Achieving the “Impossible”: Frugal Living with Kids
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They can so expensive. No matter how much money you sink into them, they just keep requiring more and more. What you get for that money is hard to quantify. No, I am not talking about boats or swimming pools. I’m talking about kids.
From shoes and clothes to food, they just get more expensive the more they grow. Having more than one of them and a budget seems impossible. Yet families manage to achieve it every day. Granted, not everyone manages to achieve it. Some people never figure out how to balance baby twins and a checkbook at the same time.
But that is why it is so important to take note of the families that achieve budgetary success. There is much that can be learned from the families that make ends meet, and manage to make it to every soccer match. Here are a few of the ways they manage to achieve the impossible every day:
They Buy Second-hand
Things are only new until you remove the tag. The transition from new to used happens in a second. Rather than focusing on whether an item is new, smart parents are more interested in whether or not the item is clean, in good shape, and serves the intended purpose. If it fits the bill while also being secondhand and inexpensive, so much the better.
Baby clothes are so much more affordable when purchased secondhand. Pricing examples can be found at www.swap.com. One of the reasons second-hand baby clothes are such a good deal is that babies grow so quickly. They are often not used long enough to suffer from wear and tear like clothes for adolescents.
Another way to save on those clothes is to avoid the name brands. There is something kind of obscene about designer baby clothes. Babies don’t care about brands. Other babies they play with don’t care about brands. The only people that do are the parents that buy them, and the parents that judge the parents that buy them. When you are on a budget, you can’t afford that level of snootiness. Buy secondhand and ditch the brands.
Learn to Sew and Cook
Did you know that damaged clothes can be salvaged and worn again? Some people never have that experience because when something rips, they go shopping. But frugal families don’t do that. They sew on buttons and stitch up tears. Depending on the rip, they may even apply patches.
Did you know that you don’t have to buy baby food from the store? With a lot less money and effort than you imagine, you can make your own baby food. If words like fresh, nutritious, and delicious are as important to you as words like, inexpensive, fast, and easy, then you are going to want to make your own baby food starting today.
Learn to Say No
One of the biggest blows to the budget is saying yes to everything your kids demand. This is a mistake even if budget was not an issue. There are certain lessons your kids can only learn when deprived of frivolous things they want. Among those lessons are:
- Learning the difference between the necessary and the frivolous
- Sometimes you don’t get what you want in life
- Things cost money
- Money is a limited resource
- It is not going to kill you to do without for a while
Saying yes to everything teaches them lessons that are ultimately unsustainable, especially for families on a budget.
Find Ways to Save that Have Nothing to Do with the Kids
There is a good chance your budget problems didn’t start with the kids. You have to find and fix the underlying issue that has you in budgetary crisis in the first place. Beyond that, you can save money every month on many expenses – you just have to be willing to make the cuts.
No one said it was going to be easy. And it’s not. But it is possible. And it is accomplished every day by parents who buy second-hand where it makes sense to do so, cook their own baby food, practice the art of NO, and deal with underlying budgetary issues.
Photo courtesy of: Greyerbaby
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