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Day 143: Frugal icon - The Babysitters Club

So, recently my posts have been getting kind of silly. But that's not because I haven't been staring down deep into the eyes of my various frugal challenges. It's more because there's only so much I can write about "I'm working on knitting a hat!" or "I think I'm going to make rhubarb crisp!"

With all of that in mind, I present another in my series of Frugal Icons:


If you have read the second chapter of any BSC book, you know who they are. Kristy is the bossy one who invented the club; Claudia is the artistic, bad-at-school one; Mary Anne is the shy, smart one; Dawn is the hippie; Stacey is the cool girl from NYC with diabetes; and then there are also various hangers-on (Logan, Abby, Malory, Shannon, etc.)

Hola, everybody! BSC goes yachting!

Who were these girls, and what about them is inspirational? Well, Kristy - the mastermind behind it all - noted a need within their neighbourhood. During the first book, Kristy's Great Idea, she has a flash of inspiration - with so many parents in the neighbourhood who need babysitters, rather than phoning all of the teens, why not have one central number to reach them all?

Because this was the 1980s, nobody had cell phones so they made their base their friend Claudia's room, because she was the only one with a private phone number. I remember one girl in elementary school had her own private line and everybody was so jealous of her.

Risk of having your own phone line: phantom phone calls!

Anyway, Mary Anne, the sensible one, was made in charge of their appointment book. They were available for parents to phone for appointments Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 5:30-6:00 pm.

For marketing, they put posters up around their neighbourhood, as well as relying on word of mouth. Most of the girls were already babysitters, so they already had their stamp of approval. And then, their habit of putting together fundraisers and solving mysteries only increased their prestige.

Terror seemed to follow them wherever they went.

When Kristy moved out of their neighbourhood, rather than packing it all in, they took it as an opportunity to expand their business. Luckily, her older brother Sam was desperate enough for driving practice that he would drive her back over to Claudia's for regular meetings.

Oh, and the money that they raised went back to the BSC to buy supplies for their babysitting jobs - books, stickers, craft supplies, etc.

I love Raina Telgemeier's BSC graphic novels from a few years ago.

So many little kids read these books which really present an inspiring entepreneurial spirit coming from little girls. Even Claudia's increasingly insane outfits were made out of craft supplies she found from around her house.

The BSC: frugal (and business) role models for us all.

Links to read more about the BSC:
What Claudia Wore - fashion critiques of their outfits on the book covers
The Claudia Kishi Diaries - modern interpretations of Claudia's outfits
The Babysitters Club, Revisited - a grown-up re-reads and reviews the BCS books, based on her memories

7 comments:

Lindy Mint said...

You are making me flash back big time. I loved those books! (Those and Sweet Valley High - I wonder if they were frugal too).

I remember the one where a competitor set up another babysitters club and started stealing all of their clients. Then they realized that these impostors had been smoking while babysitting the kids! Drama doesn't get any better than that.

Carla said...

I never read these ones... My faves were the Sweet Valley High books! lol!

Frugal(er) said...

YES!!!! I LOVED BSC. Wow, lots of caps there, sorry about that.

I couldn't wait til I was old enough to babysit and wear ridiculous outfits, but sadly, by age 13, I was completely over watching children, and had still never seen anyone wearing ballet slippers as a fashion item.

You know there's a new book, right? http://tinyurl.com/3lqdlfj

Annabelle said...

Ha, love it you guys. Who didn't love these books growing up? And I didn't realize until recently that I was being subtly brainwashed into being a kick-ass (and crazily dressed) entepreneur.

Carla - have you read the new sequel to Sweet Valley: 10 Years Later? It's kind of trashily wonderful.

The Girl Next Door said...

I never read these, but I made a ton of money babysitting when I was younger (and I still do babysit!)

I knew people with their own phone line too - I was like WHOA, they must be REALLY rich! lol

L-A said...

I think I read these up until I got into the 100s of the series. I definitely had at least two super specials under my belt.

Also: Mary Anne was clearly my nautical soul sister! Check out her stripes and captain's hat. And they said she wasn't fashion forward!

Annabelle said...

Girl Next Door - babysitting was also my main source of income throughout my teenage years.

L-A - I'm surprised Mary Anne is picking up the theme outfit slack on this cover. Claudia probably made up for it later on by wearing a hat shaped like two ships at battle in the ocean.

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