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Are you worried about The Cost of Raising a Child? Having to keep a roof over your children’s heads, feed them, clothe them, keep them entertained, while putting them through school can result in a vicious cycle, living from salary to salary until they move out. As life gets more expensive, everyday childcare can set you back thousands of Rands over the course of a year. This is not even factoring into the equation other expenses such as TV and broadband, petrol, mortgages or Car Insurance. In collaboration with Hippo.co.za here are five ways to lower what you pay on raising your child and leave yourself a little extra cash in your pocket.

Gifts from family and friends

The initial set-up costs of caring for a baby can be as much as R14 000. However, if you’re planning a baby shower, you may not have to spend as much money on toiletries, clothing, blankets and toys as you can get these from guests by using a registry. To further slash upfront costs, you can ask family and friends to donate old cots, prams, baby seats and other hand-me-downs.

Look for daycare and babysitting alternatives

If you’re placing your child under full-time care, you may want to think about asking a relative or friend to look after your child, as they may charge less than a daycare centre. You can also consider nanny sharing with other parents–hire one nanny to watch both sets of kids and split the costs. Another option is to start a babysitting exchange group where you babysit for other families’ kids and they look after yours on different days.

Shop for clothes during off-season

Shopping one season in advance is a great way to save money on children’s clothing. For example, when summer starts, stores are eager to get rid of old winter inventory to make way for new merchandise. You’ll find a lot of items on the sale rack to stock up on for the next season.

Take advantage of free meals and entrance for kids

Family days out can hit your wallet hard, but the good news is you don’t have to spend a fortune to keep your kids entertained, if you know where to look. Many zoos, museums, amusement parks, cinemas, and restaurants offer discounts or free admission exclusively to kids (especially during the school holidays) so you can treat them to some unforgettable experiences without breaking the bank.

Consider public school and scholarships

While a private school is more prestigious, a good government school can provide quality education at a fraction of the cost. If public schooling is not an option for you, check with the institution what type of financial aid they offer. Many private schools award need- and merit-based scholarships to academically gifted pupils.

Raising a child is one of the biggest expenses that parents will incur during their lifetimes. And, as with any expense, following a few simple tips and practicing a little customer savvy can help you stretch your Rands without having to compromise your lifestyle.

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