If you live in the United States I think we all can agree that kids are expensive. Even if you live in a geographic area where the cost of living is much lower that others, children are not free and require careful planning within your budget. There will always be areas to spend money on when you have kids- clothes, medical expenses, food and school items. Despite all that, it’s still possible to save money with your children in tow! Take a look at some simple ways you can start saving.
1. Change Of Mindset
One of the toughest things to master is understanding the difference between needs and wants, and being ok with them. It’s easy to see adorable baby clothes and want to buy them all, but if your true goal is to save money you’ll need to see that not everything is a must-have. Think twice (or three, four or five times!) before buying something. Give yourself a litmus test that gives you time to think if you really need something. Whatever your method, have a mindset that it IS possible to save money, even if it’s a very small amount each month.
2. Buy Certain Items In Bulk
Some household and grocery items are always needed in your home and can/should be bought in bulk. Paper products, frozen goods and even produce can be a great buy, especially if you have a large family. However, choose wisely when you shop. Warehouse stores do not always have the best deals, you just need to do your homework before filling your cart. Calculate out how much each item costs in the bulk packaging and determine if it is actually cheaper than buying separately. Also be sure to determine if you actually NEED the item in bulk quality. It will end up being far more expensive to throw away items you never use then if you just bought 1 of them in a regular store in the first place.
3. Reduce Or Eliminate Eating Out
One of the biggest money wasters is eating out in restaurants, despite how easy it can be. Often times you can make an entire meal for the cost of 1 entree in a restaurant. Make eating out a treat, not the norm. When you do eat out, consider just drinking water (those drinks add up!), avoiding appetizers, and letting little ones eat off your plate instead of getting them their own meal.
4. Meal Plan
One of the biggest culprits to eating out last minute is when you don’t have plans for meals already. The kids are hangry, you’re tired and your husband is on his way home so why not go out? But if you’re trying to save money you won’t get very far! Do yourself a favor and spend no more than 30 minutes a week on planning all your meals out in advance. You will have peace of mind, a full pantry and meals in the queue. We’ve got some simple meal planning tips you’ll love right here!
5. Make You Own Products
It’s very easy to buy certain products in the store, but it’s not always the cheapest. Do some research and learn how to make your own seasonings, cleaning products, laundry detergent and even beauty products. You will learn to enjoy making your own and love knowing what is in all the products you are using on your family.
6. Don’t Always Buy New
Before you start having visions of never being able to step foot in a mall again, hear me out. You can save tons of money on items that are not new, and that don’t need to be new. Love reading, but don’t want to spend $15+ on a book you’ll read only once? Use your library or shop at my favorite thrift book retailer, ThriftBooks.com. Consider shopping for outdoor, hard-used toys like bike at stores like Play It Again Sports. Just because something is not new, doesn’t mean it’s broken. Your kids won’t care and your wallet will be just as happy as they are.
7. Be Energy Conscious
If there’s one thing I hate getting in the mail it’s bills, especially my electric bill. One of the easiest ways to save money is to be conscious of the energy your home is using. Don’t let your TV be just background noise, and turn it off when no one is truly watching. Use more energy efficient light bulbs and turn off lights not in use. If you can afford it, make upgrades to your home that include better insulated windows and toilets that reduce water waste. Not only are you saving money now, but hopefully you are teaching your kids wonderful habits for their future.