While I don’t really believe reports that say raising a child costs $245,000, I think most people would agree that having children is expensive. Without a daughter, there would be no spending on dance lessons, organic milk, and pediatric dental visits. I won’t complain about those costs because we wanted a child. Whatever we spend on her is worth it a million times over. That doesn’t mean I want to spend more than necessary. One way we save money on kid expenses is by planning ahead.
Buy Winter Clothes For Next Year Right Now
One thing I’ve learned about buying kid clothes is not to buy right before the season you need them. It’s not that big of a deal for summer, but winter garb can be expensive if you live in a cold climate. Between snow pants, boots, gloves, hats, and coats, it’s easy to spend a few hundred dollars paying full price.
Right now is the perfect time to buy winter gear for next year. We just found a pair of good quality snow boots at 60% off. There is a little bit of guessing about sizes, but if it’s too big, they will eventually grow into it. For outwear, it really doesn’t matter. They look like little oompa loompas anyway.
Even with used clothing, thrift and consignment stores are marking down winter clothes right now to make way for spring. I have been looking for next year’s snow pants for several weeks without success. Then, like magic, I scored a sweet pair earlier in the week for the whopping price of $4.50!
Start Saving For Medical Costs
We’ve known since our daughter started getting teeth that she is going to need braces. I’m afraid I passed along a nasty cross bite! The cost for braces is a big hit for parents, but we’ve been saving for years. I won’t be happy to fork over thousands to the orthodontist, but it won’t be as painful since we are prepared. I also hope to take advantage of any cash discounts by paying up front.
Orthodontics are an planned expense, but parents should also expect the unexpected. I’m not sure I know a parent who has raised a child to adulthood without at least one trip to the emergency room. We’ve been three times in 7 years, and our daughter also had to have ear tubes when she was a year old.
We were dummies with little savings back then and had to use credit to pay our deductibles. While adults will put off going to the doctor or ER, you don’t hesitate if your child is sick or injured. I suggest that all parents have enough of an emergency fund to at least cover health insurance deductibles.
Be Ready To Jump On Sales
This is certainly not advice I’d give to adults shopping for themselves. Buying stuff you don’t need because it’s on sale is a sure way to ruin your finances. However, there are some circumstances when I would recommend that parents take advantage of sale items they don’t necessarily need at the moment.
Birthday Gifts-If your kid has friends, they will get invited to birthday parties. You could make them show up without a present, but that would likely produce tears. If I run across a bargain basement sale on birthday appropriate presents, I buy a few to keep on hand. Last week, we got an invite on Tuesday for a Saturday party. Maybe I could have ordered something on Amazon Prime, but it was cheaper and less stressful to already have a gift on hand.
Christmas Gifts– Again, I would be happy to never give or receive a gift to or from another adult, but I think kids should get birthday and Christmas gifts. If you find something you know they will love that’s dirt cheap, buy it. If I find a clearance Elsa dress in July, it’s going in the back of the closet until Santa gets busy again.
Plan Meals In Advance
Sometimes at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is start packing lunches for tomorrow. If I don’t, there is a good chance we will be running behind in the morning. The next thing you know, I could be buying a Lunchable at the gas station. (not that that has ever happened…..)
It’s much less expensive to plan lunches and breakfasts the night before. You can use up food that’s on hand and you don’t risk having to pay more for convenience because you overslept. Planning also means having time to choose healthier options. I’m probably not going to be cutting up veggies if I’m running late!
If parents can plan well and save on kid expenses, that frees up lots more cash so the family can do things they really want to do.
How do you save money on kids’ expenses? Do you look for used first when you need a coat?