Why parents are going into debt to bankroll perfect childhoods

3 Tips for Teaching Kids to Manage Money

There are plenty of things to prepare for when you're bringing home a baby.

One thing you might not expect, but that's surprisingly common?

Going into debt.

Nearly half (46%) of moms surveyed for BabyCenter's 2015 Cost of Raising a Child report have taken on debt to cover child-rearing expenses.

After all, caring for a little one costs about $13,000 a year, and finding that extra room in your budget isn't necessarily easy.

Still, three out of five moms admit they could raise kids for less than they spend. It's just that they want to create the "perfect" childhood.

That desire translates to a budget-busting lineup of activities, setting moms back an average of $1,391 annually. The majority (91%) say they pay as much as they do because it's what's best for their kids—not to keep up with their social circle or who's posting what to Facebook.

But it's hard to resist lifestyle inflation, and the more money earned by surveyed moms, the more they report spending ($2,600 more per child for those making at least $100,000).

And expenses further down the road are already looming: 60% worry about having enough money to fully support a child until adulthood.

Such pressure has its own costs. One in five say their relationship with their partner suffers from financial stress and the need to work more to give junior the very best.

While that impulse is understandable, these findings are a reminder that becoming a parent is a major money commitment. If you're thinking of having a baby, our handy checklist is a good place to start your financial prep.

Related: Ways to save money when shopping for your child at Target

Ways to save money at Target
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Why parents are going into debt to bankroll perfect childhoods

Look at what number price of an item ends in
It may seem overly attentive, but it's worth it. If the price of an item ends in $0.06 or $0.08, the item will be marked down again at some point in the future. If the price ends in $0.04, the item is marked for final clearance and the price will not change again.

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Trade in electronics for gift cards
If you bring your old electronics to the electronics department, they'll quote you on how much your stuff is worth and compensate you in Target gift cards to spend around the store.

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Be aware of the weekly markdown schedule
Different departments in Target mark down items depending on the day of the week:
Monday: Electronics, accessories, kids' clothing, books, baby, and stationery
Tuesday: Domestics, women's clothing, pets, and market 
Wednesday: Men's clothing, health and beauty, lawn and garden

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Thursday: Housewares, lingerie, shoes, toys, sporting goods, decor, and luggage
Friday: Auto, cosmetics, hardware, and jewelry

Strategically utilize holiday clearance sales
Target has consistently scaled markdowns on themed items after the holidays:
Day after holiday: 50% off
Three days after holiday: 75% off
One week after holiday: 90% off

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Sign up for mobile coupon alerts
By signing up, a new set of coupons will be sent to your phone each month (you can even specify the exact time you want them delivered.) The coupons are scannable and can be redeemed at the register. 

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Shop the end caps
The end caps are the shelves that sit at the end of each aisle, seeming somewhat misplaced. However, most clearance items are usually placed here--make it your go-to place to check if you're looking for discounted items.

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Check online for current deals  
Each week, Target updates its current promotions and weekly sales pages--you'll be able to scout out deals you want to take advantage of and know how much you can save before you even get in to store.

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BYOB (bring your own bag)
Target offers a five-cent discount for every reusable bag you bring in to use at checkout. Every cent adds up!

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Opt for store-brand items
A general rule of thumb when shopping at any major retailer, but its especially worthwhile at Target. Target has several top-quality store-brands that produce everything from food to beauty products at a much lower price than name brands. 

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Hit the dollar section first
Target's dollar aisle is like no other--you never know what you can find when you really look! 

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Utilize "Target Cartwheel"
Cartwheel is a social coupon program that Target created that allows you to set up an account to earn and receive deals. You can use each deal up to four times, as well as stack your deals with other coupons. 

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