Everyone agrees that having a baby can be the most rewarding time of your life, yet adjusting to the additional costs can be stressful. While talking about parenting, we seldom talk about the financial responsibilities that come along with it and ways of saving money. It’s still a hush-hush topic that one doesn’t discuss openly with friends or relatives and many of us end up taking suboptimal financial decisions.
But as a parent, you can’t deny the fact that financial planning is an imperative part of parenting. Every parent wants the best for their baby. It’s a life you have created so the responsibility of building a strong foundation is also yours, after all. But in today’s times, financial goals aren’t limited to saving for higher education or the child’s marriage. There are several expenditures that crop up in the short run. From the 1st birthday celebration to dance or music classes to annual family vacations to what not!
This makes saving money and financial planning a must. And a few saving hacks can definitely help you in the long run.
Tips For Moms To Save Money
Here are a few tips for new moms to save money across the board, from groceries to travel to lifestyle.
Buying Groceries & Staples
A big chunk of monthly expenditure comprises money spent on groceries and other basic essentials. Baby items like diapers, wipes, formulas and more take over new parents’ expenditures like anything. And trust me, it is an expensive affair. So what can we do to save a few bucks here?
1. Buy In Advance & In Bulk
This way not only will you pay less per item but also, you won’t be spending a bomb buying at the last minute from a convenience or medical store at midnight!
2. Stay Organised
This is a real problem for me. I’ll get home with a bunch of juices and realise I still have five cans. Keep your pantry, grocery cabinet, fridge organised so you don’t overbuy and avoid wastage.
3. Make A Menu Plan
Start with a weekly menu and then gradually move to fortnightly. This one is really a game-changer not in saving money but also time, in the long run. When you don’t have to wonder what to eat, you aren’t as tempted to order in or go out to eat. Simple.
There’s so much scope of tweaking our lifestyle that you will see how just small changes can make a big difference to your monthly savings.
1. Be Resourceful
- Learn basic skills that can save you lots of money like baking, cooking, etc, to avoid depending on buying these from outside. Or even things related to personal care. For example, I do my own manicures and pedicures.
- Make your own baby food instead of buying packaged food.
- Use cloth (non-disposable) diapers. A baby goes through about 60 diapers per week; using cloth ones is not only environmentally friendly but also saves money that can be used for other baby essentials. There are so many brands these days that promote zero-waste reusable nappies and diapers.
- Breastfeeding (if your body permits) is natural and eliminates spending on formula.
2. Drop The Unnecessary Stuff
- Consider the things you don’t really “need” and drop them.
- Focus on simplifying your life. Get rid of the clutter and make a commitment not to purchase extra stuff you don’t really need.
- I follow the rule of ‘5 in 5 out’; in case I buy 5 new clothes, I ensure 5 are moved out of my cupboard and donated.
3. Shop The No-Frills Brands
Instead of going for fancy brands that usually don’t mean much, shop good quality but low-cost stuff. Don’t get focused on labels.
4. Unsubscribe To Certain Emails
All of those promotional emails can make you want to shop, shop, and shop. Unsubscribe to most of those mailing lists, or at the very least, delete them. Don’t make yourself anymore tempted to spend money than you already are.
5. Don’t Be A Hoarder
This is relevant more so while shopping for kids. Instead of buying clothes and shoes in bulk, buy on a monthly or need-basis. I restock kids’ clothes every 3 months now. That way the real need with respect to weather, festivals, occasions, size, etc are also met.
6. Upskill Yourself With DIY Projects
There are several videos and tutorials available that can help you do a makeover of your room, garden, decoration and more. This way you will see less need to spend money on buying new things every time. You can involve kids also in this and make it more like a family project. My kids have been involved in making handmade cards, invitations, gift wrapping using DIY ideas since the age of 4. Trust me, your wallet will appreciate the added savings.
