Guest post by Lena Gott of WhatMommyDoes
There's no doubt about it - babies are expensive! But there are many ways for families to save money on baby expenses. Learn how frugal parents do it.
Adding a newborn baby to the family is a wonderful event. They're squishy and cuddly, loving and warm. Our kids make us better people.
But having a child isn't easy. Not only do they require tons of time and attention, they require lots of financial resources.
After having my third child and seeing all the things a newborn baby requires three times over, I'd had plenty of experience figuring out ways to cut down the cost of bringing up a baby. For all the other frugal parents out there, I've come up with a handy list of eight ways for families to save money on baby expenses.
Easy Ways to Save Money on Baby Related Expenses
Frugal parents can give their children everything they need, even on a smaller budget. Saving money simply takes creativity.
When you find yourself saving money on baby expenses, you can impulsesave the difference for a no-fuss way to build up your savings. Here are eight simple ways to easily save money on baby expenses:
1. Send thank you notes along with birth announcements. Many new parents love mailing actual birth announcements to friends and family, but many of those same people also gave the new parents a gift upon baby's arrival. Impulsesave the value of the postage you save by combining thank you notes with birth announcements.
2. Create a gift registry that contains newborn necessities and impulsesave the value of any gifts received. The key here is to include items that you would have to buy anyway like diapers, wipes, ointments, socks, etc. It's an easy way to save money on baby necessities, and you will likely find that some gift givers prefer to give practical gifts like these.
3. Choose to breastfeed and/or breastfeed longer than you originally planned. Formula easily costs $50-$100 per month depending on the brand, so the savings will quickly add up. If you're interested in a complete analysis of the cost of using pre-made or powder formula, The Family Finances blog gives you a cost breakdown. Based on these estimates, you're looking at mega savings during baby's first year!
4. Make baby food instead of buying pre-made jars. It's simple to do so, and all you need is a way to cook and puree the ingredients. No need to buy special equipment, either. A regular food processor or blender will blend the food as well as a special piece of baby food making equipment. Learn how to make your own baby food with some tips from Couple Money.
5. Opt for store brand diapers. I didn't realize until baby number two was over 12 months old that Target brand diapers work just fine! Until then, I was a steadfast Pampers mom. Now I know that store brand diapers (and plenty of other items) are sometimes half the price of brand name. Impulsesave the difference toward something special.
6. Shop at yard sales for baby clothes and gear. This is one of the most economical things frugal parents can do to cut down on the cost of having children. Every time you score a Carter's outfit for $2 at a yard sale, impulsesave $8. When you find a bouncer for $7, be conservative and save $18! Unless you want to spend tons of time researching the cost of every single item, the best strategy here is to estimate your savings. Haggling isn't for everyone, but learning to negotiate at garage sales will save you tons of money in the long run.
7. Use cloth diapers. I've never done this, but I have plenty of friends who do. I've heard a good supply of 15-20 cloth diapers will be more than enough to get you to potty training. At $15-20 per cloth diaper, you will spend several hundred dollars up front, but your savings will come when the cost of disposable diapers would have exceeded cloth diapering. It's easy to buy $300 worth of disposable diapers. Initiate an impulsesave once you've reached the break-even point.
8. Call the nurse instead of visiting the doctor for every little issue. Telling a new parent not to rush their little one to the doctor when something comes up is like telling a dog not to chase a cat - they are probably going to do it anyway. But, if you are sure your child is not in distress and doesn't require immediate medical attention, one way you can save money is by placing a call to the on-call nurse at your pediatrician's office. Instead of going in and paying an automatic copay, the nurse will pull up your child's file and talk to you about what's going on. If he or she is able to resolve your issue over the phone, you can impulsesave the copay!
Other Ways to Find Reasons to ImpulseSave
Did you receive a gift card toward the purchase of baby supplies at Target or Babies R Us? Impulsesave the value of that gift card - it's money you would have spent anyway! Just make sure to actually use it on baby necessities; if you don't, then you won't really be saving money.
Did someone bring you a meal during your first few weeks post-partum? Impulsesave $10-$20 to cover the cost of the ingredients you would have purchased to make a meal yourself.
There are countless ways to save money on baby expenses; just think of all the baby-related expenses you incur over time and try to think of ways to reduce them. When you are successful in this task, you can impulsesave the difference for instant savings.
Can you recommend some ways to save money when it comes to babies?