One of the biggest challenges every parent goes through is learning to save money. As a parent, we have to be continually thinking about our finances, and we need to learn how to cut corners. But it’s not so easy. You take into account the number of children, the debt you have, or even your income, and you can find yourself overwhelmed by trying to save money at every turn. And this is why you’ve got to get into certain habits. So with this in mind, what are the best ways to save money as a parent in certain circumstances?
When Going on Vacation
When you plan a vacation, you might feel anxious because of all the costs, but if you want to save money, or make your money go further you should try some of these:
- Plan way in advance (or at the last minute): Planning early is one of the best ways to save. You can save a lot of money by planning vacations around your child’s schedule. You can also benefit from last minute deals. Also make sure that you keep a hold of your travel mileage because you can get extra perks. For example, if you are looking to upgrade to first class American Airlines flights, there are ways around this.
- Do a home swap: Swapping homes with a family on the other side of the country is a great way to save on hotel costs.
Saving Money on Toys and Clothes
As children grow, this means you’ve got to constantly revamp your budget. But purchasing clothes and toys are all about finding the right places and doing it at the right time. Here are a few things to try:
- Join a toy library: Toy libraries are a great way for your children to receive something new, and it also gives them added responsibility. Because children can easily get bored with toys, this is a great way to get into the habit of getting toys at a low cost.
- Purchasing clothes during the off-season: It’s not an exact science because you don’t know how much your children will really grow, but you can try to preempt your children’s sizes and shop one season ahead. For example, you can start shopping now for the spring season. When you get into this habit, it will save you a lot of money.
It’s not just the gifts for your children that can cause a big dent in your budget, but when your children have to go to numerous birthday parties, you’ve got to try some of these approaches:
- Creating birthday cards: If you find yourself spending a lot of money on birthday cards for your child’s friends, it is a good idea to have your child craft a handmade card. It also gives you the added benefit of keeping your child occupied, and as it’s for a friend, they may put a bit more effort into the cards, meaning that you’ve got a bit more time to look at your budget in other ways!
- Stock up on birthday party gifts in January: January is the best time for toy sales because the Christmas market has well and truly gone. Make sure that you set a limit for yourself, and when the party invitations come, rather than visiting the store, you can look at the pile of toys you have collected and find the most appropriate. You can also buy in bulk, which makes it easier again, especially if you can spot a few sales.
- Choose your wrapping paper carefully: Christmas wrapping paper is cheap after the holiday season, and choosing wrapping paper in solid colors like red and blue means you can reuse it throughout the year for other gifts. Of course, you could also purchase Christmas wrapping paper and keep it until next year.
Saving on Groceries
Groceries are incredibly expensive, and when you don’t shop cleverly, you could be spending above and beyond what is needed. Let’s show you some simple ways:
- Ordering online: Ordering online is a great way for you to streamline your shopping. When you visit a store, you end up impulse buying. Will you order online, it gives you more of a sense of discipline. When you order ahead, it gives you the opportunity to address what is essential in your household. When you plan your meals for the week, it allows you to look at exactly what you need, and while you may decide to buy a couple of treats, there is no option for impulse buying like in the store.
- Batch cooking: This is one of the most useful tools for any parent who is trying to save money. We are becoming more conscious about what we use and how much we use it, and if you want to make everything go further and minimize wastage, create a menu that uses up everything you have. But additionally, make sure that you are able to batch cook meals that you can freeze. This reduces wastage and money. It also makes life easier during the week rather than having to create a meal from scratch every single night.
Saving on Being Social
As your children get older, they become more involved in activities that can threaten to burn a hole in your purse. And as important as it is for your children to get involved with social activities like clubs and sports, here are a couple of things that you may want to implement as soon as possible:
- Socializing with other parents: If you find other parents going to playgroups and playdates, create your own group. You won’t be alone in wanting to save money.
- Impose a limit on extracurricular activities: This might not be popular with your child if they want to go to everything, but you’ve got to get the balance right somewhere. It also helps them to decide what they really want to do outside of school.
These are just a few suggestions. You might be working hard at getting your budget into great shape but sometimes it pays to cut a few more corners.