20 tips from cheapskate parents with lots of young kids

Kinderling News & Features

Alert! Don’t read this while drinking anything hot or operating heavy machinery. 

The average cost of raising a child to 17 years of age is $297, 600.


That’s according to  the Suncorp Kids Bank Report from 2016 via a Joe Van Trump article from The Brag Dad.

Joe has three kids which - as he writes - means he'll be forking out approximately $1million before all of his kids leave home.

Double gulp

I have two kids, which doesn’t seem that much better given they’re only five and two.

Triple gulp.

Joe chose to tackle the financial challenge of parenting by embracing life as a “cheapskate dad” – trying to save money whenever and however he can, before his kids grow up and realise what he’s doing.

His top tip? Taking popcorn (pre-microwaved at home) for those family trips to the movies.

Forget the lotto tickets - try these!

Ha. Not a bad idea. And much more practical than hoping for a lottery win, right? 

With that in mind, I consulted the oracle of parenting tips – my Facebook mother’s group - and asked them for their number one money saving tip for raising young kids.

Here’s what they came back with:

  1. Always take food with you. Doesn’t matter if you’re heading to the park or just a drive to the grandparents, someone will always get hungry.

  2. Save up your visit to museums and art galleries etc, for cheap entry days.

  3. Use your freezer! Cooking ahead is a great idea but you need to have somewhere to store it for it to work its magic.

  4. Have children of the same gender (okay, so that’s a bit tricky to order ahead!), or pair up with a friend with same-aged opposite-sexed children, for a ready supply of pre-loved clothes and shoes.

  5. Accept all offers of free help – babysitting, food, furniture, clothes, toys. You always need more of all that stuff!

  6. Head to the big fruit and veggie markets once a week. Start a rotating group with your neighbours and get everything fresher and cheaper.

  7. Recycle, reuse and regift! I always keep wrapping paper and gift bags (the trick is to remember who gave them originally to avoid any uncomfortable  moments!)

  8. Buy nappies online and in bulk. Consider this for toilet paper too. 

  9. Get a Netflix account - $10 a month for SO many movies and that means you can skip the cinema (and those pricey treats) altogether.

  10.  Wherever possible, don't take your children to the supermarket; they will make you spend more or you'll spend more bribing them to coopoerate. 

  11.  Join a local parents group on Facebook – great for swapping tips, finding freeies and making friends in the park.

  12. Learn how to cook! You don’t have to be a MasterChef but simple meals are healthier, cheaper and easier if you can make them from scratch at home.

  13. Ask for memberships to places like the zoo for Christmas and birthday presents. Even if you visit for an hour a couple of times a month, it’s still a bargain!

  14. If you’re a working parent, pack your lunch! It saves so much money every week and also some time.

  15. Always pack a baby bag with a change of clothes and a hat and umbrella for EVERYONE. Just in case.

  16. A packet of sultanas hidden in the glovebox of the car or the stroller caddy will save you money and sanity.

  17.  Buying a great pair of kids' shoes?  Minimise the risk of never finding them again and buy two pairs at the same time! Same goes with jeans and swimming costumes.

  18. Don’t underestimate the park date as a great energy burner for the kids, time out for the parents and a great dose of Vitamin D (mood control) for all!

  19.  Have a fiver party! Or better yet, have a group party with kids born in the same birthday month.

  20. Grow your own vegetables and herbs. And if you live in an apartment, rally your neighbours to join you and double the output!