Babies are absolutely precious and a joy to life. So small and fragile, yet so big in cost!
Caring for a newborn can easily put you out around $10,000 a year or more. When I had my firstborn, I was a college student working a part-time job so needless to say I was poor. It literally felt as though I was a few dollars away from sleeping under the nearest bridge. Now that baby #2 is baking, I’m confident I can keep the costs down as I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade.
Stick with the bare necessities
I’ll admit that I went all out for my firstborn. I mean ALL out. Decked out crib that she never slept in, the latest baby swing—you name it I had it.
Did I use half of the items I purchased? Of course not, but I was a new mom and I thought that I needed an abundance of items.
Babies only need the bare necessities to survive. They don’t come into the world wishing for the latest gadget or a new onesie straight off of the runway. When it comes to what they need think: eat, sleep, clean, clothe. If the item in your shopping cart does not satisfy one of those necessities then chances are it’s not a need.
Yes, the new baby swing has all the latest settings and those new shoes are precious (even though their feet won’t be touching the ground), but when you are trying to save you have to stick with the minimum.
Catch the sales
This is a no-brainer, but when you need something how many of you just pick it up and throw it in the cart whether it’s on sale or not? (Raises hand)
On average, you can save around 10-20% on an item by catching markdowns. There are numerous apps and websites out there that will alert you of a sale nearby, in addition to the local newspaper. Many retailers send out notifications of markdowns and special deals to their email subscribers, so the next time you are checking out and the sales clerk asks you for an email address consider saying yes.
To maximize your savings, use coupons. Most stores will allow you to couple your coupons with sales prices in order to get the most bang for your buck. Add a sale+ a store coupon+ a manufacturer coupon and you’ve got yourself a win.
There are thousands of coupons out there just waiting to be cut or scanned. Not sure where to find them? Just do a simple internet search to bring up sites offering free printable and electronic coupons. Also, be sure to check your Sunday paper.
When you catch a sale, be sure to stock up on the item as you can never be too sure when the price will be marked down again.
Get the most out of your baby shower
As you come together with family and friends to celebrate the oncoming arrival of your little one, be sure to get the most out of the event.
When I found out I was expecting again I swore that I would not have another baby shower. I hated having all of the attention on me and planning it just seemed like a hassle. I then remembered how much stuff I got for my daughter and thought, Free gifts, why not?
Seriously, I had baby soap and lotion that lasted me well over a year!
When planning a baby shower, be sure to make your invitees aware of the items you want or need the most. Diapers, soap, grooming kits, blankets, etc. I didn’t do this with my first baby shower and wound up receiving an abundance of cutesy clothes that didn’t get much love. They were nice to look at but I didn’t go out enough to put them to good use.
Baby registries are also a great way to make sure you stock up on needed items. As you create your baby registries, be sure to add items in a range of sizes that will grow with your baby.
Unfortunately, not everyone checks baby registries (guilty) so when filling out your shower invites be sure to note the items that baby already has in order to avoid unwanted duplicates. Consider putting the items you need on the invites as well.
It’s no secret that daycare is ridiculously expensive, and it will probably be the most costly expense of having a child. I was shelling out over $400 a month for my daughter and that was on a discount! Not to mention she was potty-trained during that time.
If you are not able to be a stay-at-home mom or take shift changes with your partner, consider a daycare alternative or utilize available resources to help slash the costs.
Child Care Assistance Program
This program offers child care assistance to low-income families needing high-quality childcare. If your income falls within the limits and you are working, or in school, then consider giving this option a try. Depending on where your income falls, you will either receive childcare completely free of cost or with a small copay. The program operates on a sliding fee system, meaning the higher the income the higher the copay. To see if you qualify, contact your local Program Eligibility Specialist or Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education.
Close relatives and friends
One obvious alternative to daycare is a trusted friend or relative. If you know someone that has some extra time on their hands, see if they would be willing to help you out for a small fee. If they do not wish to be paid then even better for you.
If you have no close friend or relative then consider an in-home daycare. You still get the benefit of a daycare but at a lower price. Although they may not be licensed, these daycare providers must still follow all safety and care regulations established by the state.
Daycare not sounding appealing to you? Consider hiring a babysitter to fill in during the hours you are not able to care for your baby. There are multiple websites available, such as Care.com, that allows you to locate babysitters in your area and compare prices.
Of course, no matter the route you choose, you don’t want Jeepers Creepers watching your beloved little one so put on your FBI badge and do your research! Be sure to request background checks and check references to ensure you’ve made the safest choice.
Utilize consignment sales
Over the last year, I’ve become a consignment sale junkie.
What is a consignment sale you ask? It can be a seasonal event or a shop that allows you to sell your gently used items while offering you other gently used items for a discounted price.
One of the most popular consignment sales in my area is Rhea Lana’s Children’s Consignment. This event is held in 25 states and is hosted by season. Consigners consist of local moms, dads, and even grandparent who have items they no longer use and wish to make a profit from. Items usually consist of: clothes, shoes, toys, baby items, and furniture.
Because of this event, I no longer spend money on clothes for my daughter. Seriously! I sell all of the clothing that she has outgrown and then purchase a size up at the events. If I spend $80 most likely I get the $80 back from my sales and then some.
You can search to see if Rhea Lana’s events are held in your area here. If you cannot locate any consignment sales or shops nearby then consider using other second-hand stores, like Goodwill, to find quality items at a low retail price.
Additional reading for more money saving ideas: Are You a Money Saving Mom? Need more Ideas?
Babies are no doubt costly, but they do not have to gobble up your whole year’s salary if you get creative and stick with the minimum. How do you save on your bundles of joy?