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So don’t get me wrong, children are a blessing and I absolutely adore my kids, but they can get expensive! Especially if you have more than one!
Reports have shown that it costs roughly $250,000 to raise a single child from birth to age 18 (here is where I found that number). I used the calculator mentioned from that source and I got around $180,000, which is still not cheap! Multiply that by my 3 children and we get a ballpark figure of $540,000. Holy moly!
But of course, we don’t have to spend that much to raise our children. There are many changes and tweaks we can make to bring that number down by a decent amount! So how do we save money while still comfortably raising our kids? Let’s take a look at a few things we can do to bring that number down. These are all things that our family does to keep costs down while still living comfortably within our means.
LOWERING (OR EVEN ELIMINATING) CHILDCARE COSTS
Childcare is NOT cheap! And depending on your profession, it can sometimes cost more for childcare than you bring home, it becomes counter productive to go to work.
Now there are a few ways we can balance the scales here. One would be to find cheaper or free childcare. Perhaps the grandparents or another family member would be willing to watch your little loves for you. Or maybe you have a close friend who wouldn’t mind watching them at a lower rate.
Another solution could be that you or your spouse stays home with the children instead. There are many work-from-home opportunities out there these days that can make staying home while still earning an income possible! (see my post 6 Simple Ways To Earn Extra Income As A Stay At Home Mom)
For our family it just made more sense for me to stay home with the kids. Staying home with them meant that we could homeschool as well, which is something I feel very strongly about. (You can find out how to get started homeschooling by reading this post) To still bring in some income for our family I work from home both as a travel agent and also as a blogger for this blog that your reading right now. I am so thankful to have the option to stay home with our kids!
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HAND-ME-DOWN AND SECONDHAND CLOTHING
I can proudly tell you that a lot of my children’s clothing are secondhand items that we’ve purchased cheaply, or that were given to us for free! Your local moms group, or buy and sell group on Facebook can be an awesome source for cheap or free clothes that have been outgrown but still in perfectly good condition. Also keep an eye out for good used clothing at yard sales and thrift stores, you can find some really good deals if you’re looking for them.
I also held onto a bit of clothing from my oldest son as he outgrew them. Our third child ended up being a boy and so we were able to hand down that clothing to him. And you know kids, they grow so fast that most of their clothing is still like new by the time they’ve outgrown them! If you don’t have older children to pass down clothes, check with other family and friends with children a little older than your own. Chances are that they would be happy to pass down their gently used clothes to you.
CUT BACK ON TOY SPENDING
If we’re not careful our homes can become overrun with too many toys, and they aren’t cheap either! All the latest and greatest toys come with a hefty price tag and it adds up quickly. That’s not to say that you can’t buy toys for your children, but we need to be smart about how we do it.
A great idea is to have a designated toy area for each of your children (or one group area if your kids are similar in age and share toys). Once that space is full, no more toys. If they are outgrowing some of their toys, or if they want to add new toys, consider having a yard sale or posting items for sale on your local Facebook group. Not only will you be freeing up space for new toys, but you can recoup some of the costs and put it towards a new item.
It is often said that too many toy choices can overwhelm a child and then the toys end up not getting much use because there are just too many to choose from. I know from personal experience, that too many toys often means there are little toys in the bottom of the toy box that never see the light of day. Keeping the number of toys down will ease some of that overwhelm from your kids, and ensure that the toys they do have are ones they will use often and really enjoy.
REALLY EVALUATE THE NUMBER OF EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES YOUR CHILDREN ARE INVOLVED IN
Too many activities can cause a lot of stress and exhaustion, both mentally and physically, for both the child and the parent. If you’re constantly running back and forth from swim lessons, to soccer practice, to piano lessons, perhaps it’s time to take a good look at the number of activities your kids are in and cut back a little. I’m a firm believer that kids need down time. Always being on the go can cause a lot of stress, not to mention the amount of expectation your child may feel could be through the roof.
It’s a great idea to limit extra curricular activities to 1 per season for each child. And it’s okay to a season with no activities at all! For example, both of my older kids really enjoy playing soccer. So every spring we sign them up for soccer, JUST soccer, and they are totally happy with it. We might sign up for skating lessons in the fall/winter too, but we often go a season or two with nothing on the schedule at all for extra curricular. During the summer, especially, I find that they are happy to just be running around the yard, playing with friends, or just going for a walk to the park. There is so much to do without costly sports or camp fees!
THOSE ARE JUST SOME OF THE MAIN THINGS OUR FAMILY DOES TO SAVE MONEY WHILE STILL RAISING HAPPY KIDS
I know there are more ways to save money while raising kids, but those are my top ways that we personally keep our costs of raising kids down. Do you have other creative ways that you save money while raising kids? Let us know by sharing in the comments below! We could all use more cost saving tips right?!