By- Rajveer Khanna
The birth of your child is one of the most awaited and special occasion for any family; but with it also comes the strain on the financials of the family. But as the newborn becomes your priority and at no cost would you want to compromise on the child’s needs, and the only way out is to plan and control your expenses well in advance. So while it is necessary to enjoy the upcoming birth of your child or a new born; it is also necessary to control your expenses; for a smoother financial ride after child birth.
Here are tips to help you manage your child’s expenses better
Budgeting daily expenses - There are a whole new list of expenses you will need to tackle such as baby food, diapers, medical advice; etc. While initially these may look like very small expenses they can actually easily add up to quite a huge amount; but yet cannot be ignored as they are necessary. Hence you can consider making a list in advance and then buying them in bulk; there are a lot of stores which will give you discounts or give some of the products free of cost as a promotional offer; if you purchase in bulk. Certain stores also provide coupons, (for eg. Rs 1000/- coupons if you buy worth of stuff for Rs 5000/-). Besides bulk buying; online shopping can also be considered; for items like older models of strollers and high chairs; etc which are generally offered online at very good deals. Also if you’re willing to buy used, visit sites such as eBay; and for unused items, try Amazon.com, which tends to have a pretty decent inventory of older models of things needed by younger children.
Clothes for your child- babies grow quickly and very soon outgrow their clothes, so instead of paying full price for their clothing check out gently used or even new items you might find at your local thrift store or on some online stores at much cheaper prices. Ebay is also a good option for hand me downs; but if you are hesitant to buy used clothes for your child from someone unknown; you could even consider hand me down clothes passed on from friends and relatives. This way you will not regret when you need to soon get rid of your baby’s outgrown clothes after just a few months. There are few stores which will also buy back clothes once your child has outgrown them. Once your child grows older; you would need to buy more new clothes as they would not want to wear hand me downs. But instead of spending a huge amount; keep a tab on the yearly sales held at stores generally right after the holidays and make it a yearly event to buy most of the clothes for your child at that time; another option is to also keep a look for discounts from last year collections.
Reduce the cost of extracurricular activities- while these can assist a child’s physical and social development amongst various other things; they can also cost parents a lot of money. But there are ways to pay less for children’s extracurricular activities, and still reap the benefits; such as try picking most activities close to home so that you can save on traveling time and costs. If you are considering sports then enroll early as you might get an “early bird” discount; also try finding classes which are offered at nominal fees at local community centers which are most of the time are on par with the comparatively expensive ones. While you want to inculcate an interest of other activities within your child; they do not need to be involved in everything. Hence observe what your child really enjoys and pick and choose only those activities; which will also encourage them to pursue this interest further.
Education for your child- being one of the most important factors related to the upbringing of your child; it is something you cannot take lightly. However the cost of education generally high in college; is now also becoming quite high during the earlier years of the child. Besides school fees; other expenses like uniforms; books, tuitions, etc. all add up to a huge amount. To help reduce the expenses you could if possible; try using books from relatives whose children had similar books; or look for stores which sell the same books at a lower cost. Try taking out time to help your child with homework and extra work rather than paying expensive tuition fees. While choosing their playgroup or school later on; do a thorough research of those in your area; and make a comparison on basis of fees as well as the quality of education; before making a selection for your child.
Finally, as a bonus tip – with the cost of education growing rapidly; it is important you invest for your child’s future education now; as that will make sure that you have the money later. For this you can consider keeping aside part of your money in secure investments like FDs and PPF accounts and rest into investments like ULIPs such as the ICICI Pru Smart Kid plan; and watch it grow.