Having children is an investment in the labor of love. The logistics, however, require investments of the financial variety. From the day they’re born, your kids will cost you money, and the older they get the more they tend to cost. Here are a few penny-pinching strategies to help you save in a variety of ways.
Cut Out Saturday Morning Cartoons
It may be a convenient way to keep the kids occupied for an hour or two on Saturday mornings, but television means commercials. Ads targeted specifically at your children will bombard them with images of things they “have to have”. If you don’t want to deal with the pressure of the “gimmies”, cut out the Saturday TV.
Childcare costs can eat through a large portion of your budget. Paying the baby-sitter can end up costing more than the night out itself. By trading baby-sitting services with other parents, you solidify social bonds and save money at the same time. An added bonus is that you’ll always know your children are being cared for by responsible adults.
If you plan on having more than one child, purchase unisex clothing for the first child. This will ensure that you can pass the clothing down to the second child.
Find Community Exchanges
Many community organizations now have programs that allow parents to swap clothing and other goods for children. Not only do you get a bargain on items your children need, you also free up garage space by getting rid of items you no longer use.
Bring Home Scrap Paper
If you have scrap paper laying around your office, bring it home for your kids to draw on. It may not seem like a big savings, but add up all the paper your child goes through, and you’ll realize the benefits.
Avoid the Ice Cream Truck
Those daily cones can really add up. Be aware of the time the ice cream truck comes to your neighborhood and have homemade ice cream cones on the ready for your children.
Skip the Elaborate Birthday Parties
Small children are easily amused, and don’t usually remember their childhood parties, anyway. Use your imagination to come up with some creative and cost-friendly ideas, and the party will be just as much fun.
DIY Halloween Costumes
Store-bought costumes can be quite costly, and children get the most pleasure out of the candy, not the costume. Make the process a family event by getting your children involved in making the costume.
Haircuts at Home
Youngsters aren’t very vain, and few can sit still long enough to get a stylish cut, so why not save some money and do it yourself?
Child Care Credit
Take advantage of this reduction in your tax bill. It will require some record keeping, but the money you save is worth a few minutes of organizational prep work.
Put the Kids on a Budget
By making your children account for where their allowance goes, you not only create wise spenders, you also avoid having them ask you for additional funds.
Choose a Town with a Quality Public School
This will ensure your child receives a good education without having to shell out the expense for a pricey private school.
Save on Snack Food
Kids love the novelty of pint-sized food, but most parents don’t love the cost. Buy snack food in bulk and dole it out in small portions. For example, buy a large block of cheese and cut it into bite-sized chunks.
Go to the Library
Libraries today offer a lot more than just books. Most public libraries offer free or low-cost programs designed for children.