How to save money while raising kids
The reality of raising kids is that it can actually be a pretty expensive affair. As a mother of two, I’ve definitely experienced first-hand how costly having children can be.
But here are a few tricks of the trade that I’ve picked up over the years that have been helpful to me and, hopefully, will be helpful to you too.
Cooking something healthy and nutritious while at the same time using cost-effective ingredients doesn’t have to be impossible.
For example, meals such as a stir fry or spaghetti Bolognese are still very healthy but also use noodles, rice or pasta, which are all cheap.
When cooking a meal for the family, it’s a good idea to fill it out with more veggies, so that even though there is still meat in there, you can make a larger quantity of food for a cheaper price.
Shop in season
When you shop for fresh produce, make sure that what you’re buying is in a season (or even better, on sale!).
For example, there’s no point buying raspberries in the middle of winter when it’s not their peak growing season – they’re going to be pricey.
Have a look at what you know is in season and plan your meals around that. Fruits, in particular, will see a price markup during different times of the year, so steer clear of expensive produce.
Take advantage of the uniform shop
Most schools will have a uniform shop and most uniform shops will include a second-hand section.
Take advantage of this where you can. Uniforms can end up costing you a lot and the price can definitely add up over time, so finding another mom to swap uniforms with or buying them second hand can save you loads.
Avoid expensive outings
It’s great if your kids love adventures. Getting the family outside and entertaining them with fun outings can be enjoyable for everyone, but outdoor activities such as the zoo, water parks or aquariums can be very costly, even with family packages and passes.
There are alternative activities you can do that are completely free, such as heading to the beach or visiting the local park.
If your kids are younger, the play equipment should keep them entertained for hours, leaving you time to drink a coffee and relax.
Stick to your shopping list when you’re at the grocery store. It might seem tricky, but one of the easiest ways to maintain your budget is not getting distracted by enticing products. If you don’t think you really need something, ditch it!
Exercise for free
There is a heap of free ways you can keep fit, without needing the gym. If you’re looking to kill two birds with one stone, going on a walk or jog with a friend is an easy way to catch up while exercising at the same time.
You can also do workouts at home using something like a free fitness app or following a YouTube video. However, if you love heading to the gym, in some cases you can claim the cost of your gym membership on your private health insurance policy.
And, depending on your level of cover, you should typically be able to access rebates for other healthy activities such as yoga, Zumba or pilates.
Lunch orders, although they are extremely convenient, can be super expensive! If you think you’re going to be time-poor in the coming weeks, prepare sandwiches and other snacks such as biscuits and muffins in bulk and freeze them ahead of time.
That way, when the time comes to make lunch for the day, all you need to do is to grab it ready-made from the freezer. Not only is this super convenient, but it’s much cheaper too.
These are just a few of my favorite money hacks that I’ve learned over the years. Although they might not seem like much, over time you should see the savings grow.
Bessie Hassan is a mother-of-two and a money expert at finder.com.au