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According to the Child Poverty Action Group, the average cost of raising a child to the age of 18 has risen in recent years to nearly £150,000, or about £160 per week in the UK, and $241,080 in the US. Unfortunately, earnings and benefits have not kept pace. Many families are struggling to balance the rising costs of living, including all the expenses associated with raising children, with wages and salaries that have not shown the same amount of growth. With more and more of the family income being dedicated to childcare, it is crucial to understand how to manage costs and ensure every dollar spent is in exchange for quality goods and services.

Keep Costs Down

Understanding how to manage costs can help families stretch every bit of money coming in as far as possible. Buying gently used clothes and other supplies like a nursery chair or toy chest, or accepting hand-me-downs from family members, can help save especially during a child’s early years. Keep in mind some products cannot be bought secondhand, like cribs and car seats, due to constantly-updated safety standards. Some families may be able to save on groceries by heading to local farmers’ markets or cutting out all processed food products at the grocery store. Making a meal plan and using coupons is also helpful.

Getting creative with toys and playtime can also help keep costs down. Instead of gifting expensive toys from the store, put together an art kit or create a play space out of old household materials. For older children, families can still save by using coupons and shopping for deals on products like clothes and school supplies.

Cut Expenses Elsewhere

In order to better cope with the rising costs of caring for children many families can cut expenses across the board. Here are a few ideas of where to start trimming the fat from a budget:

  • Consider switching from an expensive television package to an online streaming setup.
  • Call insurance companies and see if they can offer any discounts or set a higher deductible in exchange for a lower monthly premium.
  • Instead of paying more for brand names, look for generics. Families can purchase generic versions of almost anything including toiletries and medications and save significant amounts.
  • Ensure the home is well-insulated to save on energy. Unplug all electronics when not in use to prevent loss of energy due to “vampire power,” the power that is leeched from sockets even when something plugged in is not in use.

Invest in Quality

When expenses have been reduced in multiple different ways throughout the family budget, it makes it easier to afford high-quality care for the household’s children. Making room for the cost of childcare is essential for families who cannot have one parent leave the workforce to stay at home. When both parents must devote part of their time to their careers, it is important to invest in above-average childcare that will provide an excellent value for the cost. Choosing a service like UK and International Nannies ensures that when some degree of care becomes a necessary expense, the money involved is invested in quality private childcare. With several options designed to fit the many different needs of a variety of families, including full-time, part-time, and daily nannies, this is a perfect solution for working parents.

It is extremely important to find suitable childcare when both parents work full-time, and it is an investment worth making. The amount of income it takes to raise a child is going up, but there are ways to cope with the increased costs. In order to handle the expense, families can make saving a priority and cut expenses in other categories of the budget to better deal with costs associated with childcare.

This is a post by Ashley Williamson. Ashley is a freelance writer and an occasional guest-blogger in topics related to parenting and health. When she is not working she likes to travel and do yoga. If you have any question feel free to leave a comment.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents looking to manage costs.