Parenting Stretches the Finances: Raising a Family on a Tight Budget

If you’re a parent, we don’t have to tell you how much it costs to raise a family. We can tell you, however, lots of savvy ways to save a ton of money while enjoying a good life with your kids. In the interest of happy families everywhere, we are pleased to present a few great tips and tricks that can help you stretch your finances.

Build a budget

Writing up an on-paper budget is a time-honored tradition for people who need to know where their money goes every month. Of course, you can write up a budget on your computer, too. A typical household budget comprises a detailed record of daily, weekly, and monthly expenditures as well as an accounting of all received income. Once you have these numbers in front of you, you can then work out ways to spend less money on certain expenses. When it comes to managing family finances, ignorance is not bliss, notes Investopedia magazine.

If your money runs out before the month, do consider enrolling in government assistance programs. Numerous agencies exist to help families pay rent, buy food, and afford other expenses. School lunch programs can help shave several dollars off your daily expenses. There’s no reason to feel embarrassed if you and your kids really need help.

Stretching your money right from the start

Start spending less before you even bring your new baby home. Eschew add-ons during your hospital stay. Skip paid television and don’t insist on a one-person private room. Share your space with another new mommy, and the cost of birthing your little one is sure to be lowered considerably. Ask nurses and staff for coupons and free samples. Ask everyone, and don’t forget to takes home all the baby products samples in the drawer of your newborn’s hospital bassinet. You could save a lot of loot on stuff like baby shampoo, baby lotion, baby wipes, and diapers your newborn will use in the first few weeks and months, says Parents magazine.

Fabulous freebies

Even if you choose to breastfeed, please take home formula samples and savings coupons for the same. You might use them later, or you can give them to another new mom who is also looking to trim expenses. Borrow a breast pump instead of shelling out big bucks for an item you’ll use for just a year or so. And, whatever you do, don’t invest a lot of dough in specialized nursing garments. Remember that saving money, not frivolous fashion, is your primary financial focus for now.

Become a mystery shopper and get free stuff such as restaurant meals and oil changes for your Dodge Charger or similar family car. Get a library card for each kid and borrow books, movies, and video games for free.

Look at savings as a challenging game, not drudgery. Clipping coupons and finding the cheapest gas stations can be a fun if you want it to be.