Do you ever wonder how you can save money while also raising kids? Here’s my list of 7 surefire ways to save money while raising kids!
You aren’t alone in believing that you need to go broke to raise kids! In fact, it is really possible to save money while also successfully raising a family. All you need to do is to make a few tweaks to your budgeting habits. Really!
Three years ago my husband and I received the biggest news of our lives. I found out that I was pregnant with our first child. While we were over the moon with joy, we knew we had to get ahead in our financing game. To be completely honest, I didn’t think we could do it. While we are both very frugal, we still had little idea of the massive financial bomb that was about to hit us.
Luckily for us, we had my two elder sisters, who are also mamas, to guide us through it all (and obviously pass on kid stuff but more on that later!)
Of course, I am learning more ways to save money on the go as I actively raise my now two-year-old.
HERE ARE MY TOP 7 SUREFIRE WAYS TO SAVE MONEY WHILE RAISING KIDS:
- TAKE THOSE HAND-ME DOWNS!
As I mentioned, I have two elder sisters who have been nothing short of a blessing when it came to any and everything about raising kids. But the best part is that to date I don’t have to worry too much about buying new clothes or toys for my son. Luckily, my youngest niece is only 9 months older than him. This means I could EASILY live off without buying new clothes and toys for him except for the very basics and/or gender-specific clothing.
Fun fact: Aniruddh has also played with toys and worn woolens that my eldest nephew used. My nephew is 14 years old now! See the beauty of hand-me-downs?
I am PASSIONATE about re-using all the stuff my nephews and nieces have worn and/or used! I feel that, as a society, we need to stop obsessing over getting new stuff for our kids. They outgrow it super fast anyway. Along with it being economical, using secondhand stuff is also environmentally safe. So much win-win, I say!
Using secondhand/ hand-me-downs is possibly the most prudent way to save thousands over a period of time. It’s also not all that hard to follow in a society like ours where families are so tightly knit. Plus, with the number of Facebook groups and online communities promoting secondhand kids’ stuff, you even get to choose from a variety of options.
- CONSIDER WORKING FROM HOME
A while ago, I made a comprehensive list of Legitimate work from home websites in India. It is by far the most clicked post here, and for good reason. Raising a family requires a lot more than simply tending to your child’s needs. Most of all, it means having to provide undivided attention to your child (mainly because these young minds are just too prone to killing themselves in the early years.)
Most women end up quitting their jobs in order to be full-time mums. This translates into single-income families and an added burden on the other partner to earn better. The cost of raising a family isn’t ever easy on anyone. So, if you have been a loyal employee and if your firm is good enough to let you work flexible hours or even work from home, don’t shy away from asking!
After my delivery, I switched to freelancing in my teaching job. This allows me to choose the projects as per my convenience. Mostly, I work on weekends or a few hours in the evenings so my husband is around to look after our son. This way, we also save on the cost of babysitting.
If working flexible hours isn’t possible, there are a lot of websites that allow you to work from home at your convenience. All you need is a laptop and decent internet connectivity. Right from filling out survey forms to teaching online, you have a plethora of options to choose from and help earn a few extra bucks.
- PLAN YOUR MEALS IN ADVANCE
Really. This might sound like it doesn’t belong here, but actually budgeting on your groceries will help reduce unnecessary expenses (and a lot of hassle too!). How? It’s simple!
You would have noticed how you end up overspending on groceries every time you make purchases without a list. Because you don’t have a plan, every item you lay your eyes upon seems like a priority. So, always plan your meals ahead. Not only does it help prioritize your grocery items, but it also works as a bonus in reducing the stress of having to decide what to cook!
Getting into the habit of writing down meal plans can help you seriously reduce the cost of raising kids. It also helps in cutting down the number of processed foods you are tempted to buy when you can’t think of what to cook for dinner tonight. Also, unprocessed foods aren’t just healthier, they are also cheaper than most processed items.
- ALSO, RE-USE YOUR MEALS!
This is one that I learned the harder way! When I introduced traditional meals to Aniruddh, we were experimenting A LOT with flavors and textures. While I almost never made separate meals for him, where I did go wrong was to promptly offer something else if he rejected a particular meal.
One day, I just factored in all the foods my son had rejected. By night, I had a plateful of rejected food! I was wasting enough food to feed another child! I was raising a single child but the meals cost me twice as much.
Needless to say, it weighed down heavily on my conscience too. Not just that, I was also turning Aniruddh into a picky eater by letting him manipulate me into offering the flavors he preferred. But now if he fusses over a particular meal, I simply offer it to him at a different time or try to do a makeover of the dish. And more often than not, it’s a winner!
- PURCHASE FROM YOUR LOCAL VENDOR
Okay, who doesn’t like the convenience of shopping in a centrally air-conditioned facility equipped with a variety of brands to choose from? Confession- I’m a sucker for malls! I simply love the comfort that shopping in malls provides.
But I also love my money! Especially now that we have another mouth to feed.
Moreover, I know for a fact that every brand item comes with an additional cost for its brand value itself. So, every time I purchase Australian carrots from the hypermarket in the nearest mall, I am essentially also paying part of the mall’s electricity and maintenance costs. Instead, I could get locally produced carrots from the vegetable vendor that sets his roadside stall every evening. This way not only am I saving money, but I am also ensuring fresh, locally produced foods for my family.
Bonus point, I am also doing a good deed by helping my local farmers earn and be able to provide food to their families!
While not compromising on the quality, I also consciously purchase other stuff like clothes from a local vendor instead of relying heavily on branded products.
- KNOW HOW MANY TOYS ARE TOO MANY
A recent study suggests that too many toys are actually bad for kids. Surprised much?
While it is easy to go overboard with toys (also because toys make no-brainer gifts!), kids with too many toys find it difficult to play with any at all. Having so many toys to choose from is counter-productive for the child’s ability to focus.
Aniruddh has a dedicated toy trunk, and once that is full, we stop accepting toys. In fact, we either put the extra ones up for sale on secondhand websites or donate them. This also teaches him the virtues of humility.
Let the guilt of not wanting to purchase an expensive toy for your child’s birthday not weigh you down. By budgeting on those toys, you are saving a lot on your child’s lifetime.
- YOUR CHILD DOESN’T NEED TO ENROL IN ALL EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
This one’s a touchy topic for MANY parents. I don’t blame them! We are raised to believe that extra-curricular courses are the pathway to a child’s ultimate success. We are made to FOMO.
“What if I am never able to recognize my child’s potential to be a good football player and a great orator? I will never be able to find out unless I enroll them in various classes throughout the week!”
Rest assured. You aren’t “depriving” your child off discovering their talent if you don’t go on an experimental spree with co-curricular activities. Your child will still learn social skills and eventually also tap on their own talent if you allow them to pick just ONE activity.
Meanwhile, you can look for FREE activities in your area by looking through the local newspaper and being part of local activity groups. And, if you are the social type, you could even arrange a few fun activities for kids!
Not only is this easy on the pocket, but you will also be less stressed. You won’t have to hop between activity centers which means you also save on the gas money!
The pressure of the aspirational middle-class in our society is very real. And the sooner we get over it, we will realize that raising kids doesn’t have to make one go broke.
WHAT ARE YOUR SUREFIRE WAYS TO SAVE MONEY RAISING A FAMILY?