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4 Ways to Spend Less & Live More

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4 Ways to Spend Less & Live More

Do you cringe when your kids start a new season of baseball because you know you are about to cough up $300 in sports gear? Would an extra $200 each month help relieve financial stress? Are you desperate for a “date night” with your spouse, but can’t afford a babysitter?

Raising children can be expensive – but it doesn’t always have to be. Here are 4 tips to help your family enjoy the fun things in life but also relieve the financial stress that comes with raising children:

  1. When your kids need soccer cleats, ballet shoes, football gear, etc…always ask for hand-me-downs. When my daughter needed tap shoes ($60 a pair), I found a mom in the class before us whose daughter had just outgrown her tap shoes and she gave them to us for free!  When we needed ballet shoes, the dance studio had an entire box full of donations and lost-and-found that they were selling for $2. Ask other parents or the sports league for used gear – and you will always find a better deal (or free) rather than buying these things new.
  2. Several years ago when my husband and I sat down with our financial advisor she said, “You guys are spending way too much on babysitters.” Her solution was to find a trustworthy family with similar aged children and offer to babysit their kids while their parents went on a date – and the following night or weekend my husband and I got our date night. Not only did this spruce up our marriage by having more “alone time” but we have not spent a penny on a babysitter in years. We have saved over $3,000 per year by implementing babysitting swaps!
  3. In most US cities, the tap water from your faucet (plus maybe a filter) is perfectly healthy for you and your children to drink – and it’s FREE! Today’s families are drinking far too many sodas, juices and sports drinks and not nearly enough water anyways. So save money, calories, tooth decay, diabetes and obesity by drinking tap water in lieu of sugary drinks.
  4. When Santa delivers a train set for Bobby, does he ever know where it came from? When your teenagers walk the school halls, do their friend’s check the labels on their clothes? And does anybody ever ask where you bought your coffee table? Of course not.

By shopping at yard sales, you pay 5 cents on the dollar what you would pay at a store – and you are the only person who knows it’s not brand new. Also, every family should have a yard sale of their own twice per year to clear out the clutter. If you earn $500-1,000 at a yard sale, this allows you to start the college fund for Bobby you have been putting off, or get the living will you keep saying you will do “next year” or raise money for  a family in need. If you learn to be a yard selling pro, you will save your family thousands of dollars a year!


Kate Raidt Kate Raidt is author of The Million-Dollar Parent: How to Have a Successful Career While Keeping Family a Top Priority and founder of advantage4parents.com. She is also an alumnus of the Southwestern Company's summer work program. Kate is also the mother of two young children.
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