Parenting can be an expensive exercise. A recent study revealed the average child costs Australian families one million dollars to raise to the age of 18 and this cost has almost doubled in the past ten years.
It’s becoming impossible to keep up.
I have three children and we juggle to afford to provide each of them with what we see as an ideal life. My son Philip is 9, Giovanni is 5 and Caterina is 4. It would be easy to spend even more money on them than I do now but part of running a family is balancing immediate costs with future security. We need to keep an eye on both.
So we’ve had to compromise and decide which expenses get prioritised and which are okay to trim back on. It differs for each family but this is how we manage it.
The kids seem happy with it all so far...complaints are minimal...
3 things you should never cut costs on when it comes to kids
1. Sports shoes
Twice a year all three children are properly fitted for school shoes and sports shoes. There's a difference in the function of day to day school shoes and sports shoes, and each type of shoe serves a different purpose depending on the day of the week or even the type of sport they play.
When you think about it, kids are so active and spend a lot of time running around, their sports shoes should provide as much support and comfort as they can get. Not only should they be the right kind of shoe for their sport, they should fit right! You should make sure you have someone fitting your kids feet that knows what they are talking about for shoes (you definitely get what you pay for with the service from The Athlete’s Foot).
And here's a tip - to avoid the busy times of a shopping centre, try and visit a store like The Athlete’s Foot (they have over 130 stores across Australia) on a weekday during the school holidays. They have a new Asics Kids range which gives you a wide variety of sports shoes, something for every sport and activity the kids get involved with.
My children don’t attend private schools because they don’t have to. We are lucky enough to live in an area with an excellent public school and several Catholic schools. However the school they do attend isn’t free, and we make sure to keep up with the fees and set money aside for their uniforms.
I just had to buy my son a new school bag and excursion bag because the drink holder hand broken on both of them. Obviously Philip is enthusiastic about jamming his drink bottle back into his bag.
I always make sure to spend enough money on health foods for my children.
There was a time not so long ago that we could barely afford to feed our family and I’ll never forget how helpless I felt. I’m not anti junk food or processed food but it’s never made sense to me that a packet of Tim Tams normally costs less than a head of lettuce. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
When it comes to groceries I buy the cheapest cleaning products and household items I can and then pay for the best quality meat, fruit and vegetables that I can afford.
3 things you can cut cost on when it comes to kids
Do children really need to wear brands? My answer is ‘absolutely not’. If I could afford brands then sure, every now and then I might buy them a special outfit. But the way they play, they’d be ripped and torn in no time.
What’s the point?
Then there’s the gorgeous little black suit I bought Philip to wear at a wedding which he grew out of in two months. It was too big for Giovanni and then by the time we had an event he could have worn it to, it was too small! Frustrating.
We buy decent clothes and take care of them but they are all affordable.
Children don’t need presents that cost hundreds of dollars each birthday and Christmas. You may want to invest in a good gaming console or great bikes but even these can go on sale. You need to buy at the right time.
When it comes to buying gifts for my children, family and friends, my limit is $30 and I often find something great for much less than this. Children are happy just to get a great gift and if you put some thought into it, they’ll be happy and not feel like they’ve missed out.
My family went to Italy when I was four, and I can’t remember one second of it. Actually, I lie. I do have a vague memory of my sister vomiting on a place and my dad arguing with the flight attendant, saying milk would make her feel better.
We took our boys on a trip to Queensland to visit all the theme parks when they were five and one. We waive the photos in front of their faces and say, “Can’t you remember when we went to Dream World. It was so fun. Can’t you remember?”
I think they say yes just to make us happy. They would have been happy with a day trip to the zoo or a day at the beach.
Holidays can be fun but you’re kids aren’t missing out if you can’t afford expensive ones. Explore Australia. Explore your local area. Go bushwalking. And if the kids are in the right fitting sport shoes you won’t get as much complaining!
What are the top expenses you don’t compromise on when it comes to your kids?
Thanks to The Athlete’s Foot, we have a $100 gift voucher to give away for your kids sport shoes. To enter simply tell us in the comments below, What are the top 5 expenses you don’t compromise on with your kids? Ensure you enter your email address so we can contact you if you're the lucky winner.
The Athlete’s Foot helps everyone Find their Fit – including kids. Our range of Asics sports shoes means there’s a shoe for every activity for kids – and give the same support and comfort as the Adult Asics shoes. Asics Kids shoes range from the popular Kayano and GT 1000/200 ranges as well as leather trainers, cross trainers and more.
Some of the Asics Kids Sports Shoes available at The Athlete’s Foot: