In the United States, raising a child until the age of 18 costs typically around $233,610. Although the figure seems staggering, it applies to many families. Among the highest costs are housing (29 percent), food (18 percent), and child care/education (16 percent).
Costs, however, may still vary depending on location, the number of kids or family members, and the kind of lifestyle. If one lives in the rural Midwest, for example, the cost is significantly lower as compared to the cost of living in an urban metropolis such as New York City or Los Angeles.
Now, if a family is on a tight budget, especially with rising living costs, here are some best money-saving strategies to try.
1. Smaller Is Better
As mentioned earlier, housing tops the expenses of most American families. But here’s the thing: a house does not have to be big or extravagant. It’s enough if it can offer the necessary amenities. Don’t get swayed by the appeal of the high-end home offers shown on television or other marketing platforms.
Today, more and more Americans realize that big houses are not necessary for a better family. Living in smaller units can help deter conflicts caused by unrelenting chores. It even helps build stronger bonds, especially among siblings, as they share rooms.
A smaller house also gives the family an additional wiggle room for adventurous pursuits. Here is an idea to take note: it’s best to downsize to upgrade.
2. Serve Healthy Options at Home
Food is the second-largest source of expense for an American family and elsewhere. Browse online, and you’ll find tons of tips on how to save on food. Try more home-cooked meals as they not only offer more healthy options but are also budget-friendly.
In the US, the trend now is going green. That is why healthy options are becoming cheaper and cheaper. As much as possible, stay away from fast food. That’s health investment as well.
3. Strive to Prevent Health-Care Costs
Health-care costs, especially from raising a child until the teenage years, are one of the biggest challenges a family has to face. It matters to apply cost-effective measures.
One way to do that is ensuring a healthy family lifestyle in different aspects. For a child, make it a routine to do checkups. Teach the children how to take care of their teeth and other parts of their body.
Enforce a fitness routine for the entire family. Eat healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables to avoid long-term health complications.
Imagine if the family lives on soda and junk foods, and everybody eventually has cancer. How much will that cost for each member to undergo medical procedures? Remember, the healthier the family, the fewer hospital visits there will be. That’s real savings and peace of mind!
4. Choose Secondhand Items
It’s tempting to go with the flow of a culture that prefers the latest trends despite them costing a lot of money. The truth is, secondhand items are just as good as new and branded ones are.
Some worn items even have better qualities, especially when you talk about shoes or clothes. So when buying gifts, for instance, try buying from consignment shops, thrift stores, and rummage sales.
Or when buying a watch, why choose something that costs thousands of dollars when you can purchase one that costs only $45? Both watches function the same way, anyway.
By doing this, the family can save a lot of money and put that to better use.
5. Sell Things Online
One of the most efficient and practical ways of earning money these days is selling online. There are a variety of options, just select one that’s most convenient for you.
Rummage through old belongings or simply sort out the things that the family doesn’t need anymore. Pick out useful items, and start selling online. Kitchenware, workout equipment, old books, and just about anything can be conveniently sold through different online platforms. This is a great way to organize the home while earning extra bucks.
6. Invest More on Experiences, Not on Materials
Creating memories is the best thing a family can do, and that doesn’t have to cost money. Many of the happiest families on earth create memories without a single expense. They just run around the house or do fun, meaningful things together. Some eat dinner by candlelight while others work on their gardens.
Traveling is another way to make happy memories, especially during a child’s formative years. Don’t worry; trips don’t have to be expensive. Instead of going to crowded areas, try driving to natural destinations such as lakes and mountains.