Parenting On A Budget – Is It Doable?

Raising a family is expensive. There are so many costs associated with parenting such as all the equipment and paraphernalia that a young baby requires, all the way up to when your child reaches their teens and wishes to learn to drive and go to college.

A little creativity and planning can help you save money and stay within your budget. In reality, children don’t need to be inundated with lavishly expensive possessions. As the saying goes “the best things in life are free!”

Live within your budget

It sounds a very simple concept – don’t spend more than you have coming in, however, the reality is a different matter. How many of us actually know exactly what we spend our money on every month? If you go over budget you will find yourself borrowing a little of next month’s budget or spending on credit cards.

Try to only spend money on necessities rather than luxuries, even the daily latte you have on the way to work can eat into your budget.

Often families can find themselves with a whole array of credit cards, all with different levels of APR. Managing a number of credit cards can be rather like a juggling act and you may be better applying for a  so that the balance is easier to manage.

Write all your incomings and outgoings down and try to identify areas where you can make savings. Look at your utility providers and check that you are getting the best deals. Cancel gym memberships if you no longer attend and check that your mobile phone is on the correct tariff for your usage.

Spend time together as a family

Children don’t require expensive toys in order to learn and flourish, they just need quality time spent with their parents and plenty of love.

Look at the free activities that mother nature offers, walks in the park, picnics by the river, seashell and conker collecting. All these activities will create memories of a happy childhood that will last forever.

Try not to feel guilty about not being able to provide your child with the latest toy fad on the market, your child will instead learn about how much things cost and they will develop valuable budgeting skills.

Meal plan

Most people’s monthly budget is spent on food. So much food is wasted if you don’t plan your menu carefully. Cooking from scratch using fresh ingredients is healthy as well as frugal. Many websites are available to give inspiration for healthy low-cost meals.

Teaching your child how to cook is another essential life skill, so involve your children in the meal planning stage and preparing the meal.

Creating a weekly menu plan will allow you to shop more frugally, as you will only buy what is on your list. Online shopping is great for budgeting as you are less likely to succumb to clever marketing strategies adopted by supermarkets to tempt you into buying something new.

Clothes shopping

Planning is key for getting clothing bargains. Try to buy clothes in the sales and even buy out of season for the next year. Supermarkets have a good range of well priced clothing items and charity shops and ebay are fantastic resources for grabbing a bargain.

Raising children on a budget may feel quite daunting at the beginning, but it with a bit of planning you will be able to spread your monthly budget a little further. There are also some surprising benefits of being frugal, especially if you get the whole family on board, it can be fun and teaches your child vital skills for the future.

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