To raise great kids and save money, think like the French. That’s the message from Pamela Druckerman, who wrote the book Bébé Day By Day: 100 Keys To French Parenting. She says French parents are masters at raising kids on a budget. And to prove it, she’s come up with this list of money-saving tricks that French parents use:

  • First: Don’t buy baby books, you don’t need them. If you walk into any bookstore, you’ll find hundreds of parenting guides - offering conflicting advice that’ll leave you feeling confused, stressed, and broke. But the French have a saying that won’t cost you a dime. It goes: “The best parenting happens when you’re calm." Meaning, when it comes to raising kids, relax and follow your instincts.

  • The 2nd money-saving French parenting tip: Don’t serve “kid food.” Druckerman says in France, there’s no such thing as a “kids menu” in restaurants – because kids eat the same foods as their parents. And when you don’t have to cook two separate meals for your family at home, you’ll save both money and time. 

  • You’ll also save money by limiting kids to ONE snack a day. Our expert says most French families stick to eating three meals a day, plus an afternoon snack and that’s it. That way, parents aren’t shelling out cash every time their kid wants an ice cream, churro, or soda. And as a bonus, Druckerman says your kids will actually be hungry by the time dinner rolls around – so they’ll be more likely to eat whatever you serve them. Even if it’s salmon and not chicken fingers. 

  • One more money-saving tip from French parents: Only buy USED toys. According to our expert, Parisians have a mindset that anything that’s been loved, touched, and broken-in is better than things that are shiny and new. That’s why French parents buy most of their toys at flea markets, or from online auction sites, where they know they can find bargains on used toys.