Your children are the loves of your life. Of course they are. They are the best things to happen to you, and you would do anything for them. And honestly, you have no significant complaints about them…but they are expensive. Really expensive. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reported in 2014 that one average child from birth to eighteen years of age costs over $245,000. What if you have two? Three?! FOUR?! The cost can be astronomically high. That is why we are recommending these tips and tricks to cut back the spending and still give your little cherubs everything they would like:
Teaching Them Need vs. Want
This is a tip that adults struggle with to this day. Sometimes even more than kids do. That is why it is a lesson to teach them as early as possible so it will be retained in them throughout adulthood. You WANT that Star Wars toy, but you NEED toilet paper, and the budget we have can only pay for one of these items.
Buying Items Secondhand
If your children have never worn it, it’s new to them. That is the mindset to have when you are buying secondhand clothes. It only takes one summer for your kid to shoot up a clothing size so there is no need to spend a lot on clothing. Sadly, your kids grow up too fast. If only we could keep them as children a while longer. You can even ask your friends to take the clothes that their kids no longer can wear. Sharing is caring.
Planning your Meals Ahead of Time
If you hastily make a meal an hour before dinnertime every day of the week, you are wasting time, groceries, money and your patience. If you plan your dinners for the week out when you go grocery shopping, there will be no extra food that eventually gets thrown out, no money ill spent on the thrown out food, and seven days of weekly stress relieved.
Buying In Bulk
Have a particularly large family? Start buying your food and home goods in bulk. It will cut pay on all the overpriced shopping. It would also be beneficial to start shopping for groceries only for yourself. When you bring your children to come grocery shopping with you, they will try to load up your carriage with expensive, unneeded goods. Going by yourself easily minimizes the chances of carriage overload, and keeps yourself to only buying the necessary groceries needed.
Saving For College NOW
Colleges are not becoming any cheaper. Many are even becoming MORE expensive. Starting to save, or even creating a bond for them now, will make the tuition prices a little less intimidating, school loan payments a little less daunting, and there is a wider amount of school options to apply to.
Get Creative with Their Toys
When your children finish with their box of cereal, don’t just throw the box away! Turn it into a mask. Make it into a puppet, do anything with it! Kids are bursting at the seams with imagination and creativity so do them a favor and let them harness it! It also helps you save money on toys as well…
Keep On Top Of Their Health
Your kids are going to get sick. And they will get sick often. We all get sick of course, but kid germs always seem to be the most prominent germs of all. Hospital bills are already a nightmare as is, the last thing you need is a constant barrage of them. Making sure your kids are consistently in tip top shape will nix the unnecessary trips to the doctors.
Go To Kids Eat For Free Nights
See what restaurants around you have nights where kids eat for free. When there, you and your spouse can split a meal together. If you are one that ends up taking their meal home with them when they go to eat, you may as well split one and save yourself from the unneeded leftovers.
Movies can be far too expensive for a large family. The ticket prices are high, the cost of 3D glasses are a pain in the rear, and it costs about three weeks salary to pay for a small popcorn. Going to matinees before 5pm, though, actually make some fun family entertainment reasonable and bearable.
Start Saving For the Next Family Member
If you are planning to ever have a new addition to your family, you better start saving up now. It’s never too early!
For more information on how to raise your kids on a budget, you can read the full Cheapism article.