Thrifty Tuesday – Budgeting for Kids
Welcome to another installment of Thrifty Tuesday. Disclaimer – I am not a financial expert. Just sharing the thrifty tips that help me live a more budget friendly lifestyle. Today’s topic – budget friendly living with kids.
Hey so did you know raising children is not free? GASP! You’re kidding! And while having one child is definitely not as expensive as it could be, it’s still definitely a financial need we deal with. He needs food, clothes, etc. We’ve found a few ways to save a little money and it helps big time.
Shop places like Once Upon a Child. If you aren’t familiar with it, Once Upon a Child is a consignment store for kids clothing, toys, supplies, books, and more. And it is easily our favorite store. It’s kind of a no brainer that kids grow fast, so why spend full price on items they’re going to outgrown in less than a year? We’ve especially been successful in finding things like winter coats and snowpants. The other reason I’m a big fan of shopping secondhand for kids clothes is that my kiddo is pretty rough on his clothes (I’m guessing most kids are!) so it’s nice knowing if he stains or rips something, we didn’t spend a ton of money on it.
I do look for kids clothes at other thrift shops as well but I find I have the most luck at Once Upon a Child. Another great option is the Just Between Friends seasonal sales but they are only open periodically. I have had some luck with ThredUp as well, especially when they have a seasonal clearance sale. Finally, we do buy some new stuff at Target and for shoes we have the best luck at Payless. Both places we usually watch for sales.
I have been slowly compiling a list of places in the Twin Cities that offer free kids meals and the nights they are available. It’s a great thing to take advantage of and something we’re working on doing more. It might mean we shift the night we go out in a given week, but it’s worth it to save a little extra money. Here are the places I’ve found so far.
Hazel’s in NE Minneapolis – Tuesdays
People’s Organic – Sundays
Stout’s Pub – Sundays
Green Mill – Tuesdays
D’Mico and Sons – Sundays
St. Clair Broiler – Sundays
Perkins – Tuesdays
Barley Johns – Tuesdays
Nutmeg Brewhouse – Mondays
Pizza Nea – Thursdays
Big Louie’s Bar and Grill – Tuesdays
I know there are more and I’m hoping to keep updating this list as I discover more options. Another way we save is by going someplace that serves food family style, such as Brasa, we all eat the same things and we usually get a second meal out of it, so more bang for our buck.
We’ve set aside an “allowance” for Ollie. We’ve told him about it even though he might not truly understand. The allowance is mostly for little treats throughout the month when we’re out and about. If he wants a toy car for example, it comes out of his allowance. We also set up a family entertainment budget that is set up for all three of us and that covers things like going to museums or shows or other activities that we’d need to pay for.
With summer coming we plan to take advantage of being outside and doing as many “free” activities as we can – playing lots of disc golf, swimming at public beaches or pools, going to the park to play or have a picnic or having our friends over for a backyard barbeque and bonfire. One of my favorite nights last summer was a super hot day that we set up every water toy we own and we had our friends over to play. We fired up the grill, set up lawn chairs and just relaxed outside. The kids had a blast running around in the water and even the grownups had a good time. So I see more of that in our future this summer.
We are beyond lucky to have a membership to the Children’s Museum so once it is open again in June we’ll definitely be spending more time there again on cloudy days or even nice ones as they’ll have an expanded outdoor area to play in as well. All we have to pay for is parking, you can’t beat that!
So, these are just a few ways we’ve found to save a little money as parents. I know there are probably other things we can do as well, but this is a good start. If you have any good money saving tips for kiddos, feel free to share with me in the comments!
I am sure expensive, so it’s a good thing I’m so cute!