Easing the Financial Burden of Raising a Child

There is no doubt that kids are expensive. When they’re little, it’s the cost of diapers and formula. As they grow, the expenses switch to shoes, clothes and the toys and gadgets they all desire.

School fees can be enough to put you in the poorhouse, and there are extra-curricular activities along the way that drain your wallet and leave you pressed for time. Fortunately, there are some ways you can save money on all the things your kids need and want.

Save on Clothing

Clothes are a real budget-killer, particularly when your child hits a growth spurt. However, you don’t have to spend a small fortune on clothing, and you will never pay full price again when you embrace these tips.

Thrift Stores – Basics like jeans, T-shirts and play clothes can come from the thrift stores. While you may not find the high-fashion shirts your blossoming teenager wants there, you can still find plenty of the basics at great prices. If your child is old enough to resist the idea of thrift store, tell them you can use the money you save to buy those killer shoes they’ve been eyeing.

Clearance – Stores need to move merchandise, especially when the season is winding to a close. Teach your children the value of clearance racks. You can get the name brand clothes they desire at incredible savings, just by trolling through the discount aisle. Watch the local papers for money-saving coupons to your favorite stores and you will save even more.

Online – Once you know what brands and styles your child loves, surf the Internet to find the deals you can appreciate.

Entertainment Can be Cheap

Hit the library for books and videos. There is no cost to check them out, and you won’t have the items cluttering up the house when you’re done. Consider a membership to programs like Gamefly or Netflix to rent games and movies for one low price.

Watch online sites like Craigslist and eBay to find the best deals on gently used electronics and toys. There’s no reason to pay full price for the newest gadget when you can buy the previous generation for 60 percent off.

Yard sales and thrift stores are your best friend when it comes to toys for younger children. Toys from companies like Fisher Price and Little Tykes last forever, and you can usually find them cheap at these second-hand markets.

Eyeglasses

If your child needs eyeglasses, then you know how costly their vision can prove to be. A non-negotiable purchase, you must get your child vision-correcting glasses if they are required. While this expense can easily run thousands of dollars, there are ways to lower the cost.

Visit discount stores like Wal-Mart to pick up the frames and glasses. Even if they don’t take your insurance, you may find that they are still less expensive than buying glasses at the optometrist’s office. Another option is to pick a pair of glasses you like at the optometrist, and then search the Internet for a better price on the frames your child really likes.

Buy durable frames. Cheap frames are never a good deal if they fall apart after six months. If you buy quality frames that will last, then you can just have the lenses replaced when the prescription changes. It will cost a little more initially, but it will save you money in the end.

Extra-Curricular

One of the biggest expenses is the extra-curriculars. When a fundraiser is offered, have your child participate. They will learn the value of working for money and earning what you want, and you will get a little break on your expenses.

Raising a child is rewarding but costly. You can save money on their clothing, toys and other goodies by shopping smart and making good use of the library. When it comes to school supplies, plan ahead and shop early for the best sales. Finally, consider establishing a monthly slush fund. Every month, put some money in that fund to help pay for those little extras like cool new shoes, electronics and eyeglasses.

Guest author Sara Roberts is a freelancer blogger who writes about saving money, budgeting, and avoiding debt. She’s also a regular content contributor for online eyeglasses retailer Just Eyewear.

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