By some estimates parents will spend as much as $300,000 raising one child, not including college costs. While we all want what is best for our kids, that doesn’t necessarily translate into spending top dollar to get it for them. In this age of frugality, the smarter parents know how to provide quality at bargain prices. Here are a few ways caring parents have stretched their parenting dollars:
Thrifty shopping – We all grew up wearing hand-me-downs. And we know children’s clothes have about a three to six month wear-span. At some “high-end” thrift stores you can find lightly worn, sometimes brand new baby and children’s clothes. The high end stores can be found on the edge of the more affluent neighborhoods. Toys, which also have a short life-span, can be found in abundance at these stores as well. Swap meets are also excellent shopping venues, and they’re fun.
Barter for child care – exchange services for volunteer time or donations to the provider. Another option is ‘care’-pool with friends and neighbors and split the cost of local care-giver.
Play in the community – Many community schools and organizations offer organized activities year round. While many do charge for their services, most will negotiate fees or provide financial assistance if needed. Plan more stay-cations and less out-of-town vacations.
Prioritize fun – You can’t do it all, and neither should your kids. Indoctrinate your kids early on that their needs to be a balance between home responsibilities and playtime. Establish a “fun” budget and stick with it. Impulse spending on kids can account for as much as 20% of child rearing costs.
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