Being a parent is a rich emotional experience, but it can be hard on the pocketbook. If you're looking for ways to save some money, the sharing economy has a variety of services that can make parenthood cheaper and more convenient!
Diapers, child care, baby food--oh my!
The shopping list of essentials gets much longer once there are kids involved. For at least 18 years, these bundles of joy will depend on you for shelter, sustenance, clothing, and whatever toy or fashion accessory happens to be in demand. Parenthood means juggling the "wants" and the "needs" and coming up with creative ways to provide both without breaking the bank.
Through a variety of different collaborative consumption services, the sharing economy can give your family access to things it needs in a way that's both efficient and cost effective. Instead of buying everything new, or shouldering the cost of services alone, why not reach out to your local or online community, and share it instead? Here are some ideas to get you started:
Tired of paying full price for new clothes, or sorting through used-stuff of less than desirable quality? thredUP is a national online swapping service for boys, girls, juniors, and even women's clothes. Browse thousands of like-new clothing items, which are hand-selected and certified for quality, or send in clothes your kids are no longer using and sell them to other families.
Have plenty of clothes but lack up to date equipment like cribs or strollers? reCrib is an online marketplace for the best, gently used baby and kids gear. Started by parents, the service connects people who want the highest quality for their kids, at the best value, which those who want to sell the items they no longer use.
No matter what age you are, LEGO are perhaps one of the all time greatest toys. Pleygo has been called the Netflix of LEGO: just sign up for a monthly membership, and new LEGO kits are mailed right to your door. Once
your kids are done playing with one, simply return it and receive a new one in the mail!
4. Babyfood Swaps
Want to feed your baby high-quality, homemade food, but struggle to find the time? Odds are, many other parents feel the same
way. Shareable has a great
How-To guide to starting a babyfood swap in your area--a regular get-together where parents mix up large batches of food and then divide it into equal shares.
5. Share A Nanny
Besides food and shelter, providing safe childcare is probably the #1 concern of parents. Work and travel often pull parents away from home, and it's vital that caretakers be vetted and experienced. Prsonal childcare can be expensive, but sharing makes it cheaper! Nanny sharing is a situation where two families engage the services of a single nanny to care for their children, and it's becoming quite popular! Check out the NannyNetwork's guide to nanny-sharing.