Thursday, September 8, 2011

Having Kids Does Not Need to Break the Bank

We've been parents for just over three years now, and going into this adventure we were constantly told -- kids are EXPENSIVE. So far that warning has not turned out to be true. I don't think it is that we have a huge income compared to others, we don't. The difference is that we are frugal. And those frugal efforts have made the financial stress of parenting pale in comparison to the lack of sleep it brings.

One huge area of savings is in the area of clothing. Here are a few tips for to-be parents or those with young children:
  • embrace 2nd hand clothing. If wearing other kids clothes makes you squirm, think again. Do you really need to pay $10 for a onsie the child will wear for 4 weeks tops? With both pregnancies we gladly accepted used clothes dropped off by friends. Not everything fit our tastes, but there was SO much we could pick and choose. Combined with yard sales and second hand stores, we have more than enough clothing for both kids until they are 4 years old. What we spent was a fraction of the cost you'd spend on new clothes;
  • get organized! I spent more money on bins than I did clothes. Go to big box store and get several large storage bins with a top. Label them 0-3 month, 3-6 month, 6-9 month, 9-12 month, 12-18 month, 2T, 3T, 4T. As you receive items, put them in the appropriate bin. If this bin is full, you have pretty much all you need for that size.
  • if you are blessed with a daughter, look for dresses that are loose fitting. Why? As she ages that too short dress can be used as a tunic with leggings or jeans. The dress my daughter wore for her naming ceremony (purchased at the end of the season at Baby Gap with a gift card for $9) will go great with jeans next fall.
  • buy quality goods in neutral colors when you have to buy new. I use this approach with boots. My kids are 23 months apart. My son gets them first, then my daughter. Whether they are rain boots or winter boots, when it is for my son I have my daughter in mind. We opted for bright yellow rain boots last Spring. Once the snow falls later this year I will tuck them aside for my daughter in the future.
Sure, this approach might not be all that fun. But the savings are huge, and we used them to give a boost to college savings. Now that will be one expensive purchase some day!

1 comment:

  1. Kids are less expensive to a household than the adults. The entire thing about kids being expensive is a myth, unless you were close to poverty to begin with. The "expensive" thing about kids is if you want to take a job or paid project to earn extra money, it's hard to make childcare arrangements. That's where all the difficulty is.