Recently I read that it costs $7,000 a year to raise just one of my children. Since I have three kids, that's $21,000 a yearwhich means it's going to cost our family roughly a bazillion dollars to keep them until they're adults.
Well, I've decided the statisticians who assemble these figures lack in creativity. Since having my three boys, I've come up with some ingenious ways to make raising children benefit our family's finances. See if you can use these six penny-pinching "tips" in your family.
- Napkins. Good news! You can cut this item from your budget because you no longer need to buy them. I've discovered one of the definitions of "Mom" is "one big walking napkin." My kids wipe anything and everything on meeven when paper towels and tissues abound in the house.
- Toys. Why do we moms succumb to the local Toys "R" Us, when deep down we all know a cabinet full of Tupperware or pots and pans does the trick? Just wrap the Tupperware cake container or saucepan for your kid's next Christmas or birthday present, and she'll be thrilled! My oldest son's toy recommendation? Our mini slow cooker, known to him as the "pull toy." Try it outit'll save you a bundle!
- Manicures. As busy moms, we rarely have time or money to pamper ourselves, but we do spend lots of time changing diapers. Why not do both at the same time? Just think of the money you'd save by not going to the nail salon. I've found diaper rash creme under your fingernails makes for a fantastic French manicure.
- Vacuum bags and electricity. I've discovered a way to cut back on both these "necessities." My floors are cleaned efficiently just by wrapping my eight month old in double-stick tape, then setting him loose on the floor. In a short time, this happy, seemingly immobile child can cover the entire carpeted area. I save even more when I put the family pet in the same room. (Note: This works best when I step out of the room for a few minutesmy son covers more ground that way.)
- Early risers. Do you have children who wake up excruciatingly earlyway before you, your husband, or the milkman? Rather than bemoan your fate, tap into a great earning potential. Early-rising toddlers would be great at delivering morning newspapers! They like to be outside, and they love to throw things. They'd earn their keepand you can snatch those extra precious moments of sleep while your husband takes them out on their route on their trike.
- Entertainment. Why do we spend so much money on entertainment? My sons have shown me there's nothing better than simply spinning around in a circle until you fall down. Perfect for your next family gathering or date night.
I know what you're thinking the Proverbs 31 woman probably never used her children as living dust magnets! But I'm sure that resourceful gal had her own creative ways to mind her moolah with some help from her little ones. My ideas are just startersthe possibilities are endless!
Now if you'll excuse me, I think I hear my youngest son bellowing. It's time for my manicure!
Kim Neessen, a stay-at-home mom, lives in Iowa with her husband, three sons, and a quickly filling piggy bank.
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