When a child or multiple children enter into a family, it's a wondrous thing. These tiny humans bring so much joy… but let’s be real, it's not cheap to raise them! From basic necessities to buying presents for and spending money on birthdays, holidays and vacations, there are a lot of costs associated with kids. By planning ahead, shopping in a smart way, taking shortcuts and getting creative, parents can learn to save money during this time.
Yes, these 10 ideas (focused on everything from clothing and childcare to having fun and buying food) will surely help anyone and everyone see some areas where bills can be lowered and pennies can be pinched!
Hand-me-down items are a super smart way for parents to cut down on the costs that come with buying children clothes, toys, strollers, furniture and more. Plus, many of these may be borrowed from a friend or a relative (or even an older sibling who has outgrown certain pieces), meaning these things come from a safe and trusted source and may even be free!
There are also sites and apps like Craigslist and Letgo, which allow people to find local products, as well as thrift shops and stores like Goodwill that focus on used items that are in great shape.
No matter what a parent is shopping for, they should search around before making a purchase. This is always a good idea, especially when it comes to buying things for children. Certain grocery stores may have a lower price or a coupon for those chicken nuggets that they like.
Amazon may offer a better deal on a crib or a stroller that moms want to buy. Different department stores may have similar clothes, shoes and accessories with drastically varying price tags. Browse, research, and ask around, all in order to save every cent possible, no matter what is being bought!
When it comes to food specifically, try to buy in bulk when possible. Amazon and stores like Sam’s Club and Costco are great for this, as parents can pay less per unit when buying multiple items at once.
The snacks the kids love, the entrees that work for the whole family, the cleaning supplies, the diapers and the toiletries are just a few of the things that can be stocked up on at these spots. You can save money and use these items for quite some time, keeping a happy and healthy home running smoothly.
Another way to save is to look out for perks, deals, coupons, and discounts. Most stores offer reward systems, such as cards that are punched for every purchase (with an end goal of a freebie) or credit cards that offer benefits to members.
Many websites and apps offer specific deals that could work for certain kid items. And everyone runs a special at some point, so keep those eyes wide open, in order to be ready to take advantage of a discount. This is yet another tip that is wise for everyone and extra terrific for parents.
Transportation and childcare are two things that can get pretty pricey. You have to bring your children to school, after-school practice, and also extracurricular activities. Parents have to go to work, run errands, and make sure everyone is where they need to be.
In order to save here, the first recommendation would be to carpool with others who are heading to the same place (like neighbors who attend the same school). The second recommendation is to bundle up on a babysitter, daycare and/or nanny, as well, since families could come together, share costs, and save.
Now that some of the necessities have been covered, it's time to talk about entertainment. At times, parents may take their kids to the zoo, to an amusement park or to the movies. This may not be feasible to do on a regular basis, though.
That being said, get creative at home. Do craft projects. Read a book aloud together. Make an obstacle course in the backyard. Have a movie marathon every Friday night in the living room. Think of cheap and free ways to keep the kiddos and the whole family happy and entertained!
Everyone should be working to protect the planet, and this is definitely important here, as reusable and eco-friendly items can help families from spending too much on disposable and wasteful things!
For instance, don’t buy a package of plastic water bottles during each grocery trip. Give each family member with a stainless steel or glass one. Instead of going through diaper after diaper, consider going green with cloth ones. When a mess or spill happens, don’t immediately reach for paper towels. Instead, opt for a reusable cloth rag.
When people are trying to save money, holidays and other celebrations can be tough. There are expectations, and parents especially want their children to feel super loved and special on these days. Well, it can still be a wonderful time, without breaking the bank!
DIY decorations, having an at-home party and having each family member buy one gift for one other person are all good ideas, as is setting a budget. It can be easy to go above and beyond here, but have a budget, stick to it, and make it work (so that hundreds or thousands are not blown for one celebration).
Speaking of budgets, this is crucial for parents! As mentioned, kiddos come with lots of costs, so before your baby even arrives, a family needs to set down, look at the financial situation, and come up with a plan. There needs to be a spending limit for each month, and there needs to be a savings account.
Unexpected instances and charges will pop up, and some day, a child may want a car or to go to college, and parents need to think about all of this and more. Before freaking out about how to pay for higher education, though, take it day by day, week by week and month by month to budget and save.
This last, similar tip gets the children involved; with a piggy bank, a child can learn how to save money and why this important. Plus, this will allow a kid to save for something in particular, something that he/she wants, something like a new toy, a trip to Disney World, a college education or just a piece of candy.
Every penny really does count, and it really is a family affair. Therefore, buying kids fun piggy banks will make this entire process seem a little less painful and could really help out in the long run!