I have often heard people say that they are going to wait to have enough money before having kids, hmm? What is enough? While having children does involve expense, it does not have to be excessive. Thinking back on my childhood, I realize that my parents had some good ideas to help save money.
My mom and dad were super frugal, but then I don’t know what kind of income dad was dealing with and mom didn’t work. I remember that birthday and Christmas gifts were limited; but, we never thought anything of it because that’s all we knew and it was great. We were happy!
Throughout the year, we were outside most of the time playing on the swings, running through the sprinkler or riding our bikes. When it was raining we played board games or made cookies. We were raised in the mid-west where basements made great playrooms. We did not eat a lot of frozen, processed foods, mainly because Mom was raised with a grandma who killed her own chickens, need I say more? And we almost always had a garden in the backyard.
Now a parent myself, I have learned and adapted ways to save money and thought I’d share a few of my ideas.
- Limiting gifts – cut back to a set number of gifts. Depending on your child, explaining this idea may be difficult. To help, consider a trip to a local mission or shelter to teach them to value their things and to introduce them to the needs of others.
- Go to the library – the library is a great resource for books, videos, storytime, and other family-oriented activities. We sometimes forget about the library these days. Instead we run to the store to purchase books for our kids and ourselves. Book stores now offer comfy sections where kids can cozy up with a few books, which parents then buy and take home. But the same set-up exists at the public library and it won’t cost you a thing!
- Going out to restaurants – choose restaurants that have free meal days for children. Many restaurants now have times or days during the week when they offer free meals for children under the age of twelve.
- Cut down on expensive snacks and frozen treats – start baking cookies together or making homemade snacks. There are many simple things you can make that don’t require large amounts of time. For instance, just a couple days ago, my daughter and I made little pizzas in cupcake tins and they were so tasty – plus, we only needed four ingredients!
- Visit resale shops for clothes and toys –resale shops sell lightly-used clothing and toys that are really unique compared to the replicated outfits in department stores. Look for them in the more affluent areas of town where you may find clothing with the tags still on!
- Buy school supplies and back-to-school clothes at the end of season – instead of shopping at the beginning of the school year for school supplies start purchasing next years supplies when they go on clearance after school has started! This strategy also works when shopping for your children’s school clothes.
As parents, we need to make an effort to spend time with our families, making it memorable and worthwhile – but not necessary expensive.
Guest Post: Nancy Parker was a professional nanny and loves to write about a wide range of topics such as health, parenting, child care, babysitting, and nanny tips. She can be reached at nancy.parker015 @ gmail.com