Baby on a Budget
When Kyle and I found out we were expecting our second child just 9 months after our son was born I panicked a little. How would we ever afford to do this? I had just started back at work, early, from maternity leave and would have to leave in 9 months to go back on maternity leave. I immediately started making a list of what we would need and what we really did not need for our new little one. Thankfully this was our second child so we did have a lot of toys and things that we did not need to purchase. I've made a list of how we could save money and I thought I would share some of my ideas with you!
It is not necessary to have a crib, bassinet, co-sleeper and a playpen. You only need one. If you opt for the crib option, buy one that can grow with baby. Our crib can be converted from two crib stages, to a toddler bed with sides, to a single bed. This way we do not need to buy another bed for our little one until they are much older.
If you do want to have a bassinet as well as a crib for the first few months after the baby is born, then I recommend getting a pack and play that has a bassinet option. Tuck it beside your bed or in your room somewhere and that way you can also use it for travelling as well.
Many moms like to co-sleep. This can be a very economical option or an expensive one. There are many co-sleepers on the market that promise the safest experience for your baby and they will charge you for that reassurance. I did not exclusively co-sleep with Maverix but I defiantly took advantage of nursing and sleeping. I did not have a co-sleeper but would sleep in the bed with Maverix. I only did this for about the first month and then transitioned to the crib so I did not want to spend the extra money on a co-sleeper. Another way to save money on a co-sleeper is to make your own. There are tons of DIY designs out there!
I exclusively breastfed for most of Maverix's first year, until I started work. At this point my body didn't give me much choice and I had to start using formula. As someone who was forced to use formula from the time Maverix was 9 months until his first birthday I can relate to women who choose to go the formula route. I however hated how much it costs. A container of formula was around $40.00 if you couldn’t get it on sale. This would sometimes last a week. Going from something that was free to something that was at least $160.00 a month was irritating. I am all for however you choose to feed your child. I choose breastfeeding because it was the least expensive route.
Don’t get me wrong, breastfeeding is not completely free. If you ever want a night away or you return to work early you are going to need a pump. These are not cheap by any means, however they are still less expensive then formula. There are also options to rent them from a pharmacy or hospital. From my experience I did not use my pump right away, and even then I couldn’t use it very often due to some issues I was having. I would wait to buy your pump until you are comfortable with nursing and know that you’ll be able to use it regularly. Also if you aren't planning on pumping everyday opt for a single pump rather then a double and you'll save at least $100.
If formula is the route you’d like to choose go for it! To make it less expensive you can use coupons, shop deals or even get free samples from companies.
With breastfeeding or formula you will need bottles. My recommendation – do not buy a bulk amount of one bottle with one kind of nipple. Your baby may not take that nipple and you’ll need to go out and buy more bottles. Quick tip that I learnt: some of the nipples from different companies are interchangeable and will work on other bottles. For example: the advent nipples will work with the Nuk bottles and vice versa.
To me the world of cloth diapers is terrifying. I don’t even know where to begin if I was considering using cloth diapers. I am not. However they can be the most economical choice if you do your research. A huge way to save money when cloth diapering is to buy used. There are tons of mom swap sales or cloth diaper sales going on all the time. I’m going to stick with the same concept as the bottles. Each cloth diaper company is different and they will all fit yoru little one differently. So wait to buy a huge amount of diapers until you find one that fits well. Another alternative to save money is sewing your own! There are thousands of different fabric companies out there and you can get the cutest patterns and sew a life time supply of diapers! Diaper Sewing Supplies has lots of different patterns for cloth diapers! Check them out if sewing your own is something you're interested in.
If cloth diapering is not your thing and you’ve chosen to use disposable diapers there are also ways to save money. Stocking up on diapers when they are on sale is a great way to save money. Don’t stock up on NB only, your little one will likely grow out of them before you can use them all. A great way to ensure you don’t waste your money on diapers that they grow out of is to tape the receipt to the box after you buy them, that way if you haven’t opened them yet you can exchange them for another size. A lot of stores use to do this without the receipt but they are changing their policies now. You can also use coupons to get great prices or contact different companies for free samples.
Whether your cloth diapering or using disposable you will need wipes (unless you are using reusable wipes) and diaper cream. Do the same as you would with the diapers. Stock up when they are on sale, use coupons or get free samples.
One more thing, if this is your second or third baby perhaps a family member would throw you a diaper party to make the expenses even less. Suggest this to a family member or close friend.
I know as a new mom I went crazy over clothes for my first child. I withheld for quiet a while but then once he was born I definitely overkilled the clothing situation. In the end he ended up not wearing half of what we bought. Now I have bags of unworn clothing that I will not use for our next child because most of it is gender specific.
A great way to save money on clothing is to buy second hand, go to garage sales, mom swaps or even accepting hand-me-downs. Half the time the clothes either haven’t even been worn or have only been worn a handful of times. For our son I kept some clothes as keepsakes and these were the ones that were worn the most. Everything else I sold or donated were items that were barely worn.
Now for some general over all tips for saving money:
1) Try to buy your bigger items, such as a high chair or baby swing, in gender neutral colors. This way you won’t feel the need to go out and buy another if your next child is a different gender.
2) Borrow items you’ll only need for a short time from family or friends. Items lie a baby swing that the baby might not use after 6 months are a great thing to borrow. For Maverix I bought him a Bumba chair that he used for 2 months and then his thighs were too big to fit in it anymore. I can now use it for the new baby but it would be been something I could have easily borrowed and returned. A baby bath is another item that you can always borrow from a friend. Maverix used his for about 3-4 months until he could sit upright and then he didn’t want any part of it, so we just used the sink.
Overall babies do not need to be expensive. There are so many ways that new parents can save money on having kids. These are just a few ways that my husband and I have saved. I’d love to hear some of the ways that your family cuts back on expenses! Let me know down below!