The cost of raising a child seems to be growing each year, yet whether you are starting a family or in the midst of one, there are loads of tips and tricks to save before they come. While it is rare eliminating a single expense it will give you control over your finances. You can usually save a lot of money by combining savings from several different directions.
Here is our toy chest of a few quick tips on how to save money with kids, including free TV show recordings, and cheap kids’ clothes.
- Organize your grocery shopping
The more organized you are when you go grocery shopping, the more money you can save. Have a list of items you need to buy and a maximum budget you are prepared to spend on the trip (this will keep you from overspending). Try to shop early in the week when stores are the least crowded, because crowds mean added stress, and that is never good for a budget-conscious shopper. Another way to avoid stress is don’t take the kids with you when you go grocery shopping.
- Eliminate one service each year that you can do without
There is a lot of potential here, as most of us have services we hardly use or don’t ever use at all. It could be canceling a hardly used gym membership, a land line telephone service, cable TV, it may seem like R500 –R1000 per month, but over the years it really adds up.
- Never buy “off the shelf”
Any time you plan to buy something. Especially something fairly costly, you should always do your homework first. Surf the web to see who has the item at the lowest price or if any sales are coming up; or maybe check the website of the manufacturer and retailer to see if any vouchers are available and also check if you can buy the same item second hand. By adding research to huge purchases, you can save a lot of money.
- Rewards Programs
Most companies like Woolworths, Pick n Pay and more offer rewards programs, but not as many people participate in them. Sign up for them and keep tabs on your points.
- Why fly when you can drive
We know travelling with children can be hard and flying has become so common that many people use it as default choice whenever they travel. However, if you are traveling with family, plan to drive instead of flying, especially if the trip is within a few hundred kilometers. Not only do save airfare by driving but you also have a car when you arrive at your destination, so you don’t have to hire a car.
- Sell what you no longer need
Instead of throwing away items you no longer use, try selling them first to make some additional money. You can have a yard sale, or sell on Gumtree or OLX and by doing so you often raise a little bit of money which you can then save.
- Buy clothing in thrift or discount stores
Thrift stores don’t have the selection that retail stores have but you can often come across the perfect item from time to time, sometimes barely used. At a minimum, you will can use thrift stores to supplement your regular retail shopping and it is great for buying children’s clothes, since they outgrow their clothes quickly and come home with ripped pant knees or shirts stained with grass, drinks or food.
- Never buy new what you can get second hand
The same way you should be selling whatever you are not using, others do the same all the time, so before you make a major purchase, first look into yard sales and estate sales in your area – you will be surprised at the stuff people are looking to unload. Also, becoming a regular on Gumtree – it is like a perpetual garage sale where people are looking to sell anything you can imagine and the best thing is that prices are negotiable.
- You probably don’t need a new car – ever!
People often get on the new car treadmill early in life, then park there forever, but that’s an expensive way to live. New cars have the following premiums and the sooner you can rid your life of them, the more money you’ll have. Buy a used car for a few thousand Rands – or not more than you have in your bank account. The repairs will cost less than the annual outlay you’ll make for monthly payments on a new car.
- Save a minimum of 20% of your net pay
With all the money you will save from the previous tips, you should be able to save up some money. This isn’t just about having money for its own sake – it is about eliminating the panic factor that often causes you to spend more money than you need to. When you have options, you will have time to shop for the best deals, and when you find them, you’ll be able to pay for them. Having money enables you to save money in a way that living hand-to-mouth never can. It gives you control over your circumstances and that is what you need to have in order to properly care for your family.