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I have 5 children so I know how expensive kids can be. Although some of these costs are unavoidable, parents also tend to justify their excessive spending because it’s “for the kids”. There are “must have” kid expenses you can skip to save money though!
Kid Expenses You Can Skip to Save Money
Many of the things we think we “need” to do are just done so out of habit, because we think we’re supposed to, or maybe even so we don’t look like bad parents to someone else. Save yourself money this year by skipping these common kid expenses.
Every time I mention to people that I don’t buy school photos they balk at my decision. Apparently not wanting to spend $50 a kid for awkward, low quality photos of my kid somehow makes me into a bad parent. Don’t feel guilty, especially when you have multiple kids. In this day of digital photography we have hundreds of pictures, it’s not as necessary as it was in the past to remember childhood. It’s cheaper for me to get professional photos done annually, which I usually do. Then I get multiple photos, family shots, and all my kids in them.
I do think it’s very important to dress well. Our outward appearance is someone’s first impression of who we are and I want to give off an image of being successful in life. This is especially true if you do, or want to, mix regularly with people who are on the wealthier side. That being said, kids grow quickly and destroy lots. Don’t waste your money on brand-new, name brand clothes. Instead, choose high end consignment shops or scour out local thrift stores for good quality finds at a fraction of what you’d pay new. I’ve been doing this for years, sometimes piecing it together with sale finds or gifts, and my kids are always well dressed.
There’s always a kid who opens up their lunch box and is the envy of everyone else. Lunchables, packaged snacks, and other expensive goodies are designed and marketed to make kids want them. You, on the other hand, can save a tonne of money preparing things at home. Even if you’re not good in the kitchen, tossing a couple Oreos in a reusable container is cheaper than buying them individually wrapped. Or, instead of chips or crackers, make up some popcorn at home and send a bag of that.
Children don’t need juice most of the time. Not only will your pockets be lighter if you skip this, your kids might be as well. Save the juice boxes for very special occasions only (think: road trips) and they’ll become a treat. As for the daily lunches? Send water instead. If you insist on sending juice, buy a reusable juice container and make up canned juice at home.
Expensive extra-curricular activities
This might seem a bit counter intuitive in today’s competitive world but we sometimes get a bit excessive with kids’ activities. Yes, sign your little ones up for music classes or sports, it’s good for their health, their long term intelligence, and social skills. Just don’t get carried away with it. If there isn’t a real chance your kid is going to play hockey professionally don’t invest all that money into it. Opt for activities to make your children well rounded and try community centres or your local library for free alternatives. You can also claim some activities on your taxes so keep that in mind when doing your budget.
I’m always on the lookout to slash unnecessary things my bills when it comes to my kids so we have more money to do the things we want.