Every parent’s joy is when they get to hold their newborn for the very first time. But sometimes the financial pressure that comes along might not be well received by everyone. From getting excited anytime you see a little cute outfit for your baby to pediatrician appointments, some of these expenses might be overwhelming if not well planned and managed.
With caution, however, you can cut down on your expenses and save some money. Money spent on your baby will vary depending on the items or services you are spending on. It could be clothing; or money for medical purposes or food. For easy planning, breaking down these items into their specific categories will help in budgeting and saving.
How to Save Money on Baby Clothes’
1. Buying second-hand clothes
You will be surprised how some of these secondhand clothes are cheaper than their counterparts from the retail shop. They will also be good-looking so you do not have to worry about dressing your baby in old clothes.
2. Avoid buying clothes in advance
Babies grow so fast. To avoid your infant outgrowing clothes they have not even worn yet, avoid buying the clothes in advance. If you want to buy some clothes for the cold season, wait for the winter season.
3. Forget the shoes
Your infant will not learn to walk until he or she is 9 to 12 months. Additionally, babies learn to walk easily and faster when they are barefoot. When indoors, dress your infant in soft booties or warm socks. This will help you save the money you could have used to buy the leather shoes.
4. Avoid gender-specific clothes and colors
Gender neutral clothes are more affordable compared to the gender-specific ones. Actually, clothes for baby girls are expensive compared to clothes for baby boys. Additionally, if you are planning to have more babies in the future, you can recycle these clothes instead of shopping for new gender-specific clothes.
Saving on Baby Food
1. Make baby food at home
Just like you save on your own dieting by eating from home, you will save a lot by doing the same for your baby. Check out baby food recipes for more ideas. Making mashed fruits, or bananas and even potatoes will not last long. Most importantly, it will save you a couple of pennies. I have saved close to $100 cooking such foods for my baby.
2. Sign up for coupon offers and newsletters from companies manufacturing baby food
Look for shops with a baby club and register for their newsletters. This way, you will be up and ready when they have deals. Sites like Sam’s Club have membership plans where you can register and shop for baby stuff. Some sites such as Coupons.com and Groupon have coupon deals for baby stuff that you can take advantage of. This is because your shopping for the baby will be cheaper here than in other retail shops.
3. Watch out for free formula samples
As much as nursing your baby is highly recommended due to its nutrients and antibodies, some mothers choose not to breastfeed. Indeed, breastfeeding a baby until they are six months old is important. But what of mothers that do not want to breastfeed? Well, worry not. Formula feeding is the next best alternative in such a situation.
The aim though is to save money and baby formula can get a little pricey. If you are not careful, you might spend hundreds of dollars that you could save if blew your chances of getting special offers. Look for companies that have a formula and sign up for their newsletters, too. Additionally, you can opt for generic formula but you need to ensure the nutrients are the same as the ones recommended for formula food.
4. Packaging snacks
Make good use of those empty containers you might have instead of throwing them out. Most of these baby snacks such as cheerios go stale faster than you can imagine. You blink your eyes once they are good and the next minute you are throwing them out with the rest of the trash. As soon as you buy and open the packets, put the rest in packaging containers for a longer life and less spending.
Saving on Hospital Bills
1. Request for free samples and coupons
Most of these hospitals get free samples of items. All you need to do is ask the hospital stuff, maybe your nurse, and you will have freebies to last you for a while. If you need baby lotions, diapers, or even ointments, just ask and you might be given.
Do not forget to ask for these freebies and coupons when you visit the pediatrician and other doctors during your appointments.
2. Pass on the add-ons
Usually, any item or service that comes as an add-on has a price tag on it. It is important to ask if there are charges for any extra treatments, services or even products you are offered in the hospital. Private rooms, for example, are highly priced in some hospitals. If you do not ask about the charges when one is offered, you will be slapped with a bill that is way beyond your budget.
3. Do not leave the toiletries
I know of a friend that left the hospital with a bag full of free toiletries when she finally took her baby home. Not forgetting a quality cotton towel. Some hospitals will provide alcohol swabs, disposal nipples for baby feeding bottles, swaddling clothes, and even diapers. You should ask your doctor or nurse it if okay to carry them. The answer you are likely to get is a resounding yes, which will save you hundreds of dollars in the drugstore.
