Save money on children's expenses

Thursday, June 5th 2008, 10:19 am
By: News 9

By Robin Marsh, NEWS 9

We know parenting does not come with a handbook and when it comes to teaching your children about money, it can be tough if you are not disciplined as a parent.  

The Power for your Pocketbook is here to help.

Here's the yearly average of what middle-income American parents shell out for each child. How do you fare?

Food $1,916
Child Care /education $1,324
Miscellaneous (entertainment, personal care, etc.) $1,193
Health care $851
Clothing $580

So here's how you can cutback with some great ideas from Good Housekeeping magazine.

Be skimpy with baby and toddler purchases. Buy as little as possible because kids outgrow things so fast. Try eBay, make sure the products are safe and have not been recalled.

Also check out local parenting Web sites (such as for inexpensive equipment, clothes, and toys that other parents are looking to unload.

Scale down birthday parties. Don't have a party that breaks the budget.  To chat with supportive parents and get great ideas go to

Control cell phone costs. Kids clamor for phones, to download music, e-mail pictures, and text message their friends. . But costs can easily skyrocket, so choose a prepaid service with limited minutes. Or tell the kids that you'll pay for basic service only - they'll have to spend their own money for overage charges, text messages, and ring tones. They'll get frugal, fast.

Brace yourself for some whining. It can be hard to say no to kids - and if you try it, they may unleash their most fearsome weapons: guilt trips. Stand your ground. They may whine for a while, but they won't love you any less. In the long run, your children will learn valuable lessons in money management - and you'll be closer to a safe, financially secure retirement.

And here is a guage on what you should be saving:

If you're in your 30s, try and save at least 10 percent of your income for retirement 

In your 40s and 50s, save 15 percent savings. 

If you are not near there, take a look at your expenses, lifestyle and child-related spending may be a place to cut back.

And if you have a great savings tip, we'd love to know about it. Click on the Power for Your Pocketbook page and contact Robin.