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Having a baby is an emotional time in your life.
Joy and happiness are present, mixed with uncertainty and nervousness, especially if you are a first time parent.
Add in a lack of sleep, and having a baby is an emotional ride.
It can be challenging as well, especially when you look at it from a financial perspective.
This is why it is important to know how to budget for a baby.
When we had our first baby, we were hysteric.
We didn’t know what to do.
Everything looked scary and it was quite challenging from a financial perspective, too.
However, by the time we welcomed our second child, we knew what to do.
We were able to save money on our baby and were better at facing any problems that came up.
However, many other parents are not that lucky.
A report published by the USDA studied how much a newborn costs.
According to the report, the average cost of a baby during the first year is about $13,000.
That means monthly baby expenses cost on average $1,083!
The annual cost of raising a baby averages $12,500 for the second year.
And over the course of their first 17 years of life, parents are looking at a total more than $233,000 to raise a child.
You’ll be spending about $2,448 per year on baby food, formula, and diapers alone.
Add more expensive items like clothes, childcare, sports equipment, toys, and furniture and the cost goes even higher.
This is why it is important to create a baby budget so you can find ways to save money on your baby.
The most important thing is to understand where you spend most of your money so you can save as much money as possible.
In this post, we will first look at building your baby budget and then look at the many ways you can save money on your baby, including:
- How to save money on baby formula
- How to save money of baby healthcare
- How to save money on baby food
- How to save money on baby clothes
- How to save money on diapers
- How to get cheap baby stuff
By focusing on these areas, you can drastically slash your spending on your child, while still providing everything they need to grow and develop.
Let’s get started with helping you keep the cost of raising a child under control so you can survive financially with minimal stress!
How To Budget For A Baby
Creating Your Baby Budget
This is probably the hardest part of the process because you have no idea of the things you need.
You read parenting blogs and talk to friends and family to get a list of things you need to buy.
While this is great, it can also be costly.
This is because you will buy a lot of things that you think you need, but will end up never using.
Because of this, I created a basic baby budget checklist for you.
These are the things you definitely need to have and so they are required in your baby budget.
Monthly Baby Expenses
- Breastfeeding supplies
- Child care
From here, I like to keep things simple.
I put everything else in a miscellaneous category, but I make sure to note what the item is.
This way, if it is a recurring expense, I can add it to next month’s budget.
It’s also helpful to look at the budget when you think of buying something new.
I’ve found the easiest way to save money on a baby is to review the budget.
It will show us the things we bought that we thought we needed but never used.
It also shows us where we are spending the most money, so we can focus on those areas of the budget to try to lower costs.
As for the best baby budget, this comes down to preference.
If you enjoy creating a spreadsheet budget, then you can easily just download some free budget templates and edit it for your own use.
Another option is to use an app.
There are some good ones out there and they all offer something a little different.
My personal favorite is GoodBudget. Just make sure to use the free version.
At the end of the day, you are going to save the most money on your baby by first budgeting for your new baby.
It will guide you every month and ensure your finances are in order.
And over time, this will lead to financial success.
How To Save Money On Baby
Now that you have your baby budget set up, it is time to figure out the many ways you can save money on your baby.
I’ll walk you through the many things we’ve learned raising our children and how you can save the most money.
Start As Early As You Possible And Plan
The #1 tip I can offer you is to prepare for a baby in advance. This includes buying furniture and preparing the car seat.
We suggest you save money on your baby by buying an infant car seat that detaches from the base.
This allows you to easily carry your baby to and out of the vehicle.
As an added bonus, most of these models are compatible with a stroller, so all you need to do is click the seat into the stroller and off you go.
Here is the one we used.
While the carrier part was a little heavier than a standard baby carrier, it was totally worth it when it comes to ease.
Just put the baby in the carrier in the house and click it into the car.
Then unclick it from the car and into the stroller and go.
Not having to disturb the baby by taking them in and out of a car seat to a carrier made life easy for everyone.
Starting to plan early allows you to search and find cheap baby stuff without any trouble.
If you go out shopping at the last minute, you may not have enough time to find an affordable option, or worse, you might buy something that doesn’t meet your needs.
For example, never buy big items like strollers in a hurry. Always check reviews online and pick what’s suitable for you.
Also, don’t buy things that you don’t need.
When our first baby was born, we spent money on a wipes warmer but never used it.
At the time it sounded like a smart idea, but in the end, we never used it once.
You want to make sure you don’t make similar mistakes, or at least keep these mistakes to a minimum.
This is why it is important to sit down and plan. Prepare a budget keeping in mind your baby’s needs.
Only buy what you’re sure you will need.
Also, be sure to stick to your budget. You must know where to spend money and when to stop spending it.