Spending On Toys & Books
1. Use a Toy Library
I have made my life simpler. I do not mind when my kids get bored with last week’s toys. I know I can just run out and get “new” ones. No, I am not spoiling my children by buying them the hottest action figures or the newest board games. Instead, I have subscribed to a toy-lending library, one of the dozens across the country that allow members to borrow from a large collection of playthings. The annual subscription fee is very reasonable. Borrowing toys has also taught our kids about responsibility. They have started respecting toys as they understand that they belong to someone else. And as long as they take care of them, we can go back and try something new.
2. Baby Gear & Nursery Essentials
Borrow/exchange all of these items as they can become fairly expensive. Plus the shelf life of these items is hardly over 6 months. Your child will quickly grow out of them, leaving you to likely dispose of the purchases. A better idea is to find family and friends to pass them on to you. There are several Facebook groups for up-cycling and more often than not, the deals are quite attractive. This is a great way to find gently used and even new toy items at a great price. Plus, you can even sell your own toys you no longer use and get cash for new ones! Remember, everyone’s old is someone else’s new, which makes for some great baby bargains.
3. Try Book Libraries
Just like toys, online book libraries are very common these days and come with either free or very low deposit. This is a great way to try new puzzles, storybooks and much more. So easy and cheap!
The Use Of Technology To Help You Save Money
Be honest with yourself and admit if you’re an impulse shopper. If you are, it might be wise to get your groceries delivered. This reduces impulse buying to a large extent because you exactly know what you need to buy. Same holds true for other essentials like clothes, baby care items, etc. Plus the prices and deals are mostly much better than physical store prices.
Go Back to Basics: Budget. Budget. Budget.
As obvious as it may sound, there’s no harm using this as a reminder to ensure that you do not stop budgeting and stick to it. Save a bit every month for festivals, special occasions, family holidays, gifts.
Over the years I have learnt another very important trick when it comes to saving money. And that is, to pay yourself the same day you pay bills. Do not wait for the end of the month to see how much is left that you can then save, because practically speaking, there’s nothing left by the end of the month! Instead, decide how much you have to save and keep that amount aside before you start paying off your monthly bills.
Balance Your Social Life
A crucial aspect of parenting and raising kids is the social life. I personally experienced a great change in my social circle post having kids. Not just the need to meet other people was there, but also taking kids out every now and then was an add on to our monthly budget.
1. Plan Playdates
Instead of opting for ‘Mommy and Me’ classes that cost money, I started socializing with other moms and babies by creating our own group. You can use social media to connect with parents in the same locality.
2. Choose Activities Wisely
Children become involved in more activities as they age, and parents immediately notice how expensive it is to stay involved with social activities such as sports and clubs. Instead of following the trend and enrolling your child in three or four different activities, limit them to one or two activities by identifying their specific interest, for instance, sports or music. You can also search the web for free activities in your neighbourhood.
3. Stock Up On Gifts/Return Gifts
Toys go on sale during some specific months, especially August and January. So use this time of year to stock up on a variety of gifts. Keep a stockpile and add to it whenever you spot a good deal. When the inevitable party invitation arrives, visit your stockpile instead of the store.
4. Go For Minimalistic Birthday Parties
Teach your children the value of having an experience versus receiving a gift. Suggest children coming to a birthday party simply bring themselves to enjoy time together. Other parents may follow suit, saving you from having to purchase a present for every birthday party.
Travel With Care
Another aspect of life which comes under the expensive category is travel. My advice:
- Be flexible about the time of day you travel. If possible, let the fares dictate the day and time of your departure.
- Often, the less popular early morning or late evening flights have lower rates. And so is the case with specific days of the week.
- Since we have had kids, we have preferred flying on weekdays instead of weekends (which are mostly high priced).
- As much as it is cheaper to book in advance (which is sometimes difficult if you have kids), last-minute deals are worth the wait for!
- Checkout options like home-stays and AirB&B which are not only cheaper but also much more comfortable with kids as you get a lot of flexibility and space.
But most importantly, start talking about saving money with kids. It is an essential life skill and this learning will help children throughout their life. Let them understand how money is earned and why it is important to save. As you can see, there are plenty of ways to save with minimal effort. What are some of the hacks your family uses to save money throughout the year? Share in the comments!