Babies cost a bundle! Diapers, formula, clothes and gear can take a huge chunk out of your monthly budget. Here are some ways to help you make “cents” out of all the spending:
To save on diapers, consider cloth. They’re easy to use and come in cute designs. The initial cost is typically $10 - $20 per diaper, but they can be reused for years. If cloth diapers aren’t for you, save money on disposables by checking manufacturer websites for coupons and combine them with store sales.
Breastfeeding is not always an option for families for a variety of reasons, and formula is pricey. Coupons and rebates are readily available from manufacturer websites. Also, ask your obstetrician and pediatrician for free formula samples — they’re great for stashing in your diaper bag.
Car seat, stroller, high chair, bouncer, swing — phew! The stuff you need for someone so small! It seems each item costs $100 or more. It’s wise to buy a new car seat that meets current safety standards, but all the other items can be purchased gently used and later sold again when your family no longer needs them.
It doesn’t make sense to spend a lot on cute baby outfits when your child outgrows them only a few weeks later. Consider buying gently used clothing and/or asking friends for hand-me-downs. If you want new items, buy less than you think you will need because they are used for only a short time.
To save money on child care, you have to get creative. Ideas include having a family or friend watch the baby at a lower rate, trading babysitting with another family or alternating shifts with your partner to reduce time in child care. Some companies offer flexible spending plans to pay for child care with pre-tax money.
Look at the family budget and evaluate where you can easily trim expenses. Do you belong to a gym, have club memberships, subscriptions or other monthly bills that you do not use enough to justify the expense? Discuss with your partner whether some of these items can be cut to free up the money for other expenses.
Bringing home a new baby is an adjustment in many ways and financial priorities may have shifted in your family. In time, you will adjust to your new lifestyle and budget and you will feel comfortable with budgeting after Baby. Things to consider going forward: Is your life insurance in place now that you have a baby? Is your will made? Have you thought for a moment how much more affordable college will be for your little bundle if you’re able to set money aside each month for that?
By Sarah Lyons