Raising a baby is expensive. I’d say, “Don’t get me started,” but many of you started this journey LONG before me, and many of you are thinking of starting soon. I know this because I get email daily asking for advice on ways to save on the hefty cost of raising kids.
The media query about the financial realities of children too, and I sometimes answer their personal questions on television, radio, and in print.
I’ve roundedup a few TV clips and posts I think will be helpful to young families looking for some financial relief. Pass this post along if you know someone who could either use a little help or a big reality check.
Super Savers: Raising a baby
I sat down with financial expert Rubina Ahmed-Haq (@AlwaysSaveMoney) for a Bell Media program called Super Savers. The premise of the program is to share how ordinary people have found extraordinary ways to save money.
Since I’m fairly ordinary, I invited Rubina into my humble Toronto apartment and shared my cost-cutting ways with her. It’s a fun clip to watch if you want to sneak a peek into my life. I think it’s obvious Rubina and I had a blast shooting this show.
Also, I don’t make that awesome face throughout the whole video, so we’re good.
The Globe: The crazy cost of daycare
When I compared the cost of licensed daycare to buying a new Honda Civic every year, Rob Carrick (@rcarrick) said, “This is unbelievably expensive.” As the Globe’s personal finance columnist I’m certain he doesn’t throw the word “expensive” around lightly.
The Globe: Easy ways for new parents to save
I love the next clip because this is how I’ve saved a lot of money on my almost three-year-old daughter. I use cloth diapers, I buy used gear, I network with parents to buy and sell toys and clothing. This is easy, people.
This clip also demonstrates how to rock the same orange scarf and fitted blue sweater across media channels.
Do your own math
The Globe and Mail asked me to share my best piece of financial advice. And so I did.
By Kerry K. Taylor | The Globe and Mail | So what does it (really) cost to raise a kid? Do your own math
Best from the blog
Over the last threeish years I’ve created a lot of content for families looking for ways to save money. Downloadables, opinion columns, printables, and ideas. I’ll list the ones you liked best so maybe you can share the savings with others.
- Takedown: Can you raise a child for $3,000 a year?
- Popular Printable: Newborn Essentials Checklist: The baby basics
- Math: Price Check: Are cloth diapers worth it?
- Pictures: How to build a cloth diaper stash on any budget
- Expensive: The crazy cost of daycare
My daughter turns three in January, so I’m only getting started. What’s your best advice for cutting the cost of raising kids? Babies, toddlers, kids, pre-teens, teens, young adults — everything works here.
Can’t wait to watch these while I’m not at work!
My tips are always used clothing and toys when you can – find a network for that!
And judiciously choose activities. Activities are expensive – I hear Canadians are really into hockey, for example, and that’s expensive.
Club soccer can be hundreds a season
YMCA soccer would be more like $100
Just for fun soccer would be $80
Playing with your kid at the park would be the cost of a soccer ball
One-on-one swim lessons are $70 for 20 minutes
Group swim lessons would be $35 for 20 minutes
YMCA swim lessons would be $30 for 6 classes if you are a member, a little more if you are not
So for example, we are YMCA members at about $100/month. Childcare is included, there are free family fun nights, there are many opportunities to take your kids swimming, there are low-cost summer/ winter camps, there are many sports leagues if you are into that.
On the other hand, you could join a fancier club at $250/month and $6/ hour child care.
I have many friends with kids in soccer, swimming, dance, rock climbing, cheerleading (for the older kids), water polo, piano, music lessons…we just don’t really do all that. We tend to spend our free time/ weekends just hanging out with them, taking them to the park to play, playing board games, taking them to the pool.
Cook! The amount you can spend on those nights (or lunches) when you don’t feel like taking the time to make something is scary – a little take-out, something out of a box that goes right into the oven…. very convenient, but very expensive (and not as good for you)
There are many free things you can do with your children. Here in B.C. you can go to any provincial office and get a free permit for a Christmas tree. We drive(not far) into a permissible area and hike in for a tree. Great family activity. Many libraries have free activities and some corporations sponsor free skate and swim days. Your local rec centre may also have other very low cost activities.
We make our own pizzas,poutine,nachos,jam,cookies,pad thai,shake and bake mix etc(teen boys with huge appetites). Here are somethings I do to avoid takeout. When cooking ground meat,cook extra and freeze. When preparing veggies (chopping or cooking) make extra freeze. Keep two soup making containers in freezer, one is frozen meat juices (beef, chicken or pork)and the other is bits of left over veggies from every meal for a week or two. Freeze bits of veggies on pie plate and transfer to second covered covered container. When full (a week or two) make home made soup. A good way not to waste food when you have spoon full of this or that left over. Pasta, rice or potatoes can be added.This way I always have something partly precooked on hand to start a meal. example chopped peppers can be used in deluxe hashbrowns, pasta sauce, home made pizza or soup. In other words make some of your convenience food items. About to expire yogurt is blended with a shot of honey and pre frozen fruit ( I freeze peaches, strawberries etc) and we make our popsicles or return it to the original yogurt container and make homemade “ice cream”. Too much food is thrown away by most families when it could be made into new tasty dishes. As for daycare I stayed home and looked after another child for money during those years of preschool. I earned and my children had companions. Benefits to the other mother : I charged less than the daycare, I was willing to sit even if their child was ill(they didn’t miss work days) and I was available for shifts after 4:00 unlike most daycares.
Check out your local library. They have wonderful programs for toddlers – all free!
Remember you are allowed to say “No” to their requests that you spend money on the must-have latest gadget or fashion item. Help them by practising what you preach but make sure you give in to something special at Christmas or birthdays!
Once they understand that you have to work for $, you can give them a small weekly allowance in return for certain chores depending on ability. And let them hear adults talking about saving money too.
It helps to develop the right attitude to money from the get go because it stays with them for life usually.
If you factor daycare into the costs (and your child is in daycare from the beginning), then yes, raising a child can be expensive, especially if you live in an expensive city.
Get free diapers with rewards program points, or invest in a set of cloth diapers.
Other than that, I truly believe that it is NOT expensive to have a baby. Clothes, diapers, food, a bed to sleep in – that’s really all kids need. There are a few “nice to have” items, but otherwise, it’s clothes, food and a bed – and if you’re smart with your money (only buying sale or used items, shopping for food in season, etc.), those items don’t cost much.
Once they get older, your costs won’t change much – you’ll eliminate diapers and add in something else, such as an after-school sport or activity.
The best way I save money on kids right now (mine are 5 and almost 3) is by purchasing used whenever possible, and shopping the sales (this is the time of year that toys and clothes are on sale dirt cheap!).
Great videos and tips.
I thought the cloth diapers was a good point. That can be coupled with, if a parent/s have had a rough week financially, at least they know they can change baby with cloth. I recently read on a blog that a parent forgot about diapers and had no money left. At least with cloth it wouldn’t have been as bad.
Happy NY 2015