Maybe you are a brand new parent. Maybe you have a baby on the way. Or maybe you are just thinking about starting a family. If any of these describe you, you are no doubt thinking about your financial situation. Diapers, food, furniture, child care, clothing, medical bills all add up immensely.
The bottom line? Babies are expensive! However, new member of the family doesn’t have to completely strip your finances. These tips will help you save money where you can and hopefully reduce one of the stresses of new parenthood.
- Breastfeed. This may sound obvious, but breastfeeding really is about the most economical choice you can make for feeding your baby. Breastfeeding is not only thrifty, but it has been proven to be best for baby and mom. Keep in mind that breastfeeding is not entirely free, however. Expenses such as nursing bras, nursing pads, nipple cream, a breast pump, and freezer bags will all cost you quite a bit of cash.
- Sign up for gift checks. If you plan on using formula (not just in the beginning but ever) sign up with formula retailers online. These retailers will then mail you monthly gift checks to be used toward cans of formula. Gift checks, which typically range from $4.00-&7.00, work much like a coupon in that they give you dollars off, but because they are actually a retail check they can be combined with other manufacturer’s coupons for even more savings.
- Try generic diapers. Many new parents want the best for their babies and they think that means buying expensive diapers. The fact is, even the most expensive diapers can be worthless to you depending on your baby’s shape, size, activity level, and other factors. Try out different kinds of diapers (you may even be able to request samples from some brands) before deciding that only the most expensive brands will work.
- Save newspaper bags. The long plastic bags that newspapers are delivered in make great diaper disposal bags. Keep a stash in your diaper bag for when you are out and keep a stash near your diaper disposal at home. Even the best diaper disposal system can’t keep out the greatest of baby smells. These bags will cut down on the odor and won’t cost you a penny.
- Make you own baby food. Particularly if you have a baby who starts solids in the summer or fall months when fresh produce is readily available, try making your own baby food. Most baby foods are simply a puree of water and cooked fruit or vegetables. Prepared purees can be spooned into ice cube trays and frozen, then popped out and stored in freezer bags. Check out your local library for books that give more details about making baby food.
- Don’t buy a ton of newborn clothes. You may have heard this one before, but for the new parent or parent-to-be, those adorable little newborn clothes are almost irresistible. Try your best to resist the urge! A newborn baby mainly needs basic bodysuits and sleepers. Newborns do not get out much and they do outgrow their clothing very quickly.
- Skip the expensive baby laundry detergent. In an effort to do what is best for your child, you may be tempted to purchase special baby laundry detergent, which can be much more expensive than conventional cleansers. The only thing baby needs is a detergent that is perfume and dye free. You can find these in the regular laundry aisle and they are quite a bit less expensive than the special baby brands.
- Try consignment stores. There are many consignment stores that specialize in children’s items. You may be able to find large furniture items, and certainly clothing at unbeatable prices. Just be sure that the items are new enough to meet current safety regulations.
- Don’t turn down favors. There are some items that you will want to buy brand new for your baby. Not all items need to be new to be useful, however. If friends or family members offer to let you borrow items, think about it before saying “no.” Large pieces such as a rocking chair or glider or an infant swing are useful items that could easily be borrowed for the short amount of time you will need them for. And when you no longer need them, you can just give them back rather than having to find storage!
- Try bodysuit extenders. If your bundle of joy happens to be long and lean, try purchasing some bodysuit extenders. These little pieces snap on to the bottom snaps of bodysuits to make them longer, so body suits can be worn much longer. Look at online baby retailers to find them.
- Learn to use your slow cooker. The final bit of advice is to learn some great slow cooker recipes. Not for the baby, but for you! You are going to tired and when you get hungry you will be very tempted to order out for every meal. This kind of spending really adds up. Learning some great slow cooker recipes will allow you to prepare the foods when you little guy or gal is sleeping. Then when early evening rolls around, and you’re feeling exhausted, a hot meal will already be ready to eat.