4. Ask about TV charges
Not all hospitals provide free television programming in the wards. If your room has a TV, the best thing to ask is if you will be charged for turning it on and catching up on your favorite series. But then again, the most important thing is at this time is spending time with your little bundle of joy. Unless it is necessary especially if it is not for free, keep off the TV.
5. Ask your pediatrician questions before booking an appointment
It is not a must that you visit the pediatrician for a diagnosis. Actually, if your doctor has been at it for a while and is very experienced, they will not need to see the baby to make a diagnosis. All you need to do is make a phone call, explain the situation and you just might save a couple of consultation dollars.
6. Avoid an ear thermometer
For babies up to six months old, a digital thermometer for taking rectal and armpit temperature is highly recommended. This kind of a thermometer is cheaper and more accurate compared to the digital ear thermometer.
If your child is already grown, four years and above, a digital thermometer for taking an armpit temperature, under the tongue temperature or even an artery thermometer will work.
Save on Breastfeeding
If you can nurse your baby, it is one of the best ways to save at least $1,400 during the first year. How? Because you will not be spending the money on formula food for your baby. Most importantly, breast milk is healthier than formula food and has antibodies, which formula food lacks.
2. Borrowing a breast pump
To avoid spending close to $800 on an electric pump, ask your friends or relatives if you can borrow theirs. The only thing you should not even attempt is sharing the plastic attachment. If you can get the electric pump for free, or a secondhand one for a less amount than the retail price, all you need to do is buy a starter kit of the plastic attachment. Some of these kits cost less than $50.
3. Buy nursing clothes once you have made up your mind
Once you leave the hospital, you will be indoors most of the times. For those few weeks, you will be indoors, you might not need breastfeeding clothes. However, once you are sure you will keep breastfeeding your baby for the next few months, this is when you need to shop for nursing clothes. This way, you will avoid buying breastfeeding clothes and you might end up giving your baby formula food after the first few weeks.
How to save money with a baby (some extra ways)
1. Bulk shopping
Bulk shopping on items such as diapers will have you saving more than you could ever imagine. Because your baby will be in diapers for a while, consider buying them in cartons from wholesale shops. You just might save close to $200 in the first year.
2. Test-driving the stroller
When you get to shop, a stroller might catch your attention just because it is cute and you can’t help imagining your baby in it. But does it work well? Do all its features appeal to you apart from the beauty? Well, the only way to find out if you will be wasting a couple of hundreds of dollars is test-driving the stroller first. Most importantly, if you have friends or relatives with babies, ask for recommendations.
3. Saving on pictures of your baby
Babies are adorable, and this is why almost everyone will be dying to get pictures of your tiny and bubbly baby. Printing numerous pictures will be expensive. To avoid this, sign up on websites that allow you to post and print pictures for free. This way, your friends, and relatives can print the pictures from here, too, for free.
4. Have a mobile baby care bag in the car
There is no harm in turning your car into a baby care wardrobe, just as long sit is organized. A baby care bag will come in hand, most importantly during emergency situations such as when you go out for a picnic and you forget the usual baby care bag. Stock it with a couple of diapers, snacks, baby wipes, ointment, and an extra pair of clothes. This will save you from buying these items again.
5. Avoid crib pillows
As much as they make your baby’s crib look heavenly, they are not worth spending money on if you want to save. This is because your baby will not use the pillows when sleeping. For safety measures, too, it is advisable to remove them anytime the baby is in the crib as they are categorized as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) hazards.
6. Buy double duty furniture and accessories
Some furniture and accessories such as changing tables can also be used as dressers or chairs that can also be used as booster seats. Some baby cribs, too, can be used as beds for toddlers later on. Pick such items so as to save on money.
In conclusion, as much as you want your baby to have the best in life, from clothing to health care, you should also think of saving. It’s not easy to save money with a baby but saving a couple of bucks every now and then will keep you financially stable. That money you save can be used to do something else. Before spending money on your babies clothes, medication, specialist consultations and even food, try doing the math and see where you can save from all those needs.