Raising a child is expensive and while it’s totally worth it, Lucy Kippist has some excellent tips for making life with kids a little easier (and cheaper).
$1million and counting
Alert! Don’t read this while drinking anything hot or operating heavy machinery.
The average cost of raising a child to 17 years of age is $297, 600.
Joe has three kids which – as he writes – means he’ll be forking out approximately $1million before all of his kids leave home.
Read more about raising kids:
- Why tough love has nothing to do with raising resilient kids
- 10 ways to raise happy kids
- 9 surefire ways to raise kids who are kind and caring
I have two kids, which doesn’t seem that much better given they’re only five and two.
Joe chose to tackle the financial challenge of parenting by embracing life as a “cheapskate dad” – trying to save money whenever and however he can before his kids grow up and realise what he’s doing.
Forget the lotto tickets – try these!
His top tip? Taking popcorn (pre-microwaved at home) for those family trips to the movies.
Ha. Not a bad idea. And much more practical than hoping for a lottery win, right?
With that in mind, I consulted the oracle of parenting tips – my Facebook mother’s group – and asked them for their number one money-saving tip for raising young kids.
Here’s what they came back with:
- Always take food with you. Doesn’t matter if you’re heading to the park or just a drive to the grandparents, someone will always get hungry.
- Save up your visit to museums and art galleries etc, for cheap entry days.
- Use your freezer! Cooking ahead is a great idea but you need to have somewhere to store it for it to work its magic.
- Have children of the same gender (okay, so that’s a bit tricky to order ahead!), or pair up with a friend with same-aged opposite-sexed children, for a ready supply of pre-loved clothes and shoes.
- Accept all offers of free help – babysitting, food, furniture, clothes, toys. You always need more of all that stuff!
- Head to the big fruit and veggie markets once a week. Start a rotating group with your neighbours and get everything fresher and cheaper.
- Recycle, reuse and regift! I always keep wrapping paper and gift bags (the trick is to remember who gave them originally to avoid any uncomfortable moments!)
- Buy nappies online and in bulk. Consider this for toilet paper too.
- Get a Netflix account – $10 a month for SO many movies and that means you can skip the cinema (and those pricey treats) altogether.
- Wherever possible, don’t take your children to the supermarket; they will make you spend more or you’ll spend more bribing them to cooperate.
- Join a local parents group on Facebook – great for swapping tips, finding freebies and making friends in the park.
- Learn how to cook! You don’t have to be a MasterChef but simple meals are healthier, cheaper and easier if you can make them from scratch at home.
- Ask for memberships to places like the zoo for Christmas and birthday presents. Even if you visit for an hour a couple of times a month, it’s still a bargain!
- If you’re a working parent, pack your lunch! It saves so much money every week and also time.
- Always pack a baby bag with a change of clothes, a hat and umbrella for EVERYONE. Just in case.
- A packet of sultanas hidden in the glovebox of the car or the stroller caddy will save you money and sanity.
- Buying a great pair of kids’ shoes? Minimise the risk of never finding them again and buy two pairs at the same time! Same goes with jeans and swimming costumes.
- Don’t underestimate the park date as a great energy burner for the kids, time out for the parents and a great dose of Vitamin D (mood control) for all!
- Have a fiver party! Or better yet, have a group party with kids born in the same birthday month.
- Grow your own vegetables and herbs. And if you live in an apartment, rally your neighbours to join you and double the output!