It is a known fact that being a parent is expensive. It is estimated that American families spend $15,000 on average per kid annually, and $227,000 from birth until they’re 18 years old. However, it is totally possible to lower that cost, save money, and live comfortably even if you don’t have a huge budget. Here are some budgeting tips for parents:
Track and Plan Your Expenses
The most important thing when creating a budget is by understanding how to differentiate your needs and wants. The needs can be housing, transportation, insurance, education, food, healthcare, and utilities. On the other hand, wants would be anything that is not crucial for your life, such as entertainment, restaurants, shopping, etc. After that, you will need to decide how much you’ll spend within each category. You can track your expenses manually or use apps like Mint, which does it automatically and offers other features.
Consider Buying Second-Hand Items and Hand-Me-Downs
Children grow up pretty fast, so it’s a good idea to buy used clothes or accept hand-me-downs from friends and family so that you don’t spend too much money. It is also a good idea to buy things such as books, and even toys and bicycles at garage sales. Other great ways to find these types of items is by joining social media groups or checking the Facebook marketplace, or even websites like eBay.
Plan All Your Meals
Eating out and ordering food deliveries can be fun and convenient but it can quickly become expensive. We’re not saying you shouldn’t do this every once in a while, but it can’t be a frequent habit if you want to save money. Planning your meals, and cooking them in advance, and freezing, can not only help you save a lot of money and time, but it will also make you and your family eat more healthily.
Encourage Children to Participate
Many parents underestimate the importance of teaching their children about money and how to manage it from early on. Teaching them how to be responsible with what they earn is crucial for them to later have a better, more independent adult life. Depending on their age, think about giving them an allowance when they help with the chores and advise them to save money to buy the more expensive things they want such as toys.
Have an Emergency Fund
Every individual should have an emergency fund, but that becomes much more important if they are a parent. Since raising a kid can be expensive, and they depend on you financially, you might want to be prepared for unexpected expenses or even job loss. Consider allocating a percentage of money each week or month to a low-risk investment such as a high-yield savings account.
Look For Deals
Many people spend more money than they need to because they don’t research. Why pay the full price when you can buy it for a lot less? When going to a store, it’s good to look for deals online and see if you can find a better price elsewhere. It’s also a good idea to make fewer trips to the grocery store so that you avoid spending money on spontaneous purchases. You can also check websites like Groupon, RetailMeNot, and Coupons.com.
Find Ways To Entertain For Free
Kids can have fun with much less than you think. You don’t need to spend money for them to have a great time. There are many ways you can have fun with your kids for free or at very little cost. For instance, you can start a movie marathon, go to the park, play board games, go to a playground, read a book, draw and paint.