Disclaimer: I’ll be using little/caregiver terms, specifically Daddy/little, in this post as I’ll be speaking from my experience being a little on a budget and sharing my tips and tricks. Feel free to swap out little and caregiver for whichever identifier you fall under!
With the personal aspect of social media and people sharing their lives with us, sometimes there can be a misunderstanding or an expectation as to one needs to have or do to “be” a/an -insert identifier here-. The truth is…you don’t need anything to be a little, caregiver, middle, pet, or however else you may identify as it isn’t about what stuff you have but who you are. When I first started to explore ageplay and what being little meant to me, I didn’t have any “fancy” gear or anything- most of my “gear” came from the dollar stores. At my core, I’m still very much a little on a budget. It’s not just gear that gets overly glamorized but dates as well. Caregiver and little dates don’t have to be expensive trips to the toy stores or Disney.
For those who also consider themselves or just are a little, middle, caregiver, pet, etc., on a budget- fear not! There are many ways to enhance headspaces and find cute things while also not putting too big of a dent in anyone’s wallet.
My favorite places to shop for little gear and accessories are always dollar and dollar plus stores. You can find some really neat hidden gems at them sometimes that very few people have! Plus, the most I’ve spent at one of these places on a single item was $10 and that was on a unicorn stuffie I recently bought that I’ve seen go for $20+ elsewhere. They’re also great places to find new toys to add to your toy bag! Most of my BDSM toys have come from these places as well! The way I look at it is that if it breaks, gets stolen or if it needs to become my bottom’s toy due to blood- I’m not out a lot of money. These stores also carry pet supplies as well so you can find toys for yours or your partner’s pet spaces as well!
Five Below is another favorite place of mine! They even have things for people who identify as an older little or even a middle. Everything there is between $1-$5 and they have a little bit of everything! Stuffies, blankets, coloring books, games, puzzles, toys, makeup, clothes, candy- they have it all! It’s really one of my favorite places to go and shop for props for shoots and other fun little items! I’ve found my favorite pair of shoes there and they were only $5!
Speaking of pet stuff, PetCo has some really interesting little toys as well. Now, hear me out, in their puppy section they have some really cute crinkle-y toys sometimes and they’re durable because they’re made for dogs. They can be a little bit more expensive than the places I’ve listed above but their clearance can be a gold mine! You can also find pervertibles there as well so you can help build up your toy bag!
With the change in trends favoring more nostalgic items stores like Hot Topic, Walmart, and Target are fantastic for little clothing and accessories. Hot Topic has definitely strayed from the store they were in the 00s and is more of a pop culture haven. Walmart and Target both carry cute nerdy shirts and pajamas as well. Plus, their clearance can be pretty great! On the subject of clearance, right after the various holidays is a great time to find stuffies for a discount at Walmart. You’d be surprised just how low they can go with the prices! Target’s Bullseye spot usually has some cute little stuff as well!
I’m also quite the fan of going thrifting. I’ve found a bunch of various little gear and accessories from there shirts, stuffies, decor for my playspace, shoes, and books! Plus, the most I’ve spent on a single item there is $5.99. You can find Buildabears with outfits at some for $1.99. Garage sales and flea markets are also other great places to check out as well!
If you have a reward/punishment element in your dynamic, you can make going to stores like Five Below or the dollar store a way to redeem your reward!
There are so many cute date ideas! Some of mine are going thrifting with my Daddy. We see who can find the coolest or weirdest things at the thrift store and just enjoy spending the day going from one thrift shop to another. More times than not we end up leaving empty-handed but it’s still a lot of fun! When the weather is nicer, going on picnics is also a great idea! You don’t need to bring anything fancy and can just enjoy the nice weather and spending time together. If you and your partner like to read, head to your local library and pick out books to read to one another. Some libraries even have special activities or even movie nights! If yours doesn’t take out a movie from the library, build a blanket fort or something similar and have one of your own in your living room. Some museums also have free days or pay what you want/can days. Check them out and go on a scavenger hunt; it’s a fun way to learn something new! You can even go on a scavenger hunt through your own town and maybe find someplace that you didn’t know existed. Or you could go play Pokemon Go in a park! Daddy and I have been doing that a bunch lately even with the colder weather; it gets us out of the house, gets us moving and is a lot of fun!
These are just some ideas! Get creative and see what else you and your partner(s) can come up with! And just remember, you don’t need gear to be a valid little, middle, pet, or however else you may identify. You are just as valid no matter what.