I'm a thrifty mum, here’s my best tips for cutting the cost of kids – plus how to get clothes and days out for cheap | The Sun

WITH the cost of living rapidly rising and many of us finding our pockets slightly less heavier than before, for those with children, things may seem tough.

If you are struggling with money and are looking to cut the costs where possible, whilst also ensuring that your children are entertained and have all they need, you’ve come to the right place.

We spoke to Gemma Bird, also known as the Money Saving Mum, on how to cut the cost of having children.

While there are many things that you just can’t avoid paying out for, Gemma shares her simple tips and tricks for doing things cheaper, without having to break the bank.

The 40-year-old mum-of-two, who lives in Billericay, Essex, lives mortgage-free in a four-bedroom detached house, drives a Range Rover and jets off on multiple holidays a year to plush resorts in Mexico, Lapland and Dubai. 

But Gemma isn’t an heiress or a lottery winner – no, she’s achieved this comfortable life despite never earning more than £25k a year. 

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The money-saver previously told Fabulous: “I’ve never earned more than £25,000 a year. I live and breathe deals. I don’t care how much money you have, people always love a bargain.

“I’ve saved every solitary penny since the age of seven. I once managed to save almost £10,000 on a £12,000 salary thanks to my must-know hacks.” 

Gemma has a whopping 298k Instagram fans and has shared her super-saver wisdom with Fabulous. 

The money-saving expert counts Stacey Solomon as a fan and told us her tips for making life with children easier on your wallets. 

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Plan the night before

If you want to cut costs where possible, Gemma stressed the importance of planning before and taking a packed lunch and snacks with you on days out.

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She said: “When you’ve got kids, it’s so important to plan everything the night before.

“If you’re going on a day out, in the morning, when you’re trying to get out of the house, there’s no way you’ll have time to get everything sorted out.

“It’s a really good idea to get yourself a backpack and make sure you do everything the night before.

“Take water bottles with you and then when in shops, say if you’re getting a coffee, you can ask them to fill up the water bottles for the children – then you’re not having to buy drinks all the time when you’re out, as that can really rack up.

“Take everything with you, lunch, snacks and drinks and then you wouldn’t end up spending excess money”.

Think about mileage

If you want to take your kids out on a day out, Gemma recommends parents plan the mileage costs in advance.

Helping you make better choices

As we head back into our autumn routines Tesco understands that we all want to make choices for our family at the right prices – even when times are tight.

That’s why Tesco has created Better Baskets. With value at its heart, Better Baskets is all about helping us make better choices in the food we buy, the meals we make and the packaging we use. Lots of the products are on Aldi Price Match, Clubcard prices or Everyday Low Prices, too!

Look out for the Better Baskets logo every time you shop – it’s an easy way to help you fill your basket with better choices.

She explained: “If you’re wanting to do a day out, look at places that aren’t too far away to drive.

“Or if you are going to go somewhere and it’s quite a drive, look for free days out to cut the costs there.

“Google ‘free days out for children in my area’ and it will give you a list, there are so many sites out there that will tell you everything, tell you how much parking is, what you can do, how much money you need to spend on mileage.

“This way you can plan your costs and won’t end up spending loads on petrol”.

Use envelopes

A technique that Gemma uses to plan out her money involves using envelopes to organise days out.

She advised: “For the school holidays, this is really good – get envelopes and then mark up each day with what you are doing.

“Have a couple of no-spend days in there where you just take kids out to the local park but then if you are doing something more expensive, make note of how much it is, how much petrol will be, can you take snacks there etc. 

“Then you’ve not got to worry about the costs racking up if you plan in advance.”

Cut the meat

Another way Gemma suggested parents can cut costs is to disguise vegetables in meat dishes.

She recommends: “Bulk cooking is a really good way to save money and another way is hiding vegetables in meals.

“I make a bolognese and I do it with half mince and the rest is carrots. 

“It’s all blended together in a sauce – the kids can’t taste the difference and it’s half the price of using a whole pack of mince.”

Clothing choices 

If you’re looking to save money when it comes to your children’s clothes, you’re in luck, as Gemma has lots of helpful tips and tricks.

She added: “Look at buying clothing out of season.

“In the winter, buy their summer clothes for next year, as everything will go into the sale, just buy the next size up.

“You can also sell all the old clothes to replace the new.

“Another way is if you’ve got friends with children, see if you can swap clothes with them.” 

Kids Pass

If the thought of spending loads of money on a day out sends shivers down your spine, fer not, Gemma has some advice for you.

She recommended: “Get the Kids Pass.

“You get 57% off theme parks, 40% off zoos and safaris, 50% off kids eat out.

“They’ve currently got a 30 day trial for £1 and then it’s £4.99 a month or an annual cost of £39.99 and you can cancel at any time.

“You get discounts for days out, discounts for food, discounts on cinema, discounts on everything.

“It will save you so much money”.

Cutting the cost of flights

For those that want to take their children away but are fed up with paying extortionate prices, Gemma has some advice for you.

She said: “Make sure you always Google your flights – that will then tell you which is the cheapest day to fly in the holidays.

“Use Sky Scanner or Google Flights – you can use it to look for anywhere in the world, then you can book your holiday around those times.

“You can look for when sales are coming up, as this can make a difference between hundreds, if not thousands of pounds.”

Charity shop shopping 

Finally, if you want to treat your kids but can’t afford to pay full-price, Gemma stresses the importance of shopping in charity shops, in particular NCT – National Childbirth Trust. 

Gemma concluded: “If you’ve got kids, look and see if you’ve got an NCT in your area.

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“Don’t buy toys brand new, see if there’s an NCT, they’ve got a nearly new sale.

“This way you’ll save hundreds of pounds on toys and give to a good cause”. 

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