Having kids is one of life's greatest joys, but as the world becomes more expensive, being a parent is also an incredibly taxing financial investment. With so many toys, clothes, food and other necessities to consider, it can get overwhelming fast when you think of how much your child needs and how much you can realistically provide.
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The stress is only intensified when you have more than one child and plenty of other bills to pay. But don't worry. You don't need Bill Gates's salary to give your kid's a great life, and the money you save by following some simple budgeting tips can be placed into a college savings fund or resourced for other expenses to make life easier.
Yep, that's right. I'm advising you to be that mom at the supermarket, because coupons can actually save you hundreds (and if you're really savvy, thousands) of dollars per year. You're also no longer limited to clipping Pennysaver ads thanks to apps like Groupon, RetailMeNot and Retale.
Ask Friends for Hand-Me-Downs
There's nothing embarrassing about saving money, and you'd be surprised how many people actually just have old clothes, toys and other kid stuff packed away in storage or collecting dust in the basement. If your friends have kids that are a little bit older than yours or even roughly the same age, ask if they have any old stuff you could take off their hands. Not only do you save money on the objects, but you're also helping them clear up space in their home. It's a win/win!
Buy in Bulk
Instead of making weekly rounds to the grocery store, hit up larger warehouse outlets like BJ's and Costco. Here you can buy all the same staples you get at the supermarket but in much larger quantities at a competitive price. You'll be able to use your same monthly food budget but walk away with double the amount if you shop right. These stores also feature clothes, books and furniture, so you can rely on them for all sorts of family needs.
The best online shopping deals aren't reserved for Cyber Monday. All year long, stores have sales that you can only find by shopping on the web. When it comes time for birthdays and holidays, look for an online toy sale at carriers like Amazon. There are plenty of independent sellers who will be able to get you the same product you want from the store at half the price.
Freeze Your Leftovers
Kids are picky eaters, but that doesn't mean all your lovingly cooked meals have to go to waste. Focus on the foods that are cheap and easy to prepare and also store well like chili, spaghetti sauce, lasagna, stews, etc. Doing so will make mealtime easier for both you and your family, as well as save you money since you'll be able to defrost a meal in two weeks instead of having to rebuy all the ingredients to remake it.
Parenthood costs a pretty penny, but it doesn't have to break the bank. With small, smart budgeting choices like the ones listed above, you can keep your house running smooth and your kids happy with money to spare. If you're going through a rough financial period, don't let it get you down. Even if you only save $5 in a week, that's $5 you didn't have. Although money problems are enough to make even the toughest moms break down from the stress, know that with enough patience and discipline, you'll be able to build your finances back up while still living a life that is rewarding.