Starting a family is a wonderful thing, but it’s also very expensive. In fact, the cost of raising a child to the age of 17 is over $230,000, according to the Department of Agriculture in the US. While that’s a scary figure for any parent to think about, it’s worth noting that you can always improve your financial situation by creating a stronger budget.
To help you make the right decisions about your financial future, we’ve scoured the internet for tips and tricks from moms and bloggers world-wide. Here are just some of the best solutions we’ve come across.
- Always Plan your Meals
We’ve all heard the advice that it’s a good idea to make a list of your meals for the week ahead. However, if you’re not planning your grocery shopping yet, this could be an excellent way to upgrade your financial strategy. Check out what’s on sale in your local supermarket sand plan your meals around the items you can get for a lower price.
Think about what you can buy in bulk, and make various meals using the same ingredients that you can freeze and save for later. You can even save yourself a fortune by buying extra of the foods you love and prepping for days in advance.
Don’t forget that it’s easy to save some extra cash when you’ve got green fingers too. Try planting a few of the veggies you use the most often in your back yard!
- Rethink your Family Vacations
As a family, meaningful moments together are going to be a big part of your budgeting strategy. Remember to travel during off-peak times if you have any flexibility around your child’s schedule – such as before they start school for instance. If traveling during the off season isn’t an option look at driving to your destination instead of flying to save some money.
In some cases, it can even be a good idea to look into whether you can save some cash by going on vacation with larger groups too. Spending on a villa with 6 other people in your family can cost you a lot less than buying separate hotel rooms.
- Don’t Go Over the Top with Child Purchases
Whether you’re preparing for a new baby, or you’re buying kids supplies when they’re heading back to school, remember that not everything needs to be purchased new. A great way to save some extra cash is to shop at secondhand stores or try and buy items online.
Most of your kid’s toys aren’t going to last for long anyway, so if you can get them second hand and they’re still in great condition, you could end up with a lot more cash in your pocket. Don’t be afraid to ask for hand-me-downs from friends and family members too. Highchairs, car chairs, and other accessories can be expensive – but when kids grow out of them, they often end up on eBay.
- Compare more Costs Online
These days, you probably compare several expenses before you invest in anything. For instance, you might look for the cheapest version of the game your kid wants before you buy it for them for their birthday. The same strategy can apply to other things too, like your insurance and utility bills – or even your personal loans.
There are comparison websites available for almost everything these days. Plugging the details of the loan you want to get into a comparison site could save you thousands on interest payments in the long-term, not to mention other fees. Get online before you commit to any major expense.
- Rethink your Rent/Mortgage
Whenever possible, you should think about refinancing your house to drop your interest rates. This will save you a lot on your monthly expenses. Additionally, you could even think about moving to a smaller house, or a cheaper area if you think that you’re spending too much on housing.
For rent, look into any referral programs that your landlord might offer to help you save some extra money. Some landlords will give you money off if you refer a new tenant – as long as they’re not a nightmare to deal with. If you’re renting, remember that getting a mortgage can sometimes give you more house for your money too.
- Update your Childcare cost strategy
Finally, remember that childcare can be one of the most expensive parts of raising a child. However, you might not be able to afford for you or your partner to stay away from work to look after your child. If you don’t need a nanny constantly, think about doing a care share.
You can share a nanny with your friends or neighbors, so you’re getting more hours for your cash. Don’t forget to ask your friends and relatives for help in the form of free childcare too.