Let’s face it, having children can be expensive. Diapers, clothes, formula, toys…the list goes on and on. But I’m here to tell you that it is possible to have a baby without breaking the bank. We have a three year old daughter and recently welcomed our son into our family. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way that have helped us stay on budget.
- Watch for great deals on diapers. Amazon often offers specials on diapers as does Diapers.com. You can save even more on Amazon by signing up with their Amazon Mom program where you currently save 15% on baby/child related purchases (it used to be 30%!). I’ve also been able to find coupons for 20% off at Diapers.com in magazines like Parents and Parenting. Signing up at Swagbucks will let you earn Amazon gift cards by simply doing your usual internet searches. I usually earn a $5 gift card each month through their site, completely free!
- Cloth diapering. I am no expert in the field of cloth diapering, we’ve never done it. But I have friends who cloth diaper and swear by it. It is now much easier and cleaner than it used to be. Buying cloth diapers is an investment up front but once you own them you can use them over and over. This is especially frugal if you are planning on having multiple children!
- Shop at yard sales and consignment stores. When it comes to buying clothes and accessories for your child buy used. Children out grow their clothes so quickly that they don’t have time to wear them out. I have found brand new items with tags at yard sales for pennies on the dollar. Some of our children’s cutest clothes have been purchased used!
- Shop ahead. When I go to a department store I always check the clearance rack. Right now it is the middle of January and the stores are making room for their spring and summer items. That means all their winter clothing is going on clearance. I’ll be stocking up on marked down items for my children for next winter. I hate paying retail!
- Ebay and Craigslist. These are great places to find used furniture, toys, clothing, etc. for your new baby. When our daughter was born I was able to purchase a bumbo chair and tray table for $10 off eBay, the retail value was over $50! One word of caution – I would not recommend buying items like cribs and car seats used. These items are constantly being updated for safety features and your child’s safety is one place you don’t want to be cheap. Instead look for good deals and coupons and buy these items new.
- Don’t buy unnecessary items. Just because they make it doesn’t mean you need it. A few examples we have lived very comfortably without include a wipe warmer and a changing table. Yes, we use cold wipes on our children and so far they’re turning out OK. We didn’t have room in the nursery for a changing table so instead we lay a towel or blanket on the bed and floor. We do own a baby monitor that we purchased used but we’ve only used it a few times, probably unnecessary for us. These are just our examples, you have to decide what is necessary and unnecessary for your family.
- Breastfeed if possible. Formula is expensive! If you are able to, I recommend breastfeeding. It is a healthy and completely free way to feed your child. I am in no way trying to start a debate here as this tends to be a touchy subject for mothers. I am just comparing the financial aspect of the two choices.
- Sign up with retailers for coupons and freebies. Most retailers have a weekly or monthly email newsletter you can sign up for. Many of them include coupons and sometimes even send free samples to new mothers. Examples include Pampers, Huggies, Gerber, Similac and Enfamil. Babies R Us mails coupons fairly regularly, if you have one near you be sure to sign up.
- Put your items in storage for the next child. If you are going to have more than one child put your used items in storage. We were able to save a ton of money by storing everything for when our son was born. Our first child was a girl, so once we found out we were having a boy I had a yard sale to sell many of her clothes and used that money to buy clothes for him (from other yard sales!). We didn’t need to buy new bottles, washcloths, toys, bedding or a stroller because we already had all of these items!
- Make your own baby food. This is something I wish I had done with our first child. Instead I spent a lot of money on pre-made, organic baby food. My child’s diet and nutrition are very important to me and I want to feed them what I feel is the best. But baby food can be expensive, even with coupons! I was gifted a baby food mill for Christmas and will be making food from fresh fruits and veggies when the time comes for our son. There are tons of resources online to help with this and I am really looking forward to it!
- Children don’t need every toy. We’ve all seen that child that ends up playing with the box while the brand new toy sits on the floor. Children want to use their imaginations. Let them! Don’t think you need to buy every gizmo and gadget out there to make them happy or help them learn. Spend an hour drawing pictures, go outside and play in the dirt, splash in the bath together. Children don’t need tons of toys and stuff, what they really need is you!
This post is linked to: Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways