Learn to be sensible when you bring children into the world. Who knows, maybe eight won’t be enough.
- Step 1: Avoid overspending at holidays and for birthdays. They don’t need and usually don’t use all the extra toys.
- TIP: Model the same frugal habits you expect your child to understand.
- Step 2: Save gas on family trips by using a manual transmission and cruise control. Driving less than 55 miles per hour will result in better mileage, and the kids will learn from the good example.
- FACT: By 2007, American families on average spent $200,000 per child from birth to age 17, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. That figure jumped to $291,000 for middle-income earners the next year.
- Step 3: Save on professional daycare and babysitters by networking with friends and neighbors, or by getting help from grandparents and siblings.
- Step 4: Purchase pre-owned furnishings for the children’s rooms. Now that families are smaller, "almost new" cribs, strollers, and car seats abound at yard sales.
- Step 5: Maintain a tight food budget, shopping with coupons. Look for fresh produce – the less processed food is, the less it generally costs.
- Step 6: Use cloth diapers instead of disposables. You will save tons of cash, help the environment, and learn to control your gag reflex.
- TIP: Anything saved can be directed to a fund for education.
- Step 7: Use hand-me-down clothes. If they complain, tell them Superman or Hannah Montana wore them when they were little.
- Step 8: Buy a modest home. Your kids might have to share a room, like you did, and they might not have their own TV and video complex inviting isolation, but the family will interact more.