Ways to Manage a Tight Budget

Michelle Verne

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Student-parents at CSUN,

When I made the decision to go back to college as a parent, I knew there would be a lot I would have to sacrifice. So I was never hesitant to try to find ways to save money or to find a good bargain. Kid’s clothes can be expensive, and they also grow out of them quickly. It’s because of this reason I’m often left with clothes that are never worn.

This is why I’ve never been ashamed or embarrassed to take or give second-hand clothes. One of the best ideas that family, friends and I have put together is a clothes exchange. We’ve compiled a list of our children and grandchildren so that we can exchange clothes according to their growth. My aunt has a friend whose granddaughter is one year older than my daughter; this makes them perfect as hand me down partners. I find that this works well for younger children, but for older children it can be difficult as sizes often vary.

Kids can get tired of their own toys, but instead of buying brand new ones, they can exchange toys, books and even video games with their friends and family members. This can also teach them how to be responsible for other people’s property.

If there is something that they really want, they add it to a wish list. We search for the best bargain on the internet, and then we decide whether to order it on-line or purchase it from the store. Also, when they have toys that they no longer want but are still of good use, they put them on EBay; this teaches them how to trade and how to save money.

One of the hardest things to change was to cut an allowance from the kid’s chores. They had to learn that helping out is expected, and to not equate chores with some sort of reward. Now they get rewarded for their exceeding accomplishments instead of what’s intended.

All of these ideas can help a tight budget become more flexible. All it takes is some social networking and help from friends and family members.