Everyone always talks about how expensive it is to raise a baby, and with good reason. The estimated cost for baby's first year is around $10,000. For most people, that's a lot of money. Fortunately, there are several easy things you can do to make having a baby a whole lot cheaper!
The biggest chunk of money is spent on daycare. A lot of moms had jobs before children, and assume they'll need to keep that job in order to keep the family afloat, financially. However, if you put pen to paper, you might realize that if you stay home with the baby, your family can make it on a single income. Conversely, you can look into finding a stay at home job. If you don't like those two options, you could find a job that offers flexible hours and work when your spouse is at home. If you keep an open mind, there's a good chance you won't need daycare.
Breastmilk is by far the best thing for your baby. Ironically, many moms don't even try it because they feel like they need to go back to their job after having the baby, which they might not even need to do if they would cut baby expenses to the bone. The problem is, formula is really expensive. Like, $100 or more a month expensive. I know it's challenging, especially if you're like me and you're not from a family of breastfeeders. Do your homework while you're pregnant, and be sure to talk to people who have successfully breastfed their children. Do not spend your time talking to people who didn't get the hang of breastfeeding. It will discourage you, and it might even keep you from trying. When you want to succeed at something, it's always best to surround yourself with successful people, and breastfeeding is no exception.
Infant Potty Training
Of course, you knew this one was coming. You can save thousands over the course of each child's life by practicing Infant Potty Training. Not only will you save a ton by not having to buy diapers constantly, but you'll also save time and gas money because "diaper runs" won't be necessary. This blog is a great place to start, and I'm always happy to answer any questions! Check out these books for even more information and perspectives: Infant Potty Training Books
Ditch the Baby Food
Yeah, you heard me. Baby food is a ripoff. Let's do some math. Say you buy a 4 oz jar of Gerber Carrots for $1.19 at Walgreens. That's 29 cents per ounce. That comes out to $4.64 per pound of carrots! That's ridiculous! What's worse is the stuff tastes like dirt. Lest we forget, Gerber hasn't always been around. So, what's an alternative approach? You could make your own. And that'd be great! Except, most moms really can't find the time to do that. What do I recommend? Simply let your baby eat the stuff you're eating. (Caution: You may start eating healthier when you realize that your baby is going to eat what you're eating!) Of course, use common sense. I let my babies eat grown up food cut up into small bites and now as a 5 year old and a 2 year old, I have the best eaters around! They'll eat all the different fruits and veggies and meats. They're by no means picky!
Go Sale-ing (Yard Saleing, that is)
The last real expense is all the clothes and baby paraphernalia. Yard sales and kids consignment sales are your best friend. You'll be shocked at just how much you can find, at extremely low prices. Heck, a lot of the stuff is hardly even used! Join Yahoo groups like Freecycle, where people routinely give away big bags of baby clothes. It's very easy to keep your baby clothed that first year. Bonus tip: don't buy many (if any) 0-3 sizes. It's better just to get 3-6 months and let it be a little bit big on your baby.
There are some things that you'll want to buy new. Remember that you'll receive gifts at the baby shower and from friends and family. Create a registry and put that in your invitations. People are more than happy to buy what's on the list! Be wise about what you put on there. The most expensive items are the carseat/stroller combo, a crib or Co-Sleeper, and a baby swing. Put these on your registry. Many times a few people will go in together on an item, so don't be afraid of asking for something with a high price tag.
When you do buy new clothes, try to get the most bang for your buck. Don't get designer clothes that are going to get spit up on them immediately. Go for bulk packs of shirts or onesies. Your baby will still be just as cute!
So there you have it! Five excellent ways to save money on your baby's first year (and beyond!) If you have any baby related money saving tips, please share them in the comments section!