Ten money-saving tips for parents from a millennial mom
My approach to saving money and investing has changed considerably since I became a mother. Saving money saving used to be about finding good happy hour deals and cheap air fares. But since becoming a parent of two small children my priorities have changed and I’ve developed new money-saving habits, while also adopting a new investing routine.
It’s often said that having children is one of the life events that triggers us to think more seriously about financial planning, and that has been the case for me. At the same time, kids are expensive.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being a parent, but saving and investing money with kids in tow is not always easy. So, here are some of my top tips for cutting back on spending, which hopefully should help free up money for investing for the future.
Do you have a friend, cousin, sibling with kids? Using hand-me-downs is one of the most effective things you can do. Children quickly grow out of their clothes and it is not until your child reaches the age of two that their clothes start to last longer and even then it is only about a year (or even shorter if you have a boy, as they grow out of their clothes even faster).
If no one immediately comes to mind, look through your Facebook posts for someone who has a child a little bit older. Don’t be shy about reaching out to ask about setting up a hand-me-down exchange. The person on the other end will probably be grateful to find a place for the smaller-sized clothing, as they will be looking to make room for the new larger-sized clothes for their growing child.
2. Second-hand or charity shops:
Buying expensive clothes for your baby is a complete waste of money as the baby will probably only wear them for less than three months. Instead check out second-hand and charity shops. These shops (including well-known online ones like eBay) can stock good quality items at a fraction of the price of buying new.
3. Subscriptions and discount stores:
Personally I subscribe to Amazon Prime and buy in bulk. Shop at wholesale stores and discount supermarkets to save money on everyday household and baby items, such as nappies and baby wipes. Be careful not to sign up for subscription services you don’t need, and do the sums to check the commitment is going to reduce your spending.
4. Facebook groups:
Children grow out of their toys almost as fast as they do their clothes. Joining your local Facebook group can prove to be a great resource for second-hand items. Your kids will be delighted with the free toys and will love them as much as if they were new. Families are usually very happy to pass along toys, so they can be enjoyed by a new set of children. Just make sure to pay it forward (pass the toys along once your kids have outgrown them too).
5. Daycare vs. nanny:
If you can, send your kids to daycare. Depending on your situation, you can save a significant amount of money compared to the cost of a nanny, and I see it as an investment. Socializing with other children is beneficial to their development and I can continue to increase our family income, meaning we have more to save and invest. Make sure to do your research though, and only leave them with trusted accredited centers and individuals.
6. Public free events:
Skip the expensive baby music and gym classes (your children won’t remember these) and instead take them to a park or beach, or organize play dates. Libraries and local community events are a great source of free or low costs activities. Your kids will have a blast and it won’t cost you a penny.
If you are lucky enough to have family living nearby, take advantage of all the free help (and babysitting) you can get. The children love being with their grandparents and extended family and you get additional support. Everyone’s a winner.
8. Cashback and savings websites:
Shopping is more fun when you get cash back for purchases. I try to sign up with as many cashback websites and apps as possible.
9. Go to in network providers vs. out of network for doctors:
Unfortunately, you will be at the doctors more than you ever have in your life. Learn what is covered by your insurance and consider staying within the parameters of you network to minimize costs.
10. Save for college:
Last but not least and so important. Enter the 529 plan or “qualified tuition plans.” These tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage parents or other benefactors to save for a child’s future education costs.