In addition to taking your time buying things for your baby, you should also be putting money into a savings account.
The more cushion you have when the baby comes, the fewer headaches you will have.
And having this cushion may even open the door to opportunities you didn’t think of.
For example, you might realize that during your maternity leave, you want to quit your job and be a full-time mom.
With nothing saved, this may be impossible.
But if you put some money away, you may be able to make it work. Or least make it work a lot sooner than you thought possible.
The best place to save your money is with CIT Bank.
They offer one of the highest yields around, so whatever you do save will grow fast with them.
And since they are an online bank, anyone can open a free account.
Now that you know the importance of planning ahead, let’s start to look at the other ways you can save money on baby.
Use Your Baby Shower To Your Advantage
If you plan to have a baby shower, you can use this as a way to save money.
Since you have your list of things you need, you can simply ask for these things.
And don’t be shy about asking for big ticket items.
The stroller/car seat kit I mentioned above is expensive. But if a few people go in on it together, then the cost is much less.
Another way to use a baby shower to save money is to think things through.
By this I mean after the shower, take the time to go through everything you got.
If you are a like most people, you will have gotten tons of toys, lovies, swaddles, etc.
You don’t need all these things.
Take them back to the store and get money for them. Then use the money to buy things you do need, or save it for things you will need.
What if you don’t have a receipt?
Simply go onto Target or Walmart and search for the item.
These two retailers sell most of the items. Just take what each one sells back to the store and return it.
You won’t get cash without the receipt but you will get store credit.
You can then use this to offset future baby costs.
How To Save Money On Baby Formula
Kelly Bonyata, a breastfeeding expert, wrote that a baby consumes about 25 ounces of milk per day during the first year of life.
Contrary to popular belief, the amount of milk consumed begins to decrease as the baby begins to turn to solid foods.
This equals to about 9,125 ounces of formula for the year.
With the average cost of baby formula costing $0.19 per ounce, baby formula will cost you more than $1,700 for the first year.
This is a lot for most parents and the easiest way to save money is to breastfeed the child.
You can save money on baby formula by trying breastfeeding which is not only natural but also beneficial from other perspectives, including warding off colds and viruses.
However, you may have to spend a little money on pumping bras and nursing outfits.
Shop around and find an affordable option to save money.
If that’s not possible due to health issues or other concerns, try these tips on how to save money on baby formula:
- Try different brands. Try different formulas and pick one that’s the best for your baby and suitable for your budget as well.
- Opt for powdered formula. It’s more affordable and also easy to use.
- Stay away from soy formula and choose cow formula as it’s more affordable. However, it may not be suitable for all babies so ask for your doctor’s suggestions as well.
- Buying in bulk can help. However, make sure to keep the expiration date and your child’s taste in mind as well.
- Compare before you shop. Check different stores, including online and offline stores, so you can save money on baby formula.
- Try to get free samples when possible. You may get these from the retail outlet or your pediatrician. They can help you save money on baby.
- You don’t always have to opt for name brands. Store brands or generic formulas can also be quite good. In fact, it’s a legal requirement that all formulas meet the quality standards set by the government.
- Say no to disposables. Bid adieu to disposable bottles as they require using a different liner with each feeding, causing you to spend more money.
- Consider insurance. If your baby requires special formula due to health issues such as allergies, see if your insurance will pay all of or pay a portion of the cost. Not all insurance plans offer such coverage though.
Keep all these tips in mind and stay away from making your own formula. It can be bad for your baby.
Also, avoid using animal milk before consulting your doctor and never use old plastic bottles.
These bottles may lead to health issues as they may contain bisphenol-A (BPA), which is banned by the FDA.
How To Save Money On Baby Healthcare
First year out-of-pocket medical costs run about $1,300 while the rest is covered by insurance.
Try to find an insurance plan that covers your baby well so that you can save money.
Other than this, calculate the cost of other care items as well such as baby wipes, rash creams, etc.
These items can cost about $50 per week.
I suggest you buy these in bulk to save money. Another way to save money here is to buy store brands.
For example, a pack of 100 name brand wipes sells for $3.99.
But I can buy a box of the store brand wipes and get 9 packs for a total of 900 wipes for $14.
If I were to buy 9 packs of the name brand wipes, I would end up spending $36, which is a difference of $22!
Finally, I save money by buying most of the items at the grocery store.
Not only are the prices lower, but I earn cash back when I use my credit card.
How To Save Money On Baby Food
You can save money on baby food by making your own food.
Choose foods that are healthy for your baby and also easily digestible.
For example, you can opt for carrots.
Simply chop them into bite size pieces for a baby or puree them and then freeze them using a silicone freezer tray.
You can do the same thing with apples.
You can buy apples on sale and then cook them in a pressure cooker. Mash them up, add in some cinnamon, and freeze them.
