Making Parenting Less Expensive – It’s no secret that raising children is expensive. For many of today’s parents, the challenge of making ends meet is much harder than it was for their parents and grandparents. This is due, in part, to rising costs and low-paying wages. The good news is that there ARE ways to make parenting less expensive. Read further to learn more about a few of them. Saving money is probably easier than you think.
Teach Children Early
Don’t wait until your children are older to teach them that money doesn’t grow on trees. When they ask for things, learn how to say no without feeling guilty. Consider giving them an age-appropriate allowance, in exchange for doing their homework (without being asked) or doing simple chores around the house. This way, you can break the habit of your kids asking for something every time you leave the house.
There really is a lot to be said about comparison shopping and taking advantage of sales and discount days. Obviously, this takes more time than just running into the store really quickly to pick something up. But, if you have time to shop around, you’ll generally save big time.
Also, remember that there’s nothing wrong with buying certain things in “gently used” condition. Shopping at thrift stores doesn’t mean that you’re poor; it means that you’re a smart shopper.
Cook at Home
When you’re a parent, there never seems to be enough time in a day. Don’t let time constraints allow you to get in the habit of eating out. Cooking at home, from scratch, is so much more affordable. If your schedule is hectic, try “batch cooking” one or two days a week. You can successfully freeze almost anything. Pull something out of the freezer the night before. In the morning, toss it in a slow cooker. You be surprised at the money you’ll save.
Create a Support Network
When it comes to things like childcare, try to create a support network. Talk to two or three other moms about swapping childcare duties. The more you can trade off with other moms, the less you have to pay for expensive day-to-day care. Doing so also allows you (as parents) to enjoy an occasional “date night” when the mood hits.
Look for After-School Alternatives
After-school activities can be quite expensive. Look for alternatives offered by your local park system, the library or even the YMCA. In addition, check out the community calendar on sites like craigslist.org and your local news websites. Many times, you’ll find listings for free concerts, classes and other family-related activities.
Armed with this information, as well as taking advantage of some of these tips, should make parenting a bit less expensive. You can even go one step further and create a budget if you like. By sticking to it as much as possible, you’ll probably be able to save money and still be considered one of the coolest parents on the block! Why not get started today?