With kids in the picture, your financial habits and goals will likely change. Costs basically soar when raising children and being prepared gives you a financial safety net to cushion the blow. Here are five smart practices when budgeting for a family with kids.
Food comprises a large chunk of your monthly expenses. And ironically, this is where most families falter. Whether it’s those impromptu drive-thrus to McDonald’s or those weekly out-of-town dinners, food-related expenses can ruin even the best of budgets. Take time and effort to plan your family’s meals for the entire week. This reduces the stress of figuring out what to feed your family every lunch and dinner and eliminates the tendency to order takeouts or eat outside the house. Use this meal plan to time your trips to the grocery store to pick up the right ingredients and supplies.
Use Checks Vs Credit Cards
Although checks can be regarded as the prehistoric form of managing payments, it actually stood the test of time as one of the most secure banking options, even surpassing the security of modern payment options like debit and credit cards. Plastic cards typically put customers at a greater risk of losing money because they have less legal protection in the event that the card is stolen or misplaced. Because checks are physically kept, hackers and cyber thieves cannot access your financial information regardless of how well they can snoop into private accounts. You can find checks for cheap online to save money.
Find Affordable Clothing
If you’ve had a kid before, hand-me-downs will work with your next kid. But if you still need to buy clothing, look for affordable sources. Craigslist is one of the online sources for finding high-end, pre-owned children’s clothing. Their search engine is very easy to use and narrows down the plethora of options to choose from, based on certain personal criteria like cloth size, color, and the local area you are buying from. Consignment shops are your next stop for affordable clothing. They offer discounts and special rates for people who are buying or selling in their store.
Know What You Can DIY & What You Can’t
It’s financially prudent to try and fix everything yourself, from that broken AC system to the squeaky chair legs. And with children running around the house, you can be sure there are plenty of things that will require fixing. But know your limits when it comes to DIY projects. Neglecting your limitations in terms of skill and experience can worsen damages and may cost you more money for replacement or extensive repairs.
Hunt For Discounts
Instead of buying a newspaper for the coupons, check your local library. They usually allow people to cut off the coupons. At the same time, you can bring your children to the library for some reading. You can also sign up for free membership cards to the stores you usually frequent, such as bookstores and supermarkets.
Cut Back On Entertainment
Avoid eating out unless there’s an occasion to do so like your child’s graduation or birthday. If you are throwing a party, try to host it at home rather than reserve an entire restaurant or resort. For movie buffs, get your weekly fix at the library or from service providers like Netflix. If not free, these sources charge a small monthly fee, which is cheaper than cable or satellite.
Budgeting your money when you have children is more crucial than when you’re living alone. Being reckless with how you handle your income can affect your children’s quality of life and restrict them of future opportunities. When creating a budget plan, make sure to involve your spouse and other concerned adults in the family.