How to Budget for Baby
Those First Baby Days
Ever wonder why they use the word “expecting” for impending motherhood?
Sure, it might be because during that magical time, you’re expecting life to change when your sweet, cuddly, beautiful baby arrives. But maybe it’s because it’s also the time moms start to feel all the expectations (i.e. pressure) to do everything right, from what to feed her child to what products to buy. No matter where she turns, she’s told about some must-have stroller or environmentally friendly diaper wipe warmer that all the celebrities are pushing, or the mother of all baby carriers that just happens to cost as much as a mortgage payment.
It’s estimated that it will cost a parent around $250,000 to raise a child from birth to age 17. But do we really need to shell out a big chunk of that over the first six months?
Here’s a little cheat sheet, compiled by experienced moms, to help you save big bucks during those first baby days.
During baby’s first days, she needs very little to be happy. Feed her, keep her safe and warm, change her diaper regularly, and give her lots of love—simple, right? Well just the basic needs can add up. Let’s break it down…
Doctors will tell you that breastfeeding is the best choice for your child, but it’s also the cheapest. Formula and bottles could run you well over $1,000 during the first year. Of course if you plan on pumping that breast milk, there are some costs in there for the pump, a few bottles, and some various comfort items.
But if formula is in your plans, be smart when you buy. Formula companies are hungry for your business and provide coupons via mail, store, or online that could save you some serious cash. Convenience also comes at a price, with ready-to-serve liquid formula potentially running you more than twice as much as its powdered counterpart. Also, consider planning ahead and order several weeks of formula using an online pharmacy like drugstore.com.
And when it’s time for Baby to start eating solids, making your own baby food could save you more than a few bucks every month. Breathe. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Boil. Blend. Split into servings. Repeat.
Bonus Tip: Kim, a southern California mom of an 8-year-old boy, says don’t be afraid to skip and save. “You don’t need a sterilizer— that’s what hot water (or the dishwasher) is for. And those extra pieces moms buy to put the nipples in the dishwasher—a waste of money. Most dishwashers are equipped to hold them.”
Newborns can go through 60 to 80 diapers a week, which can leave you with a lot less cash (as well as time) for those extras you used to enjoy. According to the Real Diaper Association, parents spend around $66 a month on disposable diapers. Just like formula companies, diaper manufacturers also want your loyal business and provide lots of coupons. But some moms like Karen, who lives in Connecticut with her two girls, swears by only using cloth diapers, saving money and the environment. Of course, if you choose to use a weekly diaper service or have your baby make a fashion statement with designer cloth diapers, it could run you as much as disposable diapers—or even more.
Tiffanie, mother of three from northern California, says it’s all about the timing. “I buy diapers by the case at Target and wait for the $10 gift card sale. Save the coupons and use them at the same time!”
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