According to a variety of cost calculators around the Internet, it costs between $200,000 and $250,000 to raise a child from birth to age 18 – that averages out to between $11,000 and $14,000 per year. Yikes! And while the price isnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t cheap, very few parents would say theyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢d rather have the money than their children. The good news is, you can have both simply by shopping smarter.
If youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re a first time mom, you may be tempted to buy everything brand new. If youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re a seasoned vet, you may know better, but be tempted anyway. But put down your wallet for just a moment and consider these things that you should never buy new.
Clothes. Baby and kid clothes are one of the biggest expenses you can trim in your budget. And besides the cost factor, youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ll also be working to save the planet by reducing textile waste. Babies, in particular, grow so fast that they rarely get to wear all the clothes given at the baby shower.
So whatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a mom to do? Shop consignment, participate in the age-old practice of giving and receiving hand-me-downs, participate in online and traditional baby clothes swaps and if you like the thrill of the hunt, try garage sales. The reality is babies and little kids donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t care if their clothes are brand new as long as theyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re comfortable.
Toys. Little kid toys are another big budget buster. The attention span of most kids is relatively limited and toys donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t hold their attention for long. By shopping at all the same places you do for used baby and kids clothing, youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ll be able to fully stock the toy chest at a minimal cost to you. If your child loses interest after a few weeks, itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s not nearly as big a deal. By the way, this holds true for outdoor toys as well.
Entertainment. Books, CDÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s and DVDÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s can all be borrowed from the library or purchased used from thrift stores, online through websites such as Second Spin or Amazon or even in the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œpreviously viewedÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â section of your local video store. The exception to this would be if you are purchasing an item that you plan on keeping for your child, such as a special book.
Sporting Goods. If you have children that are beginning to play sports, you may be tempted to run out and buy the whole arsenal of new gear, but itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s really not necessary. With used sporting goods stores such as Play It Again Sports all around the country, you can get everything from their first pair of ice skates and their first set of wheels to basketball and t-ball gear at a much lower price.
Video Games. Finally, never purchase video game systems new. Be it a Leapster, an Xbox, Wii or any other gaming device ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ handheld or otherwise ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ the next version is right around the corner. And that means that the brand new console you just bought is going to lose its value pretty fast. But it also means that there will be another family getting rid of an older version to upgrade. Be patient and keep your eyes on sites like eBay and Craigslist to save hundreds of dollars on video game consoles.
Check Smart Mom Deals. You didn’t think we were going to leave this off, did you? If you’re looking to save money, be sure to check our website regularly. We post great deals several times a day, so check back often to find the latest savings for you and your kids. Don’t miss a deal! Subscribe to our RSS feed
The cost of raising a child can be overwhelming to say the least. Shop smart and shop used; youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ll save yourself a bundle and free up extra cash to spend on more important things ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ like family camping trips and lunch dates with your spouse.
photo credit: monozygotic.com