Read on for some great tips on how to save money with kids and reduce those expenses wherever possible.
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If you’re shopping for new items, buy used. That’s the easiest way to save money. From clothing to toys and games, there are lots of great items you can buy used that are still in excellent condition. In fact, one survey found that 86% of people have purchased secondhand items in the past year. That’s a lot of people who could be saving money on their kids’ toys and books. You can find used items on sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, eBay and even in your own neighborhood. Alternatively, try a service like ThredUp that specializes in children’s clothing and toys.
Banish fast food and eat at home
One of the easiest ways to save money with kids is to ban fast food. They’re convenient, but they can be seriously expensive. Instead, make it a priority to cook at home as much as you can. In terms of cost, eating out may be cheaper up front. But when you factor in the cost of groceries, they’ll likely be cheaper. And one study found that families who ate at home spent an average of $2,600 less per year than those who ate out. If you’re short on time, meal kits like Blue Apron can make healthy home-cooked meals easier to prepare. Or you can cook in bulk and freeze portions of meals to make them even easier to grab when you don’t have time to cook.
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Go digital to save on childcare costs
Depending on your child’s age, they may not need full-time childcare, but they may still need occasional care while you work. If this is the case, you might be able to deduct some of the costs from your taxes. But if you hire someone to watch your child for an entire year, the costs can add up. One way to offset these expenses is to use an online service like Care.com that connects families with care providers. You can search by zip code and find providers who charge as little as $10 an hour. You can also use an app like Sitter.com that helps you find trusted care providers in your area, sort by price and read reviews from other parents. This can be especially helpful if you’re trying to find a last-minute sitter.
Limit TV and computer time
Kids love screens. And while they can be educational, there’s also a chance that they could be costing you money. If your child has a TV in their room, you may be paying for cable. And many computer games are subscription-based. To avoid these costs, you can start by limiting the time your child spends in front of a screen. Try setting a timer for computer and TV time. And instead of cable, consider a streaming service like Sling TV or Hulu that offers a la carte channels and costs significantly less. If your child is using the computer for homework, consider getting a Chromebook so they can use it for free.
Plan ahead for birthday and holiday gifts
Kids love birthday and holiday gifts, but they can add up. One way to save money on these gifts is to ask the child what they want and buy it for them as a gift from you and your spouse. If your child has a specific item on their wish list, consider buying it early, then storing it. That way, you can pull it out for their next birthday or holiday gift. Another option is to shop during the off-season. For example, if you know your child would love a certain toy, wait until the end of the year and see if you can find it for less during the off-season. This also applies to clothing. If you know your child would love a certain piece of clothing, wait until the end of the year when most kids have outgrown their clothing. New items will be marked down and you can stock up.
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Kids are expensive, but they don’t have to break your bank account. By using these tips, you can save money on everyday expenses and reduce the burden on your budget. By investing in your kids early, you can help them develop the skills they need to be financially responsible adults.
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