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Saving Money During Your Baby’s First Two Years

Saving Money During Your Baby’s First Two Years

Raising a child from birth to age 18 can cost anywhere from $200-250K. That’s the MSRP of an Audi R8 GT, which takes much less time commitment and maintenance cost. However, there is hope for new and expecting parents. Discount sites exist for every market niche, and items for infants and children are no exception. Check out BabySteals, Baby Half Off, Green Baby Bargains, BabyDirect and more. Instead of spending a fortune on your new arrival, following these tips can save you a bundle on your bundle of joy.

Diapers
The average infant uses about 6,000 diapers in the first two years. Parents have two main options for diapering: cloth or disposable. It’s a question not only of cost but also convenience, environmental concerns, and of course baby’s comfort. Fortunately, there are ways to save with both options. If you prefer disposable, you can save by buying in bulk. Diapers.com is a great place to comparison shop, buy in bulk and save. Amazon Warehouse Deals offers open-box and slightly damaged merchandise at a discount, so you will sometimes find quality diapers in damaged packaging, although the stock is not constant. Nearly all diaper manufacturers offer coupons on a regular basis, so keep an eye out for those as well. If you choose cloth diapering, prefolds are usually the most economical option. They will require a diaper cover or nylon pants and some type of fastener. DiaperJungle.com has a wide selection of cloth diapers, diaper accessories and bed & bath for baby well as resources for those new to cloth diapering. Those who choose cloth may want to use a diaper service to save time although it will cost a little more.

Clothing
save money on your babyWhen it comes to clothing, babies don’t demand designer duds or the latest fashions, and they don’t know or care if an older sibling or cousin wore it first. Good quality secondhand clothing or store brands make sense, since an infant grows out of clothing so quickly and won’t wear it long enough to be worth spending a lot. Rompers, sleepers, socks and a hat or two are the basics, plus cold weather gear if the climate demands it.

Food
Making your own baby food does save you money, but this savings is even overshadowed by its other benefits, particularly for parents who prefer “natural” choices for their baby. By making your own, you ensure that it is always fresh with no additives, and if your child has allergies it is easy to ensure food safety. With simple one-ingredient purees to more complex table food recipes, you can give your baby greater variety of tastes and textures, incorporating the same fruits and vegetables you already buy for yourself.

Healthcare
At each baby checkup, ask your doctor for free samples. Companies send masses of their product samples that the hospital or clinic is glad to distribute to parents.  Before scheduling an appointment concerning an illness, call your pediatrician. Experienced professionals can often diagnose common problems over the phone, saving you the time and hassle of an appointment as well as the co-pay.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • sotally September 30, 2012, 10:24 pm

    Love all of the suggestions on here, but especially the clothing. Diapers are just a necessary evil, there’s really no getting away from that expense, but you could literally raise a child (at least to the age where they have an opinion about style and peer pressure) without spending a penny on clothing. I think my wife typically buys our kids about 2 outfits a year. Other parents are always trying to offload the piles of clothing that their kids no longer fit into, and even if you don’t know any first hand, there are plenty of ways to find them. You can find people on freecycle, craigslist, or any parenting forum that are desperate to clear out room in their closets!

    Reply
  • ChristiQ October 1, 2012, 10:39 am

    Thanks for the tips. I’ve got a 9-month-old so this really hits home for me. I completely agree with your advice about clothes. Very few outfits will be worn for more than a few times. My daughter has grown so lately that there are a couple of outfits that she has only been able to wear once or twice. They were hand-me-downs from friends, so I didn’t mind so much. If I had spent our money on them, I would be really annoyed.

    Regarding diapers, I get them through Amazon’s subscribe & save program. I get one giant box of diapers (around 200 diapers, depending on size) delivered to my home for $10 cheaper than the big box store in my town. I hadn’t heart of Diaperjungle.com. I will have to check them out.

    Two more tips for saving on food costs: don’t be afraid to try the store brand food and be sure to comparison shop. I noticed just the other day that there was a $0.70 difference in price for a 8 oz box of baby cereal, depending on the brand. That adds up!

    Thanks again for the tips!

    Reply
  • vida_llevares October 2, 2012, 2:46 am

    There is no doubt that having a kid requires a huge financial investment. This is also the reason why parents should actually consider family planning. As a parent, you should uphold your kid’s best interests. Thus, you should always think about the quality of life and future you can give him or her.

    Reply
  • KennyK October 3, 2012, 5:13 pm

    Excellent article plenty of useful tips. Some of my cousins and nieces are now having babies (I’m a bit ‘behind’) and they have 101 questions right now and learning things by doing. One of the biggest inspirations for useful information is family 🙂 Often they know where to buy certain baby food, clothes, gadgets,etc. for cheaper prices or can really give practical advice on how to save time and money while giving your baby everything he needs.

