As anyone who has had a baby or is preparing to have a baby knows, those little bundle of joys are expensive!
Diapers, feeding supplies, clothing and doctor’s visits are just the beginning of a lifetime of new expenses.
While you may be short on sleep as new parent, there are ways you can make sure to hang on to your cash with a new baby.
Breastfeed, if possible. Breastfeeding is the simplest and healthiest way to feed your baby and it is FREE. But if you decide it’s not for you, or you’re not able to breastfeed, you can still save on formula. Consider buying store brand formulas, request samples, and collect coupons from formula companies. Depending on your income, you may also qualify for WIC, which can cover formula and other food costs for both breastfeeding and formula-feeding mothers.
Shop for the best prices on diapers or use cloth. Cloth diapers can be a huge savings (buy them once and just wash and reuse!), but if that’s not your style, learn how to find the best diaper and formula deals using coupons and store specials.
Get all the discounts you can. This means always keeping an eye out for coupons and deals to help you save on baby supplies. One of my favorite resources: Amazon Mom. You can get great deals on diapers and wipes, plus get free 2-day shipping. And you don’t have to load the kiddo into a car seat to go get the stuff.
Make your own baby food. Once you’re out of the breastmilk/formula stage, learn to make your own baby food. You’ll save a fortune and you’ll know exactly what ingredients are going into your baby.
Stockpile clothing. Stockpiling kids’ clothing at rock-bottom prices can really help your budget and help you prepare for those times when your little one appears to have grown 2 sizes overnight. Shop the end-of-the season clearance sales at your favorite stores, watch the garage sales and check out your local consignment shops for bargains.
Swap babysitting. Rather than paying someone to baby-sit, consider swapping baby-sitting time with a friend or family member. You’ll each get an outing sans kids, and you’ll keep a little spending money in your pocket. Don’t know anyone with kiddos? Swap baby-sitting for something else – like housecleaning, dog sitting, or errand running.
Use the library. Aside from the internet, the library is your next greatest tool as a parent. It’s your place to find parenting advice, cookbooks, home organization advice, and free entertainment.
Join an Early Childhood Family Education Program (ECFE) or join a mom support group. While some of these programs do have a slight cost, the experiences you have will be well worth it. Connect with other parents, learn what free and cheap resources are available in your community and give your little ones something educational to do each week.
Take advantage of Freecycle. Looking for snow pants or a stroller? Chances are, someone on Freecycle may have it and want to get rid of it, for free. Just be sure to keep up on the product recalls on baby gear.
The big key to saving with a baby in the house is to apply the same principles you do to your own spending habits: Is it really necessary or just something that would be nice to have? Can I re-purpose something I already have? Can I borrow it? Can I find it for less secondhand? Is there a coupon?
The most important thing you can spend on your little one is time. Just remember that when the wish list gets a little long.