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Raising a child to adulthood is so expensive that nobody would want to add up all those costs and examine them when they're thinking about how to get pregnant... That may put you off having a baby at all! Thankfully, there are many things parents of small kids can do to save some money. What are the best cost-cutting tips for young families?

Don't buy stuff you don't need

Contrary to popular belief, babies don't have to cost a lot of money at all. Saving money is best achieved by avoiding the purchase of items you don't need while kids are really small. Buying expensive baby gear is appealing to most expectant parents, who are not sure what they will and won't need. You may also like the best outfits for your child, the most expensive organic food, and later on an expensive preschool. Think before you buy, and keep your budget in mind when you do there's nothing wrong with being realistic, and the reality is that tiny children don't really need expensive things.

Where to buy?

You can save tons of money by buying only when something is on sale. Save up for the big July and February sales, and buy as much as you can at those times. Shoes can often be bought at outlet stores online, once you have a good idea of what shoes your child fits properly. If need be, you can try things on in brick 'n mortar shops before buying on the web. Second-hand items from eBay and Craig's List are good options, if you don't have someone who can pass on nice hand-me-downs.

Get into meal planning

Meal planning does so much for young families. Carefully choosing your meals for the next week or two saves money, but time as well. It encourages healthy and balanced eating, and steers those prone to end up in restaurants away from public eating facilities :). Meal planning is even suitable for the under-one crowd, if you are interested in making your own pureed baby food or doing baby led weaning.

Find free activities

Of course, there are tons of almost-free activities you can do with your kids at home. Reading books, crafting with clay, or paper, scissors and glue are examples. Playing in your local park is also free. But, search a bit more carefully, and you may find that there are lots of free activities for kids around in your area. It helps to be affiliated with some kind of religious organization, but you'll also find story time at the library, fairs, and that even free music events.

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