I always hear people say kids are expensive, but I never really grasped that until recently. I sat down and calculated lost income from the year after Zander was born, a time I really had to slow things down on the blog. Why did I decide to do that?? I guess I thought it would motivate me to work harder. My jaw dropped when I realized that I had lost six figures in potential income during the year that it took me to get my business back in full gear. Since then I have taken to calling him my hundred thousand dollar baby. This was the first year my blog had done so well, so lost income wasn’t something I even thought about till after he was born.
After this harsh realization I decided to sit down and do a little research. I found out that it costs on average around $300K to raise a child from birth to 18 in the US. That is about $45 a day if you like to break things down. Since we are planning for baby number three, we will be at almost a million dollar investment, hopefully in the next year or two. For me, this doesn’t change how many kids I want to have. They are a gift worth any price tag and I’d be happy to be poor for life if it meant I was blessed with a beautiful family. BUT, I am a planner, so I immediately started looking for ways we can save money in preparation for baby number three.
14 Ways to Save Money on Raising Kids
1. Opt for Affordable Baby Brands
All the bedding I used in these pictures is from the Parent’s Choice brand at Walmart! Shopping inexpensive brands, like Parent’s Choice, is a great way to save money. Parent’s Choice is one of my favorite baby brands because they offer everything your baby needs for the first few years of life at extremely competitive prices. Their bedding collection has over 275 products to choose from, most of which cost no more than $13! Bedding is a really expensive category for baby supplies typically, and blankets and sheets are something babies get dirty fast! I always have a good supply of sheets and blankets on hand for emergencies. Buying this bedding can save you a lot of money every year, but I also buy their snacks, formula, wet wipes and diapers because they are all cheaper prices than competitors and the quality is top notch.
2. Save Baby Clothes and Gear
If you plan on having more than one child it is very smart to save gently used clothes and baby gear for future children. I organize my kids clothes by size and label the totes as I pack them away. That way in the future I can easily pull out the right size for a new baby.
3. Buy Neutral Bedding
I love gender neutral prints and colors for bedding, especially when it comes to more expensive items like comforters. This way it can last for future kids, whether you have a boy or a girl. I like Parent’s Choice bedding because it wears really well. Some of the sheets I use for Zander are Parent’s Choice brand that I bought when Zoey was a baby!
4. Buy a Transitional Crib
When you are researching cribs look for one that can transition through the different stages of development for your child. The bed we got when Zoey a sa baby transitions from a crib, to a toddler bed and then to a twin size!
5. Test a Stroller and Other Expensive Items Before you Buy
Strollers, carseats, diaper bags, etc. are all expensive items for baby. Make sure you test them out before you buy! We have gone through so many different strollers. I can’t help but think if we had just tested before we bought we would have saved ourselves a lot of money.
6. Save Money on Childcare
It is very common now for both parents to have careers. Child care is one of the largest expenses parents will pay during the early years of their child’s life. While personal nanny’s are expensive and aycare centers often predsent other challenges, there are other options. If you have lots of young families in your neighborhood try to set up a babysitting co-op or nanny share. You and your spouse can also look into telecommuting some days. This is becoming an option for more and more jobs in our time.
7. Keep Coupons
Your monthly grocery bill is another big chunk of your expenses for raising kids. Save money by saving coupons you get in the mail. We get flyers almost every day. Sometimes I get annoyed and just throw them out. But when I take time to sort through them I always find great savings on things I was going to buy anyways!
8. Less Toys
Your kids don’t need nearly as many toys as you think they do – and they definitely don’t need as many toys as they think they do. Zoey would have every toy on the shelf if she could, but most often she gets bored of a toy after just a couple days. Buy less toys and save money. This also helps teach your kids valuable skills like creative play.
9. Downsize your Home
Home expenses are the biggest cost in raising a child. Each extra bedroom adds value to your home. But how much space do you really need for raising kids? We just lived in a single hotel room for a whole month. It really gave me some perspective on how much space we need. Hint, it’s not a lot. If you are looking for a new home to buy or rent, ask yourself, how much space you really need? Getting an apartment that is just a few hundred dollars cheaper a month with save money fast!
10. Skip the Gourmet Grocery Stores
I love shopping at ‘fancy’ grocery stores, but the grocery bill racks up so fast. I save a ton of money shopping at Walmart for groceries. And as an added bonus I can conveniently shop online and pick up my order from the curb. This is another reason I love the Parent’s Choice brand I mentioned earlier. I can order all the baby stuff I need online at Walmart.com at the same time as I order my groceries! It saves a ton of time and money.
11. Opt for Nature Based Vacations
Skip the five star resort and head to some cabins on a lake in the woods! Getting out in nature has so many benefits to your family, including building relationships, finding more appreciation and respect for our earth, taking a break from electronics, getting exercise, being adventurous, making memories that matter, and more. The best perk is that nature based vacations like camping are incredibly good to your bank account! You can save a ton of money, and if your kids are like mine, they will be happier playing in the woods than going to Disney anyways.
12. Buy Baby Gear that Lasts
I like to buy bedding and clothes that last a long time so I can save it for future kids. This will save money in the long run, and allow you to invest in stuff that is high quality while you are raising kids. That is another great reason I love the Parent’s Choice brand for bedding. It is inexpensive and has the added benefit of standing the test of time.
13. Share Supplies with Friends and Family
If you have friends or siblings with kids around the same age as yours, share! I pass around baby clothes and gear, and even maternity clothes, to all my friends. And when I need, they pass them back to me! It saves everybody money and helps you get the most use out of the stuff you buy. It also clears up a little storage space.
14. Kid Proof Expensive Things
Kid proof expensive items in your home like couches and mattresses. We have always had leather couches since we became parents because those are less destructible. I also put mattress cover on all our mattresses, especially the kids. This is a simple way to save money while raising kids, by preventing them from ruining expensive things. Between diaper blow outs, sick days and potty training you can never be too careful. I love these mattress protectors from Parent’s Choice.
Raising kids is a sticky business (literally and figuratively). There are so many things to learn and plan for. Finances is a huge part of this, but it doesn’t need to be as stressful as it sometimes is. I love figuring out small ways like the above to save money so that I can really focus on what matters most in parenting.
Do you consider yourself a budget savvy mama? What are your best ways to save money while raising kids?
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