Its True – Cost of Kids is Rising

You are not imagining things, the cost of raising kids has indeed increased. Everything from food, entertainment, education, sports and clothing, comes at an astronomical cost. We are living in times where prices are rising faster than we can shuffle our budget to accommodate them. We all want the best for our kids, however, we need to step back and redefine exactly what that means. Here is a hint – it doesn’t mean the product with the highest price tag.

Food is perhaps the quickest way to make savings. Buying fresh ingredients, bulk buying staple foods at discount and pre-planning meals are all great ways to cut down your shopping budget. Forget about the high priced brands too, find a cheaper equivalent. Coupons have not gone extinct either, so seek them out in newspapers, stores and online. Most importantly of all, reduce food waste as much as possible. You paid for it, so make sure you use it.

The word retro is your friend – at least when it comes to clothing, sports and entertainment. Ask any musician or sports fanatic and they will tell you that used equipment is best. Second hand musical instruments and sports equipment will dramatically cut your costs. Similarly, you can find last season’s clothes, along with some in-style throwbacks, in any thrift store. As for games consoles and media – pre-owned means paying half the price within a month of release. The average game takes less than a week to complete for most avid gamers. Your kids can also trade in their games, once they have completed them.

Planning for your children’s education will require the most forward planning. Start saving for school, college and university from the second that you find out you are expecting. Contact schools to find out about the annual costs of books, extra-curricular activities and other expenses. Compare college investment plans and choose the one that best suits your budget. When your child begins school, re-evaluate your plan year on year.

Kids can be expensive, but if you plan and spend sensibly, you can greatly cut the cost.

How to Prioritize Your Expenses

You may feel tempted to pay expenses to those who shout loudest; however, you need to prioritize. Rent, electricity, water and food. Without those things you do not have a functioning home, and you will find yourself in deep water for not keeping up with payments. Next, you have to consider the things that enable you to earn a salary, such as your car, travel costs or childcare; including child maintenance payments. All these expenses are absolute necessities, and you will find that out the first time you let your payments lapse. In short – unless an expense can put you out of your home, take food off your table or prevent you from earning money, it is not your first priority.

Now, that is not to say that your other expenses are unimportant. Keeping up all your payments, even if you are only able to pay the minimum, is of huge importance. Your credit cards, loans and other expenses may not be secured loans, however, neglecting them will only serve to perpetuate the cycle of debt. Once you have allocated funds to priority expenses, budget the rest of your cash flow to cover your other expenses. This will provide a template for how to best pool your financial resources. If you are having difficulty finding the cash flow to cover all your expenses, speak to your creditors. They would rather work with you to come to a payment arrangement, than not receive payment at all.

As tempting as it may be, never hide from your debts. Speak to all your creditors, explore the possibilities of reallocating funds and create a budget that is both realistic and workable. When you do prioritize your expenses, consider that money as gone. It is not available for juggling debts or tapping into it in the hope of securing future funds. If you have to seek additional disposable income, then do so; however, never stretch your budget beyond its means.