As parents, we know firsthand that raising children can be expensive; in fact, according to a USDA report, the cost of raising a child is roughly $234,000. That’s a daunting cost to face, especially for those of us who are single parents. That number won’t apply to every parent in every situation, but either way, the fact is that raising children can put a strain on your wallet.
But if there’s one thing that’s true about parents, it’s that we have a knack for getting creative—it comes with the territory. So what are some creative ways you can save on expenses as your kids are growing?
In this blog, I’ll cover some of the best ways you can save money, find deals, and cut the costs you’re facing. Let’s get right to it!
Turn to Your Community
As parents, we need to remember we’re never alone. There are countless other parents and families facing the same challenges we are, and we can help each other out. Drawing experience and resources from a community of other parents can be an incredibly effective way to save money.
Online communities are a great place to turn for things like clothes and household items your kids need, as many parents have things that no longer fit their kids, but might be a great fit for your child. Joining your local Buy Nothing group or local Facebook groups can land you in a community of people happily giving away the very things you need.
Sell What’s Been Outgrown
Thrift stores can be a huge benefit when you’re buying new items, but what about when you’re getting rid of things? Instead of just dropping your kids’ old things off at your local thrift store, consider reselling them.
Use Tools to Help You Find Deals
With online shopping for all things becoming more and more common, there are a lot of opportunities to find deals online. This can be made even easier by using free tools that will find coupons and deals for you with just the click of a button
Focus on Grocery Costs
According to the USDA, about 18% of the total cost of raising a child is spent on food alone. While that’s a huge expense, the good news is that you can reduce it! Unlike housing costs, which are more or less fixed, there are lots of opportunities to save on food costs:
Plan meals weekly: When you plan meals out by the week, there’s less temptation to purchase fast food or other ready-made meals that cost more.
Take this one step further with meal prepping to make cooking during the week as simple as possible.
Pay with cash: When the cash runs out, that’s it! Paying with cash forces you to focus on the essentials and helps limit your spending on random items that catch your eye in the supermarket.
Track what you use: Knowing what you use the most and what often goes to waste can help you identify items you can try to stock up on during sales and which items to consider leaving off the list.
Find Low-Cost Ways to Celebrate and Explore
In the age of Instagram, there’s a lot of pressure on parents to have stunning and photogenic birthday parties, celebrations, and other events. But these aren’t always of great value, especially if you’re trying to save.
Not only do young children remember little from these events as they get older, extravagant events don’t do your wallet any help. Fortunately, there are tons of opportunities to have a great time with your children for little to no cost. Some perfect events and places to explore include things like:
Parks and playgrounds
Storytime at libraries and bookstores
Children’s museums and zoos
Not only are lots of these events and places free or very low-cost, they make your job a lot easier (and we could all use a break sometimes)!
Start Planning Ahead
Being a parent makes you an incredibly creative person. Whether you choose to use some of these techniques to save money or another of your own creation, one of the most important things you can do is become a planner. Whether you’re planning meals, grocery shopping, or how and where you’ll get new clothes for your kids, having a plan is the best way to ensure you do it the most economical way.
Raising a child is expensive. But by being smart about where you spend your money, you can cut that cost down bit by bit, leading to huge savings by the time your kids aren’t really kids anymore. Regardless of its cost, raising your children is the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do, and you simply can’t put a price on a parent’s love.