Or go to your local farmers market and ask for apple seconds.
These are the apples that have bruises on them so stores won’t take them.
Cut around the bruise and you are good to go.
These are just two examples but here is a short list of great foods when introducing solids to your baby:
- Oatmeal (mixed with breast milk or baby formula)
- Butternut squash
- Sweet potato
Just be sure to do a trial run before you buy a bunch of food and go through the effort to mash and freeze it.
While most babies will eat anything, some babies don’t like certain foods.
When it comes to freezing the food, we use this silicone tray since it allows us to measure out the right volume of food per serving and we can freeze a lot at once.
While it’s a good idea to save money on baby food by making your own food for the baby, you need to be careful about a lot of things.
What you can feed your child depends largely on the baby’s age and overall health.
Do not feed solids until they’re about seven months old, which is around when they stop using their tongue to force things out of their mouths.
Just take it slow as they are learning how to eat solids.
Also, don’t fall for the assumption that babies need teeth to eat solids.
You are pureeing the food, so it’s already mashed for one. And second, they have powerful jaws that do just as good a job as teeth.
Don’t believe me? Stick your finger in a baby’s mouth and feel the pressure when they bite down.
With that said, you do have to be careful.
You need to take it slowly and let them fully swallow the food in their mouth before offering more.
Also, you don’t want to give an infant peanut butter or honey too early.
Additionally, babies are at higher risk of food-borne illness, so you need to be very careful when preparing food.
To do this, make sure the food is very carefully cooked. Avoid feeding undercooked food to your baby.
You should also stay away from sauces, dressings, mayonnaise, and ice creams as they may contain poorly cooked eggs.
Lastly, unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized juice should also be avoided.
If you feel more comfortable buying baby food, you can opt for this instead.
Just know that buying packaged baby food is going to cost you a lot more.
For example, a single jar of organic puree carrots costs $1.25.
For $1.99 I can buy a bag of fresh organic carrots, steam them, mash and freeze them, and have the equivalent of 20 jars.
Nonetheless, if you want to buy baby food, be sure to use apps like Ibotta and Swagbucks.
They offer cash back and can help you save 5% or more every time you shop.
While this won’t completely offset the price difference, it does soften the blow.
Save Money On Baby Clothes
Studies show parents spend about $60 on baby clothes per month.
They’re a major expense hence you need to know how to save money on baby clothes.
A major problem with clothes is that they often go useless within months since babies grow very fast.
A simple trick is to buy one size bigger than what currently fits your baby so that you don’t have to buy new clothes too often.
Next, be sure to think ahead.
If you find a great sale on summer clothes and it is winter, odds are your baby will be in the next size or even two sizes up from what they are currently wearing.
Another important tip is to buy items on sale. Sales are great at helping you save money on baby clothes.
One of the best ways we save money on baby clothes is to buy at yard sales or get free clothes from friends.
While not all of our friends have children and are willing to give away their outgrown clothes, it does help offset the cost of new clothes.
And by buying used clothes, we save a lot of money.
Other than this, you can try your negotiation skills as well. Most retailers are willing to offer a discount if you ask for it.
Finally, consider returning clothes you get for birthdays and other special events to earn store credits.
You can use the credit on bigger ticket items or when clothes go on sale.
Save Money On Baby Furniture And Other Items
Buying baby furniture can be tricky.
The crib, for example, will be useless after a few years unless you plan to have another baby and the crib is still durable, or you buy a crib that converts into a toddler bed.
You may opt to buy used furniture. It can help you save up to 40%.
However, I suggest you avoid spending a lot on furniture since you will have to change it in a few years.
You can, however, plan keeping the future in mind.
For example, you can buy a mid-sized bed instead of a crib and install guards to keep the baby safe.
The bed will be good for a good few years.
Next, you need to save money on baby gear.
Again, opt to buy used or open box items when you can. Yard sales can be your go-to option. You may also buy used items from family members.
For example, ask if your friend is interested in selling their stroller.
Another option is going to Mom’s Markets. You can get gently used items at big discounts here.
Just be sure to not get caught up in the process and overspend!
As for toys, avoid spending a lot on them.
Find fun things to do around your house and learn to use your and your kids imagination.
For example, I took a blanket and laid it on the couch and ottoman. Then we crawled through the tunnel it created on the floor.
When you get toys as gifts, be thankful, but don’t just open them.
Think things through first.
Do they need it? Do they have something similar?
If the answer is no, return it for store credit and use that money towards something you really need.
Finally, when you do buy toys, go through your pile of toys and find some that are no longer played with and donate or sell them.
This will help you to reduce clutter.
Save Money On Diapers
You’ll be spending a lot of money on diapers for the first few years.
