New babies mean joy, growth, celebration, sleepless nights, endless smiles…and an astounding array of extra expenses. Many of these are unavoidable. For example, you should never skimp on baby’s car seat. You can cut other expenses in half or even more with simple steps that are no harder on baby or on you.
Baby formula costs $400 to $500 a month in most cities, according to WebMD.com. Breastfeeding skips those expenses altogether, and the health benefits can mean fewer medical expenses for your new addition well into late childhood.
2. Used Clothes
New babies look cute in new clothes, but the clothes don’t have to be new for everybody. They can just be new for baby. Newborns and toddlers grow so fast, they need another outfit every couple of months. Go to garage sales, pass-it-on events and clothing swaps to keep your newborn stitched.
3. Cloth Diapers
These require an early investment, but can save $1,000 or more a year as compared to the cost of disposable diapers. Since your little one is likely to need diapers for a minimum of two years, this adds up to real money. It’s a little extra work, but well worth it.
4. Day Care
A recent study by Freakonomics researchers Levitt and Dubner found that high-end preschools and day cares have no lasting effect on a child’s success. Make sure a daycare is safe, state-accredited and running on a philosophy that matches yours — but don’t spring for “prestige preschool.”
On the same topic, consider one parent taking the first few years off from work — or working from home. Between the costs of commuting and day care, it can mean more disposable income for many families.
Some new parents spend more than $1,000 on the furniture for a nursery — furniture they have to replace in less than three years. When buying used baby furniture, make sure all pieces are sturdy and safe, then check them against lists of recalled baby gear. If it passes inspection, your used gear might cost just the time it takes to remove it from a Craigslist poster’s home.
Observing just these five techniques can mean saving more than $5,000 during baby’s first three years. If you put that money in a college savings account, it can double or even triple by the time junior heads off to school. That’s money you don’t have to find “in real time” or borrow with interest.
How do you cut costs in your baby budget? Please share your tips in the comment section.
Photo Credit: jeremysalmon