10 Tips to Raise Happy Healthy Children On The Cheap
The decision to have children is not a cheap one. Kids are expensive. Anyone who tells you otherwise either does not have children or has a lot more money than I do.
Kids don’t have to break the bank though. Here are 10 tips to raise healthy, happy children on the cheap!
1. Buy their clothes used. Consignment or resale shops are my best friends. I can find brand name, high quality clothing for 70-90% off. Sometimes even with the tags still on! My older sister had a twin boy and girl and bought their clothes in lots off of Ebay. Have a sibling or a friend having kids along with you, pass the clothing back and forth. There’s absolutely no reason you have to walk into Baby Gap and buy a $40 cardigan for your newborn. Not only is that just slightly silly, with how fast kids grow out of their clothes, it’s also pretty impractical.
2. Nurse. If you can’t nurse, use generic formula. Breast is best; we all know it so I won’t get into it. I had issues breastfeeding and had to use formula. My pediatrician encouraged us to go the generic route. Formula is very highly regulated by the FDA, go ahead compare ingredients. My kids both had reflux and actually did better on the generic formula than the pricey brand name.
3. Make their food from scratch. Baby food is super easy to make from scratch, and cheaper! For the most part you steam or bake the food until it’s almost falling apart. Than blend it, adding a bit of water if it needs it. Freeze it in ice cube trays and pop out a cube when the baby is hungry! This also applies to older kids. Convenience snacks can be made from scratch. Google homemade granola bars and you will get pages and pages of results.
4. Make use of coupons! When you have kids, your household needs such as paper towels, toilet paper, shampoo etc, increase dramatically. Learn to play the drugstore game and become a strategic bargain shopper. I save thousands every year because I am a bargain shopper, you can too!
5.Sign up for all the formula company programs. Even if you don’t feed formula, they will send you free diaper bags, coupons for other baby items and you can give the formula coupons to friends or family who need them
6. Toys can also be purchased used, but remember sometimes less is more. How many times do you hear a parent say “I bought this awesome toy that lights up/talks/vibrates/sings the national anthem/answers the door and my kid just played with the box”? Learn from that.
7. Play WITH your kids. All your kids really need is you. Head on out to the backyard or to the park and I promise they’ll get more out of that time WITH you than playing at Chuck E Cheese or the moonwalk place.
8. Rent entertainment. Netflix and the library are our best friends. Netflix has a streaming On Demand service with a TON of children’s programming. Super cheap and easy. The public library has millions of children’s books. I’ve seen some libraries with more kid’s books than adult books! Take advantage!
9. Remember, everything is an adventure to a kid. They don’t need to go to Peru to have their mind blown. Take them to the beach, to the park, take them to a botanical garden. Watch their faces light up when they see something for the first time. Enjoy the world through your child’s eyes. That cost nothing, and is absolutely priceless.
10. Save for their future now. It doesn’t have to be hundreds of dollars a month. Just remember every little bit you do now, you don’t have to do later. This includes programs like Upromise, where you simply sign up and get a bit of cash back for every qualifying purchase you make. Don’t count on them getting scholarships or financial aid. Save yourself the stress and start when they are little.
Of course you will need to pay for insurance, school taxes and fees, etc. Every little bit helps. You don’t have to pay full price OR sacrifice fun and learning to raise kids on a budget. You just need to be a little creative!
This is a guest post from Heather at Family Friendly Frugality.