Having babies hits the budget hard, but you can lessen the impact through your choices. Did you know that it can cost more than $10,000 to raise your child for the first year and nearly that much each year after that? You might know this already as you see your bank account dwindling. You can stop that drain.
First, though, keep in mind that you should never skimp on health and nutrition. Give your children the healthy environment and the food that they need to reach their fullest potential. Keeping that in mind, get ready to squeeze.
Reassess Your Need
You will be told that you need piles and piles of branded baby goods, hospital add-ons, and processed foods. You don’t! Even using an average baby expense calculator will send you the message that you are missing out on a lot of stuff—stuff you just don’t need. Don’t let someone else tell you what you need. Sit down and decide what fits your lifestyle, and then squeeze your list a bit more. Do you need new? No. Do you need duplicates? No. Be realistic and frugal from the start.
Especially if you have a family member or close friend whose 1-2 year old child is just growing out of baby clothes, furniture, or toys, accept hand-me-downs. Set up a sharing system, and you can cut out most of your major baby expenses.
Save more than $1,000 a year by breastfeeding rather than buying formula. If your child has allergies, that formula expense could be several thousand dollars. Of course, you can eat through that savings quickly if you buy a breast pump and a nursing wardrobe, so only get what you really need. Some mothers don’t spend anything at all on breastfeeding. Breastfeeding without stuff can be done!
If you have more time than money, making your own simple baby clothes can result in big savings. Don’t over-buy fabric. Stick to a couple of patterns that work, and make them in several colors. Trace the patterns rather than cutting them, so you can use the next size up when you need it. Even if you only sew a simple blanket, think of the savings. No matter your skill level, you can make that skill work for you.
Save $1,500-$2,500 over disposable diapers by choosing a simple cloth diapering option, like prefolds and covers. You know we love cloth diapers for all sorts of reasons, but cost savings just can’t be beat. You can cloth diaper without all of the stuff, too.
Just keep it simple. There will be a lot of advertising telling you that you need some new thing, but you probably don’t. Turn on your critical thinking, and stick with the basics for your baby.