Every parent knows that having a child is expensive. The USDA states that it costs an average middle-class American family $222,360 to raise a child to 18. This figure is not adjusted for inflation and obviously doesn't include college, either. What can parents do to save money on clothes and and products without sacrificing quality? Utilizing credit card rewards programs, second-hand swapping or shopping, and buying sale items ahead of time for a stockpile are all excellent strategies. Sometimes, coupling up several different methods at once can net you rock-bottom deals.
Credit Card Rewards Programs
Some credit cards give back a portion of the balance, whether or not you pay in full. Some savvy parents will buy items on clearance with such cards and then pay them off when they get the bill, reaping the cash back without paying a cent in interest. Using this method, sale or clearance items can be discounted by an additional percentage. Over the course of a year, the savings really adds up. Those who do not have poor credit or a previous bankruptcy should look into opening such a card.
Parents who have extra or unneeded clothing may be all too happy to exchange with you, especially if your too-small clothes for boys will fit their newborn son in six months! If they don't want items in return, swapping the stuff they have for other goods or services is a distinct possibility. You could swap babysitting time, help painting or doing yard work, or anything else you can imagine. Each party can decide on a trade that will be mutually beneficial and save both sets of parents some money.
There are three main sources of second-hand baby items available to the public. Thrift stores, flea markets, and consignment shops are all excellent places to look for great deals on baby clothing and products. However, there are some caveats to keep in mind.
As a general rule of thumb, don't purchase anything you can't wash, boil, or wipe down with antibacterial solution.
Do not buy used car seats from strangers. A car seat that has been in an accident is no longer safe. Always purchase a new car seat or use one given to you by a trusted friend or family member that can certify it has never been involved in an accident.
Be careful with anything involving moving parts. Use your smart phone to check the model numbers on bouncers, cribs, toys, and play pens to make sure they have not been recalled.
Refuse painted items. Lead-based paint on children's toys has been in the media, causing many parents to dump the tainted toys at second-hand retailers. Don't take the chance!
So you have a six-month-old boy and 18-month clothing is on sale at rock-bottom prices? He'll grow. Starting a small stockpile with the best deals you find can save you hundreds of dollars. Storing the clothes for later is simple enough, it just takes planning. Set a date on your calendar each month to go through the stockpile and pull out appropriate outfits or supplies.
Some parents go a step further and stockpile gender-neutral items for their next child, if they are planning one. Yellow, green, white, tan, black, and white items are perfect for either gender and can be saved from the first child to be handed down or bought at steep discounts as they are encountered.
No matter which strategies you employ, saving on clothes and products for your children doesn't have to create financial hardship. Using the right credit card rewards programs, searching for second-hand items, and creating a modest stockpile are simple to do and easy on your checkbook!