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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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          Published on November 8, 2018

          How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

          How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

          After a few months of hard work and dozens of phone calls later, you finally land a job opportunity.

          But then, you’re asked about your salary requirements and your mind goes blank. So, you offer a lower salary believing this will increase your odds at getting hired.

          Unfortunately, this is the wrong approach.

          Your salary requirements can make or break your odds at getting hired. But only if you’re not prepared.

          Ask for a salary too high with no room for negotiation and your potential employer will not be able to afford you. Aim too low and employers will perceive as you offering low value. The trick is to aim as high as possible while keeping both parties feel happy.

          Of course, you can’t command a high price without bringing value.

          The good news is that learning how to be a high-value employee is possible. You have to work on the right tasks to grow in the right areas. Here are a few tactics to negotiate your salary requirements with confidence.

          1. Hack time to accomplish more than most

          Do you want to get paid well for your hard work? Of course you do. I hate to break it to you, but so do most people.

          With so much competition, this won’t be an easy task to achieve. That’s why you need to become a pro at time management.

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          Do you know how much free time you have? Not the free time during your lunch break or after you’ve finished working at your day job. Rather, the free time when you’re looking at your phone or watching your favorite TV show.

          Data from 2017 shows that Americans spend roughly 3 hours watching TV. This is time poorly spent if you’re not happy with your current lifestyle. Instead, focus on working on your goals whenever you have free time.

          For example, if your commute to/from work is 1 hour, listen to an educational Podcast. If your lunch break is 30 minutes, read for 10 to 15 minutes. And if you have a busy life with only 30–60 minutes to spare after work, use this time to work on your personal goals.

          Create a morning routine that will set you up for success every day. Start waking up 1 to 2 hours earlier to have more time to work on your most important tasks. Use tools like ATracker to break down which activities you’re spending the most time in.

          It won’t be easy to analyze your entire day, so set boundaries. For example, if you have 4 hours of free time each day, spend at least 2 of these hours working on important tasks.

          2. Set your own boundaries

          Having a successful career isn’t always about the money. According to Gallup, about 70% of employees aren’t satisfied with their current jobs.[1]

          Earning more money isn’t a bad thing, but choosing a higher salary over the traits that are the most important to you is. For example, if you enjoy spending time with your family, reject job offers requiring a lot of travel.

          Here are some important traits to consider:

          • Work and life balance – The last thing you’d want is a job that forces you to work 60+ hours each week. Unless this is the type of environment you’d want. Understand how your potential employer emphasizes work/life balance.
          • Self-development opportunities – Having the option to grow within your company is important. Once you learn how to do your tasks well, you’ll start becoming less engaged. Choose a company that encourages employee growth.
          • Company culture – The stereotypical cubicle job where one feels miserable doesn’t have to be your fate. Not all companies are equal in culture. Take, for example, Google, who invests heavily in keeping their employees happy.[2]

          These are some of the most important traits to look for in a company, but there are others. Make it your mission to rank which traits are important to you. This way you’ll stop applying to the wrong companies and stay focused on what matters to you more.

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          3. Continuously invest in yourself

          Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. Cliche I know, but true nonetheless.

          You’ll grow as a person and gain confidence with the value you’ll be able to bring to others. Investing in yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, you can read books to expand your knowledge in different fields.

          Don’t get stuck into the habit of reading without a purpose. Instead, choose books that will help you expand in a field you’re looking to grow. At the same time, don’t limit yourself to reading books in one subject–create a healthy balance.

          Podcasts are also a great medium to learn new subjects from experts in different fields. The best part is they’re free and you can consume them on your commute to/from work.

          Paid education makes sense if you have little to no debt. If you decide to go back to school, be sure to apply for scholarships and grants to have the least amount of debt. Regardless of which route you take to make it a habit to grow every day.

          It won’t be easy, but this will work to your advantage. Most people won’t spend most of their free time investing in themselves. This will allow you to grow faster than most, and stand out from your competition.

          4. Document the value you bring

          Resumes are a common way companies filter employees through the hiring process. Here’s the big secret: It’s not the only way you can showcase your skills.

          To request for a higher salary than most, you have to do what most are unwilling to do. Since you’re already investing in yourself, make it a habit to showcase your skills online.

          A great way to do this is to create your own website. Pick your first and last name as your domain name. If this domain is already taken, get creative and choose one that makes sense.

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          Here are some ideas:

          • joesmith.com
          • joeasmith.com
          • joesmithprojects.com

          Nowadays, building a website is easy. Once you have your website setup, begin producing content. For example, if you a developer you can post the applications you’re building.

          During your interviews, you’ll have an online reference to showcase your accomplishments. You can use your accomplishments to justify your salary requirements. Since most people don’t do this, you’ll have a higher chance of employers accepting your offer

          5. Hide your salary requirements

          Avoid giving you salary requirements early in the interview process.

          But if you get asked early, deflect this question in a non-defensive manner. Explain to the employer that you’d like to understand your role better first. They’ll most likely agree with you; but if they don’t, give them a range.

          The truth is great employers are more concerned about your skills and the value you bring to the company. They understand that a great employee is an investment, able to earn them more than their salary.

          Remember that a job interview isn’t only for the employer, it’s also for you. If the employer is more interested in your salary requirements, this may not be a good sign. Use this question to gauge if the company you’re interviewing is worth working for.

          6. Do just enough research

          Research average salary compensation in your industry, then wing it.

          Use tools like Glassdoor to research the average salary compensation for your industry. Then leverage LinkedIn’s company data that’s provided with its Pro membership. You can view a company’s employee growth and the total number of job openings.

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          Use this information to make informed decisions when deciding on your salary requirements. But don’t limit yourself to the average salary range. Companies will usually pay you more for the value you have.

          Big companies will often pay more than smaller ones.[3] Whatever your desired salary amount is, always ask for a higher amount. Employers will often reject your initial offer. In fact, offer a salary range that’ll give you and your employer enough room to negotiate.

          7. Get compensated by your value

          Asking for the salary you deserve is an art. On one end, you have to constantly invest in yourself to offer massive value. But this isn’t enough. You also have to become a great negotiator.

          Imagine requesting a high salary and because you bring a lot of value, employers are willing to pay you this. Wouldn’t this be amazing?

          Most settle for average because they’re not confident with what they have to offer. Most don’t invest in themselves because they’re not dedicated enough. But not you.

          You know you deserve to get paid well, and you’re willing to put in the work. Yet, you won’t sacrifice your most important values over a higher salary.

          The bottom line

          You’ve got what it takes to succeed in your career. Invest in yourself, learn how to negotiate, and do research. The next time you’re asked about your salary requirements, you won’t fumble.

          You’ll showcase your skills with confidence and get the salary you deserve. What’s holding you back now?

          Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

          Reference

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