Becoming a foster carer is an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be quite expensive. From buying extra food and clothes to paying for activities and hobbies, the costs add up quickly. You will be eligible for a fostering allowance to cover everyday costs, but with some savvy shopping, creative thinking, and careful planning, foster carers can find great deals and treat their foster children to some nice extras.
Buy in bulk whenever possible for non-perishable items like nappies, wipes, toothbrushes, soap, and other necessities. Warehouse clubs like Costco offer deep discounts when purchasing large quantities. You can also find good deals on these kinds of items at discount retailers like Aldi, Lidl, and Poundland. Sign up for loyalty programmes at the shops you frequent to earn points and unlock savings.
Charity shops, car boot sales, and online marketplaces like eBay and Facebook Marketplace are great sources for gently used clothing, shoes, toys, books, and baby equipment. Foster children often arrive with very little, so building up a supply of hand-me-downs is prudent. Stick to items in excellent condition to maximise longevity.
Seek Out Freebies
From parenting groups to community centres and churches, many organisations offer free clothing, school supplies, toys, furniture, and more to foster families. Connect with other foster carers to share recommendations. Register with Freecycle groups in your area to claim items being given away for free.
Use Coupons & Cashback
Clip coupons from the newspaper, magazines, and tins at the supermarket. Check websites and apps like Groupon and VoucherCodes for printable coupons and promo codes that can be used online and in stores. Use cashback sites like TopCashback when online shopping. Every bit of savings adds up.
Buy Generic Brands
Opt for store brand medications, health and beauty products, canned goods, and other items whenever feasible. In many cases, generic brands are just as good as name brands for a fraction of the price. Buy generic snacks and cereal to stock up the pantry without overspending.
Cook at Home
Eating at restaurants with foster kids gets pricey. Save by cooking healthy meals at home as often as possible. Make extra portions to freeze for quick lunches and busy dinners. Let older foster kids help prepare meals. Look for simple, budget-friendly recipes online.
Focus on Free Activities
Your town or city likely offers many free things to do with foster kids, like public parks, museums, festivals, and community events. Be on the lookout for free days at local attractions. Instead of pricey excursions, encourage outdoor play, crafts, reading, and imaginative games at home.
Reach Out for Support
Your agency, such as Foster Care Associates Scotland, may be able to provide you with discounts for shops and family experiences across the UK. Don’t be afraid to ask for help accessing bargains and freebies.
Scrimping and saving a few pounds here and there allows you to stretch resources further and focus on what matters most – giving foster children a nurturing environment.