Let’s face it – parenting isn’t easy, and it surely isn’t cheap. According to data from the US Department of Agriculture, from birth to 18 years of age, the average cost to raise a child comes to nearly $235,000. This doesn’t include college tuition. Despite being the most well-intentioned parent, many new moms and dads are ill-prepared for the actual costs associated with raising a child.
Many couples find themselves struggling to make ends meet after their first bundle of joy arrives. Whether due to extra expenses or a loss of employment, these parents often have to sacrifice and make big changes to meet their financial obligations.
If you find yourself scrimping and saving just to make ends meet after the birth of your little one, read on to discover tips to help you parent well on a tight budget. Where you can, set aside some money for your kids for investments and learn more about an upcoming Blockchain Programming Hackathon.
- Find Cheaper Alternatives
You may have been used to buying brand-name products before your baby arrived, but there’s nothing wrong with buying generic to save a buck or two. Store brand diapers, affordable online tutoring for older kids, and generic clothing brands can be just as effective as their more expensive counterparts.
- Use Coupons
Many busy parents think they don’t have time to clip coupons, but taking time to do so, both online and off, can result in significant money savings at the register. For items you use often (like diapers), visit the brand’s website to request samples and coupons. If you don’t already, get the Sunday paper, which usually has a plethora of coupons for everyday items you probably already use.
- Share and Trade with Other Parents
Babies and toddlers rarely wear out toys and clothing. They usually outgrow these things before that happens. Find other parents in your area who are willing to share and trade toys,a baby swing, equipment, and clothing with you, or hit up garage sales and thrift stores for cheap, gently used items.
- Find Cheap Entertainment
Young kids don’t need expensive fun. They are happy to run around, play with other kids, and explore new things. There are a lot of fun and inexpensive ways to entertain your child. Go to the park, take advantage of public swimming pools, make play dates with other children, and take time to explore and enjoy nature when you can.
- Take Advantage of Government Assistance
There is no shame in receiving government assistance to care for your family. There are many state and federal government assistance programs available to help parents buy food, pay for housing, obtain medical insurance, and more. What you’re able to access will depend on your income and the number of family members in your house. If you are struggling to make ends meet, be sure to find out if you qualify for any assistance programs. Not having to worry about where your child’s next meal is coming from is a huge relief!
- Cut Spending and Stick to a Budget
It’s easier said than done, but many couples don’t realize just how much they spend frivolously each month. Track your spending for a month, then sit down together and decide where cuts can be made to save even the smallest amount of money. Once you’ve figured out what should go, continue to track your spending so you stick to your new budget.
Parenting is an expensive undertaking, with many couples being ill-prepared for the added expense. Struggling to make ends meet seems to be the norm for many parents, so if you fall into this category, be sure to adopt the suggestions above to parent well on a tight budget.