Are you a new or expectant dad who is suddenly finding it expensive raising kids? As Bruce Willis said in Die Hard, “Welcome to the party, pal.”
You really have to find ways to keep the costs to a minimum because food, entertainment and clothing in particular can take a big bite out of your wallets. Here are some ways to pinch pennies when there are barely any pennies to pinch:
Hand-me-down those clothes
Forget about the stigma. That myth went out years ago. Young kids outgrow clothes quickly: some pieces may be worn only once or twice before they no longer fit. Why waste your money on expensive new clothes when you can swap and trade with other parents like you who are looking for a bargain anywhere they can find one.
Remember: They are free, still fashionable, and when you are done, you can pass them on to your friends, brothers, sisters, cousins or anyone else you can think of who might have a need for perfectly fine clothes for their young ones.
Skip the big birthday bash
Birthday parties can get ridiculously expensive when you are inviting relatives, close friends and the kids from your playgroup. It’s all unnecessary anyway because until age three, the guest of honor will probably be crying, sleeping or pooping anyway. Expensive birthday parties for little children are more for impressing adults than creating memories for your kid who is probably too young to remember the party any way. There’s nothing shameful about a nice small gathering in the living room with your immediate family. Order a pizza, get a nice small cake and celebrate your baby’s birthday wisely without sacrificing his college fund.
Buy in bulk and online
Don’t drive yourself mad dragging the baby around, struggling to load and unload the car every week while paying top dollar everywhere you go. Find a website that fits your budget and order your child’s diapers, baby wipes, vitamins, formula and bath supplies as well as essential groceries for the rest of the brood for less. Most sites like Diapers.com and Fresh Direct will deliver to your door for free when you buy $75 or more worth of items. They may also offer bonus points you can save for discounts on your next purchase.
Remember, being a new parent is a daunting job for anyone. If your family is surviving on a single income, money will probably be tight for the next several years. Don’t spend more than you have to on the essentials and you will see how much more you can put into a college fund for your pride and joy.