When you’re raising a family, using your money wisely is important. While you want to enjoy time with your loved ones and provide your children with great experiences while they’re growing up, you must also be mindful of your spending. With that in mind, here are a few handy tips can help you get the most out of your money while you’re raising children:
Use Your Library
Libraries are often a wonderful, yet overlooked, resource for families who are looking for free or cheap entertainment. Many libraries offer family story hour, crafts, and other events you can attend with your kids. They also lend out DVDs, which can provide your family with an enjoyable movie night without the hefty cost of going to a movie theater.
Find Free Activities
A fun family activity may be no further away than your local park. Many cities and towns host free family events, particularly in the summer when the weather is nicer. Check around to see when the next movie night under the stars, cultural festival or craft show is and take your family out for a fun, low-cost day.
Create a Spending Limit on Gifts
When you’re raising little ones, you may not have the extra money to put towards gifts for others around the holiday. Discuss with your extended family the possibility of placing limits on gifts, having a white elephant gift exchange, or foregoing the gift giving entirely in lieu of an experience, like a family dinner. This can help you save money around the holidays when people tend to spend the most.
Start Saving for College Early
If you want to provide your child with a secure educational future, it’s never too early to start saving. Start putting away for their college education as soon as possible, and invite other family members to put in money as well around birthdays and holidays instead of giving a gift.
Be Smart About the Future
While nobody enjoys thinking of the worst, if you have a family who depends on you, you should consider an insurance policy that will provide for them in the event that you can’t. Your local insurance agents can help you formulate a plan that will ensure that your loved ones are provided for when you’re no longer around.
Organize a Swap Meet
It can be nice to buy new things every now and then, but you shouldn’t overlook the value in getting something used. Organize a swap meet with your friends or neighbors to share gently used clothing, toys, or books. Not only are you getting rid of things that may no longer be useful for you and your family, but you’re getting something in exchange that can provide your children with renewed enjoyment.
Designate No Spend Days
Having fun doesn’t always mean spending money. Set aside one night a week for you and your family to enjoy one another’s company without spending a dime. Cook dinner together, watch a movie, go for a hike, or plan a family board game night.
Eating out can add up quickly, so rather than giving your children lunch money every day and planning to eat out yourself while you’re at work, make a commitment to packing lunches for you and your family every day. Those savings can add up quickly.
As you can see, spending time with your family and providing your children with lasting memories doesn’t have to make you go broke. In fact, by using these tips, you and your loved ones can enjoy one another without breaking the bank or feeling deprived.
Photo Credit: Tony Alter