By Double Duty Mama
I found out recently that my family was the largest contributor to our school’s grocery store rewards program last year. My oldest son told us this morning that he sometimes buys a $3 lunch in the school cafeteria because he’s hungry after eating all the food I’ve packed for him (this was discovered after looking at his account when I got a notice that we owed money). My kids eat A LOT. Which is fine … except that all this food costs A LOT!
Between food, clothes and child care – the necessities – these kids are expensive. Add in toys, activities and entertainment and it’s a wonder regular folk with regular jobs aren’t regularly filing for bankruptcy.
Yesterday, the United States Department of Agriculture was kind enough to put a price tag on 18 years of parenting. Middle-income families with a baby born in 2010 can expect to spend nearly $227,000 on their kid over the next 17 years. Low-income families are likely to spend about $163,440 on that child through high school.
Besides becoming the subject of an episode of Extreme Couponing, what are parents to do? I asked Google, and quickly came up with a few easy tips to save money while raising children. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Save Money Magazine suggests not taking your kids food shopping with you (so you don’t have to give into their whining) and making them earn their treats.
- eHow says shopping at discount stores, like the 99-Cent Store or the Dollar Tree, can help pinch pennies on food, toys and toiletries.
- MSN Money says use a program that allows you to use pretax dollars for child care, if your company offers one. And don’t forget to claim your child- or dependent-care credit on your tax forms.
- Blogger Mommy of a Monster & Twins, who also cited the USDA report, reminds people to never turn away hand-me-downs and shop for used items.
Do you have any great money-saving tips? Share them below in the comments!