Could You Go A Year Without Spending Money On Your Kids?

Could You Go A Year Without Spending Money On Your Kids?

Alison Gerber
Feb 18, 2014
(Image credit: Hattie Garlick)

Imagine this: little Johnny sees a toy he really wants to own at a friends' house. "Please please please?", he asks, all the way home. "No, we're not getting it," you tell him with a firm resolve. And why? "Because we aren't buying anything this year. Nothing at all."

This is exactly what UK Mom, Harriet Garlick (pictured above), has done - for the entirety of 2013, the Garlick family did not make a single kid-related purchase, with the exception of medicine and childcare. Six days before Christmas 2012, Harriet lost her job. That same year, she had read that the average cost for raising a child for one year in the UK had risen to £8,307 (approx. 13,800 USD)! So she asked the question: could the Garlick family flourish, if they stopped all spending on all that "kid stuff" we go crazy for?

How does she do it? Harriet has set in place a series of spending rules, by which the family operates:

1. No buying kid-specific food.

2. No buying kids clothing

3. Or toys.

4. No money on weekly activities (the family makes their own fun at home).

5. Cloth diapers, rather than disposables.

6. Haircuts are done by Mom.

She does, however, allow spending on childcare (so that she can go to work), and medicines.

Needless to say, there are lot of nifty-thrifty happenings over at the Garlick house. Clothes are handed down from neighbors and friends. Toys are sourced online. Books are borrowed. Food is made from scratch. You can read a whole lot more about the Garlick family and their spending-free year here, on their website "Free Our Kids".

So, what do you think? Could you do it? A whole year without spending a single cent on the kids? Share your thoughts below!

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