Raising kids is expensive; more food and trying to buy organic products, nice clothes and the occasional family restaurant dinner can add up quickly, and it’s important to plan out a budget ahead of time so you’re prepared. Once you have your first child, it’s expected that Americans spend about $14,000 on expenses for them every year. That’s a lot of money in just 365 days, but there are a lot of things you can do to help save money and make your life easier. Whether you are purchasing long-lasting products like a quality baby swing or going the thrifty route, planning ahead is key.
Go Thrift Shopping
Yes, we are all guilty – having a first child leads us to purchasing that cute pair of Converse sneakers and matching shirt. A splurge here and there is fine, but when you’re purchasing new shoes and clothes all the time (and you will be, because kids grow FAST), it can quickly add up. Used kids clothes are a lot cheaper than normal store prices, and are often very lightly used since children aren’t in them for that long before parents have to move up in sizes. By choosing to go thrift store shopping, you’ll cut retail costs by over half and can put the extra money into more substantial purchases.
This can make the most difference in your spending amounts every month. Sitting down on a Sunday night planning the week’s meals is worth it, since you’ll spend less time in the store just buying things you think you’ll use, but don’t end up cooking with it for months. An important thing to keep in mind is to really stick to this list, and not veer away into the beauty and accessory aisles. Buying exactly what you need for the week will prevent you from popping into the expensive market stores to buy one or two ingredients that you forgot.
Buying in bulk also saves money and works if you have another fridge or freezer that can store extra food items.
Resist the Morning Starbucks
We all do it, we’re in a rush on our morning commute and stop in line to get that hot coffee or latte. These coffee chains and little shops are way more expensive than just making your coffee at home and putting it in a flask to go. That $3 latte 5 times a week is now $15 that you could be saving in your bank account. If you don’t want to completely erase the cute coffee shops from your life, limit yourself to one every other Friday of the month, as a treat.
Don’t Buy Books
Instead of heading to the beautiful air conditioned Barnes and Noble, head to your local library instead. We all have those books we spend twenty dollars on, read once, and are now sitting as household decor on a living room bookshelf. Libraries always try to stay up-to-date on authors’ books and ones that are recently published, so you shouldn’t have any issues trying to find a good read.