Being a parent is expensive. Between food, clothes, school, and a little s fun stuff here and there, everything adds up, and very fast. According to the USDA, the average cost of raising a child is anywhere between about $169k and $389k, or between $9k and $20k a year. This can be very hard for all of us parents who are on a tight budget. But there a several small things you can do to cut the costs.

The USDA breaks the cost of a child into seven categories; housing, food, transport, clothing, health, childcare/ education, and miscellaneous.

Housing is the most expensive part of the budget for most families, and it is one of the hardest costs to bring down. Mortgages and rent are usually fixed, but if you’re careful not to waste water and electricity, which will be as good for your wallet as it is for the environment.

Food is the second most expensive category as well as one that is easiest to manage. Opting to stay in versus eating out can save hundreds of dollars a year, as does preparing a lunch to take to school as opposed to the cafeteria. Many thrifty parents use coupons and know that there is next to no difference between the store and name brand. Try to resist to buying junk food. While it may be cheaper in the short term it’s in the better interest of your child (and your wallet in the long run) to pay for the more nutritious option.

Children who eat more nutritiously tend to be healthier. Cutting out processed sugars and extra carbs can greatly reduce your child’s chance of developing diabetes or obesity. This alone can greatly cut the costs spent on the health needs of your child, but there are lots of other little ways to support their health; taking extra care to make sure your child washes their hands, brushes their teeth, gets enough exercise, fresh air and enough sleep, and you can improve your own creativity by finding ways to encourage these healthy behaviors. You can sing songs while they wash their hands, play games to make brushing fun, and maybe instead of going to the movies, spend a day at the park!

These little things can also your wallet, too. Opting to walk more places and enjoying local parks instead of driving somewhere can help cut back transportation costs. Taking part in local events is also a great way to save some money and bond with the community.

A good community helps each other out. One way to do this is run a children’s clothes exchange. There is nothing wrong with hand-me-downs – in fact, it’s getting trendier as people realize that it’s cool to be thrifty – especially when your child is only going to fit in their new outfit for five months at best. It is a great way to save some money and give children other clothing options besides just their older sibling, without breaking the bank. You’ll be helping another family out as well as cutting costs for yourself.

If you have any cool tips on how to save money, you’re welcome to let us know in the comments. Share your knowledge!

Author Brushies

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