Raising a child is expensive. Really expensive. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on where your money is going. As a parent, it’s easy to over-indulge your little bundle of joy. Try following some of these tips to save money here and there. Article by Helen Gradwell at Think Money .
Make a budget
This advice crops up everywhere, and for good reason. How will you know where your money is going if you don’t keep track of it? As well as having sections for your standard bills and debts, add a “baby” or “kids” category. Keep an eye on how much money is going to your kids. You want them to have the best, but could they have the best at a lower price?
Know what you’re entitled to
There are various benefits available to parents. Know which of these benefits you are entitled to, and claim them!
Get stuff on the cheap
It’s natural to want to dress your kids in the cutest clothes and get them the best toys – toys that whirr and move and flash.
First off, kids don’t tend to care what they’re wearing (up to a certain age). You could basically put your baby in a potato sack and they’d be happy as long as they’re warm and comfy. We’re not condoning this; what we’re saying is don’t shun second-hand clothes as ‘second best’. Using hand-me-downs from relatives (even your own clothes from when you were small) may be a real budget-saver.
One good tip is: don’t buy everything before your kids are born. Wait and see what people buy for you. It sounds presumptuous, but people will buy things, possibly lots of things, for your children. In fact, plenty of people could get by without buying any toys at all.
As for food, don’t shy away from supermarket own brands. With newborns, a lot of experts recommend breast feeding (if it’s medically safe to do so).
Your time is more valuable than your money
It really is. As long as your kids are entertained, they won’t really care how much it costs to do it. Here’s a few ideas to keep your kids entertained on a budget:
Gather your craft supplies together, such as coloured pencils, glitter, stencils, coloured paper, string and pipe cleaners, and get creative! Your kids will probably go wild and make whatever they like, but if you’re stuck for ideas, a quick search on the internet might inspire you.
Use the library. It’s a golden resource for books, films, board games; loads of stuff to keep your little ones occupied. Story time is free and it can last for hours. If your kids feel creative, encourage them to write their own stories – and illustrate them too!
Go outside! Going for a walk or a bike ride will give them loads of stuff to look at, and they’ll sleep well at night. Encourage them to draw or take photos of things they find interesting. Take a picnic, and it’s free!