Being a parent is a blessing. Every parent loves their children dearly, but my goodness are they expensive! People say it all the time, having a child costs a lot of money, but it always goes in one ear and out the other until it comes to the day of a positive pregnancy test, and a list is compiled of what a baby needs. It can be quite daunting and parents-to-be often worry about how they are going to afford everything.
Many mothers, fathers, and guardians feel the strain of money when it comes to raising a child but there are some things that can help when money is tight. Being cheap when you have to does not always mean that a family has to miss out it just means that there must be budgeting in place. Smart decisions need to be made and research is crucial.
Whether its food, transport, gifts, classes, furniture, clothing, or something else, there is almost always a way to lessen the cost and make things more affordable for a money-tight family.
If you are really struggling with your budget or just looking for a bit of money-saving advice then keep reading!
20 Try the thrift shop first
Not everything has to be brand sparkling new! Although purchasing new items of clothing and furniture for your little one is nice and something that many parents-to-be look forward to, it is just not in everyone's price range especially with the prices of things nowadays.
So, utilize thrift stores, charity shopping, and second-hand bargains. You may even find a few hidden gems! Let’s face it your child grows so quickly do you really want to spend a lot of money on things that will last such a short time? I think not.
19 Look into Foodbanks, it's what they're there for
If you and your family are unfortunately in the situation where you can barely afford to eat then definitely reach out to your local food bank. A Foodbank is a free service of donated food that is run to help those who are struggling financially.
When assigned to a Foodbank you are given a box of food every week, for example.
This may not be what you wanted and you may not have much in terms of choice but needs must and this is a good way to keep you a float until you yourself can afford to feed the family.
18 Getting Prescriptions At a decent cost
Medicine is expensive and as much as you try to keep your family at peak health, an illness is likely to creep in there at some point and someone will need medication.
Instead of stressing over the added expense, make sure to check if you can get what you need on prescription (meaning for free from a pharmacist).
Many medications --especially for little ones-- are available this way and all you must do is speak to your doctor, thus relieving you of this money stress.
17 Finding The Free Classes
It is good to get out of the house with your baby or child. Teach them something new, let them interact with other kids and it also lets you chat with fellow parents.
One way to achieve this is by going to groups or classes such as baby yoga, sensory play, swimming lessons etc.
Sometimes these classes and groups can be a bit out of your price range, leaving you feeling deflated that you cannot take your child to things you know they would enjoy. So, make sure you look out for the free classes and groups in your area because I am sure there are some.
16 Know What You're Entitled To
Many families manage fine on their own when it comes to money. But those families who are experiencing financial difficulty may be entitled to some help from the government. If you are finding it hard to support your family then this may be an option for you.
It is always a heated topic, who should be on benefit and who shouldn't. However, the fact is that some families need that extra help until they get back on their feet and there is nothing wrong with that.
15 Hunt Down Those Sales
Clothes, toys, furniture, food, it all costs money and even more so when you start a family. A good way to save money when buying these necessities is to look out for discounts or sales.
Whether it be a 50% off sale on baby clothes, a crib marked down in price or your local supermarket doing a discount on formula, these are all small ways that could save you a lot of money. Be sure to make sure everything you are buying is safe however and not knock off items.
14 Use Your Feet for transportation
Not mentioned yet in this list is the expense of transport. Getting to appointments, classes, shops and to visit family or friends all means you have to use transport.
To save some money on fuel or tickets why not make use of those feet and walk from place to place.
Obviously, some places may be too far to get to on feet or your health may prohibit you from walking but if you can and the distance is doable for you then why not! It will save you money and let you get some exercise.
13 Surf The Web to your advantage
There is a lot of information to be found on the internet when it comes to money saving so get surfing! If you have social media check to see what groups fellow parents take their children too, see if anyone you know if giving away baby items, like pages where you could get notified of deals.
As for search engines, make sure you research money-saving articles like this one and check out any online deals that may not be offered in-stores.
12 Playing Can be free
Don't feel guilty if you cannot buy your little one the most expensive toys or you cannot take them to a pricey class.
This is not what your child wants most, what they want most is to spend time and have fun with you.
So, forget what you cannot afford to get or do and focus on what you can and you most definitely can give your child love and attention. Dance with them, talk to them, tickle them, run with them, crawl with them, hug them, kiss them, sing to them, there is an endless list of things to can do to play and spend time with your baby.
11 Do It Yourself, when you can
Leading on from the previous entry on the list, while spending time and playing with your child you can incorporate some D.I.Y.
Create your child a treasure box with household items, make your own paint or fill a basin with water and enjoy some water play. All of these are games you can D.I.Y costing you less money.
