No parent is foolish enough to think raising a family is cheap, but sometimes the true cost of running a household comes as a surprise. If you count yourself amongst those blindsided by your family-sized bills, you should follow these smart and cost-effective tips.
Weigh time-savings against cash-savings
After a long day at the office, followed by wrangling the kids through extra-curricular activities, the average parent is low on energy. Running on fumes until you get home, you might not have any motivation to cook the family dinner from scratch. Turning to takeout and fast-food, you opt for something that costs more money than the average homemade meal because it saves you time.
As a parent, you need to start thinking about this exchange more carefully. While takeout and other ready-meals are convenient, they aren’t always the most affordable addition to the dinner table. Fresh, simple meals cooked from scratch take more time but put less strain on your budget.
While there’s no harm in relying on takeout occasionally, you need to determine if this is really something your family can afford. If it isn’t, you can save time by preparing things in large batches and freezing the extras. You can pull out these frozen meals on the days you feel too tired to cook without having to rely on costly takeout.
Kids are fickle, jumping from trend to trend in a blink of an eye. They can also be rough on even their most favorite toys, breaking them within weeks of receiving them — all this while growing at a rate of two and a half inches every year, meaning you’re shopping for clothes constantly. When kid essentials run their course quickly, there’s no point in buying everything brand-new. You can find considerable savings by buying toys and clothing second-hand. But don’t stop there. You can use apps like Kidizen, Yerdle, and Varagsale to find a variety of used items at a fraction of their original price.
Plan for the unexpected
You may not have a sufficient nest egg set aside for financial emergencies, but that doesn’t mean the universe will give you a pass until you’re ready. Minor traffic accidents, roaming charges, and plumbing disasters can and will happen when you least expect it. You need to brainstorm ways you’ll pay for these surprise expenses without savings.
Many parents hesitate to apply for a traditional loan. Some don’t meet the minimum requirement outlined by these institutions. Others, when facing repairs that need immediate payment, don’t have the time to wait for a bank’s lengthy application process.
Luckily, there’s a faster alternative to these financial strongholds. Online lenders like MoneyKey offer the easiest way to borrow money for time-strapped and broke parents. Their online servers operate 24/7 and require only basic financial information. Parents can apply conveniently whenever they have the time. And in some cases, a lender like MoneyKey can issue necessary online cash loans within one business day.
Your family is the most important thing in your life, so you don’t mind spending most of your money to keep them safe and happy — but that doesn’t mean you should be paying more than you can afford to run the household. Keep these tips in mind, and you can remove some of the financial burdens of raising your family.