So, you’re a new parent. You’re probably discovering each day, just how expensive raising a child is going to be, especially a newborn! The costs of diapers, formula (if you choose not to breastfeed!), clothing, doctor’s visits, a carseat or two, cribs, etc… can seem absolutely astounding and overwhelming. I am not here to promote any particular parenting method over any other, but there are ways to combat the high costs of raising a baby!
First things first… preparing for baby. Preparing for baby is probably the most expensive “one-time” expense for new parents. Stocking up on diapers, wipes, formula (if you choose not to breastfeed!), purchasing an infant carseat, a crib or bassinet, a stroller, clothing, etc. These items can run from just a few hundred dollars, into thousands of dollars, depending on your budget and whether or not you spend wisely.
Cloth diapers are a bigger investment INITIALLY, but in the long run, are more economical. They are reusable, more environmentally safe, and can be used for cleaning rags when baby is done with them. But, if it’s not feasible to use cloth diapers, try store brand or generic disposables. I know some babies have reactions to certain brands, but it’s well worth it to shop around. I used store brand diapers for all of my children with no problems, and probably saved myself around $50.00 – $75.00 a month on diapers this way. If you must use name-brand diapers, try to get on their coupon mailing lists, this can help tremendously!
Wipes can be bought cheaply, check store brands or use coupons for name brands. There are also websites out there where you can find recipes to make home-made wipes, whether reusable or disposable. It’s worth checking into.
Formula is a HUGE expense. Breastfeeding is usually better for Mom and Baby, and it’s free. But if you can’t breastfeed or don’t wish to, look into the WIC program in your state, often they will provide most of a month’s worth of formula for your baby at no cost to you, depending on your income. If you don’t qualify for WIC, try to get on your formula brand’s coupon mailing lists. A lot of formula companies send out coupons with HUGE savings! Or, you can try various store brands and see if your baby can tolerate them. Often, store brands are equal, sometimes even superior to, name brands. Shop around!
Clothing is another expense that can be outrageous. Your little one doesn’t NEED name-brand clothing, and it doesn’t all have to be brand new either. Often children outgrow clothing so fast, that it’s pointless to buy them brand new or name brand clothing. Shop thrift shops, yard sales, Ebay and even check your local classified ads for infant clothing in good shape at a fraction of the price of brand new clothing. A lot of times you can even find name brand kids clothes in thrift shops or at yardsales, for pennies on the dollar of what they originally cost.
Infant carseats don’t have to be expensive, if you shop around. But you can usually get a good infant carrier/carseat for about $30. Sometimes there are programs out there that can help you get a free infant carseat if you’re low income or going through a difficult time. Your baby CAN NOT leave the hospital unless he or she is in a carseat!
Thrift shops, consignment shops, and yard sales are also a good place to find carrier/carseats. I bought my last one at a yard sale brand-new for $10.00, when checking the model number online, discovered that the carseat was a $65.00 model, and was less than six months old! Also, if you have a friend or family member who has a small child, ask if THEY might have a carrier carseat you can have, borrow or buy from them. Just check model numbers to make sure the carseat isn’t more than 2 or 3 years old, and that it hasn’t been re-called.
The last major expense is a bed for your new bundle of joy. Some parents opt out of even the cost of an infant bed, by “co-sleeping”… this has many benefits and risks, and I don’t suggest doing it simply to save money. You can hunt around thrift shops, yard sales, consignment shopts, etc.. for a baby crib, bassinett, or even a playpen. Sometimes a family member or friend will have one that they are willing to let you borrow or have. Just ask around!
Raising a newborn, or any children at all, doesn’t have to be nearly as expensive as a lot of people make it out to be! Keep your eyes out for good deals, be open to the experience of thrift-shopping or consignment shops, and decide what are absolutely essentials and what aren’t. Parenting on a budget isn’t easy, but it CAN be done, with little or no pain!