Note: We receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this site. Our sponsors, however, do not influence our editorial content in any way.
There are dozens of things new parents are destined to learn, but one of the largest is that everything is more expensive than you’d thought it would be. We know what you’re thinking – “How can something so small cost so much?”
The bad news is that there’s no way around many of these expenses, be they an unexpected hospital stay or a new pair of shoes. The good news, though, is that you’re not in it alone and that there are dozens of ways to save money, stretch your dollar further, and make sure raising children doesn’t destroy your piggy bank.
According to CNNMoney, it can cost about a quarter of a million dollars to raise a child to age 18. Here’s how to shave some zeros off of that and keep your budget in check as your little ones grow.
When you have an infant or toddler, the temptation to order take-out to avoid cooking is real. Do too much of that, though, and your budget will start to feel it. Instead, cook at home as much as possible. Cook in bulk so you can eat leftovers for a few days, or dedicate one day a weekend to meal prep.
Little children grow fast, and that means they outgrow their toys and clothes quickly. Instead of buying new items all the time, find used things that will suit their needs. It’s surprisingly easy to find pre-owned versions of the items you need, at a fraction of the cost!
If you’re like most families, housing is probably your largest expense. Now is the time to make sure that your housing costs aren’t out of control. As a general rule, you shouldn’t be spending more than 30% of your after-tax income on housing. If you find that you are, it may be time to reconsider.
Don’t abandon your debt repayment plan now that the little ones are here. If it makes it easier to squirrel money away, keep it in a separate account, where you won’t be tempted to spend it on a cute new pair of pants or toys for your little one. If debt consolidation will move you closer to your goals, check out our list of some of the best companies to get started.
In most states, childcare costs more than college tuition. Ouch. Cut some of this expense by seeing if you and your partner can get on alternating schedules, or if you can split childcare with a family friend. Anything you can do to cut down on the expense will go a long way.
Raising kids can be expensive. Fortunately, there are ways to keep some of those dollars in your pocket and keep your family happy in the meantime.