In fact, the average child will use over 2,700 diapers in the first year, which equals to more than $1,000 based on the average cost of diapers being $0.45 per diaper.
But with a little work and thinking outside the box, you can drastically reduce this price.
For example, if you shop around, you can score great deals on diapers.
Here some things to keep in mind when trying to save money on diapers:
- Avoid the grocery store. They mark up the price of diapers and are usually the most expensive place to buy.
- Consider Amazon. They usually have the best prices and run sales often, helping you to save even more money. And signing up for Amazon Family or Amazon Prime can reduce your costs even more. For example, Amazon Family will give you 20% diapers when you sign up for a subscription.
- Use credit cards. Earning discounts and cash back will help you save the most money.
For us, we primarily buy our diapers at warehouse clubs.
In my research, they have been the place that consistently offers great prices.
When taking into account just the price of the box of diapers, the cost is $0.28 per diaper.
But you can easily do better.
They frequently have diapers on sale for $3 off per box and you can always find coupons for diapers in the newspaper too.
When I do this, we knock $7 off the price of the box, bringing our cost per diaper down to $0.24.
Another trick is to use credit card rewards.
For us, our Discover Card offers 5% cash back at warehouse clubs a few months during the each year.
We make it a point to stock up during this period.
Here is how this looked like for us recently.
We bought 5 boxes of diapers and used a bunch of coupons.
Before coupons, the total price was $200. After adding in the coupons, we paid $180.
Add in the 5% cash back we were earning and our total cost comes to $0.24 per diaper.
If a warehouse club doesn’t interest you, consider Target, especially if you have their REDCard.
This will allow you to get 5% off your purchase.
They typically send you coupons for $10 off a $50 purchase and you can combine this with coupons you find in the newspaper, saving you even more money.
Even without the coupons, the price per diaper at Target, assuming you go with their brand of diaper will be less than $0.20.
You could choose Walmart too.
While they don’t offer a discount like Target does, buying the generic brand here will easily get your price per diaper under $0.20 as well.
At the end of the day, you want the cost of diapers to be as low as possible.
You can easily do this without much work by buying generic diapers from Target or Walmart or by buying diapers on Amazon.
Finally, be brand loyal.
We use Pampers and signed up for their rewards program.
This has allowed us to earn additional coupons on diapers and get access to special sales and promotions.
Alternatively, many parents turn to cloth diapers to save money on diapers.
While this trick works, it’s not the most beneficial one since using cloth has its own downfalls.
For example, it can be a lot of trouble to clean them.
Plus, the cost of detergent can also be a hindrance.
However, overall cloth diapers are more affordable but may not always be practical.
My sister went the cloth diaper route and they calculated they saved over $1,000 a year by choosing them over disposable diapers.
In order to save money on diapers, you first have to decide if you are going the disposable diaper route or cloth diaper route.
If you opt for cloth diapers, you will easily save money just by making this choice.
If you go with disposable diapers, the trick to saving the most money lies in finding the best promotional deal and making sure to use it so you can save money on diapers.
Use Coupons To Get Cheap Baby Stuff
You need to know where to find baby coupons to save money and you’ll be able to get cheap baby stuff without any trouble.
The easiest solution is to search online.
Simply search for ‘baby coupons to save money’ and you’ll find dozens of sites that can provide you with coupons.
In addition to this, always go through apps and websites in detail before you make a purchase.
If you find a product you like and want to buy, consider visiting the website of the brand.
Some will offer a discount or coupon if you sign up for their email list or follow them on social media.
When we were buying a stroller, we found the one we wanted and then followed the brand on social media.
A few days later, we got a 10% off coupon code.
You can also try ‘buy 1 get 1 free’ offers from different retailers.
Also, try to use credit cards if they offer discounts as many cards offer special deals when used at certain stores.
Lastly, if possible, ask one of the representatives about available discount offers and coupons to ensure you don’t miss out on a discount.
You can try stores like Target or the previously mentioned mom’s markets to find cheap baby stuff.
Finally, find loyalty programs too.
Seventh Generation, for example, is known for some cool loyalty programs that offer amazing discounts and even free samples.
These tips are what we used to create a baby budget and help us to save money on our baby.
I am confident you can save money by using them as well.
The key to saving the most money lies in being careful, doing a good amount of research, and only buying items that you truly need.
Before you buy anything, give yourself some time to do the research so you can save money.
It can feel like a hassle at times, but it is more than worth it.
When I look at the receipts of the baby items we bought the first year and total up the savings, it comes to more than $5,000.
That is huge and is worth every minute of research.
I can’t imagine the stress and headaches we would be experiencing if we were $5,000 lighter in the pocket.
Take your time, do some research and save money on baby. Everyone will be thankful you did so.