Having a child is a life-changing event. You suddenly have new priorities, more responsibilities and yes, extra expenses. Between food, clothes, diapers, toys, childcare and more, raising a child costs a lot of money. According to research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost of raising a child is $26,233.1 That doesn’t include college tuition or any costs after the age of 18, either. If you’re finding it hard to keep your budget on track while raising a child, we’ve got some tips and tricks for cutting down costs.
Feeding kids costs a lot, from stocking enough baby formula to keeping up with hungry teenagers. With food prices on the rise, keeping food expenses low can be tough. Though takeout and freezer meals may be tempting on busy nights, the best way to save money on food is to cook at home. This is easier said than done, but here are a few ways to make home cooked meals more practical.
● Buy in bulk. When you purchase larger quantities at a time, you often will get a cheaper per item cost. This is a good tip not just for shelf-stable foods, but also for household items like diapers and paper towels.4
● Double or even triple your recipes.3 You can eat leftovers for a few days and freeze some of the extra to use later. On a night when you’re too tired to cook, your future self will thank you!
● Use coupons. Most groceries offer an app where you can clip coupons and view the weekly circular. This allows you to create your grocery list based on what’s in season and on sale before you even get to the store.
It costs an average of nearly $700 for a week of daycare for one child.2 Add a few more kids into the mix and you’re looking at a hefty bill. If nearby relatives or grandparents can offer childcare, even just part-time, this can save you a lot of money.3 When you need a babysitter, consider asking other parents to pitch in. Arranging to trade off watching each other’s kids can give you a few hours of much-needed free time each week.
Young kids outgrow their clothes fast. If you’re not careful, the cost of buying new items every season can add up. Buying clothes at a thrift store, online or at a secondhand store for school uniforms, can drastically reduce your clothing bill. Don’t forget to save your older children’s clothing for the younger kids to grow into.
Kids need a lot of stimulation, but luckily there are plenty of free activities and experiences to keep your kids entertained for cheap. Many museums offer free admission. You can also get an annual pass to a place you visit often, like the zoo, to save money in the long run.4 Don’t forget about your local library, either. Whether you’re using it to check out books and DVDs or to attend children’s events, a library is a great resource for free entertainment.4
Toys are another expense that adds up quickly. Your children may be begging you for the latest and most popular releases when you already have plenty of toys at home. Get use out of what you own by separating your toys into bins and rotating them out every week.5 When your kids rediscover toys they haven’t seen in a while, it makes the “old” toys seem new and exciting. You can also refresh your toy supply by visiting consignment stores or the discount section of bigger retailers and grocery stores.5
Being a parent means that sometimes you must deal with the unexpected. If you need a little extra cash to cover something that comes up with your children, online loans from LendNation can help. At LendNation, we understand your struggles and want to guide you toward financial freedom. Visit us online or in store for title, installment and payday loan options that can relieve some of your stress.
Loans are not available to members of the military.
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