Money Savings Ideas for Parents

Think that having kids will put a cramp in your style — not to mention your wallet? Well, that’s not always the case. Follow these simple tips and you’ll discover that you can nourish your wallet while also nurturing your family.

1. Avoid impulse buys. A good way to do this is to put your groceries and essentials on a credit card and pay for all other “extras” with cash. Also, don’t take the kids on big shopping trips. If they go along, they’ll only ask for extras — and unless you have an iron will, you’ll be toting more home with you than you had planned.

2. Exterminate the entertainment budget. Forget the mass superstore and borrow books, audio books, music CDs, and more from your local library. For special nights out, shop local papers for coupons or special deals. Or, try asking for gift certificates for the local cinemas or your favorite restaurant for holidays and special occasions instead of more traditional gifts.

3. Save on regular expenses. There are certain items that you can guarantee you’ll need to purchase throughout the year — both for you and for the kids. For things like haircuts and health club memberships, try going through your local college instead of high-end salons and clubs. Your wallet will be glad you did.

4. Travel while the kids are young. Children under the age of 2 fly free on most airlines, so stock up on those frequent flyer miles while they’re young! Having kids doesn’t mean you can’t see the world. For extra savings, try booking vacations through Costco or another discount retailer or agency.

5. Don’t shy away from hand-me-downs. Other parents typically have a whole stash of baby and children’s items that they don’t know what to do with. Spread the word that you have kids and you’ll be surprised how much useful and lightly used (not to mention free!) stuff you’ll get to help ease the pressure on your budget.