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Kids Are Expensive: 5 Ways to Lighten the Load

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Brian
01.14.13

If you have kids, they’re probably a source of pride, joy and inspiration in your life.

They’re also expensive. In fact, Forbes estimates that it costs an average of $235,000 to raise a child today. And that’s before college tuition. Yikes! If you want to soften that six-figure blow, try one of these simple adjustments around the house to make childrearing a little cheaper.

 

1. Buy diapers in bulk. If your little ones aren’t potty-trained yet, you’re probably aware of an undeniable truth: babies poop a lot. In fact, parents spend an estimated $1,100 a year on diapers. If you buy your dookie collectors in bulk, you could save as much as $350 a year.  

2. Go gender-neutral with your nursery. If your first child is a baby girl, it may be tempting to go all-out with things like a pink crib and floral bedding. But, if #2 turns out to be a boy, you either need to redecorate, or he’ll have to suffer through feminine hand-me-downs. But, if you go gender-neutral for purchases like bedding and clothing, you can live in hand-me-down city (where the rent is free) without any guilt or drama as your kids grow up.   

3. DIY gifts and wrapping paper. Once your kids hit grade school, they essentially live in a constant state of weekend birthday parties. It’s like wedding season when you’re in your late twenties, except it runs year-round and there’s no open bar. Then there are the holidays. To ease the financial burden of these celebratory events, make a point to DIY your gifts and wrapping paper as much as possible. It’ll usually save you money, and it’ll always save you from hectic trips to the mall.

4. Embrace leftovers for lunch. Not only does the cost of a lunch take a chunk out of your wallet, preparation takes a chunk out of your morning routine. Make a habit of cooking a few extra servings of dinner two or three nights out of the week, and then send your kids to school with the leftovers. They can usually reheat them in the cafeteria, and they’ll have a healthy, low-budget meal! Over the course of 18 years (or more, depending on the size of your family) this can make a really big difference. Just make sure you store your leftovers properly!

5. Budget for safety. When you have kids, one of the most important things you need to focus on around the house is safety. Areas like the kitchen and bedrooms will need to be adjusted so your little one isn’t in danger! From child-locks to new cribs and toddler beds, these expenses can add up fast. We don’t recommend cutting corners when it comes to safety, but you can plan for these expenses and budget accordingly so you don’t run into any surprises.

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