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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.

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    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.

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      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.

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      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.

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        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.

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        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.

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          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

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          Maggie Heath

          Maggie is a passionate writer who blogs about communication and lifestyle on Lifehack.

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          Last Updated on June 26, 2020

          25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

          25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

          “How to save money fast?” This is the question asked by all of us not in the top 1% of rich people.

          If you are looking for ways to drastically reduce your expenses immediately, first look at what you need to spend money on every week. And I mean really need.

          You don’t really need to order in food. You don’t really need to buy expensive perfume.

          Building from that, you can work out how your regular expenses can be reduced.

          As for irregular expenses, they can also be deceptively costly in the long run. Once-off buys can also be tackled with some prudent planning and a little extra research.

          And remember: a budgeted lifestyle does not mean a bad or boring one!

          But first, understand what budget you can cut down on daily:

          • Regular expenses for the average adult (can be trimmed but not eliminated):
            • food
            • rent/mortgage
            • cell phone
            • insurance
            • socializing/entertainment
            • transportation
            • hygiene products
            • household bills
          • Irregular expenses for the average adult (can be eliminated or cut down a lot):
            • travel
            • clothing
            • medication (*depends)
            • grooming (hair, nails etc.)
            • gifts

          Now, let’s dive right into the 25 ways to save money fast:

          Save Money on Food

          1. Bring a stock of food to the office/work

          Instead of popping out for an overpriced salad and a smoothie, leave a set of basic utensils at the office as well as a stock of non-perishable goods such as tinned fruit, tuna, rice crackers and so on (try to avoid the junk food and this can turn into a pretty great diet!).

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          Stocking up means you won’t forget or say “I didn’t have the time” when you rushed out to work in the morning.

          2. Buy the store-brand version

          Many basic foods, such as bread and milk, will taste exactly the same as their branded alternatives. Go for stuff with minimal additives and preservatives. Meat in a tube is probably insanely unhealthy!

          3. Eat cheaper cuts of meat

          Learn how to tenderize and flavour cheaper meat and fish, and save on the (typically) most expensive item on your grocery bill.

          4. Have group dinners

          If 10 friends put $5 each in the kitty, it’s pretty easy to make a giant lasagne and get refreshments, as well as hang out with your favourite people.

          Save Money in Transport

          5. Get a bicycle

          Save on gas money and bus/metro fares with this underrated mode of transport.

          6. Use public transport and/or don’t get taxis

          Some places can only be reached by car. But as a good practise, check your public transport website and see if any routes pass nearby where you need to get to. Walk as much as you can.

          7. Find the cheapest gas

          Regularly check out where the cheapest gas can be bought.

          Save Money in General Shopping

          8. Shop online

          Not only will you save on the gas or transport fares from going to the shopping mall but you will also find better deals

          9. Sell your old stuff

          Get your unwanted belongings up on eBay ASAP and earn a few dollars.

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          Here’re more ideas for you: 25 Things to Sell to Make a Lot of Money

          10. Bulk buying stores

          For regular non-perishable/slow perishable purchases such as toilet paper, cat food, pasta, washing powder and so on, do an epic stocking-up trip to a co-op or equivalent (my mum used to go to a place that restaurants buy from).

          Be wary of supermarket “deals”, as some have been found to be fraudulent after working out a simple calculation.

          11. Become a flea market/car boot sale/street market guru

          You can find original gifts and develop good negotiation skills at these places.

          12. Generic brand medication

          More often than not, the generic version of paracetamol and other basics work the same as the branded version.

          13. Choose deodorant, not perfume

          It blows my mind when someone drops $70 on a bottle of spray. Stick with a nice deodorant, and not only will you smell just fine but you’ll be sweat-free as well!

          Cut Down on Household Expenses

          14. Printing

          Ink is one of the most expensive substances in the office and coloured ink is doubly so. B

          e more efficient and choose black and white, and if your printer doesn’t have a print-both-sides options, just print odd pages first, re-insert the paper and print even pages.

          Expand the margins of what you are printing as often as you can to save on paper.

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          15. Minimize SMS and phone calls

          A combination of a free chat service such as WhatsApp and a free call service such as Skype can reduce your bill to nothing (so long as you have a decent Wifi connection).

          16. Shop around for insurance

          Most people don’t spend enough time searching for the best insurance deal.

          Keep a watchful eye out for deals and new competitors in the market.

          17. Try re-negotiating your rent/mortgage

          If you have built up a good credit history or a good rapport with your landlord, then chances are a frank chat about needing to tighten your spending could result in lowering your payments. You’ve nothing to lose from trying.

          18. Don’t get a TV

          Invest in a computer/laptop and an internet-only package. You can watch more (and often better) entertainment on the web, and skip the advertisements as well.

          19. Pool your internet bill with a neighbour

          My apartment building is basically a big old house split into three apartments. There are five of us in total. We pool the internet bill, making it crazy cheap.

          Save Money in Socializing, Entertainment And Travel

          20. Have house parties

          Instead of paying for overpriced drinks, set up a series of in-house get-togethers with your friends. Everyone takes a turn, so it’s not always your house that needs cleaning.

          For sound insulation, hang heavy drapes on the walls and windows. For music, invest in a good second-hand set of speakers which you can connect to your computer. Let Spotify or Grooveshark playlists do the rest.

          21. Open festivals, meetups and events

          It never fails to surprise me how much underground stuff goes on around me for free or for very cheap. Find out who runs the blogs and websites that list all the less well-known cultural activities.

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          22. Volunteer

          If you can’t pay for a ticket, volunteer and get to be there anyway.

          23. Housesit

          There are multiple housesitting websites offering you the possibility to avoid paying hotels and skip the discomfort of crummy hostels.

          Save Money on Hygiene and Beauty

          24. DIY beauty

          French manicures, pedicures, waxing, eyebrows… pretty much all of these can be achieved at home (and done well) with some practise. There are plenty excellent blogs and YouTube tutorials to help.

          25. Fewer haircuts/volunteer at a trainee hairdresser

          If you can’t bear the risk of a trainee touching your locks, learn more ways to manipulate your hair as it grows and get haircuts sparingly. Women’s haircuts are outrageously priced in many cities.

          Bonus: Effective Money-Saving Tips for Everything

          Here’s a summary of what you can generally do to save more money:

          • Share/pool resources. Organize a neighbourhood sharing scheme, common resources for your apartment block or with your friends. Not everybody needs an individual lawnmower.
          • Buy energy-saving everything. The easiest way to lower your bills – replace those lightbulbs!
          • Buy in bulk. Be sensible about it (i.e. make sure you have space!), and drastically reduce weekly expenditure.
          • DIY. Skill up using YouTube tutorials on plumbing and many other essential services so you never have to pay for simple problems again.
          • Research a lot before making a decision. Most money-wasting is the result of poor preparation and planning. Don’t shirk this part just because you don’t like it!
          • Use your network. Your network is full of resources that can ease the pain of budgeting. Ask for help.
          • Stop and think. Do I really need it?

          Unfortunately, there are some things that require plain ol’ giving up for the time being. This can include high-cost sports such as skiing, the latest versions of some technologies, the finest brands of food/drinks, premier seats at the opera and most other indulgences.

          What is important to remember during lean times is that when you look back on your life, it will be the experiences that stand out, not the extra comforts.

          Living on a budget can teach you a lot about how much you can really get out of your paycheck. We only live one life, so make the most of every penny you earn!

          More Tips for Personal Finance Management

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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