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Frugal Parenting Tips and Tricks

Raising a family can be a very costly endeavor; with careful planning and creative thinking you can employ some frugal approaches to parenting. This guide contains frugal parenting tips and tricks.


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By 8 found this helpful
August 1, 2017

Now that my children are at the stage where they were moving away to pursue their own adult lives, I find myself having moments where I am absolutely consumed with regret. We never went to Disney World.

Throughout their upbringing, my husband and I have been conservative in our spending. Living within our means and carefully managing our money is something that we have taken very seriously but this lifestyle has come at a cost.

We never took our children to the nation's capital. We didn't throw lavish birthday parties as they were growing up nor did we go overboard at Christmas. We were limited in the sports we could offer them, since we relied on second hand equipment. Out of town competitions and frequent movie theatre visits were unaffordable.

I don't recall my children ever complaining but I was acutely aware that they were never in the lead group. They were never able to brag about a fancy new toy or describe a scene from a new movie. Nor could they join in a conversation as others relived their latest sporting adventure. Watching my children stand quiet and listen was humbling to me.

It's not that we didn't have any family fun, or indulge our children to some extent, we were just always very careful to watch our finances. Family vacations consisted of simple tenting for a few days and, when money was tight, many of our "vacations" were just one day excursions. Birthday and Christmas gifts were limited to one special gift, along with other necessities such as socks or mitts. DVDs were rented for at home movie nights. Yet even with these sensible and acceptable memories, my regrets still get the better of me.

One day, my son laid out his plan to pay down his 5 year car loan ahead of time. Over the next few months, I watched as he carefully managed his money and succeeded in paying his loan off in just over a year! Seeing the result of our thriftiness in my son's actions was astonishing and I have begun to appreciate the value of our lifestyle. We provided all that was needed for our children - a loving home, and in doing so, we prepared them for the money challenges they will encounter in their lives.

We all have a Disney World. We all feel the pull to involve our children in the numerous activities society recommends regardless of our financial situations but this can lead to serious consequences.

At times my regrets haunt me but when I see my daughter's reluctance to spend money as she works her way through university or listen to my son's financial plan for purchasing a piece of property, they quickly disappear.
Perhaps showing our children how to use their money wisely is our greatest accomplishment as parents and any regrets are dwarfed by the comfort of knowing our children will not be fools with their money.

Disney World can wait.

Source: Just a reflection as my kids become adults.


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By 11 found this helpful
October 21, 2009

We have a family of 8, including 4 teenagers who love stuff. Whenever we or they want to buy something, we have one simple rule: Never think of an item's price! Instead we think of how many hours we will have to work to pay for the item. It keeps our hands in our pockets every time. It also works well for a teenager who has a job.

By Lynn from Northern Israel

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By 9 found this helpful
February 25, 2014

I worry that too often in today's society, we are keeping kids from just being kids. It is rare that I see children outdoors, splashing through puddles and making mud pies. Perhaps it is fear of dirt and germs, or perhaps it is because parents are so "busy" that they don't want the hassle of cleaning up a child and his or clothing, or perhaps it is just because we want them to be like little grown-ups. I don't know why it is, but it seems rare to see a child just playing in the mud.


This is my daughter and her little dog, Moo, enjoying the muddy results of a sudden rainstorm. It didn't take me long to get them cleaned up again, and this photo stands out as a special memory among hundreds of photos with clean hands and tidy clothing.

Source: My own memories of playing in the dirt.

Comment Was this helpful? 9

August 30, 2016

Not all parents can afford but parents always look for ways to provide for their children. Being a newbie in parenthood, I have less knowledge about how to handle a child especially that I am a young mom. All I know is that I want him to learn things that he has to learn at his age. But the problem is that it's not easy. When we talk about providing him with learning materials, it will involve a certain amount of money. Being the sole income earner in the family with less financial resources, I have to find ways to provide him something that could help him gain knowledge as it is normally a part of a child's development as he grows.


Talking about less monthly salary, I cannot put into my budget the learning materials I needed for my child. But wait! I got an idea. I'm working in an office where I'm allowed to access the internet. I'm provided with flash drives with extra capacity. And Google! Google is one of my great contributors and so with Youtube. So, as long as I finish every office work, I take my free time and started to browse free downloadable learning videos on Google and Youtube. Whatever I can get for free, I take the opportunity to download and save on my flash drive then transfer the videos to my personal laptop. At 18 months, my child started learning his ABC's and some nursery rhymes.

As my child grows and steps up to higher development levels, I search for free images and charts that I could print and post on walls so he could start recognizing things. Now that he is 3 years old, I have provided him a compilation of activities he can enjoy that are just right for his age. I have collected scratch papers from my work place where I can still use the back page for printing. I used those papers for printing those activities. Where did I get the ink? I asked for empty refillable ink cartridges from my boss and sometimes when it's almost empty, I use the last few percentage of ink left. He allowed me to do this and I was so blessed to have good people like him.

Parents are children's first teachers and we always want what's best for them. Before we bring them to school, I think it's best if we start teaching them first at home which I found out to be very effective. We send him to school but it's not official because we are advised by some educators/teachers not to force a child to go to school at this age because they change their minds from time to time. It makes me happy and proud seeing my child having good interaction with schoolmates and teachers.

Being a crafty mom is a plus. We don't always need money to buy learning materials, we just have to be simply resourceful and a little artistic! ;-)


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By 9 found this helpful
August 31, 2011

I live on a tight budget. My family doesn't have much money, but I manage to stretch the money we do have in some creative ways that enable us to pay our bills, take care of all our needs, and still have some fun.

Comment Was this helpful? 9

By 5 found this helpful
September 17, 2009

Keep a piggy bank, and add change to it whenever you have extra. Make it a game with the kids to add "found" change. Save the money for a special outing, maybe a supper at a fancy restaurant or a camping trip.

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October 30, 2009

As a retired school teacher, I saw many teenagers who had no idea of the value of money. They felt they should be given whatever they wanted. They also had trouble taking responsibility.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 11, 2006

Growing up in a family of 5 you didn't have to learn to be frugal, it was a given. A lot of our clothes were bought at garage sales and my mom even made some. Most new clothing was gotten at the beginning of the school year, Christmas and Birthdays.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

June 19, 2008

I'm a mom of four young kids and I'm constantly packing a ton of stuff with me. When I started feeling like a pack mule in the grocery store, I decided I needed to do something different.

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By 2 found this helpful
March 17, 2010

To count down the last ten days till school. How about trying ten toilet paper tubes. Fill the tubes with treats and prizes that they get to open each day. Set them in a spot and each day the child can open one.

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June 3, 20040 found this helpful

There was a large nice family that lived in the neighborhood. My children loved to play with their children. Of course, they lived quite austerely. Whenever my children asked for something they could really live without the rule was: "If the Flynns don't have it you don't need it". Everyone was happy. By Jules

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February 16, 20170 found this helpful

Tough economic times can be especially difficult for families. This page offers advice for parents during tough economic times.

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December 15, 20040 found this helpful

I keep a pen and small pair of scissors in my back pocket. It always seems like I end up using them around the house at some point in the day.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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