Raising children can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, once you factor in food, education, clothing, entertainment, holidays, child care and medical bills.
So we’ve put together 10 fantastic tips that will help you reduce the amount you spend on keeping them fed, healthy and happy.
You could save literally thousands of dollars per year if you follow the tips below.
1. Check your entitlements
Many don’t realise all the child and family payments they’re allowed to claim from the government.
The Department of Human Services website has the full list of possible entitlements, which cover education, health care, child care, household assistance and tax benefits.
2. Cut your clothing bill
Children grow so fast that you can spend a fortune on clothes if you’re not careful.
One shrewd way to reduce your spending is to pick up clothes from op shops and garage sales. They often have quality items at very low prices.
3. Claim your freebies
4. Entertain for less
Don’t think you need to take your kids on expensive outings to keep them happy. There are plenty of free (or almost free) activities that will put a smile on their face.
If your children like the outdoors, they can go to the beach, take a bushwalk, fly a kite or kick a ball in the park.
If you want to stay at home, options include board games, paper plane contests, pillow fights and water bomb fights.
5. Invest in discounts
One way to reduce the cost of family outings is to buy a copy of The Entertainment Book.
This annual guide contains thousands of two-for-one offers as well as discounts for food, movies, sport, travel, shopping and more.
6. Bring your own
One of the reasons it can be expensive to take children out is because you have to keep buying them snacks, lunches and drinks.
The cheaper (and healthier) option is to pack sandwiches, fruit, nuts, carrots and water.
7. Make their lunch
Similarly, it’s much cheaper and healthier to prepare a school lunch for your children than to give them money for the tuckshop.
8. Just say no
Almost every child does two things: beg for the latest toy and then quickly lose interest once they get it.
It’s always nice to buy treats for our children, but many of us spoil children by buying them more than they need. Cutting back will save money and teach them that you can’t always get everything you want in life.
9. Cut their hair
One way to save several hundred dollars per year is to cut your children’s hair.
All it takes is a pair of scissors, some clippers, a handheld mirror – and a little patience!
10. Start a babysitting club
You can eliminate babysitting bills by arranging swaps with your friends.
They look after your children when you go out – and, in return, you look after their children when they go out.