With an ever-growing list of expenses, it can seem overwhelming trying to raise kids. That parenting role becomes even harder when you are a single mom. The problem is not only trying to balance the budget, but also provide the necessities needed for the children you have, without having to sacrifice life or activities for them as well. Follow these 5 tips for raising kids on a shoestring budget to get the most bang for your buck, while maintaining a healthy active family.
Tip 1: Activities and Recreation Savings
When you are considering your budget, it is important to consider not only basic items such as food, shelter and medical expenses, but also consider the needs of each child individually. There are many school and community programs available for single parents, providing extra-curricular activities to those families at little to no out of pocket expenses. Some childcare services for instance are actually a doubled martial arts school, allowing your child to participate in a sport activity without the additional cost.
Tip 2: Grocery and Food Savings
Many retailers offer double or triple stack coupon days, equally substantial savings for a single mom. There are many websites offering free coupons for both print and in-store savings. These savings may not amount to much at first, but as you continue to collect the various coupons, you can start putting multiple coupons towards the same items, creating some very low cost or free items off your grocery tab. Always browse the current week’s flyers to see which items will be going on sale, before going shopping.
Tip 3: Meal plans and Menu Savings
Before going shopping it is essential to not only check the flyers to see which items are on sale, but also write down a hard copy of the groceries you plan to buy. Involve the children in the list making process, having them look at the flyers for great snack foods or even (if they are old enough) to help plan a meal or two with you. Involving them in the meal plans allow them spend quality time with you, and also helps teach them the value of a dollar, plus the added bonus of learning about nutrition and value.
Tip 4: In Home Savings
Of the 5 tips for Raising Kids on a Shoestring Budget, the easiest place to cut back, is in your own home. Start by looking at the number of electronics wasting power (for those families that pay for utilities.) Although the items on their own may not cost a lot, adding three or four appliances (think hair dryers, computers, cell phone chargers, kitchen appliances) can save a substantial amount of money every year off of your utility bill. Also, look into your area’s prime rates for electricity to stretch your dollar further as well. Instead of running your dryer during peak hours, hold off until the rate drops.
Tip 5: Transportation
For a single parent, transportation may eventually wear you down. The cost of running a car is more expensive now than ever before, with gas at an all-time premium. The problem unfortunately, is that more children are relying on their parents to haul them to and from events – instead of taking public transportation, or more environmentally friendly alternatives such as roller-blades, bike or two feet and a heartbeat.
Following these 5 tips for Raising Kids on a Shoestring Budget may not seem like a large amount of savings, but applying them all together will not only help you stretch your dollar further, but also encourage your children to be more physically active as they enter adulthood.