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When you factor in clothing, food, bedroom furniture, toys, doctor’s and dentist’s visits, and the myriad of other costs — both expected and unexpected — you see how important it is to plan for these things ahead of time.
This 5-Minute Finance Guide To Raising Kids provides some of the best advice for parents who are trying to save money by summarizing a number of things you can do to offset the cost of raising a family.
Each individual item addresses the fact that:
- Kids don’t stop eating.
- Kids don’t stop growing.
- You’ll need to find a way to make health care affordable.
Their advice for parents is some of the best in my opinion when it comes to saving money and factoring in the cost to raise a child. For example, 5 of my favorite things they mention are:
- Brown bag your child’s lunches.
- Eat at home and avoid the fast food restaurants.
- Buy snacks in bulk. Then split them up into plastic bags.
- Shop for kids clothes at discount stores, thrift stores, and consignment shops.
- Pay your child care costs before you pay taxes on the income. (Some employers allow you to set aside money for child care before taxes.)
10 Ways To Minimize The Cost Of Raising Kids
Once you have kids, you quickly realize that the cost of living just went up — and will continue to go up. While there’s no way around the fact that you’re going to spend more money when you’re raising a family, there are a few things you can do to minimize the costs:
- Forget about buying brands. Let’s face it, most of the cheaper generic brands are just as good as the expensive ones. So why should any parent pay the extra cost when they can save it for other things?
- Switch from disposable diapers to cloth diapers. Not only will you save money when you do this, but you’ll save all those disposable diapers from ending up in a landfill.
- Hang onto your older children’s clothes and pass them down to your younger children. There’s no reason to not save money by doing this, especially if the clothes are still in good condition.
- Network with other parents. This can really work well when you know another parent whose baby is a stage ahead of yours — because if you let them know you are interested in buying any furniture or clothing that their baby outgrows, you can get some real deals!
- Purchase used baby and kid’s furniture. Then, if you know you will be having more children, hang onto it for the next baby. While some standards do change when it comes to cribs and such, it usually just takes a little research to figure out what will bring a piece of baby furniture up to code, so to speak.
- Don’t buy happy meals when you go out for fast food. Instead buy an inexpensive sandwich and fries and split them between 2 kids. The only thing the kids will be missing is the toy, and let’s face it, they’re probably only going to play with it for a few minutes anyway, then it will be forgotten.
- Consider bartering for services with other parents. We all know it’s easier to go grocery shopping when you don’t have screaming kids along wanting every colorful thing they see. Find another parent who’d be willing to watch your kids if you watch theirs another time.
- Have an understanding of what kids consider toys. All you have to do is remember how cool that big cardboard box was and how it could become a spaceship, or a car, or whatever your imagination could come up with to realize that kids don’t need a lot of expensive toys. They appreciate the cups, containers, boxes and other things they make into toys far more.
- Create experiences for your kids that they will remember. Kids don’t understand about keeping up with the Jones’. All they are really after is a fun and memorable experience. You as the adult choose what is fun and memorable, and if you choose inexpensive or even free experiences (such as a trip to the library), your kids will see these things as fun and memorable too.
- Figure out with your spouse how much you’re willing to spend on gifts. If you’re always buying big expensive gifts, then your kids will come to expect big expensive gifts. However, if gifts are seen as treats and you give gifts that you can afford, then that’s what your kids will come to expect and believe gifts should be.
5 Ways To Save Money On Kids’ Snacks
With all the expensive goodies and snacks out there aimed at kids, is it any wonder we end up spending a bundle on snacks for our kids?
The fact is your kids can actually eat healthier while you’re saving money!
Check out these 5 tips for saving money on your kid’s snacks:
- Purchase snacks that contain protein and fiber. They last longer, burn slower in your digestive system, and give your kids the fuel they need without the sugar high and let down.
- Learn to make your own versions of your child’s favorite snacks. Not only will this be healthier for them, but it will save you money because you can buy ingredients in bulk.
- Teach your kids about portion sizes. If they learn early what constitutes a healthy-sized portion, then they will be less likely to overeat and gain weight.
- Buy organic ingredients when they are the same price as non-organic (or when they’re cheaper). Buying organic doesn’t always mean spending more money, and in terms of keeping your kids healthy, the payoff can be huge.
- Have your kids’ snacks prepared and ready to go ahead of time before leaving the house. Thatway, you won’t be tempted to stop at the grocery store and purchase snacks that may be loaded with sugar and other things that aren’t as healthy for your child.
8 Ways To Save Money On Kids’ School Lunches
It’s amazing to me how much money we spend simply for convenience when it comes to school lunches.
We purchase lunchables, those little bags of chips, juice boxes and the like — paying huge amounts of money just for the convenience of being able to drop them in a lunch bag quickly each morning.
Good news: you can
save a lot of money just by spending an hour or so one day a week!
- Fill a thermos half full with your child’s favorite juice and then put it in the freezer. In the morning, fill it up the rest of the way and pack it in their lunch box. That way, the first half of the day the frozen juice will melt and cool off the rest of the juice, and the thermos will also keep the rest of the food in the lunchbox cool.
- Instead of buying snack bags, make your own. Purchase plastic lunch bags that seal up, and then buy a large bag of chips, pretzels, or whatever snack your kids like and make up enough snack bags for a week.
- Make your own lunchable kits. Buy crackers, lunch meat, and cheese. Cut up the lunchmeat and cheese to fit on the crackers. Then, pack them each separately in plastic baggies or washable plastic containers. You can even make your own pizza or sub sandwich kits!
- Make up a large batch of gelatin or pudding. Then, separate portions into small plastic containers and put them in the refrigerator. You can make enough for a week. Then, just drop one into your child’s lunch box each morning.
- Make your own brownie bites. Simply mix up a batch of brownie batter. Then, use mini muffin tins to bake the batter in. Pop out the brownie bites and store them in sealable plastic lunch bags.
- Buy enough fruits and vegetables for a week. Then, cut them up into smaller pieces and put them into sealable plastic lunch bags. You can do this for a few days at a time. Then they are ready for grab-and-go snacks or lunch boxes.
- Buy cheese in large blocks. Then, simply cut small pieces off to be added to sandwiches or to sealable plastic bags for your child’s lunch box.
- Don’t throw away all of those extra catsup and mustard packets and napkins you get. Instead, save them to put in your child’s lunch box!
My favorite things to write about are topics that have to do with pregnancy, weddings, saving money, living green, and life with dogs. When I’m not writing, I love to spend time with my husband, read, create 3D artwork and Native American beadwork.