I hear it over and over again: kids are so expensive.
Yes, they are — but I don’t think they’re quite as expensive as the studies and surveys say. Even though I hate to admit it, I know I often make my child more expensive than she has to be. If many of us parents were to take a good, hard look at what we’re spending on our kids, we’d find that many of the expenses are our own doing.
Thankfully, the answer to cheaper kids is simple: simplify. It’s not always the easiest thing to do — and feelings may get hurt in the process — but simplifying is better for your budget and your family.
Here are a few areas you can start simplifying right away:
Let’s start with our kids’ birthday parties. How much do you spend each year to throw your child some over the top, Pinterest-inspired party? A lot of my friends are celebrating their first child’s first birthday, and it’s ridiculous how much money they’re spending. Does a one-year-old really need a themed party with designer cupcakes and cookies?
This isn’t just a one-year-old thing either. Many parents are splurging on their children’s birthday parties at every age. Don’t get me wrong: you should make a big deal out of your child’s birthday. It’s such a special day, but you can still keep it under $100. You just have to simplify.
A bunch of tween girls would be thrilled to be given a basket of beauty supplies, a teen movie, and some junk food for a sleepover party. No need to make matching sleeping bags for all the girls, or hire someone to give them beauty treatments. Similarly, every young boy you know would love to have an all-out water balloon battle and slide down the yard on a homemade water slide (aka tarp, soap, and water). They don’t need all of the Avenger-themed party supplies to make fun memories happen.
My point is to simplify the stuff, but maximize the fun and memories. (Usually they’re the best — and least expensive — part!)
How many outfits does a child need? My own two-year-old has over 30 in her closet, and that is three times too much. Granted, they’re all hand-me downs, but she really only needs about 10 outfits. We live in Southern California, so we can get by with one light coat and one heavy coat. But even if you do live in a place with hot summers and freezing winters, you can still save money by simplifying your child’s wardrobe to about 10 outfits for each season.
Not only will this save you money on how much you spend at the department store, but it will save you time and money in other areas, too. Hopefully with a smaller wardrobe for your children, you’ll spend less money and time laundering clothes. (I know I’m not the only mother out there who’s washed already cleaned clothes because they were left on the floor!) A smaller wardrobe can also mean less stress when getting dressed in the morning, since there are fewer choices.
Those are the first two ways to simplify your kids’ expenses. Come back next week for three more ideas!
Let’s talk about kids birthday parties. They an be a sore subject for some. Do you go all out for your child’s birthday, or are you a simple party person?