by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA
I met with a group of new mothers last week, who were eager to sort out their budgets now that two had become three. They all had a good understanding of the types of costs involved, but like many new parents, had underestimated the dollar amounts.
The great news is that kids’ expenses is an area where an ounce of attention really can make all the difference – translation: several hundred dollars per month. So whether your child is a newborn, toddler, grade schooler or teenager, below are a few tips on how to keep staples spending under control, so that you’ll have more money for the fun stuff!
- Brown bags. If you are consistent and make your children lunch-to-go every day, they won’t even know fast food is an option. You’ll have more money – and they’ll be healthier.
- Vintage. It’s very fashionable these days! When your children are growing quickly, while there’s no need to deny yourself the occasional splurge, buy the majority of their clothes in vintage stores. When they have outgrown them, resell. You’ll be saving the planet, too!
- Outlets. For many teens, the world centers around labels. Fortunately, you can find many of them at 25-75% off in outlet stores – and sometimes online.
- Tax credits. When shopping for the right child-care program, be sure to make the most out of the tax breaks granted to you by Uncle Sam.
- The fifty-fifty deal. If you have trouble paying for college, consider having your child do the first year or two of core classes at a community college before heading off to university.
- Score free entertainment. For the creative parent, fun free-of-charge activities abound. Libraries are excellent resources, as is the great outdoors!