Raising a child brings a lot of joy, but most parents will tell you that it’s not a cheap undertaking. From quickly growing out of baby clothes, to needing all items of school uniform, there seems to be a never ending stream of money needed to ensure that your little one is fed, clothed and happy. In fact, research shows that the average cost of raising a child to age 18 is over £76,000 for a couple, and over £103,000 for a single parent – and that’s excluding childcare and housing.
So how can parents make sure that their hard-earned cash is going to the right things, and save themselves spending where they don’t need to? We take a look at some top tips.
Shop around before you buy
Essentials like prams, furniture and books all have a limited life when it comes to children – they outgrow these items, often well before they’ve actually stopped being useful. Make sure to check out online second-hand shops and marketplaces, as you may well pick up a bargain in a good condition. It can be worth setting up a few searches and alerts on these platforms ahead of time, so that you don’t miss out on any good deals.
If you can’t find what you need second-hand, or want to buy an item new, then make sure to do your research and shop around for the best prices. If you want to get the item from a specific retailer, but have found it cheaper elsewhere, ask if they’ll price match, or consider waiting until they have a sale or special discount event.
Make the most of cashback and vouchers
Many banks now offer accounts that come with money off vouchers for certain retailers. If you feel in control of your spending, you may want to consider getting a credit card, as they can offer cashback – but make sure that you’re paying it off as soon as possible, so that you don’t put yourself at risk of debt. Treat it like a debit card but with the benefits of a credit card.
You can also sign up for free loyalty cards that allow you to collect points or reward you with vouchers at certain points of the year. Especially at supermarkets, these cards are designed to give you offers based on what you already buy, so you’re likely to get relevant rewards. Sometimes you can also save up these points and convert them into vouchers for days out, so it’s not just a benefit when it comes to physical items.
Quality, not quantity
In a social media comparison-heavy world, it can be really hard to feel like you’re being a good parent if you’re not creating custom packed lunches and stunning seasonal displays in your home. But this comparison fuels a risk of overspending just in order to share online, which can be costly to maintain for both your financial and mental health.
Instead, try to buy quality items that will last, rather than following specific trends. Not only will this mean that you’re spending less money, as you’ll buy fewer items, but you may also find that you can resell some items when your child does outgrow them. They’ll be classic pieces that won’t be out of fashion, so they should hold some value.
Get the most from your money
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to parenting, but keeping control of your money and making sure that you’re getting the most out of your paychecks can help. Following our tips and setting yourself a monthly spending budget may help you feel in control of your finances.
Author bio: Jane Liven
Jane Liven is a mother of three who understands the challenges that parents face every day. She is passionate about helping others, and she hopes that her blog will make life a little bit easier for parents everywhere.