Advertising
Advertising

It Costs $245k To Raise A Child? 18 Ways Modern Parents Overspend You Should Avoid

It Costs $245k To Raise A Child? 18 Ways Modern Parents Overspend You Should Avoid

Children are great: they’re your little bundles of joy. But raising kids can really add up — to around $245,000! That’s a serious amount of cash. So before you start planning vacations and buying books, give this list a read. Here are 18 great ways to save money on your kids without skimping on anything.

1. Breastfeed if you can.

Breastfeeding is generally considered to be better for babies, especially within the first six months. It’s easier for tiny tummies to digest breast milk rather than formula. However, that’s not the only reason you should consider breastfeeding. According to one cost breakdown, feeding your baby formula will run you over $1,700, while breastfeeding is, of course, free. That being said, some women have to buy pumps to help accommodate their busy schedules.

2. Buy baby necessities online.

Sometimes, sites like Amazon have better deals on baby essentials like diapers. Many also allow you to buy in bulk, so you don’t have to keep going to the store and buying more of the product.

3. Clip coupons.

Using coupons is an underrated tactic in saving money. Your local newspaper likely carries lots of coupons, especially on Sundays. Check online as well for coupons to places from the grocery store to drugstores to children’s clothing shops.

4. Vacation close to home.

Advertising

medium_4836044880

    Chances are, your child will not remember much about the vacations that you take him or her on during the first decade or so of life. Sure, there will be snippets of memory, but not much else. While your child is still very young, consider taking vacations close to home. It’s a shame to spend a ton of money on a plane ticket, accommodations, and entertainment to another country when camping in a neighboring state would provide just as much fun for your kid. Save the extravagant vacations for later.

    5. Buy used books.

    This goes for baby books as well as textbooks for that first semester of college. Secondhand books are often incredibly cheap and readily available online and at community centers such as libraries. For example, currently on Amazon the popular children’s book Guess How Much I Love You is available new for $7.55 or used for as little as $0.01. Yes, for one cent.

    6. Join community sports teams.

    Kids love playing sports, and should be encouraged to do so. However, many teams require sign up fees, as well as fees for uniforms, team photos, and more. Many community teams, however, are totally free and can be just as much fun.

    7. Save old books, clothes, and toys.

    I’m the youngest in my family, and with two older brothers, I got lots of Hot Wheels and action figures to play with as my siblings got older. I loved them, and this meant my parents didn’t have to spend as much on toys for me growing up, since they’d already bought them for my brothers. Saving your first child’s belongings (as long as they’re in good condition) will save you money with any more children that come along in the future.

    8. Build backyard entertainment.

    Advertising

    medium_6063586327

      Sandboxes are a ton of fun, and your child will probably love having one so close. Additionally, a good sprinkler setup is tons of fun in the summer, as is a small inflatable pool (which you can buy here for the low cost of $17). In a pinch, having a good backyard play area will save money on vacations and trips to costly entertainment parks. The Six Flags water parks cost up to $59.99 for general admission, with kids’ tickets being $39.99.

      9. Customize your child’s birthday parties yourself.

      My parents were awesome at this: my mom always made my cakes herself, and they would make things like treasure hunts, water balloon fights, and even a makeshift pirate plank walk over an inflatable pool one year. Before you spend potentially hundreds at a venue like Chuck E. Cheese’s, consider making your child’s birthday cheaper and more special by doing it yourself.

      10. Shop at secondhand or consignment stores.

      Often, secondhand or consignment stores have trendy clothing that’s in perfect condition with fractions of the prices if you were to buy the same items from the original seller. Plato’s Closet is one such secondhand store, with stores expanding all across the country.

      11. Sell your old stuff.

      If you’re done having kids and they’ve got a whole bunch of stuff laying around that they’re not using, try selling it. There are tons of websites and stores out there for selling books, clothes, and even furniture like cribs. You could even have a yard sale. Just put a couple of signs up around your neighborhood and dedicate half a Saturday to selling.

      12. Tutor when you can.

      If your child is having trouble learning something in school, help him or her out if you have the expertise and time. Tutors can cost anywhere from $15 to $75 an hour, so save some money by teaching your child yourself. Often, even if you’re a little rusty on 4th grade math or 7th grade biology, you’ll be able to pick it up again quickly in order to help out.

      Advertising

      13. Have your kids pitch in.

      Little things add up. For example, car washes cost anywhere from $6 to $20 depending on your area and the level of wash. Maid services cost, on average, between $175 and $225. Adding these tasks to your children’s chore list (and helping out yourself) can save you some major bucks. If you’re looking to add some more incentive, try making it into a game or contest. Your children (and you) will be happier.

      14. Research your babysitters.

      medium_2847281670

        While it’s important that you feel confident that the person watching your child is competent and responsible, it’s also important to make sure you’re getting a good rate. On average, babysitters make around $10 an hour. I’ve worked as a babysitter for years, and when I first started, I worked for a family that was friends with my mom. Because I was young, and because I was a family friend, I made less money but was just as responsible as someone that family could have hired from the Internet. Ask around to see if any of your friends have responsible teenagers looking to make a few extra bucks.

        15. Carpool.

        Gasoline prices are, on average, $3.52 per gallon. That can really add up when you’re taking your kids to school, piano lessons, soccer practice, and everywhere else. Consider finding one or two other families who take their kids to the same school or community sports team and arrange a carpool. This way, everyone takes turns and you save time and money.

        16. Cook more.

        Eating out is great, and it’s an important part of teaching your children good manners and appropriate restaurant behavior. That being said, going grocery shopping saves you a ton of money on food costs. It’s also a valuable money and cooking lesson for your kids. Bring them into the kitchen to help out. Not only will this send them a good message, but it will also create some great memories.

