Parenting is an expensive job that requires a great deal of sacrifice and optimism; and a lot of money. It’s obviously more expensive the more kids you have, but it’s still not cheap if you only have one or two children. From their birth to their food, to clothes to school to field trips and college and weddings and just about everything in between, kids are just expensive. There is nothing you can do to make them less expensive, and that’s just the way parenting goes. However, there are a few ways you can save a little bit of money raising kids. This isn’t typical savings, it’s money trap savings. What’s a money trap? A money trap is that thing that happens when you aren’t on your “A” game. Buying for kids is filled with money traps and we have several of them that you can easily avoid as long as you know what you are looking for. If you’re not sure what a money trap is in terms of parenting, let us help you figure it out. Take our advice and learn to avoid these money traps.
Many parents just head to the store when it’s time to buy new school supplies and buy everything that they see. This is a bad idea, especially if you haven’t checked at home to see what you already have. It might not seem like much, but always buying new folders and pencils you don’t need can cause you to overspend and end up wasting money on things you just don’t need. There is no reason you can’t check your home for supplies you already have before you go school shopping.
Not Talking to Teachers
Sometimes parents assume they know what their kids will need for the new school year before it ever arrives. This is not always the truth. Sometimes it’s actually much simpler to get a list from the teacher before anything and everything else so that you can ensure your kids get exactly what they need instead of a bunch of stuff they don’t need. Even stores like to post school supply lists that aren’t completely accurate, so talk to your child’s teacher in advance.
Not Reading Rules
There is nothing like back to school shopping for kids only to realize that they can’t wear or use half of what you purchased because of rules and dress codes in place by your child’s school. Read this before you go shopping. You don’t want to spend a bunch of money on things you can’t even use during the school year.
Buying Newborn Baby Clothes
With the exception of some parents (like myself who had twins who wore preemie clothes for two months and at almost 1 have just graduated to 6-9 month clothing) most babies only wear newborn size clothing for a few weeks to a month. So stocking up your baby’s closet with tiny little outfits is a waste of money since your baby will never wear them. All you need that first two or three months is onesies and sleepers – trust me.
You will need a sheet for your baby’s crib, and that’s it for one full year. It’s against the advice of doctors to place a newborn baby up to a year of age in a crib that has bumpers and other things in it as they pose an issue for suffocating. There’s no need to spend $500 on bedding you can’t even use for your new baby.
Children’s Life Insurance
Life insurance is designed to help cover the cost of living for family members if one of the money-makers passes away. Children do not make any money for your family, so paying for a life insurance policy for them is a terrible idea. It’s a waste of money and kind of a gross capitalization on their little lives. It’s just wasteful in general.
Items in the Checkout Lane
This is probably the biggest money wasting trap around for parents. Your kids see stuff they want from balloons to candy to toys in the checkout lane, and they want it all. You have to learn to say no. it’s not always easy, but you will get a long way and save a lot of money if you just make it a point to say no to these things so that you can get out of the store without spending the extra money. Perhaps you’re like me and you don’t think spending $3 in the checkout lane for the kids is a big deal until you do the math. You go to the store 3 times a week and spend $9 a week on these things and you’ve just spent $468 per year on things you absolutely do not need.
Safe Sleeping Items
There are so many baby safety items on the market for sleeping babies, but not one of them has actually been proven to work to make it safer for babies to sleep in their cribs. According to medical professionals, there are no sheets or extras that make it possible for babies to sleep better in their cribs.
Expensive Baby Tennis Shoes
Those adorable little Nikes are gorgeous, but your baby is not going to wear shoes for long. Most babies get them off and it’s just more work for mom and dad to try and get them to stay on baby’s feet, so they don’t even bother with them. However, even if you can get your newborn into a new pair of shoes, he or she isn’t going to wear them long enough to matter.
Brand New Baby Items
There’s something to be said about first-time parents wanting all new and perfect baby items, but it’s useless. That Bumbo is $50 and you’ll use it a month. My husband and I are guilty of buying all new things for all of our babies, but we also have given all of our stuff to our other friends to use for their babies and reusing a lot of it for our subsequent babies. Our jumparoo was purchased brand new by us for our oldest daughter and is currently in use by our newborn twins – and it was used for 7 babies in between.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images