March 22, 2013

Money Saving Tips for Parents

(Image: Family Portraits, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from vonderauvisuals’s photostream)

You’ve heard it countless times from everybody you know, and probably some people you don’t know that well as well, babies are expensive.
So here at Qmee we’ve listened to our nearest and dearest and compiled the best and most popular money saving tips to make time spent with your bundle of joy a, well, joy.

1 – The biggie – buy second hand

A lot of things you will need will be of no use a few months down the line so see if you can get items from charity shops, second hand or on sale. Always check that there has been no recall on bigger products before you commit to purchasing. The only thing it is not advised to buy second hand is car seats because you can’t be sure it has not been in an accident.
Young children grow so fast sometimes clothes that fit them one week won’t the next; this is where friends and family who have children at similar ages come in handy. Even if you have several children between you, swap clothes on a cycle between them so every child gets a wear. Same goes if you have several children yourself, this way it is possible to have a stockpile of clothes for each child.

Also, keep a look out for offers and giveaways in parenting magazines and blogs.

2 – Breastfeed

Obviously it’s free and even if mummy is going back to work it is not necessary to buy an expensive pump. It is all down to preference, but some people find hand pumps just as effective. But, breastfeeding isn’t for everyone and you can sometimes get help for formula through the Government – you just need to research your options and apply – the worst they can do is say no!

3 – Food

Always plan meals before going shopping; you will spend less in the long run if you know ingredients you need for the week beforehand.
Beware of false economy with things like homemade baby food – sometimes children will not like it and it will be a waste of time and effort. It’s an idea to buy small jars until you’ve established what they like so there is minimal waste – then again, some say don’t bother with baby food at all and start them on soft adult food when they’re ready.

As for you as parents, decide on an amount as a couple you can spend on ‘treats’, for example Friday night beer or afternoon coffee, so no-ones sacrificing whilst the other is spending.

4 – Toys

Don’t worry about the ‘fun stuff’ too much, a lot of toys simply turn up between Christmas and birthdays anyway, try not to fall for the ‘must-have’ toy too often. Toddlers in particular are bored easily, so avoid rapidly replacing things – kids can make almost anything fun when they put their minds to it.

5 – Childcare

It’s not ideal for everyone, but having a stay at home parent could actually save money in the long run considering how expensive childcare is. Leaving the kids with a trusted relative will obviously make a lot of sense also. As for what to actually do with your children, research cheap or free things in your area – it will also ensure you meet other parents and children. Libraries and museums are one of the main ideas and many offer free or family memberships.

Basically, babies and children are expensive, but only as much as you make them. If you do your research and take on board a little bit of everyone’s ideas you will achieve a balance that’s good for you.

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