This is a guest post from Michele of Mommy Blogger Directory.
If you’re like most parents, you probably spend a lot of money on your children. Not just keeping them fed, but also keeping them entertained and educated. There are many ways you can “have it all” while saving a few dollars here and there along the way.
First, you must be proactive. Consider where you are likely to spend money you were not expecting to and prevent it from being a budget-crusher. Throughout the year, take note of clearance items at department stores. If you find a neat toy on clearance, use cash or debit card, and avoid purchasing with a credit card. Then, put the toy away for the future. You can use these items later for birthdays, Christmas, or bribes if necessary.
Second, pay with time. You can save money by putting some time into understanding where and how you shop. If you do a little research on pricing in your local stores, you may find patterns that will be useful later. For example, one store may always have a good deal on produce while another is ideal for meat. Some stores such as Target make their profit by luring you in with their discounted items knowing you will end up buying a few of their over-priced items. Beat them at their own game by educating yourself.
Lastly, decide well in advance how much you want to spend on everything. Whether it is clothes, food, or luxuries, consider what you expect to pay, what you are willing to pay, and then stick to it. If you go somewhere for something specific and it is outside of the acceptable range, consider looking for it someplace else or doing without. A little planning and forethought are the key to an easy budget diet.
I would like to thank Michele for sharing her wisdom. I, myself, have a daughter at George Washington University; planning and budgeting was essential to her education.