Toronto, ON – Between 2006 and 2011, Canada saw the highest increase in the number of young children since the end of the baby boom, with the population of people aged zero to four increasing 11 per cent in that window. Couple this information with the average cost of raising just one child from birth to age 18 – $243,660 or $1,070 per month, in after-tax dollars – one must wonder where all this money is coming from if Canadians are carrying so much debt.
When you add up the costs of daycare, clothing and extra-curricular activities, children are expensive. How many couples say “no” to having children until they have $200,000 saved and are living debt-free?
“Next to home ownership, raising children is the biggest expense on the household budget,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. “Saving money to cover the expenses of children should be as second nature as saving for a down payment on a first house.”
Putting money aside in the budget to cover the cost of your children’s everyday essentials is imperative today. Kids grow so fast; both clothes and toys are barely used before it’s time to move on to the next size or “older” toy. “As parents we want our children to have the latest clothing and every toy for their age group but it’s important to recognize the negative impact buying ‘everything’ can have on our budget,” continues Schwartz.
Lucky for new parents, there is a wealth of information available to help control some of the costs associated with having children. Consolidated Credit offers its free booklet on its website: Money Savers for New Parents – Tips for raising baby without breaking the bank.
Other ways new parents can save money:
- Be realistic. Recognizing what your child actually needs versus what you want them to have will help you stay out of debt.
- Hold a neighbourhood swap: get together with your neighbours and swap toys, clothing and other items for your children.
- Garage sales: Every weekend there are hundreds of garage sales in your city or town. These sales are treasure troves of books, furniture and bicycles at bargain prices.
- Visit a children’s reseller: sell your gently used items and clothing to a reseller. Not only will you recoup some of your costs, but you’ll be able to purchase items at drastically reduced prices.
- Learn how to use coupons to your advantage.
- Follow new mom bloggers at SimplyFrugal.ca and MrsJanuary.com for great money-saving ideas.