If you haven't visited Sarah's Everyday Life on a Shoestring, it's high time you did. This blog is full of fantastic money-saving tips for parents of young children. It's personable, friendly, and charming, and we're honored to have Sarah with us on Babysitting Co-op 101 today. She's sharing some of her best money-saving tips with us. After you finish reading this post, we suggest you hop on over to her blog and learn some more!
Having kids is an expensive business. According to the Guardian newspaper, in 2013 the cost of raising a child in the UK has risen to an astronomical £222,458 ($374,042).
You would be right in thinking that the expensive part of raising a child would be getting them through college or university, but the next most expensive years are from age 1 to 5.
Armed with that knowledge, how can parents of young children save money?
Here are our five top tips (excluding childcare, which is well catered for on this blog!)
- The Guardian cites parental guilt over technological gadgets as another major cost; UK expenditure on kit for kids amounts to £302 annually. For young children this simply isn’t necessary. We all know that too much screen time is not good for anyone, especially young children. Our kids are expected to use the family computer and TV rather than having their own and a secondhand console is used for games. Both kids now have phones, but are on the cheapest contract we could find. This approach has not impaired them in any way – they are digital natives and are far more literate in all this stuff than I am.
- Buying secondhand also applies to many other things that have been required. From birth we bought clothes, toys, baby equipment, buggies and books secondhand, as well as never saying no to any offers of hand-me-downs. The world is awash with plastic toys and kids equipment, so don’t contribute to this ocean by buying new. Check out charity shops, eBay, school sales and Freecycle.
- From an early age, encourage children to save their own birthday, Christmas or pocket money to buy the things that they want. This teaches them the value of things and helps clarify whether an item is something they really want or just a whim.
- Avoid peer pressure! Just because other friends are going on expensive holidays or cinema trips, attend multiple after-school clubs, or have the latest gadget, it doesn’t mean that everyone has to. A camping holiday, playing in the garden at home, having a friend to play or watching a DVD together as a family can be just as fun. And today’s busy children need down-time as much as we do.
- The best things in life really are free! Parks, puddles, trees, the sky, museums, libraries, street entertainers, time with friends and family. It’s all available if you seek it out and costs nothing!
Many thanks to Sarah at Everyday Life On a Shoestring for this post!