Children Change Financial Outlook

Children Change Financial Outlook

Personal financial management presents plenty of obstacles, in its own right, but adding children drastically changes household finances. As a result, moms and dads are typically eager to save money wherever they can. Fortunately, cash-strapped families continue to devise effective solutions to monetary issues tied to child-rearing.

Regardless of the ages of your children, saving money on the cost of kids contributes to financial stability and frees-up resources for other household expenses. If you have experience raising children, however, you’re familiar with the unending spending cycle kids generate. Is it possible to slow this call for cash?

You are not alone in your quest for frugal family solutions, so it pays to use others’ experience to your advantage. The following money saving tips represents a few of the proven tactics parents lean-on to make ends meet.

Entertaining Kids Doesn’t call for Major Investment

There is no way around the fact goods and services cost money. Kids have a unique perspective about entertainment, however, because each new experience adds to their frame of reference – regardless of its price. As a result, children are eager to participate in all kinds of low-budget activities. By committing to this frugal standard, your creative thinking is the bridge to endless family enjoyment, without wiping-out your entertainment budget.

Free Attractions – More than a specific takeaway from a particular outing, kids want your time and attention. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, use their curiosity to keep them entertained. Remember, there are countless parents in your area working toward the same goals, so free attractions are made available by municipalities and local organizations committed to parenting. Reading events at the library, parades, and summer recreation programs are just a few of the worthy distractions put-forth to keep kids entertained – at little or no cost.

Get Outdoors – Parks and other outdoor spaces are perfect stretching grounds for kids on the move. Make an event out of each trip, to get kids on-board the excursions. Depending upon where you live, parks within reach may be equipped with slides, swings, giant sand boxes and other outdoor diversions unavailable at home. If possible, arrange playdates at local parks, bringing you together with like-minded moms and dads.

Finding a Path to Home Ownership

Parents naturally seek to provide the best possible outcomes for their kids, including living conditions that help them succeed. Home ownership furnishes an important building block for financial security, as well as consistency for school-age kids. To deliver this stability, growing families often prioritize home-buying as a near term financial goal.

Credit Concerns – Your primary concern preparing for home ownership is your strength of credit. Loans are available for those without adequate credit references – review them here – but for a home purchase, you’ll need substantial financing. Evaluating credit status up-front helps manage your expectations, and gives you a number to work with, as you compare homes. Loan pre-approval also provides an advantage in today’s real estate market, enabling you to move quickly when a suitable home is found.

Savings Strategies – The best way to save money for a home purchase is sequestering funds specifically for that purpose. Once mingled with household cash flow, the money will likely go toward day to day spending, rather than building for a down payment. To start accumulating a sizable deposit, first run your budget number to determine how much you can afford to set-aside, and then establish a separate bank account in which to deposit your home fund. Set saving goals and do your best to keep the money off-limits for anything other than a new house.

Networking with Other Parents Yields Savings

Other parents’ experience shortens your learning curve, so their input should be welcomed. To benefit from other moms and dads know-how, network with parents in your area. Not only will it shed insight, but keeping in touch with other families can save you money.

Second Hand Cycle Serves Frugal Parents – Kids clothes and furnishings are expensive, so pre-owned savings furnish financial relief for parents. Staying in-touch with others in the same boat creates contacts for buying, selling and trading second-hand furniture, clothes and other kids’ accessories.

Babysitters and Other Benefits – Having walked in your shoes, experienced parents have made valuable contacts. Babysitter referrals from trusted sources are a goldmine for moms and dads without a solid corps of watchful sitters. And this vital information is not the only assistance networking brings, you can also glean valuable knowledge about entertaining, feeding, and caring for kids, on a budget.

How to Spend Less on Diapering

Whether you have a single baby in diapers or multiple children in diapers at the same time, the cost of keeping little ones clean and dry can really add up. A single diaper can cost anywhere from $0.20 to over $0.50 depending on the type you buy, and since most babies go through 5 to 8 diapers a day, that’s a lot of money all in. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to reduce the amount you spend each month on diapering supplies.

Get a Diaper and Wipes Subscription

Common baby supplies like diapers, wipes, and ointment are available via monthly online subscription programs. Retailers like Amazon and offer these programs which make diapering supplies not only more affordable, but more convenient. Rather than have to run to the store all the time, you can sign up to have the supplies you expect to need each month delivered to your home automatically. Best of all, you’ll pay considerably less than what you would at most physical stores.

Use the Same Brand and Collect Points

Many diaper companies offer rewards programs to encourage brand loyalty among their customers. Once you find a diaper brand that seems to work for your baby, sign up for its rewards program online. Then, collect the codes that come on your packaging and enter them into your account, and before you know it, you’ll probably have enough to snag some free supplies.

Search for Coupons

There are tons of coupons out there for diapers, wipes, and other such supplies—you just need to be willing to look for them. A simple online search will probably reveal a number of them, but you can also look for coupons in baby magazines, newspapers, and local circulars.

Look for Warehouse Club Deals

Warehouse clubs tend to offer discounted pricing in exchange for buying in bulk, and diapers are no exception. While warehouse clubs don’t always carry a full range of diapering supplies and sizes, it pays to check if your local club has the diapers you need in stock. You may be able to buy them at an even more discounted price than a subscription program offers. As an added bonus, some warehouse clubs offer monthly specials or coupons that allow you to score a discount on top of their already reduced prices. If you’re not already a member of a warehouse club, it may not pay for you to join one just to save on diapers; but if you’re paying that yearly membership fee anyway, you might as well take advantage.