D.I.Y can also save you money when it comes to meal times and there are lots of budget-friendly recipes out there worth checking out.
10 Breastfeeding Is Best... For the Budget
Breastfeeding your child is what is recommended and is arguably the healthiest option for your child. Another pro to breastfeeding is that it is very cost effective!
No need to buy bottles, formula or even a breast pump if you don't want to. Breast milk is free and comes straight from mom -- another truly amazing thing a woman's body can do.
So, if you are expecting a child and are looking to save money maybe think about choosing to breastfeed, to benefit your budget as well as your child.
9 Find A Park instead of spending money on activities
Going outside is free, fun, and probably one of the best activities you can encourage your child to take part in. It is great for children to get exercise, fresh air and use their imagination -- all of which can be accomplished outdoors.
One way to encourage this money saving activity is to find a local park. Swings, slides or even just some playing fields where the kids can run around or you could perhaps have a picnic at any kind of park! I am sure will satisfy your kids and let them run out some energy- for free!!
8 Sell Sell Sell!
Unwanted items lying around in your home? Still in good condition? Sell them! Whether it be clothes, shoes, toys, electronics, it doesn't matter, these are all things you can sell to make yourself a little bit of extra cash and there are many ways to do it too.
Sell your items on social media or websites such as eBay, sell to friends and family or even out the trunk of your car. Someone is bound to buy your items eventually especially at a bargain price. Get your kids involved by letting them pick toys they want to sell or making signs such as above.
7 Rely On Relatives (if possible)
Many do not feel comfortable doing this and like to try and make it on their own but when times get tough sometimes you have no choice but to rely on those who love you and want to help. Ask a family member or friend to borrow some money if you are stuck, ask them to watch the kids instead of paying for childcare, ask for hand-me-down clothes or toys.
It is not the best way to save money but if you can't ask for help from the people who care about you the most, who can you ask?! You can always return the favor.
6 Try some Careful Co-sleeping
Co-sleeping or bed sharing is when you and your child sleep together in the same room and bed. This can be a heated topic in the parenting community, whether you should or should not co-sleep is still up for debate but many people believe there are safe ways to co-sleep with your children.
As well as this helping bonding and breastfeeding, it also can help you save money as you may be able to avoid the cost of furniture shopping for items such as a crib, toddler bed etc. If you choose to co-sleep, make sure you do so safely.
5 Collect those Coupons
Every little bit helps, even little pieces of paper. Collecting coupons from magazines, newspapers and local stores can really help you save money.
Even if a coupon is only offering one or two dollars off, all of this adds up and if you save up enough coupons you could potentially pay for your entire purchase without spending any money or at least very little.
In turn, this will leave you with some extra money to spend on having fun with your kids, which is what you really want to use it for. Who knows maybe you will be able to find a coupon for that too!
4 Make Some (more) Sacrifices
Before becoming a parent, everything was about you and you only had to look out for number one but after having children all that changes.
So, when you are short on money, making sure your little one has everything they need, you as a parent, often make sacrifices. Not getting your hair done this month so your kids can have a present for their birthday, buying them clothes instead of you, selling your once beloved games console to pay a bill.
You might feel sometimes like it’s all too much and you are giving up a lot, but you would do it all again for your children and what they give you is priceless.
3 Plan Meals ahead of time
When money is in short supply and you must watch your budget, meal planning can really help you save money. Skipping the meals out and making sure you know what you need in to make meals for the next week can give you a set price which you can work into your budget.
Planning each meal for the week (and snacks) before you go shopping is vital for knowing exactly what you are going for, how much you're going to need and how much money you are willing/able to spend.
Your babies will be happy as long as they are fed. Meanwhile, with some extra planning, you might even be able to budget in a little hair do-over.
2 Borrow A Book instead of buying one
Reading to your child, even in the very early stages, is very important to their development and can help them in later life. So having access to books is vital and this does not have to be expensive.
Find your local library, ask about borrowing books and I am sure they will be more than happy to sign you and your child up for a library card.
It is totally free and you can borrow as many books as you like. The library may also hold free classes for parents and children to come and interact, which is an added bonus. But remember to take your books back though or you may be looking at a fine.
1 Fabric Nappies instead of disposables
Cloth or fabric nappies are not only environmentally friendly but friendly on your pocket too as they can be used over and over again without forking out more money like you have to do with disposable nappies.
Many parents turn their nose up at cloth nappies as they much prefer the thought of throwing out a nappy rather than having to clean it up and wash it.
But if you're short on cash and you want a simple way to save money, this could certainly be a budget-saver.
There was a time before disposable nappies where all parents used fabric nappies, so I am sure you will manage.
References: cafemom.com, babycenter.com, thebump.com, moneyadviceservice.org