Money saving ideas for parents and grandparents
Let’s face it, kids are wonderful and we love them to pieces, but they can be very expensive for the parents, grandparents or guardians who are raising them. Even figuring out how to save just a couple of dollars here and there is worth it, which is why we’ve come up with a list of simple money-saving ideas to help you keep as much money as you can in your wallet – where it belongs!
Skip the birthday gifts. At a certain point you obviously can’t get away with not giving them something on their birthday, but when they’re too small to know or understand what the day even means, it’s perfectly okay to skip the presents. A simple birthday cake they can dive into is all that’s needed – and that little face covered in icing is the perfect birthday photo opp too. Passing along a cherished family heirloom (even if you have to keep it for the child for a little while) or writing a letter to your wee one is also a lovely way to honor their birthday.
Buy gifts year-round. If you are buying gifts, pick them up as you see them when they’re on sale. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also be spared the frenzy of trying to find the perfect gift during the holidays when you’re already frazzled and your budget is maxed out.
Shop off-season. The end of a season is usually the best time to get deals on season-specific items, so look for school supplies in late September or October, Christmas items in January, summer toys and equipment in August, Halloween décor and costumes in November, etc. Clear out a closet or storage area to store your finds and make sure to write a list of all the items you’ve picked up so you don’t duplicate your efforts later on in the year.
Swap what you can. Odds are that friends and family members with children around the same age as yours would be more than happy to exchange clothes, books and even unwanted toys with you. Don’t be afraid to ask friends who have a child a little older than yours if you could have any unwanted hand-me-downs. You might also consider organizing a “swap shop” with your friends and family members. Everyone brings along items they no longer want or need and swaps them for items others have brought. No money changes hands, and all the leftover items can be donated to charity.
Borrow everything else. Once again, children grow out of things so quickly that often friends and family members are left with items they may not want to part with, but that still have plenty of use left in them. Ask away! As long as you’re willing to return the favor, they’re likely to happily loan you just about anything.
Arrange for free babysitting. Talk to like-minded friends and create a system where you “trade” your kids between each other so you can enjoy date nights, alone time – or whatever you want – kid-free. As long as everyone gets a turn, the kids enjoy playdates and the parents get free babysitting!
Buy secondhand sporting equipment. Or borrow it, if possible. Kids grow out of equipment so quickly it’s just not worth buying new.
Make cards. Your kid likely gets invited to a dozen or more birthday parties throughout the year, and those store-bought cards can add up! Have your kids make cards using art supplies you already have instead.
Limit their activities. It’s hard to say no, but music lessons and involvement in sports can be incredibly costly when you factor in fees and equipment. Limit each child to one paid activity per season (more if you can afford it, but you get the idea).
Don’t forget that as a Foresters Financial member you have access to Everyday Money, our toll-free financial helpline that connects you to an accredited counselor who can help answer your questions about your personal financial matters such as debt management and budgeting.
415906B CAN/US (02/18)