For most parents, almost any sacrifice is worth the smile on their child’s face, but the cost can be tough on you and your budget. If you’re a new parent trying to save money, check out these smart and thrifty tips to save without cutting corners when it comes to your little one’s health and happiness.
Spending on Halloween costumes or holiday outfits can really cut into your savings, and when you’re parenting on a budget, every cents counts. Pass on spending when it comes to one-time use holiday items and outfits, and instead try to find other ways to celebrate with your children. They might love a holiday trinket in the moment, but this unnecessary spending will only take up money in your budget that could be better used elsewhere.
You want your young children’s birthdays to be unforgettable, but chances are, your kids won’t remember, no matter how magical you make the celebration. You might bristle when others suggest that it’s more for you than your baby, but they might have a point. You don’t have to look for signature loans to make a birthday special. Focus more on family and friends, and on taking plenty of pictures. That way, it’s sure to be a day to remember.
The internet is an invaluable resource, from Craigslist to Facebook and everything in between. Apps like OfferUp and LetGo can also help you find the odds and ends your looking for, for less. Kids outgrow things like beds, car seats, clothes, and toys so quickly that these items are barely used before they need to find a new home. By buying secondhand, you’ll be helping out another family while you get the things you need for your own budding brood.
It’s easy to get distracted from your parenting priorities during a 3 a.m. diaper run. Instead of trying to stay ahead of demand on your own, why not get the things you need sent to you with a subscription service? While it is easy to overspend on Amazon, when you have all your baby essentials sent to you, you actually save time and money, two things parents never seem to have enough of.
It can be tempting to overspend on your children’s clothing, but it is even more wasteful to buy a bunch of outfits only to have your kids outgrow half of them in a matter of months. The trick is to assemble a “capsule” wardrobe, which is a set of basic essentials with patterns and colors that are easy to mix and match. For example, Garanimals brand clothing makes mixing and matching a snap, and if you run into a stain on a shirt or pants that won’t come out, there’s always an alternative that will match just as well.
As mentioned previously in our list, kids grow pretty fast. Because of this simple fact of life, other families can be great resources for gently used clothes, toys, and other childhood essentials. Why not get together for a clothing swap with your family and friends with little ones? Inviting parents with kids from a wide range of ages will ensure that everyone walks away with something they can use.
This one might be more subject to timing and how accurately you can estimate your child’s growth, but shopping for swimsuits and winter coats off-season can really help you drive down your clothing costs. The clearance rack is always a great place to start, because your little one isn’t going to care if it has a minor defect or it’s last year’s style.
New parents want to make sure their baby is eating right, but you don’t have to pay too much for the convenience of having it prepackaged and ready to go. If you have a blender or food processor, you could make your own baby food at home, and since you’re buying the household groceries, you know exactly what’s in their food.
All parents want to give their children the opportunity to play and learn, but many don’t realize how many resources they have in their own backyards. If you’re looking for fun day-time activities for your little ones, check your local events calendars to find free or inexpensive things taking place in your community. From book readings to outdoor concerts and even local fairs near you, they’re a great way to keep your kids entertained without spending a dime.
You might think college is too far off to worry about, but time flies when you’re raising a family, so why not begin saving for your kids college education now? Get started by opening a 529 plan for each of your children that you contribute part of every paycheck to, or look into a Gerber Grow Up Plan to see what works best for you. If your kids are age 3 to 5, they may also qualify for the Head Start program in your area, which is one of the best ways to make sure they are ready for the challenges that lie ahead.
We all want to think our little ones are special in every way, but if you’re dealing with something as a parent, chances are someone else has already gone through the same thing. Give yourself the benefit of their experience by using online forums when you have parenting questions. Parenting blogs offer a wealth of valuable information, from general health and wellness to financial advice. Never hesitate to turn to the experts who have “been there, done that” with the parenting questions you have.
Are you prone to making impulse purchases? In the age of online shopping, the temptation is always there. For things you really do need, signature loans may be able to help in a pinch, but it is easy to confuse our needs with our wants. A simple way to curb your spending is to give yourself 24 hours to think about a purchase before making it. Put the item in your cart and take a day to think about whether it’s something you need or just something you want.