If you are thinking about having another kid, keep in mind each one costs about as much as it would to lease two luxury vehicles. The USDA’s Cost to Raise a Child Calculator estimates how much it will set you back to raise your child from birth to 17.
The current totals round out to about $233,000 or just under $1,150 per month. Sure, you could spend less or more.
However, there’s no getting around it costs a lot to raise healthy kids. Here are four ways to help your family thrive though high expenses and tight money.
1. Go for the Prior Generation of Technology
You may want the latest when it comes to computers, flat panels and smartphones, but the prior generation of technology is almost always just as good.
There’s no long-term profit for major electronics companies to make super durable products that work for a decade or longer. However, staying one generation behind in your electronic purchases will still keep your kids cool with their peers while keeping your budget manageable.
2. Shop Thrift Stores and Learn to Love Hand-Me-Downs
There are plenty of used clothing stores that sell gently used fashions to fit all personality types. If you gift your children some of your thrift store finds in bags you have saved from retail stores that sell new, they’re unlikely to know the difference.
If you set the example for them by purchasing from thrift stores and accepting quality hand-me-downs, you can get them to follow. This is especially true if you have a child that insists on mimicking the latest fashion trends.
Buying gently worn footwear for rapidly growing toddlers is another way to save a lot while keeping your child in fashionable and fitting shoes.
3. Take Advantage of Free Healthcare Offers
Most states offer special programs to make sure children under 18 get the medical and dental care they need. You’ll likely find that income requirements are quite liberal when it comes to being eligible for healthcare programs for your children.
Don’t be timid about taking advantage of available programs. They are funded by your tax dollars you pay in for every hour of work you have provided over the years.
If you are eligible, receive the help to ease the burden in other financial areas.
4. Get a Handle on Your Money
If you are like many parents, you know how the need for money to pay bills and make ends meet can get out of hand. You cannot do a true analysis of where your money is going every month unless you do a self-audit.
If you routinely pull out your debit card to pay for things and only balance your checkbook when you are afraid it might be overdrawn, you need to take financial control. Use an app on your phone to track and manage every expense.
After 30 days, run a report that shows you a chart of what you spent your money on. You may be shocked to see how much went for coffee for your work commute or takeout because you were too tired to cook.
If you have more bills than you have money, a debt consolidation loan may give you some breathing room.
There are many ways to raise healthy thriving kids without breaking your budget. Remember it’s the love they will remember, not the latest iPhone or gaming console.
Please share your favorite money saving tip in the Comments. Thank you.