We all know kids cost an absolute fortune, even when you are pregnant and you start buying the cots, pushchairs, baby soothers, bags and car seats to when they are grown up and want all the latest fashions to when they leave home – You never stop being a parenting bank so here are some ideas from real parents to help you save money on things you need. I mean the most important advice I can give is to not buy things you don’t need, focus on the essentials.
I know what it is like with your first when you buy everything new and it is all so cute, but you never get that money back and you realise you don’t need half of the stuff, I don’t think in 10 years I have ever used a muslin cloth, essentially you just get used to sick, snot and saliva on your clothes. The other big annoyance is Christmas, many kids get far too much, mine included but this year I have learnt my lesson as last year we bought our son Bradley loads of presents I thought he might like and they stayed under his bed until June when I sold them on the carboot, so this year he will come down on Xmas morning to a gift voucher for his Xbox and possibly a selection box because I refuse to waste money on things he won’t play with for a photo competition on social media. Likewise last year with our 1 year old, he got about 3 presents that weren’t high in value because he was 9 months and couldn’t even open anything and didn’t know what was going on.
For holidays we usually use places like Hoseasons or the like to find a cheap base, a couple of friends of ours go camping and this helps them save money, take picnic foods and stock up on soups etc and then use Trip Advisor or what’s on in that local area to find other things to do. You can also budget by paying monthly for certain holidays with National Holidays and Hoseasons so you can pay a little each month so long as it is paid before you go, (you will have to check how many days before you travel it needs to be paid). You can then spend as much or as little on attractions as you like, but definitely search for offers and plan.
Jade from Thrifty Yorkshire Mum says “Ask friends first before buying anything. We’ve had one jumperoo between myself and 3 friends for 5 years now. They just get passed on to whoever needs it next! Also, make good use of the local library. ”
Kirsty from Money Saving Mum suggests “Meal planning 100%. List the whole families favourite food and plan a week from there. Shopping should reduce too” I love the idea of on a Sunday planning meals for the rest of the week, buying ingredients just for those meals and I believe this would cut down on food waste as well, same time on thinking about what you are going to eat and also help you budget as if you know what everything is going to cost round about each week it helps you know how much you are spending each week or month to work out the family budget.
Jada says “In the sales, buy uniform for the next few years in sizes bigger if your child attends school. School trousers/skirts/shirts, polo tops and socks etc aren’t going to change with the fashion, unlike normal clothes. I also do this with swimwear, and autumn/winter accessories such as hats and gloves. I store them in Vacuum bags – usually in storage boxes in the attic 🙂 but I do have some at the bottom of my wardrobe, the attic is fine unless you’re terrified of spiders like me, so then I have to rely on family to go up there for me. Read more about Jada at www.uniqueyoungmum.com
Eileen says “Make expensive trips out with kids a treat! For weekly days out make use of your local beaches, forests, parks, free museums and things like geo caching if you want to save serious money. For the easiest picnic in the world set a £1 limit person and head to the supermarket, and get creative! It will surprise you how much you get, and the kids love choosing it all” Read more money saving tips at Your money Sorted
Erica advises “Save everything for the next one! Luckily we hung into (almost) everything for over 4 years so hardly bought anything new.
Always check vouchers for going out. We recently went to the Sea Life Centre and used our train tickets for bogof for the adults. There are usually vouchers for days out to be had on chocolates on cereal boxes or check online. Otherwise Tesco Clubcard or Nectar points are handy.” Find Erica at the Incidental Parent
The cereal box idea is a great one as many of the cereal bars come on offer at £1 for a few bars and if you buy them anyway just cut the coupon out as they can be used for many attractions like Alton Towers to save on admission so you and a friend could go for about £50 – Not sure how that works with child priced tickets though. It is also advisable to check out Groupon and other deal sites however check the small print and original prices as sometimes the deals aren’t all that good and you only get a fraction of the experience or you have to pay more for certain bits. The brans own social media pages may also have deals and offers for the attractions, I know when summer starts my kids come out of school with a little booklet of vouchers for Summer offers to save us some money.
Natasha says “Lie to them. Tell them that the flashing lights on ride ons outside shops means they are out of order and that the ice cream van only plays music when they run out. That’s got to be a huge amount saved over the years 😏 ” Natasha writes over at Mummy and Moose
Or use my own tip and learn the word ‘No’ and learn to stick to your guns as kids can be so testing and they need to learn they cannot have everything, especially when they get older and the demands for things get out of control and much more expensive.
If you want to read more about how to save and also make money from home as a parent, check out some of our other posts on the Business tab of this website. Do you have any tips? Would love to see them in the comments.