A list of 30 easy and realistic ways to save money with kids. Kids can be expensive, but they don’t have to break your budget.
Having kids can put a serious dent in your retirement goals and your finances… if you keep living above your means, that is. I’m sharing a list of 30 ways to save money with kids (and it doesn’t mean you have to coupon and eat ramen for every meal). There will be some sacrifices, but you can still live an enjoyable and fulfilled live by making a few small changes.
I’m a mom of two toddlers. After our first was born I realized that babies are expensive and kids even more so. We made some minor changes to help keep our finances in check and on that path to early retirement like we had always planned.
Here are 30 easy and family-friendly ways to save money if you have kids:
Family-Friendly Ways to Save Money
- Buy in Bulk – kids will eat lots of food anyways so its best to save money and buy things like food, household essentials, and toiletries in bulk to save money.
- Give Haircuts at Home – most style can be done at home if you do a little research and watch some directional videos. We own hair clippers and shears and have given my boys and husband haircuts at home for years.
- Avoid the Urge To Eat Out – Going out to eat can easily cost $20-$40+ dollars per meal for a family of 4. Save some money and cook at home even when you have the urge to go out.
Read More >>> 33 Easy Toddler Dinner Ideas
- Use Hand-Me-Downs – Reach out to family and friends with older kids and see if they have any hand-me-downs to pass along to you (sometimes all you have to do is ask!). If you have more than one child, also hold on to gently used clothes and shoes to pass down to younger siblings as well.
- Look for Free Family Events – Be on the look out for free events in your community. Swap out a few paid events like museums, clubs, and classes for free events like special days at the library, street fairs, or sponsored events put on by different companies.
- Say No to More Toys – kids can be happy with less toys than you’d think! Instead of more toys try setting up some intentional and cheap activities with things you have around the house.
Read More >>> Fun & Easy Toddler Activities for 1-2 Year Olds
- Shop Sales – i’m not saying you need to be an extreme couponer or spend hours searching for deep discounts, but do keep an eye out for sales. If the item you’re buying isn’t an urgent need, consider checking back frequently to see if it’s on sale and wait to buy it until then.
- Keep Home Decor Simple – Everyone has their own thing that fills their cup–and if home decor is your thing then by all means you do you– but for the rest of us consider keeping home decor simple to save money! Your kids will be rough on your house anyways so you might not need all of those decorative rugs and display shelves.
- Stick to a Budget – there are many financial movements out there (two of my favorite being Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) and Dave Ramsey) and both recommend budgeting and reducing your spending in order to get ahead financially. Start by listing out your monthly income and then set goals for different spending categories and stick to it each month.
- Buy Quality Items – buying quality items can save you money in the long run since you won’t have to buy as frequently when the items get worn out or broken. Instead of buying your child 5 pairs of cheap shoes each season, try buying 1-2 quality pairs that can be passed down to siblings or sold once your child outgrows them.
- Keep Organized – keep your kid’s items and toys organized so that you can easily see everything you have and don’t mistakenly buy twice.
- Eat Less Meat – I recently realized how much money we were spending on groceries each week as a family of four and decided to take a closer look at our grocery budget – I quickly realized that meat was a huge cost each week. We have been eating less meat recently and not only do we feel better, but we are saving money! Some of my favorite non meat recipes are from ambitiouskitchen.com
- Buy End of Season Clearance – plan ahead each year and buy next year’s clothes and shoes at the end of the season to save money (this is when most clothes go on clearance to make room for the next season’s clothes).
- Visit the Library – not only can you check out books for free, but most libraries also have free movies, audio books, and cds to check out and free story times or other activities for kids.
- Plan Vacations Ahead of Time – this may seem counterintuitive that i’m recommending vacations as a way to save money, but specifically i’m recommending that you plan ahead of time when you do go on vacation, and opt for driving instead of flying when you can. Buy the travel essentials and come prepared to avoid spending more when you have to buy things last minute.
Read More >>> 18 Toddler Travel Items to Make Traveling Easier
- Skip the Coffee Shop – if coffee shops and lattes are your weakness, consider investing in a machine to make them at home. You can easily save $150 dollar a month by avoiding the daily coffee shop addiction. We have these instead to help us get our coffee kick: Gevi Espresso Machine & Hamilton Beach Cold Coffee Maker.
- Ditch Expensive Hobbies – after you have kids your time is limited anyways. Ditch the expensive hobbies and trade them in for more cost effective and family friendly ones; hike instead of mountain biking, go to the beach instead of owning a boat, have friends over instead of going out.
- Pack Lunches – this goes for everyone who may need a lunch; pack your work lunch, school aged kid’s lunch, and your toddler’s lunch instead of spending money eating at school our eating fast food.
- Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions – consider which subscriptions you really need and cut the rest! Amazon Prime is a must for us, but with this we get free access to Prime Video (this can replace other video streaming services).
- Meal Plan Each Week – avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store where you will be more likely to grab items you don’t really need. I like to plan out 6-7 dinners each week and then we can have left overs or go out on the extra day.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Have Your Kids Share – sharing can be a great learning lesson for kids. Consider what items and toys they can share to save money. If you’re in the place to downsize or have your kids share a room in order to make room for other activities (or siblings) consider doing so.
- Get Refillable Water Bottles – use refillable water bottles instead of buying water bottles and juice boxes for your kids. We love our 12oz Thermos Funtainer straw cups. They have a flip top lid and don’t leak at all!
- Order Groceries Online – when you order online you can save by seeing the total before you hit buy. Online grocery shopping is a great way to stick to a budget and avoid buying unnecessary things you don’t really need.
- Stick to the Essentials – do some research and figure out what the essentials are for whatever stage in live you’re in. Don’t give in to trends, overbuy, or spend more than is necessary. Babies don’t need everything that you see on registry lists these days and most toddlers and kids don’t a closet overflowing of outfits and toys.
Read More >>> Amazon Baby Registry Must-Haves
- Do More DIY – so many DIY fixes can be learned by watching youtube videos or with a quick google search. Know your limits and when to call in a professional, but always search online first to try and save money.
- Improve your Immunity – doctor’s visits can be a huge expense for a growing family. Do everything you can to boost your immunity at home to avoid unnecessary trips to the doctor. Eat more fruits & veggies, go on family walks to stay active, and take any vitamins or supplements recommended by your doctor.
- Buy Used – buy used and save the difference. Buying used items like cars, clothes, strollers, and other baby items can save you a ton of money and you often will hardly know the difference!
- Try a Snack Plate Instead of a Meal – snack trays can be great way to use up left overs or extend the days in between grocery shopping (saving you money!). We love snack trays especially for lunch!
- Don’t Make Impulsive Purchases – take some time to think and sleep on the decision before making any big purchases. Talk with your partner or anyone else who may be involved and weigh out the pros and cons. This can help you avoid spending unnecessary money or regretting purchases you made on a whim.
- Start a Mom Blog – now this isn’t necessarily a way to save money, but to help offset the cost of having kids, consider starting a mom blog to make some extra income! You can make a few extra hundred to a few extra thousand dollars per month with some extra effort. I now make more blogging than I did at my old corporate job!
Read More >>> How To Start A Blog and Make Money
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