Having a baby is expensive. That’s a given.
In fact, in a BabyCenter exclusively survey, which interviewed over 3,000 women, over 42 percent of these women said they expected to spend $10,000 or more in the first year of raising their baby. Obviously, there are many factors that play into the total cost of raising a baby – including where you live, what year your baby will be born, your annual income, the type of household you’re in, and etc.
$10,000 is a huge chunk of change to spend for raising a baby for one year. That’s 365 days. And roughly $27 a day spent on your baby. Crazy, huh?
However, if you’re smart about financially planning, there are easy ways to save hundreds – maybe even thousands of dollars on your baby.
Here is the Mom Guide to Finance – my tips to help you save.
1. Never, ever pay full price for baby products. Before you go out and buy baby products and gear, look for sales and promotions that different stores are offering. Clip coupons for baby essentials. Always check around at your local stores for discounts and promotions.
You can definitely save a LOT of money by couponing and being smart about where you shop.
2. When buying car seats or strollers, pay close attention to the maximum weight and height. Each stroller and car seat has a specific height and weight limit. This can vary by model or manufacturer. You should consider your needs first, and if the product you want to buy can accommodate this need.
Don’t rush out and buy without doing some serious thinking. A car seat or stroller that can’t hold as much may end up costing you more money in the future, especially if your baby quickly outgrows it.
3. Buy fitted sheets, not crib bedding sets. Crib bedding collections are super adorable, but your baby doesn’t need them. Remember that a bare crib is best (and it may help preven SIDS). All you need for your baby are fitted crib sheets – no bumpers, comforters, or even dust ruffles.
The Academy of Pediatrics actually warns against any soft bedding. So go for what’s safer and cheaper and just buy the fitted crib sheets.
4. List practical items on your registry. When you’re getting ready for your baby shower, be practical about what you need and don’t need. Only place practical items of what you truly need for your baby on the registry. For example, make sure that you place diapers, bottles, baby clothes, fitted sheets, and receiving blankets on your registry. You can also include big ticket items, but it’s important to list what you’ll need so that you don’t have to buy it later on.
5. Breastfeed instead of bottle-feed. This is just common sense. Breast milk is free, and formula can cost you an arm and a leg. Buying formula can be expensive, and it can really add up. In 2008, a Consumer Reports blog post estimated that formula feeding a baby for one year cost $2,000 on average. In comparison, breastfeeding is free!
Even if you have to visit a lactation specialist to help you (at $100 or $200 a visit), it’s cheap compared to the cost of formula.
6. Shop generic brand formula. If you can’t breastfeed for whatever reason, you should consider buying store brand formulas instead of brand names. Both brand name formulas and the store brands must meet the same nutritional requirements to be FDA approved.
Sometimes, there will be additives to set the formulas apart. For example, one type of formula may have more DHA. Nutrition-wise it’s all the same.
Powdered formulas are also cheaper and will save you money, should you choose to feed baby formula.
7. Make your own baby food. On average, there’s a 50 percent savings for parents who use homemade baby food, rather than buying prepackaged baby food. Also, don’t be fooled with all those gimmicky “designed for baby” kitchen appliances. To make your own baby food, you just need a food processor.
8. Choose cloth diapers. This is a controversial topic (cloth diapers versus disposable – everyone has their own opinion.) There are different types of cloth diapers, and each varies by price. (Yes, there are even cloth diapers where you can flush the insert and baby poo). But in general, cloth diapers typically are cheaper than constantly buying disposable diapers.
Cloth diapers are a one-time investment, and you can save the cloth diapers for future children. The savings will add up.
9. Buy gently used toys and clothes. Babies aren’t picky when it comes to their clothes or toys. They really don’t care where they come from. You can gently used baby clothes and toys for your little one at consignment stores, church swaps, garage sales, Craigslist, and thrift shops. This will really save you some money!
(Some items that you will want to buy new include your baby’s car seat and other safety items).
10. Turn Receiving Blankets into Washcloths or Wipes. There’s a good chance that you have more receiving blankets that you’ll actually need for your baby. So why not recycle the receiving blankets you don’t need? Cut them up and turn them into small washcloths or baby wipes. It will save you from having to buy these items.