Five Ways Parents Can Save on Fundamentals for Kids
When my husband and I had our first child a few years ago, we felt financially prepared. We had to spend our savings on fertility treatments and related medical expenses, but I was constantly working as a freelance writer and editor to make up for the losses. When our boy was born, our bank account was in good shape. We were a small family of three.
This post was originally published on LearnVest .
A few days after our son’s first birthday, I did a pregnancy test, assuming it would come back negative. This was not the case. It was a wonderful surprise, but our balance didn’t look so good this time. We were renovating a home and our savings skyrocketed due to unexpected additional costs for renovations.
After our girl arrived, I walked out of Babies R ‘Us with a check for $ 250 or more and felt like I hadn’t bought anything. Baby essentials like diapers, wipes, and formula build up at lightning speed and your monthly budget is easily ruined.
Since then, I’ve learned to look for the best deals so that my family can better stretch our dollars. This is a tactic that helps me – and can help you – save a lot when young children bite off your bank account.
Budget Offender: Baby Food
The buying formula is getting expensive. Of course, breastfeeding is the cheapest option, but it doesn’t always work out for every new mom. A wide range of infant formula is available, some of which are very expensive. One of our babies has a cow’s milk intolerance and the formula we use instead is expensive: $ 25 for 12 ounces. the can is the cheapest one found.
To keep the cost down, we signed up on the manufacturer’s website to receive monthly discount coupons from $ 5 to $ 16. Our pediatrician also helps us. She offers us samples of 8 ounce cans that the manufacturer gave to her practice. The formula is about to expire, so they need to support the proposal. Whenever we are around, we check to see if she has any extras.
You can also ask the pediatrician for a prescription if your child is using a special formula that pays some or all of the cost to your insurance company.
Budget Breaker: Food for a Family of Four
When I’m in the grocery store, I can be an impulsive shopper – it’s like I’m afraid that a zombie apocalypse is about to break out and we won’t be ready. (We’re going to need a 5-pound bag of rice, dried beans, four bottles of wine, and four pints of Ben & Jerry’s, of course!)
Luckily for my bank account, there are grocery stores and online pickup: a store clerk collects your order and then loads the bags into your car when you pull up to the sidewalk. I live in sticks – the ideal land of the zombie apocalypse – but this service is spreading throughout the United States. Harris Teeter , Kroger and Wal-Mart are just a few of the biggest names.
Ordering groceries online allows me to buy only what I need. I also save on meal planning by buying meat and vegetables that I see are on sale at a discount. This way I spend about $ 130 (plus $ 5) on a weekly trip. At the store, I would have dropped at least $ 175.
Membership in our wholesale club also helps us to limit our food budget. I travel once a month to buy meat and fish in bulk. Many wholesale clubs offer organic and grass-fed foods, as well as baby foods, so we stock up on items like baby food and cereals. Savings monthly: $ 120-150.
Budget Offender: Diapers
It costs us $ 150-200 a month to buy diapers for two kids, but luckily there are ways to cut that amount. We use Amazon Subscribe and Save to get diapers, wipes and some other essentials once a month, which cuts our diaper budget by 15%.
Diapers and napkins in large boxes are also good options. Stores like Target run regular sales designed to promote certain diaper brands. If you buy this $ 100 brand, you will receive a $ 25 gift card, which in turn will further reduce your diaper spending. Savings per month: $ 35–55.
Budget Offender: Children’s Activities
Family membership is the best option. Several times a month we take the kids to the nearest zoo or to the playground at the local children’s science museum. Because we bought a membership – $ 89 per family per year at the zoo and $ 85 per year at the museum – we’re saving hundreds of dollars annually on expensive admission tickets. Monthly savings: $ 60+.
Budget Buster: Clothes for Growing Kids
The best thing I did to get kids clothes deals was to find a great kids thrift store. And you no longer need to go to a regular store.
There are tons of online options like Kidizen app and ThredUP . These virtual sellers usually accept items for the season, so you can get your investment back by selling them back; I get $ 50- $ 75 off purchases for both kids.
Another money-saving opportunity is to stock up on family essentials like pajamas, T-shirts and jeans during the big holiday sales (40% to 60% off). Also buy a year in advance. At the end of the season, you can get huge discounts on clothes that kids can wear next year. Who wants to pay $ 30 for shorts next summer when you can get them for $ 4.99 on sale right now?
Finally, never shop without a coupon. You can always find coupons for baby clothes online or in a store. Sign up with a store, email or social media to participate in discounts regularly, and always check sites like RetailMeNot.com for additional discounts before purchasing.
Abates is also a good idea. They will refund your money for your online purchases; I received checks for $ 50.