You’ve brought home your new bundle of joy and everything seems right with the world. That is until you check your bank statement. Babies come with a whole list of challenges for the new parent and managing your finances and expenses is just one of them. Does it really have to be so expensive to get the things you need for your new tot? When the bills start to climb sky high, financially smart parents start seeking out solutions. From recycling used clothing to hunting down the best price for your baby’s new favorite toy, keeping both your little one and your bank manager happy doesn’t become such a chore at all.
Top Tips for Savings
According to Parents.com, a family can spend on average $7,000 – $14,600 annually on their child from the time he is born until their second birthday. While figures like that are enough to strike fear into even the most financially secure of parents, it’s easy to find ways to shave those numbers down. Think creatively and always be on the lookout for ways to save, and you’ll see your costs fall quickly.
1. Buy in Bulk
The idea of lugging a massive box of diapers out to your car may not sound too appealing, but the savings can be amazing. Look at joining a wholesale club, or take advantage of free one-day passes to give it a try. Not only can you save on your baby gear, but buying in bulk means saving on your family’s grocery bill, as well as huge discounts on electronics, over-the-counter medications and just about anything else you can think of.
2. Borrow Big Ticket Items
Breast pumps, bottle warmers and other items can really add to your expenses when you have a new baby. Chances are you’ll have friends that have children who may have items they’re no longer using. Ask around to see if friends or family have spare strollers and baby furniture. The more you can borrow, the less cash you’ll see leaving your account.
3. Shop Online
Chances are you already know that shopping online can save you a bundle, as internet-based retailers don’t have the same overhead costs that a “brick and mortar” shop might have. If you’ve decided on a few must-have baby items or toys, doing a quick search online can give you access to dozens of prices, allowing you to select the best one. For example, if you’re shopping for Baby Einstein gear, try going to www.target.com/bp/baby+einstein where you can narrow your search by brand, price, or age group.
4. Dig up Coupons
You probably remember your mom’s fat coupon wallet and cringe, but she was really on to something. Shopping with coupons can save you a bundle on the things you need, so start looking before your baby is even born. Additionally, you can head to product websites where there are usually extra manufacturers coupons available. Try shopping on days where they offer promotions like “double coupons” or buy one get one free for the most significant savings.
Breastfeeding has not only been proven to be better for your child, but it’s also the most economical method. Producing your own milk is both natural and free, and additionally contains the most nutrients and other health benefits over formula. If you find yourself producing more milk than you need, you can even sell it online at milk banks, giving you an additional way to earn much-needed income.
6. Go for Second Hand
If you’re looking to be a green parent, then why not start with recycling with your baby gear? Baby furniture, special occasion outfits and even basic clothing can all be found both online and at second hand stores in your neighborhood. Seeing as your baby is going to be growing at a rapid rate, this can help to maintain a great wardrobe and a beautiful bedroom without breaking the bank.
7. Make your own Baby Food
Making your own baby food is not only a clear winner in the financial sweepstakes, but it also allows you to know exactly what your child is eating. Try mashing bananas or pureeing butternut squash, packing one up for later use. There are hundreds of sites devoted to making your own economical baby food that can help you with ideas.
8. Look for Free Classes and Activities
You probably want to know everything there is to know about your new baby, but classes can really hit your wallet. Look to your local library and community center for classes such as baby yoga, play dates and breastfeeding courses. Many times these will either be extremely low cost or even free.
While babies can be expensive, there’s no need to let buying the things you need for your child to financially beat down your bank account. Look for ways to maximize your savings at every opportunity by using coupons, borrowing and shopping second hand. Not only will your little one be happy, but you’ll be able to breathe a financial sigh of relief.