University of Illinois Extension

Spend Smart, Save Smart Tips

Ten Tips for Raising Kids on the Cheap

  • Learn to say “No,” to extras children don’t need. This helps children learn the difference between needs and wants.
  • Shop garage sales, thrift stores and discount stores. Great buys can be found on clothing & toys.
  • Use coupons. Careful planning can cut your grocery bill in half.
  • Limit extracurricular activities.
  • Take advantage of free, family community activities. Local parks and libraries are great sources of information.
  • Choose cell phone plans carefully. Save money with a family plan or limit usage for children.
  • Trade babysitting services with other parents.
  • Consider store brands for diapers, formula, cleaning products and frequently used household items.
  • Join a school car-pool.
  • Plan joint celebrations such as birthday or graduation parties with other family members or friends.