Having a large family, I’m used to people asking me “How do you do it?” Not only how I physically care for all of them, but also how I afford the needs of five young children. These are some of the things I’ve found most helpful for keeping raising children affordable while still living comfortably.
- Many of the things you can do that are good for the environment are also good for your wallet.
- Use cloth diapers, wipes, training pants, and menstrual products.
- Use natural cleaners like vinegar or baking soda instead of expensive pre-made cleaners with potentially dangerous chemicals.
Get by with less.
- Many of the things you thought you “just had to have” will end up collecting dust, taking up precious room in your home and wasting money. if you already have items collecting dust, consign them and use the credit to buy things you will actually use. In the beginning, all babies need is a safe place to sleep, diapers, and a modest layette. I’ve bought plenty of adorable baby clothes only to find them unworn months later.
- Buy clothing, toys, and other supplies used or borrow from friends and family.
- Some items like swings and bouncers have a very limited span of use and your friends would be happy to loan them to you or sell them at a steep discount over buying new. Other sources for quality used items are Multiples club consignment sales (we tend to have LOTS of baby clothes and gear, church swaps, and community garage sales.)
When you do buy new – buy quality items.
- Quality items hold up up better to repeated use and washing and sell well once you are done with them.
- Use coupons, have grandma buy things with her senior discount, and search through the clearance section to get the best prices possible.
- Take advantage of Kids Eat Free, Sibling, and Employer discounts on attractions, shopping, and services.
- If you don’t see a discount explicitly mentioned on their website or in their establishment, it never hurts to ask if they offer a discount for employees of XYZ or if a second child in the same family can receive discounted tickets to attractions or for childcare services.
Choose less expensive outings.
- At a young age, children are just excited by a trip to a new park, mall, or friend’s home as they are going to costly places like Disney. Even as they grow, compare the offerings of different attractions in your area. One may be significantly less expensive but still offer the amenities that are most important to you. Consider year-long memberships if it’s somewhere you’ll go more than a few times a year.
Sarah Scales is a mom of five including two sets of twins in cloth diapers! When she isn’t blogging for FuzziBunz you can catch her at Upper Middle Mom.