I am a busy mama on a budget who is always on the go! Here are a few things I always keep in my travel bag (aka my purse) to keep my little ones busy and clean! All 10 of these items you can find around your house or buy for $5 or less!
1. Baby Wipes- These are not only good to clean baby bums but they are awesome to clean up messes, sticky faces and hands. You can find travel size packages in most drug stores and super stores.
2. Hand Sanitizer- Soap and water is not always available and trust me you will be greatful when your little one touches something gross and you are able to sanitize their hands before they put them in their mouth! Small containers of these can always be found near the cash register in most stores.
3. A Pen & Paper- There always comes a time when you need to write down a address, a phone number, or even a quick grocery list. It also comes in handy when you want to try things on in a store dressing room but you need something to keep your little one busy. My daughter loves to draw and doodle, so this always comes in handy! My junk drawer is filled with free pens my hubby gets at work. I bought a small note pad at the dollar store that is the perfect size and allows my little one to be an artist on the go!
4. A First Aid Kit- I always expect the unexpected that way I am always prepared. I cannot tell you how many times I have been to a play ground when a little one has gotten hurt. Having bacitracin and a band aid can really save the day. You can create your own kit with a travel soap dish and fill it with a few bacitracin packets, a few band aids, some alcohol wipes, sterile gauze pads, and a small roll of tape.
5. My secret weapon- A small travel size coloring book, with a few crayons(usually primary colors work best) and a pack of stickers. When boredom strikes a coloring book and crayons always saves the day!
6. Bubbles- Kids love bubbles and best of all they are cheap! I found travel size bubbles at the party store for less than a $1.00! You can make your own bubble solution with 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons light karo syrup or 2 tablespoons glycerin, 4 tablespoons dishwashing liquid, Mix together and have fun!
7. A Hair Elastic- They come in handy when you need to keep hair out of your little ones face. You can also use them to tie off the bottom of a shirt that is too big or tie to the back of shoulder straps to keep a tank top from falling down. I also found them useful to hold up my pants when I was pregnant and not ready to commit to maternity clothes (I would tie one end around the button on my pants and loop the hair tie through the button hole and tie off in a knot). Another tip: dont waste your money on expensive hair ties in the mall when you can find great strong hair elastics at the dollar store!
8. Coins- As the head of the laundry department in my house my motto is ‘finders keepers.’ This means all the loose change I find in my hubby’s pockets is mine! Change always comes in handy when traveling with kids, especially quarters! Most malls, grocery stores, toy stores, and super stores have machines in the entrances or exits that are filled with little toys, stickers, and snacks. Being a stay at home mom I have a slim budget but sometimes if my little ones have been well-behaved during errand runs I like to reward them with a treat that wont break the bank. My kids love the sit-on rides in malls and outside department stores (that only take quarters of course). Sometimes it’s these little things that make your child’s day go from good to great and make you “the BEST mom EVER!” (as my daughter says!) Another good reason for keeping coins in your purse is for parking meters (that dont take credit cards).
9. Sunscreen- Unfortunately my kids got my irish skin which means I always need to stay on top of keeping their skin protected from our enemy (the sun!). Having this in my purse has been a life saver when we spend the day at the playground and I forget to bring their hats. You can find small tubes of sunscreen in the travel section as well as most drug stores or super stores. You can also find the travel tubes at the registers of these stores in the summer time (this is when I usually stock up).
10. Healthy Snacks- Some great snacks that I keep in my purse are foods that are both healthy and wont spoil over time. Whole grain cereals, crackers, all natural fruit snacks, and trail mix make great snacks (just to name a few). My son has food allergies so I always make sure I have a safe healthy snack alternative for him. You can find small portions of these snacks and many more in your local grocery store, super store and/or drug store.
ps. The purse above is my everyday travel bag (aka purse). Since I am a bargin shopper on a budget I bought it at the outlet stores on clearance and saved 60% plus I also had a 30% off coupon so it was not only a wonderful Anniversary present from my hubby but a steal as well!