The cost of raising children is incomprehensible to those unfamiliar with the widespread financial demands of parenting. Right out of the gate, for example, pre-natal and birthing costs can accumulate quickly, tallying thousands of dollars’ worth of expenses – before baby even comes home. And once there, a child’s rapidly evolving needs place constant spending pressure on household finances.
If you are facing parenting costs for the first time or simply seeking better financial accountability this time around, there are a number of proven money-saving moves you can use to cut the cost of raising young children.
Finding Affordability as Your Family Grows
Parents from all walks of life – particularly first-timers – are forced to come to terms with plenty of unfamiliar challenges, including the financial pressure a new baby brings. In fact, some young families take-on outside funding in anticipation of a baby’s arrival, selecting from conventional personal financing options and alternative loans offered by guarantor lenders. Fortunately, many effective parents have successfully navigated child-rearing dilemmas, without breaking the bank. There are proven paths to follow, so for similar results, borrow from these frugal parenting practices – adding your own creative ideas to further your family finances.
Network for Savings
Getting the word out about your new baby can result in windfalls offered by those willing to help. Baby showers, for instance, give expecting parents a chance to share the joy, but the events also serve a practical purpose. Having walked in your shoes, other parents recognize the challenges associated with raising young kids. As a result, many are eager to prop-up your parenting effort. And in most cases, that includes providing things you need.
If a gift registry for baby seems pretentious, there is nothing wrong with sharing a basic birth announcement – leaving gift ideas to each shower guest.
Second-Hand Children’s Furniture for Every Stage of Growth
Child-rearing costs are driven higher as kids age, because furnishings must be swapped out and replaced with larger sizes. Fortunately for families operating with a limited furniture budget, a well-oiled second-had market links parents in-need with gently used items. Regular channels, such as Craigslist and classified listings are a good place to find serviceable, used children’s furnishings, from cribs to bunk-beds. But there are also specialty consignment outlets dedicated to refurbishing and selling preowned children’s gear. Lightly used strollers, pack and play units, bassinets and other useful items can also be found closer to home, coming from friends and family members willing to sell or loan-out these indispensable items.
As kids grow older, their needs shift, often calling for outside help. Paid services may not be in your budget, however, so stepping-in to do-it-yourself can prompt immediate returns. Are you a reasonably skilled home barber? Cutting your kids hair saves money again and again. And with so much practice, you may also be able to cover your spouse’s haircut requirements, adding further savings. Are your school-aged kids falling short at school? Rather than paying a tutor, take-on the responsibility yourself, borrowing lesson-plan advice from your child’s teachers. And when your children are old enough to learn how to drive, show them the ropes yourself, rather than hiring a costly driving instructor.
Low-Budget Entertainment for Kids of all Ages
Kids respond best to positive stimulation – i.e. good times. But there are many hours to fill in the life of a child, particularly during the summer months when school is not in session. If you are running short of low-cost entertainment ideas, consider these accessible forms of fun, to be shared with kids of all ages:
- Take a trip to the public library – In addition to books, residents can check-out movies, music and other forms of entertainment. And municipal libraries often host events, such as read-alongs aimed at kids and other free fun.
- Spend time in parks and green spaces – Of course there are health benefits associated with regular exercise, but spending time outdoors also helps kids appreciate nature and keeps them entertained for free.
- Learn something – Local recreation departments commonly sponsor activities for adults and children, including practical classes and lessons for fun. Fees apply, at times, but residency gives you access to very inexpensive instruction – doubling as entertainment.
- Have a scavenger hunt – Weather permitting, a scavenger hunt can eat-up an afternoon, keeping kids enthused about a cost-free activity.
The cost of raising kids begins before you change your first diaper and carries-on for nearly two decades – each. All told, spending on kids is staggering, so money-saving moves are always welcome. By networking with others who’ve walked in your shoes and shopping second-hand you’ll find affordable (sometimes free) furnishings. And your creative commitment to low-cost entertainment will keep the kids happy without draining your bank account.