So you’ve decided you’re ready for a baby. Congratulations! Now you’re wondering how much this will actually cost and if you can afford it. Raising little ones can impact your finances, but if you’re looking for ways to have a baby on a budget, keep reading!
Ask any parent how to prepare for a baby and you might get a lot of different answers. That’s because how people save and spend their money varies. You can use some or all of the tips I’m about to share if you want to have a baby on a budget. Just know that it’s definitely possible.
Raising A Baby on A Tight Budget
Like most things personal finance and budgeting, having actual numbers is a good place to start your planning.
A lot of parents to be ask, “How much does it cost to have a baby for the first year?”
Did you know the USDA has been keeping track of these cost of raising a child since 1960? They estimate that parents will spend about $12,680 per year.
If your budget is already tight or your family is living on one income, you can still prepare for a baby.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest baby expenses for the first year and see how to save money!
Cutting Childbirth Costs
One of the biggest expenses during the first year of your baby’s life is how they will be born.
1. In the US, having a hospital birth is the priciest option. If you choose to go this route, check that your hospital and doctor are in network with your insurance! If they are not in network, you will pay higher fees.
2. Start saving any amount you can towards your hospital bill as soon as you find out you’re expecting.
3. You could also choose to have a home birth or utilize a birthing center, which might be a lower cost.
Of course where you deliver depends on factors such as where you live, how far you are from a hospital and if you have a high risk pregnancy.
Living and Sleeping Arrangements After Baby
4. If you feel the need to move to a larger space or new, bigger home, you actually can hold off on that. Babies don’t need that much space during their first year.
5. A dedicated nursery is awesome and sounds fun to plan for, but you honestly can skip it during the baby’s first year.
6. Skip the crib purchase and opt for a bassinet, pack and play or safe cosleeper. This will save money and works great if you’re limited on space.
Child Care Money Saving Tips
One of the biggest expenses people think about when trying to have a baby on a budget is childcare. If you’re going to return to work, child care is a must. While you’re trying to save money, don’t forget that your child will be spending a lot of hours during the day with this provider. Here’s how to save money on childcare without compromising on the quality of care.
7. Check to see if your employer lets you contribute funds to a child care FSA and if they match any of your contributions.
8. Look into church based and non profit providers in your area.
9. Try a home based daycare provider if you’re comfortable with that option. Get recommendations from family members, friends or neighbors. Home based providers are often cheaper, with smaller ratios of kids to adults.
10. Shift your work hours if at all possible. You could work opposite schedules from your spouse or partner. Ask your employer if you can come in earlier and leave earlier. Sometimes even 2-3 hours saves money with the day care.
11. See if family or friends can help at all. Maybe you don’t have the luxury of them watching your child full time, but one day or so a week can be a huge help.
Feeding Baby on A Budget
If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that your baby will need to eat. Here are some ways to cut feeding costs.
12. Breastfeed your baby. This is not a totally free option as you may need a breast pump, bottles and other nursing related supplies. However, it can be cheaper than 100% formula feeding.
13. If you go the formula feeding route, sign up for manufacturer coupons and loyalty programs. Store brand formula is good as well.
14. Check with your insurance to see if they will cover the entire cost of your breast pump.
15. Once the baby starts eating solids and foods, try making homemade baby food. It often comes out cheaper to puree your own fruits, vegetables and meats. It takes a little time, but you can freeze food in advance.
16. If you do opt for store bought baby food, store brand food is just as good as pricey, name brand food jars and pouches. It’s also cheaper!
Cutting Costs on Diapers and Wipes
Whether you use cloth or disposable diapers, you’ll be spending money on diapers for your little one’s first year.
17. Use store brand or generic diapers. Some parents swear by them and they can work just as well as name brands.
18. Buy diapers and wipes in bulk! Check out Amazon and Costco for lower prices on large packages. Did you know that you don’t have to be a Costco member to shop their website online?
19. If you are a diehard fan of name brand diapers, take advantage of their loyalty programs. Big brands like Huggies and Pampers have an app and you can scan codes on their packaging to redeem points. The points can be used for rewards, including diapers and wipes!
Clothing Cost Cutting
Little baby clothes and outfits are so cute, but if you are really trying to have your baby on a budget, keep clothing to the essentials only. Babies change clothes a lot and they also grow quickly!
20. Save money on clothing by accepting hand me downs from family and friends!
21. Buy marked down, larger sized clothing during off seasons or end of season sales for later use.
22. Try shopping at consignment stores or thrift stores
Baby Gear Savings
Some baby items are non negotiable, like car seats. You can still save on the the necessary items.
23. Get an all in one car seat instead of buying an infant carrier and then a convertible car seat when baby outgrows the infant seat.
24. Opt for a baby carrier instead of a stroller. The trick here is to buy a decently priced baby carrier, because some of the pricier models can cost just as much as a stroller!
Entertaining Your Baby For Free
Babies and little ones do require stimulation and entertainment. During the first year, it’s very easy to do this without expensive toys.
25. My baby never actually preferred her toys over ordinary items I used around the home. Let your baby play with safe household items.
26. Borrow books from the library for your baby.
27. Use old toys from family and friends that their kids have outgrown or no longer use.
It can be very easy to have an expensive first year for baby. You can fall into the trap of thinking everything has to be brand new and you need all these cool new gadgets for your little one. Honestly, you might not use all of those things. Your little one won’t know the difference either. Remember your love and time you’ll spend bonding with your little one are free!
Pin This To Your Baby Board!
So tell me, what other things do you plan on doing for having a baby on a budget or one income? I’d love to hear them!
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