I live in and grew up in California. It is my home where I grew up and where I have my family. As most of you know California is one of the most expensive places to live. INSANELY expensive!
I got married in 2013 purchased a home in 2015 sold that home and purchased another home in 2017. In that time period 2015 to now I have had two children. Man, oh, man!! are children expensive. Its something you hear all the time but daycare is seriously a killer.
Our last big trip before having children was Peru and Costa Rica. I told my husband I would not have children if we did not go to Machu Picchu it was a must in my book. I am absolutes grateful we went. We would also take local trips to Wine Country and my favorite place Palm Springs. Our outing were constant even when buying a home.
When the kids came that changed. I didn’t initially realize their impact since I was lucky enough to be home with my children for 6 months of maternity leave and had a fairly affordable childcare. Once I had our second child that’s when our life took us for a loop. Childcare is not as easy with two children, not just the cost but even having family member watch two children that are only 18 months apart is not as easy.
So you may be asking what did you change? Funny the first thing that comes to mind is Target. Oh how I LOVE Target I can tell you I RARELY shop there anymore. When and if I do its mostly for my children’s clothes. Their Cat and Jack brand is AMAZING! Target helped me waste my money so I just stopped going.
My stores of choice; Aldi, Goodwill, Grocery Outlet, Trader Joes, TJ Maxx, Ross and always keeping an eye open for sales. Groceries is what I like to focus on. I would probably be spending $150- $175 anywhere else but at Aldi I spend anywhere from $80-$120. This depends if I buy diapers or toilet paper. BTW their DIAPERS ARE AMAZING. I was 100% sold on Target Up and Ups but once I tried Aldi brand diapers I never went back. I highly suggest you try them if your kiddos are in diapers.
Outing; family outing are so important but also cost money. We would go to the Zoo and museums fairly often but have had to cut back recently. It can sometimes be a hard thing to think of at times but depending where you live I am sure you can find something for free. The last outing we had we went to our local vintage airport. We took some lunch with us and the kiddos watched the planes take off while they had their lunch. They absolutely loved it! This might be a funny idea but we go to open houses a lot too. I am not sure what it is but the kids LOVE running around a vacant houses. Obviously parks, play grounds, lots of picnics are all free and fun ideas. Being creative is essential and realizing kids don’t need that much to be entertained. The world is so big and anything you do has some sort of enjoyment.
Now a days we can’t take our big trips that we use to go on but we are trying to work on saving enough money to save up for an airbnb in Palm Springs every year. At least one trip a year is our goal.
What are some things you do to save money? Where do you shop? What kind of activities do you do with your kids? How do you plan for vacations?