10 Tips for Parents to Save Money

Having children doesn't have to break the bank. Here are some ways to avoid emptying your wallet too much:
  1. Hand-me-downs
    An obvious one first - look out for unneeded items from relatives or other parents. If you start giving things away first people won't think you're a cheapskate. This leads on to...
  2. Keep boxes for any gifts you receive
    If an outfit doesn't fit or your child doesn't like a toy, you can re-package it and make it a present for someone else when the time comes. For anyone reading this who's given us presents - no, of course we haven't given yours away!
  3. Buy second-hand
    Visit charity shops and second-hand sales (the NCT sales are usually excellent) for cheap toys, clothes, baby equipment and books. Withdrawn books from the library are also great value.
Make a home video of your little angel as a present.
  1. Use your library
    Speaking of libraries, visit your local one to hire CDs, DVDs, videos and of course books instead of buying them. An added advantage is that the children's sections in libraries are often free play areas as well.
  2. Free videos
    Make your own video or DVD by recording your child's favourite programmes. Also successful is letting them watch your own home videos, especially if it shows a memorable outing or event.
  3. Cheap presents
    For Christmas, birthdays, Father's Day or Mother's Day, etc., make a home video of your little angel as a present. Alternatively, put a photo, hand print or their artwork in a frame.
  4. Don't buy so many toys
    Babies in particular are often inundated with toys and teddies, many of which will go untouched. It's tempting to add to their collection when you see something irresistable but try waiting a week and then deciding whether you really need it. The urge is likely to have worn off and your baby will still be as contented as before.
  5. Use the internet
    Not just for shopping but also for online jigsaws and games and print outs to colour in. Visit www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies or the website of your favourite character.
A picnic is a great way to save money and have fun as a family.
  1. Have a picnic
    Instead of fast food, instead of expensive attractions, pack a picnic and head out to a nice spot in the country. Get your child involved with the preparation as well and you've got a fun day filled for free.
  2. Swear box
    Even better than saving money is gaining money. I'm ashamed to say we tried this and had a surprising pile of money after not very long. Yes, it was from my own pockets but you don't notice it.
  3. Get some freebies
    What better place to start looking for giveaways, free samples and general free stuff than the DadCafe guide to free stuff for parents?
OK, that's more than 10 but just like Spinal Tap, DadCafe tips go up to 11 for extra power!