Raising School-Aged Kids.
It has never been a secret that raising kids of any age is expensive. The first few years can feel like a sleepless blur, but when the kids get older, they seem to become even more expensive. You end up trading in diapers and formula for name-brand clothes, electronics, and toys. You scratch your head wondering when will these kids ease up? Instead of waiting around, there are ways you can lower the costs of raising school-aged kids right now. Here are the ways:
- Stop Overspending During Back-to-School Season
You can easily get into big trouble during the back-to-school season as the National Retail Federation says it is the second-highest annual consumer event right behind the holiday shopping season. For school-aged kids, you need a few things to ensure you do not overspend when it comes to school clothes and supplies.
First, you need to set a budget. You should never go into back-to-school shopping without setting a limit. You should also take inventory of the things your family already has which includes both school supplies and clothes. It is best to only purchase the most essential items. Next, you want to shop the deals. Make sure to look over the sale flyers from big retailers to determine who really has the best prices.
If you find that you are falling short on cash, you can also consider selling last year’s items to make up the difference. Perhaps you can have a garage sale or sell items on apps like LetGo.
- Choose Alternatives to Inch Towards Zero Waste
Buying more reusable products can help you save big and inch your way towards zero waste. This is both environmentally friendly and budget-friendly. Consider purchasing reusable items like stainless steel straws, plastic containers instead of sandwich bags, mason jars instead of plastic cups, etc.
- Reconsider Extra-Curricular Activities
Many kids have multiple interests and extracurricular activities like sports and music which can seem like a great way to expand your child’s mind and abilities. However, they can easily take a huge chunk out of your wallet, especially when you have multiple kids with multiple interests. Instead, narrow down which activities your kids actually enjoy and are most important. Also, consider less expensive outlets. For example, many local government or non-profit agencies might host their own, less expensive activities.
Additionally, you can attempt to cut expenses by carpooling or buying secondhand equipment where necessary.
- Save Money on Vacations
Taking a family on vacation is incredibly expensive. Consider a trip to Disneyland or Disney World would set a family back thousands. When opting for a family vacation, you can save big by using a travel agent, staying off-site from the attraction, booking far in advance, and cutting corners like bringing your own food instead of always dining out.
- Opt for Free Entertainment Ideas
Let’s face it, kids get bored. Parents want their kids to be happy and somewhat entertained. Instead of dishing out cash for movies or other experiences, try to get on board with free entertainment ideas. You can opt for things like taking a hike, having a picnic, visiting the library, volunteering, hosting a potluck, etc.
- Pay Attention to Gift Giving
Buying gifts for birthdays and holidays can easily get out of hand. What is worse is when your child stops playing or using their gift within days of receiving it. Next time you need to buy gifts, consider a more frugal approach and shopping for deals. Make a list and stick to it this year.
- Save on Professional Photography
Professional photography is anything but cheap. You can get some amazing pictures, but you can also do it on a budget. You can take the DIY approach if you have some trust in your basic skills. You can also hire someone who might be newer to the field and looking to build up their book. Usually, they charge much less and you will still get some great shots.
- Be Frugal with Clothes Shopping
Clothes can really add up. Between outfits and shoes, shopping for clothes can really make a dent in your wallet. Some different approaches you can take this year include having a clothing swap with other families, shop at consignment shops, or ask friends and families for clothes as presents instead of toys.
- Just Say No
Your last attempt at lowering the cost of raising school-aged kids is to simply say ‘no.’ You are not on the hook for expensive items if you just can’t hack it. There is no need to indulge your kids in everything that they ask for. In the long run, kids will learn that managing money is far more important than instant gratification.