Raising kids today is expensive. From diapers, food, and clothes these items can add up over time. But there's hope. You do not have to splurge on these big ticket kid items.

Most of these items are not even necessary and can easily put a dent in your wallet. Marketers target parents by convincing them to buy certain products for their children. The added pressure from the media can become overwhelming and that is why it is important to understand what purchases are truly worth it and which ones are not.

Kids Don't Need To Be Expensive: 11 Creative Ways to Save Money
To bypass all the unnecessary products, try these applying these 11 tips to save a few or possibly hundreds of dollars in the long run.

1. Reusable/Cloth Diapers
Skip paying the cost of disposable diapers and consider buying reusable diapers. Simply wash and air dry them and use them for up to a lifetime.  When you compare the two, you could easily save more than two to three thousand dollars per baby.

2. Thrift Shop
Local thrift shops often have gently used children's clothing for less than half the price of the regular retail price. Check out each thrift store's discount days to save even more.

3. Say No to Accessories
Avoid buying pointless children's accessories such as bottle warmers, children's electronic toys, swaddle blankets, etc. Only focus on the necessities or things your child(ren) need to survive.  Remember, there’s a good chance your parents didn’t buy most of these things when you were a child and you turned out just fine, right?

4. Cook At Home
By cooking at home you will save added expenses from pricey restaurants. Not only is cooking dinner at home easier on your wallet but also good for your health. 5DollarDinners.com, for example, offers many recipes for less than $5.

5. Search for Exclusive Deals
Certain places offer a discount or even free admission for families with children. Take advantage of these deals by inquiring about discounts and freebies from store managers.  For example, Bank of America offers free museum admission throughout the year.

6. Choose Family or Friends as Babysitters
Ask family or friends to share babysitting responsibilities. Often times, they will happily do it for a lesser charge than daycare or even for free.  Also, consider exchanging babysitting with someone else who may have a child your age.

7. Take Trips to the Local Library
Your local library offers many educational resources for children for free.  This will include thousands of books, newer DVDS, eBooks and some even have video games. Some libraries may offer classes and put on shows for entertainment purposes the whole family can enjoy.  Be sure to sign up for your library’s newsletter to see which events are being held.

8. Buy Fewer Toys
Contrary to media advertisements, children do not need a ton of toys in order to be happy. At a minimum, buy one toy every other month to keep toy hoarding at bay.  When buying those toys, consider looking for gently used toys at local garage sales, Mom to Mom sales or the thrift store.

9. Explore Local Attractions
Children love to explore their surroundings, so what better way than to explore your hometown? There’s a good chance your local town is filled with parks, walking paths or even a downtown you can stroll around for the afternoon.  Entertainment doesn’t have to cost you a dime if you’re creative.

10. Game Night
Instead of hitting the movies, consider a board game night.  Going to the movies could cost a family of four $40 easily.  If you were to take that $40 and buy some games, you could walk away with one or two quality board games that will last you for life, when compared to a movie that will only entertain you for two hours.

11. Seek Out Financial Aid
Search for scholarships for camps or financial aid to cover basic necessities when in need. Many non-profit organizations receive generous donations that are meant to help cover needed fees for families who couldn’t afford it otherwise.

About the Author:
Stephanie is from the cost-helping database Howmuchisit.  She resides in Gilbert, Arizona, and enjoys biking, hiking and spending time with her family in her free time.
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