So having children costs money and I think we could all benefit from saving money here and there, especially when we have children to provide for. So I have put together a list of ideas to save you a little money along the way.
- Baby Registry
Starting out with a baby on the way can be a little overwhelming, especially when you start to consider the financial aspect. But there are ways to get around the huge dent in your wallet. First of all, create a baby registry! Or create more than one if you’re up for it. Most places that have registries also have a free gift bag of samples and coupons. When you create it in the store, you also will usually get baby “experts” that can help guide you on preparing for the baby. A baby registry is a great way to get the things that you really want and need for your baby. And put everything on there, from pacifiers to diapers to strollers. You never know what you might get! With all 3 of my babies, I received several gift cards and enough diapers to last me the first several months.
Babies go through a LOT of clothes in the first year. So to stock up, thrift stores and yard sales are great places to find clothes that are cheaper but still in new condition. The babies grow so quickly, so most of the clothes stay in good shape, even though they are used. If you end up having a baby shower, most gifts include clothes, leaving you stocked up for the most part. But I also know that expecting parents can’t resist the urge to spoil their baby with clothes and toys they picked out themselves. Friends and family are often willing to share their baby clothes as well, just ask! A large majority of our baby clothes came from either hand-me-downs from friends or family, thrift stores, or baby showers. (And when your kids outgrow their clothes, have a yard sale to make money back from them!)
- Birthday parties
Birthday parties can get pricey as well as anything else can. We now have 3 kids all born in November, so we are going to have a lot more costs during that time than in other months. However, I have find some ways that helped us save money on our parties.
First, have the party at your house, if possible. Your house, a family member’s house, a park, etc., any place that is free is a good idea if you are trying to cut back spending.
Second, let other people help! Many times people will ask, “is there anything I can bring?” Let them bring chips, or drinks, or whatever is needed. Somebody even volunteered to bring all the pizza for one of our parties. Score! Having someone help decorate can help you, too. I don’t mean a professional, I mean someone with a cricut that can cut out decorations to go with the theme of the party. Or at the least, have a friend come over a little bit early to help hang decorations. Or if you know someone that is willing to make the cake for you, take them up on that offer!
Trying to keepkids entertained can also get expensive if you let it. If you’re looking to save money, you could consider options to stay at home and still have fun. Depending on your children’s ages, you could choose specific activities just for them to enjoy. Preschoolers may enjoy playing with chalk, finger-paint, play dough, or even playing in the park. Elementary kids may like to play board games with you or with others the same age, or go outside to run under the sprinklers. Older kids might like a sleepover with some redbox movies or games, and may also enjoy a game of catch with dad or frisbee with mom.
Local events are great for saving money, too! You don’t have to plan a big family vacation every time. Take the family to a local fair where you can see craft/food/game vendors, maybe ride some rides, and have fun close to home. Splash pads are becoming more popular and are great during the summer. Consider things like carousels, mini-golf, a public pool (or a friend’s pool), the batting cages. Kids don’t need you to show how much money you have, they need you to show you care. That you are interested in their interests and you genuinely like to see them having fun.
- Unnecessary Costs
The best way to have more money for your family is to cut out costs that don’t benefit your family in any way. For example, speeding tickets, late fees, interest, a locksmith for locking your keys in your car. Don’t you just kick yourself every time you have to pay things like that? You know why they make you mad? Because those are costs that could have been avoided. I know, because I recently locked my keys in the car right after my husband and I agreed to stop wasting money on unnecessary things. Credit card companies love to approve people for credit cards because statistically, people spend more on average, for the sole reason that they are buying on credit. These companies also get your money for interest with no extra work on their part, meaning you get nothing out of it. I know interest cannot be avoided in every case, such as mortgage or car. But spend some time looking at your debt statements to see how much of your money is going in the trash-I mean spent on only interest. If you don’t see any way out of that debt, then you should consider having the debt under your bank or credit union rather than the original company, for extremely lower interest rates. (Or even better, cut up those credit cards, pay off the debt, and stop wasting money on interest.)
I know most people dread “that B word” -budget. One of the easiest ways to put money back in your pocket is to know where your money went in the past and to plan where it goes in the future. Dave Ramsey has a great website for budgeting called Every Dollar. It’s free and very user-friendly. To use it, you start with how much income you expect. Then, you list all the bills you expect to pay during the month. After the required bills, you can clearly see how much you have left for other things, such as groceries and entertainment. Super easy.
- Grocery Stores
Everybody has to do it, but it seems to always be an inconvenience. Grocery shopping can make or break your budget, but there are ways around that so it doesn’t take such a hit on your wallet. Look into any rewards programs for your local grocery stores.
For example, Winn Dixie has the plenti card, giving you points that you can later redeem for a discount. Walmart has the savings catcher app in which you scan your receipt for a potential refund of savings when lower prices are found. Walmart also has the store pickup, which is getting to be more popular with businesses. Whether it saves you money or not, it will save you time and sanity, and will save you from those unplanned purchases throughout the store.
If you know how to coupon well, do it! Couponing can also help save money that you could be spending on the kids instead.
Speaking of buying food, it’s so common to eat at a restaurant, or even pick up food to take home, only to realize you spent money on the kids’ meals that they aren’t going to eat. We have done that many times and it just feels like wasted money. Kids can be picky. So we have learned that when picking up food from our favorite Mexican restaurant, we are better off getting the kids chicken nuggets or fixing something that’s already at home that we KNOW they will like.
There are so many subscriptions that are great for children, or families in general. Some of them even help us save money, it’s a win-win! For example, Amazon Prime is great for saving on shipping costs for people that order from Amazon a lot. It also comes with Prime movies, music, and other discounts, such as “subscribe and save” on certain products. We used “subscribe and save” to make one order of baby wipes, diapers, baby cereal, and baby food that came in one box and will come every month (unless I decide to alter it). By doing this, I saved money and saved a trip to the store.
Amazon offers a lot of subscription services that are great for families, such as FreeTime, which is a children’s book subscription. (See my links for a free trial for a few of these subscriptions.) It’s also a good idea to subscribe to certain channels, such as CBS, or programs, such as Netflix or Hulu, if those options cost less than the cable package you don’t use.
Because I am an accountant, I do focus on money a lot of the time and I want to share things that I have learned since most people don’t like to talk about money or budgeting. These are just some of the things I have found that save us money and hopefully it can help you, too!