Every parent knows how expensive it can be to raise a family, and you might be more conscious of your expenses right now amid the COVID-19 crisis. But it’s important to remember that there are places where you can and ought to save money and places where it’s better to pay full-price. 

That said, how do you know where you should be finding savings and where you should be investing? Here’s your guide on how to properly save money as a family.

DO: Buy second hand clothes and shoes

Kids grow like weeds. If you’re buying new rather than second hand clothing, you’re essentially buying your kids whole new wardrobes every season. You can cut clothing costs in half by buying second hand clothing and shoes. 

This goes for school uniforms, too. There are nearly 34,000 private schools in the U.S. and most of their uniforms can be recreated at second hand and general stores.

DON’T: Buy second hand cribs and car seats

While cribs and car seats can be expensive, it’s best to buy these products new. Safety regulations for these items change every year. You also want to be sure that you have the safest options available for your kids. You can always save money on bed frames and booster seats later.

DO: Prioritize organic produce

Many families are trying to eat more organic foods to reduce the risk of exposure to chemicals and pesticides. But organic foods can be expensive and can take a serious bite out of your budget. Fortunately, you don’t need to break the bank to get the most bang for your buck. 

According to experts, choosing organic is most important when buying fruits and vegetables. This is because fruits and veggies are the most likely to be exposed to herbicide and pesticide residue. To save money, be sure to buy produce when it’s in season or buy locally from your local farmers’ market.

DON’T: Buy items solely based on the word ‘organic’

It’s true that using natural products can be great. Up to 42% of women prefer natural beauty products over synthetic ones. But it’s important to remember that a product with organic ingredients isn’t necessarily better for you. 

Focus on buying organic produce first and meat and dairy products second. If you buy packaged goods, go for the inexpensive options. Even packaged organic products are processed.

DO: Consider separate healthcare policies

If you’re married and both you and your partner are eligible for healthcare benefits through your workplaces, consider whether or not it would help to carry separate healthcare insurance policies. 

Don’t assume a family plan is cheaper from the get-go. During your healthcare enrollment period, make sure to sit down and take a closer look at the premiums and policies available.

DON’T: Drop your healthcare plan to a lower plan

Between 2017 and 2018, the percentage of people without health insurance coverage increased in eight states. While healthcare costs may be expensive each month, it’s not recommended to drop your plan or to drop to a lower plan that has a higher deductible. You never know when you’re going to need emergency medical care, especially right now. 

What’s more, while monthly healthcare costs can be expensive, high medical bills because of a lower tier healthcare plan can take an even bigger chunk out of your savings.

Frugality is important. It’s also important to stay safe. It may be tricky to save money as a family, but there are certain places where it’s better to buy new or pay full price to get the real benefits.