Budget-Conscious Tips for Navigating Parenthood Through Every Stage of Life
Guest Writer: Kristin Louis
Becoming a parent is likely the most important and impactful choice that you will make in your life. Once you welcome your child into the world, everything changes. Now, you have to make every decision with their well-being in mind—including your financial decisions!
As your child grows up, you’ll see how their needs change and how they develop into their own person. Parents often face pressure to spend lots of money on their children, but at every age, you can maintain a frugal household and give your child exactly what they need. Whether you have a three-year-old or a teenager, here are a few tips to help you support your child through the years.
When you have an infant, “baby proofing” your home is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your child’s safety and put your mind at ease. Baby proofing your home is essential, and thankfully, it’s also inexpensive.
According to Pathways, your priorities should include covering all electrical outlets in the house, using baby gates to block off dangerous staircases or rooms you don’t want your baby to enter, tying up blind cords, and cushioning sharp edges of tables and other furniture. Check low-cost retailers for deals on equipment like baby gates.
Teaching Social Skills
As a toddler, your child is learning their way around the complicated world of social interactions as they play with their friends. Now is the time to start encouraging them to learn polite social skills. Check your local recreation center to see if they offer affordable playgroups, or get a circle of parents together in your neighborhood for regular play dates—it won’t cost you a penny!
At this age, you’ll want to model effective apologies for your child. You’ll also want to illustrate the importance of sharing so that everyone can have a good time. Toddlers can be stubborn, outspoken, and demanding, but it’s all part of growing up, and during this time, they need to be able to learn from your positive examples. Remember, kids at this age tend to mimic what they see and hear from their parents!
When your child begins elementary school, they might still look like your mini-me. But as your child gets older, they will feel a stronger desire to express themselves as an individual and establish their own identity, separate from you.
Give them the chance to get creative and show off their hobbies and interests. For example, you may want to redesign their bedroom so that it looks more mature and reflects their personality. You may need new linens, furniture, and decor like posters or trinkets. Start by checking out bedding and interior design selections from Macy’s. Before you hit the mall or place an order online, find Macy's promo codes and coupons to save big on your purchases.
Planning for the Future
Teenagers are straddling the line between childhood and adulthood, and your relationship with your teenager may feel strained as a result. When it comes to parenting a teenager, your job is to build trust and prove to them that they can open up to you about their problems. Skills You Need suggests giving them plenty of opportunities to open up to you, rather than prying or trying to decide on official times to “have a talk.”
They will also look to you for feedback on their decisions about the future. Be ready to help them figure out if college is right for them, and if so, how to apply for financial aid and scholarships. Let them know that they also have less expensive options, like community college and trade school.
Parenting is often challenging, yet most parents find that it is also one of the most rewarding challenges they’ve ever taken on. And parenting while sticking to a tight budget is even trickier. But nothing is more important than showing your child love and compassion, and that’s something money can’t buy.