Let’s talk about the financial expectations of raising a toddler. Birthday parties, fancy toys and babysitting services, everything adds up and it can really get expensive.
Here are some clever money-saving tips to help you lessen the financial burden now that your little bundle is a toddler…
Save on high-tech toys
Don't worry if your tyke's the only one in his preschool to not own a tablet. Interactive, face-to-face games provide more fun and learning values for toddlers.
Set up a babysitting club
If you don't have domestic help or family members to help babysit, create a tag team with mum friends, rather than pay for pricey babysitters. Use social media or WhatsApp to set up a group, then let friends know when you're free.
Make your own treats
Avoid buying expensive snacks for your tyke. Buy jumbo packs of raisins instead and portion up in small plastic containers, or cut cheese into chunks for a nutritious on-the-go treat.
Little ones won't know the difference between expensive theme parks, indoor playgrounds and the neighbourhood park. Neither can they differentiate between pricey toys and their more humble substitutes. Plus, they also don't need as many toys to play with as you think.
Limit your shopping time
Eat before your weekly supermarket visit as shopping on an empty stomach makes you spend more. "And limit your shopping to 30 minutes to avoid straying into the aisles you don't have to be at," warns Alison Yang, 28, mum to Sam, 2. "It also makes shopping with a baby easier!"
Get fit for less
Signed up for a pricey gym membership after delivering but can't remember the last time you went? Find a cheaper option. Pay as you go at your nearest Singapore Sports Council, or get hubby to babysit while you go for a jog around your estate.
Have a Ladies’ night with your BFFs
Need a night with the girls but don't want to spend a bomb on drinks? Get someone to watch bubba, kick the hubby out and plan a fun girls' night in with a few bottles of wine from the supermarket. Or head over to a bar that has a Ladies' Night and enjoy drinks on the house or for a Happy Hour 1-for-1 promotion.
Clear debt the smart way
It's tempting to pay off your biggest debt first, but do it by interest rate instead. If small bills have a high interest rate, reducing your overall debt will take longer and cost you more.
Keep a gift drawer
Mums are the worst culprits for giving bad presents, spending far more than we need to, according to research. Collect a stash of gifts like freebies, sale items and unwanted gifts and set up a gift basket. It’ll come in handy the next time you remember a birthday at the last minute — pick an item from the stash instead of buying something expensive.
Play for less
Keep colourful socks and clothes for your craft box. They'll come in handy during art-and-craft sessions with your sweetie. Ditto on egg cartons, sponges and any other interesting spare bits from around the house.
Pay for your family holiday
Be a smart shopper. Shop during sales to get the best deals and bulk-buy non-perishables such as diapers, toilet paper, soap, dish detergent and laundry detergent — you're saving money per unit, which adds up to real savings over time. Going away during off-peak season (outside of school holidays) is cheaper, too, so make the most of having a preschooler by booking your trip at low-season prices.
Save for bubba's next birthday party
Practising the 5:2 Fast Diet (cutting calories by eating normally five days a week and dieting two days a week) — but with money instead. This allows you to save money without feeling like you’re missing out.