        Advertising

        17. Have family movie nights.

        The average cost of a movie ticket in the U.S. is $7.96. Add in extras like popcorn, candy, and drinks, and you’re looking at quite a hefty bill. Instead, gather the family in the living room for a night of rented or streamed entertainment. Even refreshments are cheaper when you make them at home.

        18. Buy books and toys rather than electronics.

        medium_6604188445

          In today’s technology-focused culture, children from babies to preteens are being given their parents’ electronics to play with. While this might seem like a good way to entertain your child while, perhaps, waiting for a table at a restaurant, it’s actually bad for them and more costly. Research has shown that the devices encourage passivity, and they also blur the lines for children as to what is and is not a toy. With iPads starting at $499, consider buying your child books and toys. They’re cheaper and better for their development.

          Featured photo credit: Kevin Dooley via flickr.com

          More by this author

          Why Do People Procrastinate? 9 Reasons You Can’t Help Procrastinating 9 Ways To Be Less Clingy In Your Relationship Useful Chart: Fruits That You Can and Cannot Let Your Dog Eat Nomnomnom! 4 Flavourful Cake Frosting Recipes That You Cannot Miss! 10 Blow Your Mind Surprises You Can Hide In A Cake!

          Trending in Money

          1 25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education 2 How to Develop a Millionaire Mindset in 6 Simple Steps 3 5 Books You Must Read if You Want to Be a Millionaire in Your 20’s 4 20 Better Money Habits to Help You Increase Your Savings 5 50 Businesses You Can Start In Your Spare Time

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on July 4, 2019

          25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

          25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

          Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless.

          Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent free online education awaits on the following 25 sites.

          1. Coursera

          Untitled copy

            Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

            Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education, and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

            Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups.

            2. Khan Academy

            Untitled 2 copy

              Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

              Among the more well known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly useable, which may make it easier to keep learning goals.

              3. Open Culture Online Courses

              Untitled111 copy

                If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos and podcasts from universities around the world. The site features a lot of material found only on universities private sites, all in easy to browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses, without having to visit and search each university’s own site.

                Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales and many state universities around the United States. A very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

                4. Udemy 

                Untitled 4 copy

                  Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

                  Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content. This is another site however, that mixes free and paid content.

                  Advertising

                  5. Academic Earth

                  Untitled 5 copy

                    Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources, and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

                    Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

                    6. edX

                    Untitled 6 copy

                      Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics.

                      7. Alison

                      Untitled 7 copy

                        Unlike the previous sites on this lists, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

                        It’s a great option if users need certification for their learning as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

                        8. iTunesU Free Courses

                        Untitled 8 copy

                          A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod, or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

                          Desktop users can access  iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

                          Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos, and paid content.

                          ITunesU does include courses on a pretty wide scope of topics, but does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

                          9. Stanford Online

                          Untitled 9 copy

                            Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

                            Advertising

                            Stanford Online is a great site for high quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school.

                            10. Harvard Extension

                            Untitled 10 copy

                              Like Stanford Online, Harvard Extension features free online education courses from Harvard only. This is another excellent source for top notch course material, though the course variety is less rich than multi-school sites.

                              Additionally, Harvard Extension allows you to search for courses by professional certificate. This makes it much easier if your online education goal includes certification.

                              11. Open Yale Courses

                              Untitled 11 copy

                                Open Yale Courses echoes Harvard Extension and Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses, but learn better by watching than by reading.

                                12. UC Berkeley Class Central

                                Untitled 12 copy

                                  Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

                                  13. MIT OpenCourseWare

                                  Untitled 13 copy

                                    Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, plus includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

                                    14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

                                    Untitled 14 copy

                                      Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list, however, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics. But for the topics that are covered impressive, in-depth material is available.

                                      15. Codecademy

                                      Untitled 15 copy

                                        Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

                                        The courses at Codecademy are well written and easy to follow and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, plus organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

                                        Advertising

                                        16. Code

                                        Untitled 16 copy

                                          Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

                                          In addition to kid friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics and Javascript.

                                          Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

                                          17. University of London Podcasts

                                          Untitled 17 copy

                                            The podcast page on the University of London website is another great source for free education. While the courses are limited to podcasts, the site features podcasts from it’s own campus, as well as eleven universities in and around London. This gives learners a wide base of topics and lectures, but still ensures in-depth material.

                                            18. University of Oxford Podcasts

                                            Untitled 18 copy

                                              Similar to the University of London, the University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

                                              The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. Another good site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

                                              19. BBC Podcasts

                                              Untitled 19 copy

                                                For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly, and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

                                                Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

                                                20. TED-Ed

                                                Untitled 20 copy

                                                  Another great destination for more general learning is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all encompassing, motivational web series, comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

                                                  Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

                                                  Advertising

                                                  21. LessonPaths

                                                  Untitled 21 copy

                                                    LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

                                                    22. Memrise

                                                    Untitled 22 copy

                                                      Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

                                                      Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

                                                      23. National Geographic Kids

                                                      Untitled 23 copy

                                                        The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keeps kids interested on this site.

                                                        National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

                                                        24. Fun Brain

                                                        Untitled 24 copy

                                                          Fun Brain is another good option for kids who want to learn online, but focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

                                                          Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

                                                          25. Whyville

                                                          Untitled 25 copy 2

                                                            Similar to the sites for kids free online education is Whyville a destination for preteen online learning. The site includes a variety of social features, with a focus on learning materials geared for young teens.

                                                            Whyville also mixes in educational games, to make the site a well rounded option for kids too old for simple games, but too young for heavy reading based material.

                                                            More About Online Learning

                                                            Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

                                                            Read Next