Cap Your Kid Costs
By Shannon M. Medisky
Kids are wonderful. So before I even get started, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade mine for the world. But they are incredible expensive! The doctor might have cut the cord shortly after birth, but he might as well have just hooked it right up to my bank account because these kiddos are sucking my bank account dry. Fortunately, though, they aonere some easy and clever ways to help cut kid-related costs. So if you’ve got some pint-sized family members who seem to cost more than their fair share, keep reading to gain some financial relief.
If you’re eating out, opt to not to purchase a kid’s meal. While some restaurants do run “kids eat free” specials, watch the fine print. They may require you to make a minimum purchase in order to secure the free meal or might force you dine at set times. Eat whenever you want and order whatever you want and still save money by opting to order your child a side of something or simply requesting an extra plate and share your meal. Got two kids? Consider having them split one child or adult entrée (depending up on the children’s age and appetite). Often one adult entrée split is cheaper (and sometimes even healthier) than two children’s meals.
Teach, model and encourage practicing delayed gratification. I like to refer to this generation as “Generation NOW!” I saw it as a teacher and I see now in even my own children. Kids these days are used to not waiting, in fact, they’re conditioned not to. From microwave meals that can have you eating in mere seconds to calculators that can figure quicker than you can write an answer down, why wait if you don’t have to? Kids these days, through no fault of their own, don’t know what it’s like to have to wait. But it’s a skill that must be learned if fiscal responsibility is going to be mastered. Delayed gratification is admittedly no fun, but instant gratification can be expensive! Tired of hearing your kiddo whine for toy or treat each time you go to the store? Start teaching them to wait and work for something now in order to spare your own wallet (and your child’s later on) now.
Focus on preventative care in every facet of your child’s life. When it comes to your child, it really pays to live by the motto: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Don’t skip physicals and immunizations. This will not only keep your child healthy, but will help prevent you from having to miss work (and possibly missing out on pay) as well as saving you money later on over-the-counter and possibly prescription medication. Work with your child regularly on his or her homework and ensure that they continue to “get it” as they progress in skills at school. Tutoring help is expensive. Spare your child future frustration and ensure their continued success by making sure they never fall too far behind. A few minutes spent working with your child on a consistent basis can save you both in a lot of ways.
Teach your child to care for his or herself. Taking the time to teach your child the basic skills of taking care of their things (including their clothing) and just plain being careful in general will pay off in a multitude of ways. Parents who take the time to educate their children on the importance of keeping track of things that belong to them and being responsible will incur significantly less costs when it comes to things such as replacing lost items and repairing broken belongings.
Photo credit: justjenn
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