Don’t Always Use a Wipe

It’s natural to want your baby to be clean and comfortable, and if your little one pops a stinker, there’s no question about it: You’ll need to use as many wipes as it takes to get your baby nice and clean. But in the absence of a poop situation, there’s really no need to use a wipe every single time you do a diaper change—especially if your baby’s diaper is only slightly wet. Being a little stingy with wipes can save you a nice chunk of change over the course of a year.

While the cost of diapers may be taking a toll on your finances now, there’s good news: Your child will be potty-trained eventually, and when that happens, you can kiss those diapers goodbye. Until then, be patient and hang in there.

How to Save Money Dining Out With Kids




No matter where you go or what you order, eating at a restaurant is almost always going to be more expensive than preparing a meal at home. Whether you dine out with your children once a week, once a month, or just several times a year, there are a bunch of steps you can take to keep your costs to a minimum.

Look Out for Specials

It’s common for family restaurants to offer promotions ranging from discounted appetizers to a free child meal for each adult meal purchased. One of the easiest ways to save money on dining out is to take advantage of these specials, even if it means going out a little earlier or on a weeknight instead of a weekend. Similarly, check your local mailers for coupons issued by the
restaurants you tend to frequent.

Share Entrees

Children don’t tend to eat as much as adults, so if your kids are small and not particularly big eaters, consider either having them share entrees or having you and your spouse share your entrées with them. If you’re worried that it won’t be enough food, try ordering one extra side dish as a supplement.

Skip the Kids’ Meals

Kids’ meals aren’t always all that economical. Sometimes a kids’ meal will cost only a few dollars less than an adult-sized meal, but will also consist of a lot less food. If you dine at restaurants where the adult-sized portions tend to be generous, try having your children share a single full-sized entrée.

Drink Water

Going out to dinner is a nice treat by itself; you don’t have to load up on overpriced, unhealthy beverages to enhance the experience. Though some restaurants do offer free soft drink refills, the cost of buying a round of sodas can really add up. Instead, stick to water, and save the sugar for dessert.

Don’t Pay for the Things Your Kids Won’t Eat

Children—especially younger ones—tend to be picky eaters. If your child orders a meal that comes with a side or accompaniment that you know your child won’t eat, ask your waiter to have that item omitted, and politely request a modest discount on the meal price as a result. This is often more economical than asking for a replacement side, as restaurants tend to charge extra for substitutions.

Say Yes to Leftovers

Restaurant portions tend to be large, so if you wind up with untouched food on your children’s plates, ask to have it packed up to go, even if it is a small amount. You can probably serve it as lunch or as part of your kids’ dinner the next day, which means you’ll avoid wasting the leftovers while trimming your food costs.
Dining out with children doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you employ smart strategies and pick restaurants that are reasonably priced. Besides, it’s nice to occasionally treat yourself and your family to a different dining experience, and there’s certainly something to be said for not having to do all the cooking and cleaning up yourself.

Save Money on Groceries: Simple Ways to Slash Your Grocery Bills

It takes money to keep a family well-fed. The average American spends $150 a week on groceries, and if your diet is rich in fruits and vegetables (as it should be), you’re probably spending more. If the cost of food is wreaking havoc on your on budget, here are some ways you can save money on groceries without compromising on the quality of the meals you’re serving up:

Plan Ahead

Some people get to the store, see what’s on sale, and make purchases based on what they think they need for the week. By doing this, you’re more likely to waste both money and time. Instead, plan out your meals before shopping and make a list of the ingredients you’re missing. This will enable you to stay focused when you hit the supermarket and help you avoid having to go back later in the week.

Track Your Inventory

A lot of people waste money on groceries by buying things they don’t actually need. One way to combat this is to keep an inventory spreadsheet of the things you have in your pantry and fridge. Print out an alphabetized, easy-to-scan copy before heading to the store, or make sure it’s accessible on your mobile phone. This way, you can compare what’s on sale to the things you already have stocked and avoid spending money on unnecessary supplies.

Get a Store Card

It’s usually not a good idea to open too many credit cards at once, but store cards aren’t like that. It makes sense to get a store card for every supermarket you shop at, including the ones you visit infrequently. Often, you need a store card to take advantage of sales and promotions. Some supermarkets, for example, offer holiday bonuses, like free turkeys around Thanksgiving time, for spending a certain amount of money the month before—a perk only available to cardholders.

Check for Digital Coupons

You may be used to checking the circulars that come in the mail for weekly sales and specials, but how often do you go online to look for deals? Many supermarkets offer additional savings via digital coupons, which you can find online and load to your store card. Remember, you won’t save money on groceries with coupons if you buy stuff you wouldn’t ordinarily buy just because you have a coupon.

Buy in Bulk, But Only When it Makes Sense

Buying in bulk can save you money if you do it wisely. If there are certain staple items that you use frequently, by all means, stock up if the price is right. But if the on-sale bulk item in question is not a popular one in your household, you’re probably better off passing up the so-called deal. Remember, even canned goods and pantry staples have expiration dates, and if you wind up throwing out food, you’ll have wasted money for no good reason. If the bulk price is truly unbeatable but you’re not sure you’ll use up your purchase before it goes bad, try finding friends, family members, or neighbors who might be willing to split the goods—and the cost.

Embrace the Season

Seasonal items tend to go on sale to coincide with consumer demand. Barbecue staples and condiments, for example, are usually available at a discount before holiday weekends, and baking supplies are often reduced in the weeks leading up to the holidays. If you start running low on non-essentials, before you restock, think about whether waiting a few weeks will bring you closer to a lower price.

Never Shop Hungry

It’s a tried and true piece of advice: The hungrier you are when you hit the supermarket, the more likely you are to make impulse purchases. Do your shopping after a meal, or grab a quick, energizing snack before you go. Otherwise you could wind up buying things that are not only bad for you, but bad for your wallet.