Life is expensive, it always has been, and it seems that it always will be. The big expenses in our lives are the ones that we won't even take into account in 30 years’ time. There are the big family holidays that we spent years saving up for, but overall the big cost in our lives is our kids. Statistically, the cost of raising a child to the age of 21 born in 2016 is £230,000! This takes into account childcare costs as well as school expenses, like uniforms, sports kits, and school trips. Now, that is a lot of money in one hit, and you can even buy a house with that amount of money. If you are expecting a child and are panicking about money, it is something that will never leave you. Money and debt will always hang over our heads, but it shouldn’t be something that we spend every day worrying about. Otherwise, we won't enjoy seeing our little son or daughter growing up, and you will look back on everything with a tinge of regret that you didn’t savour the little memories. So let’s sort this out now. How can we look after our children within a decent budget? It all starts before the baby is born…
Go Easy On The “Essentials”
When you're pregnant, the temptation at the very start is to go out and buy everything you possibly think you’ll need because you won’t have any money when the baby is born. This method leaves you out of pocket quite early on, and if you’ve bought too many items, some will go to waste, and some will be too much of a hassle to get a receipt on. From the beginning of your pregnancy, you will have no idea how big you will be. You may have a small bump which means that you could feasibly get away with buying some bigger sizes rather than maternity clothes, which really get bumped up in price because the word “maternity” is on the packet. You have 9 months to get yourself together, so speak to other mums and really understand what the essentials are. Comfortable clothes are essential at the start, the nappy rash cream is not!
Some people are too proud to accept “charity” but when you're pregnant, but you will have family members that want to buy you useful things, like the pram or car seat, and you will see that these aren’t cheap! So make the most of their meaning well. It will become apparent towards the end of the pregnancy that you may have missed out on an essential item, and that’s where that spare bit of cash will come in handy.
Get Into The Discount Mind Set
We are all bargain hunters to an extent, but looking after a baby is a big drain on your bank balance, and it will only get more expensive. So you are best off getting into the bargain hunter way of life. There are plenty of second-hand websites, and there are coupon sites like CouponSherpa.com which are constantly updated. Finding the bargains will become second nature after a while, but you don’t need to go hunting in the shops if you don’t have the time. Online, there are plenty of options and price comparison sites to make your trip to the shops easier. In fact, there are deals online that you won’t get in their store if you know where to look.
There is a use for Clubcard and Nectar points, finally! Amass enough, and you can get an expensive item for half the cost or even free. Sign up to loads of parenting and baby clubs, and you will usually get a book of vouchers for joining.
Make The Most Of Your Evenings
If you have a baby or a teenager, finding ways to fill the evening that means quality family time doesn’t have to be TV. Board games, movie nights, or even having a family meal at the dinner table are simple habits to get into that are good for everyone but also helps to cut down on the outgoings. The old-fashioned habit of having some friends over on a Saturday night isn’t just cheaper than going to the pub, but it’s a pastime of old that needs to come back.
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