11 Parenting Lifehacks That You’ll Thank Us For
Maintaining a family with children can be expensive. There are mouths to feed, school outings to pay for, annual outings, festivals, birthdays and the list goes on. With all the financial chaos you are going through, it can be very easy to spiral into debt if you are not careful.
However, with a few precautionary measures and some clever budgeting tactics, you can cut your expenses and give yourself some breathing space, financially.
1. Buy unisex clothing
If you plan to have more than one child, stay away from the stereotypical pink or blue outfits. Instead, purchase T-shirts, shorts, and pants that can be worn by both boys and girls. As kids outgrow their clothes pretty quickly, the clothes would most probably still look as good as new by your second, or even your third child!
2. Be big-ticket smart
Why pay RM1,699 on a fancy stroller, when you can get it at half the price, preloved? Look for good deals online, such as Mudah.my or some Facebook groups, and you might just find decent condition designer stroller, baby crib, and toys at a fraction of the price.
If you must buy brand new, consider buying these big-ticket items at a general-purpose or discount furniture store, not at one that sells gears for kids exclusively. You’ll often save by doing so.
However, remember not to compromise on the quality of such big-ticket items. If you bought a good quality stroller, it would last through the years of wear and tear and you could very well use it for all your kids. If you had bought a low quality one, you may end up buying a brand new one for every child! In the end, it would cost you more money.
3. DIY your kids’ haircut
Each salon visit for your kid’s haircut can set you back by between RM25 to RM60. Even if you opt for the no-frills barber, it cost at least RM8 nowadays.
You can easily save this money by choosing to trim your child’s locks yourself. You only need some basic items such as spray bottle, scissors, and comb. For step-by-step directions on how to cut your kids’ hair, there are various online resources that you can refer to.
A tin of formula milk cost about RM40 per 400gram. We are not kidding. Not only is mother’s milk more nutrituous for your baby, it is beneficial for your wallet too.
The amount of formula milk you need will depend on your kid’s consumption – therefore, this is an on-going cost. Breast-feeding a child isn’t exactly free either – you will need to make several one-off cost, such as an electrical breast pump at about RM300, and other paraphernalia such as nursing bras, cream and lotion, and milk storage bottles and bags. In the long run, you would still save money by breastfeeding your child for as long as you can.
5. Use cloth diapers or buy disposable ones in bulk
You can switch to cotton diapers instead of disposables ones. This not only save you a whole lot of cash, you will also be doing the environment a favour.
You can buy two dozen of cloth diapers with six covers for about RM50. These can be washed and re-used all the way to your next child.
If you must use disposable diapers, you can reduce your diaper bills by purchasing mega-size packages at warehouse clearance or sales. Look out for promotion at hypermarkets and buy in bulk when the price is right. Babies go through diapers really fast so there really isn’t much harm in buying in bulk.
6. Make your own baby food
Tired of paying for jars of mashed carrots or mango? A jar of mashed carrot can easily cost RM6, and nutrition-wise, homemade vegetables and fruit puree beat pre-bottled puree anytime.
Get them fresh at the market or supermarket and puree these fruits or veggies yourself. It’s really not very difficult and they are a lot fresher and healthier without preservatives.
7. Avoid buying upfront
Don’t buy something for your kid until your kid actually needs it. One of the biggest mistakes some parents make was buying everything upfront and end up not using more than half the stuff.
Some parents would spend hundreds and thousands of Ringgit on various breastfeeding paraphernalia only to find out that they are unable to breastfeed or their kids wean off breastmilk after a few months. It’s not too late to buy these things when you need them.
8. Kid’s bedroom
First-time parents especially tend to create an entire nursery room for an infant under two. From the crib, the glider, to the toddler toys that will need to go in the space. Instead, parents should think ahead and prepare the room as to how a two to seven-year-old will use the room. Perhaps a low bookshelf to fit their bedtime story books, toys storage, a comfortable rug, and a convertible crib that can switch to a toddler bed. By making these smarter options of what should go into your child’s bedroom, you will not need to change the contents of the room every year or two and waste more money.
9. Find free entertainment
Exchange some of the pricey kids’ classes you enroll your kids to with a visit to the local library or book-club. Libraries and bookstores have regular story hours. Your local library can be a great resource and it is free. In many places, you can also borrow magazines, music, movies and more.
Play dates can also be a great help in inculcating social skills in your child, and they are often free!
10. Don’t buy new toy, rent one
Young kids are usually a bundle of energy and sometimes you may be tempted to buy a whole set of playground equipment, bicycles, or even jumperoos, just to have five minutes of peace.
These items can often cost you an arm and a leg. Your first option should be to ask your friends or relatives for hand-me-downs. These items are usually durable and can be passed around among friends and family.
11. Shop for your child’s essentials online instead
Having to shop while dragging your kids to the store can be cumbersome. This is when shopping online can come very handy.
Shopping online for your child’s essentials not only helps you save money by purchasing items at a discount, but enables you to save also on time, petrol and parking. You will have the luxury of choosing your essentials at the comfort of your own home.
Sites like BabyDash can be a great place to get your child’s essentials like diapers, baby gears and baby food at a cheaper rate. And the best part comes when you can get them to deliver it to your doorstep.
Being financially prepared for parenthood can be a tricky one for anyone. However, you needn’t be caught out if you have planned it all carefully. Whether you’re welcoming a bundle of joy soon or already have some toddlers running around, these parenting lifehacks will make you a savvier spender!