Every year you hear statistics of how much it costs to raise a child. The number is staggering, but I think sometimes misleading. While some costs are non-negotiable in life, there are things we can do to cut expenses and not go into hock while we raise a family.
Here are some of things couples can do to make ends meet a little more easily as they grow their family:
1. Start budgeting each month.
Give every dollar a name. Expenses will rise as your family goes so practice financial responsibility as soon as you can.
2. Create an emergency fund.
This can provide tremendous peace of mind, especially if you are moving to one income. Sock away whatever extra cash you have. Even consider selling stuff to develop a cushion between you and disaster.
3. Buy used.
Babies don’t need fancy cars — or strollers. They need to be safe and they need YOU. Pretty simple. Check up on the recall status of items you’re buying, but you can save a bundle buying second-hand items.
4. Live frugally.
Babies can “cramp your style” or give you permission not to live beyond your means. Ask yourself:
- do I need it?
- can I make do without it?
- can something else serve the same purpose.
5. Try out coupons and stockpiling.
With the last FishBaby, I used coupons combined with sales to buy months’ worth of diapers and other baby supplies for just a few dollars. I started stockpiling as soon as I knew I was pregnant to not feel rushed later.
6. Read good money books alongside good parenting books.
Teaching our kids healthy attitudes about money certainly falls in the realm of good parenting. Keep yourself sharp when it comes to dollars and cents.