There are a lot of ways to save money with children. Some of them involve making smart decisions and others just involve limiting your desire to live outside of your means. Here are some of the best tips to put into play.
Minimize Daycare Costs
Daycare is expensive and many people often find that they are working just to pay for it. This is especially true when you have multiple kids but even for one kid, the cost of daycare can be mind boggling. There are ways to cut it down to size though.
The best way to cut down on daycare costs is to use it less. Easier said than done, true, but there are ways. Most daycares will allow you to go only part time and cutting your daycare use to 3 days a week instead of five can save you 30% or more in daycare costs.
Do you have family who could watch your children a few days a week? Maybe you can work from home twice a week or work the late shift while your spouse works the early one. If you need to cut down on daycare costs, you may need to do whatever it takes to cut down your usage.
Another option to save on child care if you have multiple children is to ask for a sibling discount. Many, but not all, daycares will give discounts for having more than one child in attendance. Also, the cost is not consistent so some daycares offer more of a discount than others.
Finally, if you are a member of a church, ask about availability in their daycare program. If spots are available, you may be able to save a considerable amount over the cost of commercial daycare.
Buy A Modest Home
People often think that they need more space than they really do. This often leads them to buy much more home than is needed.
For starters, if you have a home already, you may not need to upgrade right away. Children of a young age do not necessarily need their own rooms. Two cribs can easily fit in most rooms and eventually bunk beds could get the job done. Also, they do not need their own living space. People who buy home with multiple living areas will often find that one of them does not even get used.
A home that is too big affects you in multiple ways. The obvious way is that it results in a huge mortgage payment. The not so obvious cost is the extra money that you will spend in utilities and maintenance. Save the money you would spend on an oversized home and put into savings for their college. Saving $500 now each month on housing and putting it into your retirement or college fund could have a huge impact on your life in the future.
So, if you must upgrade your home, be cautious not to overdo it. Even if you can qualify for that big house, think about all of the hidden costs and the other places that you could spend or invest your money instead.
Buy A Safe Used Vehicle
It might seem like the thing to do is to go out and buy a nice new SUV or minivan but this is usually a bad idea for many reasons.
First, as any parent will tell you, your kids are going to tear that vehicle up. Your back seat will soon be a mix of formula and juice stains. Once they get older, the juice will still be there but the formula will be replaced by french fries and chicken nuggets. It is just a shame to let them do that to a brand new car.
The second reason to avoid a new vehicle is because of the first year depreciation. This can be as much as 20 percent of the cost of the vehicle. The depreciation in the first year is the most severe and by avoiding it, you can save yourself thousands. The depreciation on a $40000 vehicle could be as much as 8000 dollars. A tough pill to swallow.
Instead of buying a brand new car, look at a slightly used one. You can buy a one or two year old vehicle that will still have factory warranty. Better yet, look at factory certified vehicles that may have power train warrantied up to 100,000 miles. You get almost all of the same perks as a new vehicle without all of the costs.
When choosing a model, think reliability and safety over a status symbol hood emblem. That Ford sport utility will drive just as well as the Mercedes one and it will probably be cheaper to insure and maintain.
Buy Second Hand
All of the savings tips above could potentially reduce the costs of children significantly. Buying second hand will reduce it in small increments but the affect can be substantial.
Whenever possible, buy something second hand with the knowledge that your children are just going to destroy it anyway.
Instead of buying a new crib for 600 dollars or more, buy it second hand for 200 dollars. It will be just as nice and, to be honest, a new one and a used one will look about the same in a few months.
Use the second hand approach with as many items as you can. Strollers, toys and even clothing can be purchased used and you can save a fortune.
Entertain At Home
You do not need lots of money to have fun. No need to take your kids to that expensive kids arcade or even the movies. You can save money by entertaining them at home or the park and the kids will probably have more fun.
Kids love to just run around and a few hours just playing in the sprinkler, with some cheap water balloons or perhaps a $5 kite would make their day.
Instead of spending the $80 it would cost to go to the movies, download a movie rental and make a couple of bags of microwave popcorn. You save a ton of money and if your kids are not quite movie age, you don’t have to worry about annoying others.
The most important thing for a kid is directing their attention towards an activity and being with them. They don’t care if it costs $5 or $100.