The average cost of bringing up a child from birth until their 21st birthday has reached £227K according to a survey commissioned by the insurer LV=The biggest expenses for parents are education (even state education) and childcare and, with recent changes in family beneﬁts, 71% of families say they are having to make cut backs. What can parents do to try and save money when there is so much pressure from our kids to buy them the newest gadget or toy? Read on for a few money saving tips for families: 1. Firstly, make sure you open an account with an online shopping club such as Kidstart which allows you to save money for your children every time you shop. 2. Hold ‘swap’ parties with friends and people in your community to exchange used children’s clothes, toys and games. Kids are constantly outgrowing their stuff so pass good, clean items on. Other good sources of second hand clothes and toys are ebay, jumble sales, school fairs and car boot sales. 3. Why not swap skills and talents with other families? You can use your skills to teach friend’s children in exchange for help from other parents. For example, if you speak a foreign language, perhaps you can swap language lessons with a parent who plays an instrument. 4. Use www.freecycle.com when you can. Freecycle is a fabulous grass-roots movement that was set up to stop used items becoming landﬁll. It’s great for sourcing larger items such as bikes and furniture. You can list your items for free as long as you are giving them away for free. 5. Get to know your local park inside out. It’s free and will give your family hours of entertainment at no cost. 6. Don’t be fooled into buying food products aimed at kids and make the same meals for everyone in the family. Yoghurt is still yoghurt whether it has a cute picture on the lid or not! 7. Register your children at the local library and teach them how to ﬁnd books they’ll love instead of buying new ones. 8. Search NCT groups and Mumsnet boards for second hand baby items, free advice and more. The only baby items you really need to buy new are car seats and mattresses. 9. Turn off the adverts on TV. It is amazing how powerful TV advertising during children’s peak viewing times is. The simple act of turning off the TV will reduce children exposure to persuasive adverts for the latest plastic gadget. If your kids really want something, teach them to save towards it so they ‘earn’ it. It’s amazing how much the desire for the latest thing dissolves if we have to wait for it. 10. Exchange babysitting and childcare with good friends or family. I know one couple who babysit for each other regularly every month giving each set of parents the chance of some low-cost ‘grown-up’ time.
What are some of your tips for saving money as a family? Does it shock you to hear how much children cost to raise?
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