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Parenting on a Budget
Find out how to save money on food, clothing, and entertainment for children of all ages.
I have three children and have learned the art of parenting on a budget. Children can be expensive, but there are ways to cut down on expenses. I will tell you how I save money on food, clothes and entertainment. As parents, we have to provide what our kids need first. If there is extra money, we can afford some of the things they want.
WIC: If you are pregnant or have children that are 5-years-old or younger, you may qualify for WIC. When my children were younger, I received WIC vouchers that allowed me to purchase formula, cheese, peanut butter, juice, and more for my children.
Frozen chicken: Purchasing a bag of frozen chicken is less expensive than purchasing chicken in the meat department. They are both uncooked, the only difference is that one is frozen and one is refrigerated.
Store brand: I opt for the store brand in many cases. Walmart sells Great Value and Equate brand products that are comparable to name brand products. If you purchase many store brand items, it adds up to big savings.
Thrift and consignment stores: Thrift stores and consignment stores that have dressing rooms are a great way to purchase clothes for children. My 12 and 14-year-old like shopping at Plato's Closet, a consignment store with several locations, because they sell name brand clothes that are in like-new condition. Since the prices are lower than going to the mall, they get more new clothes.
Clearance: Be sure to check the clearance section in department stores and in the mall. You can find clothes that are up to 75 percent off. The stores in the mall usually have a clearance section in the very back of the store.
Free community events: Going to free local events is a great way to entertain the entire family. Our community offers many free events including concerts, movies and parades. A little online searching for free events in your community is all it takes. I search by using the name of the community as well as the different cities. For example, free events in Hampton Roads or free concerts in Hampton.
More: For more entertainment ideas, read my article 5 Fun, Free Places to Take Your School-Aged Children in the Winter.
Freecycle: Freecycle is a worldwide online network. By joining groups in your area, you can view posts by others that are giving away belongings for free. You can also offer things to others that you no longer use. I received a crib, clothes for my children and maternity clothes by using Freecycle. Be sure to make safe arrangements when meeting people you don't know by taking someone else with you or meeting in a public place.