How to reduce costs to manageable levels
Of course there are plenty of ways that you reduce the costs of raising children to a manageable level. Here are some top tips from Siobhan Freegard, founder of Netmums.com:
1 Hold off on expensive purchases.
Don't feel you have to buy everything brand new before the baby is even born. Try to wait to see whether you really do need that plush changing unit or whether a changing mat on the bed or floor will suffice.
2 Borrow from friends and relations.
So much baby equipment is only used for such a short space of time that it makes sense to borrow as much as possible. You will find people only too willing to offload their goods to a new home.
3 Buy second hand. Lots of magazines and websites offer new or nearly new items for a fraction of the cost of buying new.
Try gumtree.ie or freecycle.ie. Car boot sales and jumble sales are also great places to pick up a bargain. Second hand can still be first rate.
4 Presents. Ask grandparents, aunties or friends to buy clothes or vouchers for your child's birthday or Christmas gift, or specify what toys would be really useful.
5 Don't give in to pester power.
It may sound cheesy, or even impossible, but as children grow up they need to learn the value of money. There is no harm in saying to your child "We can't afford that".
If possible, offer them a choice, for example: "You can have that dvd, but then you won't be able go to the cinema this weekend. You decide."
6 Hard work. Teenagers really only learn to respect money by earning it. Once they realise how hard they must work to earn each euro, they gain a new understanding.
For example, €100 for a new mobile phone equals five Saturday morning shifts in the local shop.
Not so easy as just wearing mum down with endless cries of "but pleeease, mum, everyone else has one".