I've been buying that and again, the kids have not said anything about the milk tasting differnent. My daughter loves that we can make milk.
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Old 06-16-2010, 05:43 PM
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I buy my meats/vegetables in bulk, cook meals in large quantities, and freeze them in quart size foil serving/cooking dishes with lids (bettymills.com). I make my menus months in advance and only buy what is on the list.

Just this week I made about 6 months worth (if each eaten once a week) of chicken/rice casserole, lasagna, spaghetti, chicken/broccoli penne, chili, black eyed peas, baby limas, baked beans, collards and sheppards pie for under $46.00. Ground beef, Boneless Chicken Breast and frozen veggies were on sale.... Fingers crossed that fish goes on sale next week!!!

I use old Airline trays, found at a thrift store for serving meals, perfect serving size, no buying paper plates. I buy select-a-size paper towels.

I only buy store brands. Most are made by the same companies anyway...

I also use long sleeved, plastic, paint smocks as bibs to cut down on laundry. The kids call it "dressing for lunch"...

Keep 'em coming!! Looking forward to responses!!!
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:26 PM
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Don't feed, clean, or plan activites for them; also don't clean the house!! Saves a ton of money!! He he lol

I make my own play doh, the old kids love to help... I buyin season fruit only.. My garden us my best friend...
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:25 PM
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FYI
I was at Target yesterday and they have kid nap mats for 7.99. I already have three at home but I thought for someone starting out it would be cheap. I think they are at Target and on sale because of the new school year, check near the school supplies. I dont know if they are right height as some providers have restrictions on that.
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Old 08-06-2010, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarinaVanessa View Post
To clean I use white terry cloths. I keep a spray bottle with a water and bleach solution and spray surfaces and toys and leave for 2 minutes and then wipe dry with the terry cloth instead of paper towels. I even use it on my windows and glass table. To mop I dip the terry cloth into the bucket of floor cleaner and wring out a bit and put it on my swiffer mop and mop with that. Works just as well and keeps dirty water from slopping all over the floor and into the grout. I just keep a bucket for all of the dirty terry cloths and throw them all in the washer with a bit of bleach when the bucket is full.

Doing this cuts out windex, disinfectant, surface cleaner, paper towels, swiffer refills, and mop head replacements.
How long until you wash them? I think it might take me 4-5 days before I had enough to wash on low. Anything else I could mix them with so I don't stain anything?
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Old 08-06-2010, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Lilbutterflie View Post
I use the grocery game to buy all of our groceries. If you are not familiar... it saves us about 50-75% or more on our groceries every week! I don't mind using paper towels and cleaners/soap in full concentration b/c it barely costs anything! The concept is this: grocerygame.com tells you each week which items are for sale at your grocery store, and it tells you the date of the newspaper that had a coupon for that same item. You only buy the items if you have a coupon and it's on sale. You stock up whenever this occurs, and you never have to pay full price.
I've never used the site you're talking about, but in general for all those things we use over and over including toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, tissues, and even food, I buy on sale and stock up. We have a huge closet for this and it looks weird when we get low. Even if something is just a quarter off, it is better than nothing. Just don't waste your gas money driving place to place! If you're bored, you can even call a store here and ask if something is on sale. I do it all the time to Hobby Lobby. I would recommend making a list, yup--I'm a list maker! So, make a list and categorize it.

Create categories including Chemicals, Supplies, Food, etc. Then create Sub-Categories, this is where the specific items go. Write the name of the chemical, size or quantity, then the price. I would print this off and carry it in my purse so if I go to K-Mart and Target one day, I just have to pull it out and write down what their prices/quantities offered are for all the items I usually purchase. Make sure to write which store you got the price from though! I have a separate column in my charts that says which store to keep things simple. This saves a trip and then I realize, oh it's a dollar cheaper here vs. here and if I watch the ads then I know it is or is not cheaper than it has been. Sorry if this seems confusing. This is what I do and it works well!
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Old 08-06-2010, 04:20 PM
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Default Money Saving Tips for Daycare

We had an article that has some good tips: http://www.daycare.com/story/money_saving_tips/
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Old 08-06-2010, 06:01 PM
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liquid soap saver: put a rubberband around the pump, it will prevent the kids from getting more than one small squirt of soap.

use coffee filters for dry snacks

make your own fingerpaint: boil 4 cups of water, add 1/2 cup cornstarch and stir rapidly. add food coloring or a bit of tempura...save in empty playdough containers.

collect items found in nature and use for : collage art, natural collections for the science area, add to the block area with toy animals and insects, etc. (pine cones, small an large rocks, small and large pieces of bark, driftwood, pine branches, etc.)

Collect larger pieces of driftwood to use as a border for a sandbox or rock pit

Save large pieces of styrofoam and cardboard that come in packages for children's collage and painting activities, these are great for group projects.

save and ask parents to give you their junk mail and "stamps" that come in mail for charity requests: use for the writing/mail center.

make your own beanbags: cut pantyhose or use clean socks, fill with beans/rice/popcorn and tie the ends

use scraps of construction paper for collage: cut into various shapes and sizes

save water/soda bottles and make discovery bottles: fill with water and various objects - beads, glitter, seashells, etc.

save empty water/soda or even larger juice bottles: fill halfway with sand or rice, etc. Collect a variety of small objects, lay out on paper, take a picture, add items to bottle, hang picture near bottle and let kids play I Spy.
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Old 08-06-2010, 06:11 PM
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My money savers

First and foremost, coupons. I get tons free like that including dish soap, toilet paper, paper plates, etc

I use washcloths for the kids wiping faces, hands, during crafts. They have packs at a local discount store for a couple bucks for like 10, i buy 3 or four packs every few months.

We grow our own veggies (tomatoes, squash, zucchini, etc)

The local discount store mentioned above has pillowcases 2/$1 they are fabric ends but most of the time they are cute, and I buy pillows at school time when they put out the college stuff.

I buy ALL my crayons, markers, etc at the end of school starting when they mark it all down. 20 pks of crayons, 10 pks of markers, a few scissors and some hiliters

I have family that works at the schools so I get bulletin board paper (butcher paper) and scrap paper to use for crafts.

Ask families for paper towel/gift wrap rolls for crafts

Buy your bubbles at the end of summer and all your sand toys etc. 50% off

If you know someone handy knockoffwood has plans for making wood furniture (kids tables, bookshelves, etc) at about 1/3 of retail cost

cook in bulk and invest in a deep freeze and a good crock pot.
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