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shutterstock_179225606The most recent figures on the cost of raising children in Australia, released last year by AMP and The University of Canberra, found the cost of raising two children in Australia for a family on a middle income will set you back $812,000.

For a higher income family, the cost rises to $1.09 million from the time the kids are born to when they leave home, while a lower income family can get away with spending $474,000.

Oh dear! Well lets not think about it all in one go, lets break it down and relax a little.
Raising children is expensive – yep, we all know that!

So here’s 10 instant ways to save some money on them on the way.

Buy second hand whenever you can for whatever you can – this can save you thousands of dollars alone over the years. I’d probably skip a second hand car seat though! Put things that can be washed in the dishwasher and run it through a cycle to remove germs if you’re a bit ‘iffy’ about the germ factor and of course wash all the second hand clothes well before wearing. Hand down clothes whenever you can and think about buying a good amount of unisex clothing if you’re thinking about having more than one child.

Cook up bulk amounts of the foods they like and freeze them – kids can be fussy eaters so if you’ve found a food that they love, stock up on it! Cook extra and freeze it in portions to make life easier for yourself and save on wasted dinners. This can be anything from spaghetti bolognaise to chocolate cake slices. Kids shouldn’t be eating fast food so think ahead and plan their nutrition.

Do they really need all those toys? – Buying kids toys used to only happen occasionally and at Christmas or birthdays. These days they seem to have everything they want as soon as it’s put on sale in the shops. Unstructured play is a very important part of childhood and development. Just think back to what you remember doing and had fun doing as a child. Save old containers and cups for water play and bath time. Leave the fancy toys for the relatives to buy as gifts and give your kids your time instead of the latest fad toy.

Healthcare costs – healthcare costs for children have risen significantly since the 1960’s. Try not to panic and visit the doctor for small things such as colds and small cuts that can be treated quite appropriately at home. Have a well stocked medical cabinet and a medical book always handy to know how to treat your child. Of course if you feel that you can’t do this or if your child is getting sicker then see a doctor or perhaps visit the chemist first for advice.

Ditch your brand allegiance – Seriously, do you think your baby is happy because they are wearing Huggies or Dolce Gabana?  And do you truly believe children who are bathed with Johnson and Johnson bath soaps will be more adjusted in adulthood?  Companies market so you ask yourself, “Do you really love your child?”  As a result, we feel like if we love them we need to give them the best so we somehow think spending more money on them is giving them the best. It’s not, and it’s not good for them in the long run if you’re not financially stable.

Booktopia

Collect some gifts – Throughout the year your kids will be invited to many birthday parties so stock up on reasonable gifts when you see something on sale. Books and quirky gift items from the post office are always a hit! You don’t want to over pay for gifts at the last minute. And of course buy cards and wrapping from the cheap stores so you’ll never be caught short.

Buy in bulk – Now think outside the square a bit here, what do your kids go through the most? It might be toilet paper, nappies, wipes, breakfast cereals, cheese, biscuits or fruit bars. Whatever it is try to source those items in bulk amounts because it will save you money. And if you’re not too fussy about brand names, you can save even more by choosing less popular brands, which are often just as good. Try the online stores for good deals – Grocery Run or Catch for example.

Do what you can yourself – Did you get your hair cut at the hairdressers when you were two years old? Probably not, and your kids don’t need to either. Learn how to cut your child’s hair and and save time, hassle and money. What else do you pay for that you can do yourself?

Limit paying for sports – Sporting activities are great for kids, don’t get me wrong I think kids need activity but one sport each they enjoy is enough to pay for. Again you don’t need to pay for getting your kids healthy, active and fit. Outdoor play will do that for you for free! Think about what your child likes to do, ask them what they’d like to do and support one choice wholeheartedly.

Find free things to do – You don’t need to spend money to entertain the kids. There are wonderful parks and facilities around that are put there just for the kids to enjoy so let them! They’ll use their imaginations, interact with other kids and have a ball. Here are some more free and low cost ideas.

  • Attend Free Concerts
  • Go to Museums
  • Check out Community Events
  • Go to the Park
  • Borrow or Rent Movies
  • Bowl
  • Try Backyard Camping for the Weekend
  • Play Miniature Golf
  • See Movies at Discount Times
  • Play Cards and Board Games
  • Have Christmas in July When Goods are on Sale
  • Take Free Tours
  • Walk Around Your Neighbourhood
  • Take the Frizbee or Ball to the Local Park Grounds
  • Go to the Beach For a While
  • Take a Picnic to a New Area to Explore

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