Bringing Home Baby On An Itty-Bitty Budget
Babies are expensive, and that’s something we can’t stress enough. Between diapers, wipes, and copays, your child’s first year can set you back a pretty penny, and that the ugly truth. However, when you’re bump says “baby” but your budget says “bare,” you’ll need to start your planning as soon as possible to ensure you have everything you need when your bundle of joy makes their big debut. Here are a few tips from moms who’ve been there, done that, and managed to maintain an account balance throughout the process.
Save every penny
If you’re pregnant and still working, you should be prepared to take some time off. Even if you plan to go back to work soon, your body will need time to recover. This can leave a dent in your finances, so it makes sense to save money where you can as soon as you know that you are expecting. SixDollarFamily.com smartly recommends opening up a savings account and creating a personal budget. This may mean cutting out a few frivolous expenses, such as premium cable and your morning latte. Every little bit helps.
Invest in dual-purpose clothing and gear
Your body changes every day, and there’s a good chance that, starting at about 16 weeks, you’ll no longer fit into your favorite clothes. When you’re shopping for maternity wear, look for items that are comfortable now and that will remain so as you recover. Maternity and nursing pajamas are a great example of pieces that you can use for an extended time. They’ll also keep you from fumbling around in a sleep-deprived state during those overnight feedings. You will additionally want to look for gear that you won’t have to put into consignment when your little one turns three months old. A convertible stroller, lifetime crib, and toys that grow with your baby will save you money in the long run.
Embrace store brands
While they say breast is best (and it’s way cheaper than formula), some moms have no choice but to turn to formula. But, if you listen to all the marketing hype, the only way to do this is through buying high-end formula. Don’t fall into this trap. Storebrand formula costs about half of what the big names charge, even when you factor in all of the free samples and high-value coupons that the manufacturers happily bestow upon you. Storebrand formula is nutritionally comparable and just as good as the national brands. Further, as Northampton Area Pediatrics points out, generic children’s medication is regulated by the FDA so feel free to save at the pharmacy, too.
Buy only what you need
If you have visions of dressing your infant in only the most adorable, ruffled outfits you can find, be prepared to be A) broke and B) disappointed. Not only are these items unnecessary expenses, but your baby will outgrow them quickly, often before they get a chance to be your personal little model. Stick with the basics, which should include plenty of onesies, bibs, and baby blankets. These items are inexpensive and, with a bit of creativity, can be coordinated to make your baby just as stylish as you imagined. Other baby items you don’t need include special baby laundry detergent, baby powder, or a tiny bathtub.
There’s no shame in secondhand
Remember how we mentioned that babies outgrow clothes quickly? That can work in your favor if you don’t mind hitting up your local thrift shop or spring garage sales. There’s a good chance any secondhand merchandise you come across will have only been worn a handful of times, if at all. If you’re worried about gunk and grime, just give them a thorough washing before adding to your baby’s wardrobe. You can also purchase used books, toys, and maternity clothing without sacrificing your status as the best mom ever.
Having a baby is a priceless experience that comes with a high price tag. Don’t let the dollars and dimes scare you, though, because, with a little effort, it doesn’t have to be wallet-draining.