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Raising A Family - Expensive, But Worthwhile

If you already have children, you may know this: raising a child is one of the most expensive (but ultimately very fulfilling) "investments" of your lifetime. Obviously, the joys (and not-so-joys) of parenting is another article, if not book, altogether, so we will touch on the financial aspect here, as it is a critical one to your future plans.

Recent statistics show that in the United States, raising a child is very expensive. For many families, the average cost can be anywhere from $8-18 thousand dollars per year, a number which like everything, is not likely to go down anytime soon. This means by the time your child turns 18, you may have already spent well over $200,000 raising a child. If you have more than one, you can see where kids can become a daunting financial task. But with careful planning, and a debt elimination philosophy, it can be done very successfully.

Good Ideas For New Parents
There are a number of ways to lighten the financial burden of raising children, each of which has its own merits and advantages. As a first example, you may want to consider purchasing a more affordable house. If you currently live in a home which you find difficulty paying down the mortgage on, or if you are living paycheck to paycheck, understand that a child is definitely going to make your financial straits worse. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, sometimes getting a smaller house can save you stress and money for a long time to come. As well, another key idea is to avoid "upgrading" to a house you may not be able to afford. Many families fall into this trap, and frequently justify the extra costs as necessary, especially with a growing family. Remember: you can always move up - going small now can mean in the future your options will remain completely open.

Shop Smart
Shopping smart is a key way to save money and better enable yourself to raise your child. Bulk buying your groceries works well, and although you may have to consider a chest freezer for frozen-fresh products, can save you a bundle both short and long term.

Another important concept you should really embrace is that of second hand clothing for your child. Remember, children constantly grow. So that $50 outfit for your four year old will essentially be worth zero in a year (or less!!). In most cases, second hand shops, charity outlets and garage sales offer items that are not only hard to find in "new stores", but are also very, very cheap and in perfect condition. There truly is no need to sacrifice your child's style for savings - with a good clothes shopping strategy, you truly can have it all.

Savings - There Are New Considerations
Throughout this website, we naturally address the concept of savings in many, many ways. With a child, however, there are new goals which must be set, and fresh plans which must be made. Suddenly, college becomes an issue. For this particular side of raising a child, there is really only one piece of advice - start early and stick to your plan. If you can stick to it, everything should turn out fine.

OK, so being a parent is not cheap. But it can be one of the most rewarding things in your life. Remember that as with anything, having a strong financial plan and budgeting appropriately will ensure you stay on track.

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