    Reply
  • L J October 3, 2012, 9:53 pm

    Cloth diapers have come such a long way in the past decade, they are a very valid option for saving money. Prefolds don’t have to be fastened with pins or even a Snappi, they can be laid in one of the multitude of new “hybrid” covers that have flaps to keep the trifolded prefold in place. Covers come with aplix (velcro) which allows them to go on just as fast and easy as a disposable diaper, or you can choose snaps.

    I spent $150 on prefolds in different sizes, flats, diaper bag sized wet bags and a hanging pail to keep dirty diapers in until wash day. This stash of diaper has diapered both of my children, and still has plenty of life left to diaper the next. I spent about $50 per kid on covers, because my preferences did change over the years, but the best thing about cloth is the resell value! You can sell, on eBay, Craigslist or forums, your used diapers and recoup 40-70% of your cost when you are done!

    There are also AIOs, all-in-ones, such as the Swaddlebees Simplex One Size or Bumgenius Elemental One Size, that is one piece – no stuffing, folding or pinning required. You just slap it on like a sposie and its ready to go right out of the dryer. These cost more than prefolds at around $20 each, but even using those (the most expensive cloth option) and having a stash of 24 diapers (you can easily get by with 18) you are spending less than $500 to diaper your baby from birth to potty.

    Reply
  • riccig123 October 15, 2012, 2:32 pm

    I absolutely agree with these suggestions. My daughter just turned one and I can honestly say that she has come with a variety of unexpected and un-budgeted expenses (although she is totally worth it). My husband and I chose to cloth diaper as one of the main ways that we would save money and it has paid for itself over the past year. Never having to make late night runs to the supermarket or decide between dinner and another box of diapers has more than made up for the slight inconvenience associated with having to launder the diapers ourselves. And they are so much cleaner than you might imagine. The few times we have put our daughter in disposable diapers have almost always resulted in poop-explosions or “blow-outs” – but we never have that problem with cloth! Thankfully, we have a day care that allows us to use cloth diapers, so that has really helped with the savings.

    We also made our own baby food for several months after our daughter started solid foods. The savings were tremendous. For the cost of a 2 pack of pureed food, I could make 10 times as much at home with my baby bullet blender. Unfortunately, our daughter decided she wanted nothing to do with being spoon-fed by the time she was 8 months old…so, we’ve turned to the purees in the squeeze pouches because she can feed those to herself. She loves being able to feed herself and it “keeps the peace” at dinner and snack time, so we pay the extra money.

    Reply
  • Lisa Jean Haawkins October 18, 2012, 2:16 pm

    My son grows so fast that we do not buy “new” clothes. I can get good deals on baby clothes at yard sales or the Goodwill. You are correct babies do not know the difference and they do not need name brand expensive items. My son is 9 years old now but when he was an infant wearing sleepers were great. Another great way to save on clothing is to shop at consignment shops. Many consignment shops will also buy your gently used clothing. This way you make money and save money. If you must purchase new clothing at do it when the seasons are changing. I can buy my son a new coat at 75% off, if I buy at the end of the season. I buy clothes bigger for the following year. These simple little suggestions that you have mentioned add up in savings.

    Reply
  • MistyR. October 22, 2012, 6:08 pm

    We did the cloth diaper thing 90% of the time with my first. When we went out to lunch or he had a sitter it was disposable. We were home most of the time so it was easy at home. We had dedicated bleach buckets to put the diapers in after my son used them. It took a few extra steps to deal with but the price of diapers made it all so worth it. By the time my second child came I had a job at night and the Hubbster just wasnt as dedicated. It was only about half the time she was in cloth diapers but still the savings add up.

    Kids dont need to cost a fortune. You are being smart about every cent that leaves your wallet. That is in all areas and not just children.

    Reply
  • FirstBaby2011 October 24, 2012, 4:13 pm

    These are great suggestions!
    One thing that has really saved our family money is using cloth diapers. I agree with LJ; cloth diapers have certainly come a long way. I have tried out several different types, but now I almost exclusively use flats and waterproof covers. I have spent $100 to diaper my baby from 5 months to potty training. I will probably buy a few more covers for the next baby, but my flats will be in great condition for when the next baby arrives.
    For those that are very frugal and handy with a sewing machine, making diapers is another excellent option. I am a beginner, but my first homemade wool diaper cover is nearly complete. I was given an oversized wool sweater with a hole in it, so all I had to pay for was thread. You can also make really simple diapers from old t-shirts. The options are endless!

    Reply
  • Megan November 7, 2012, 9:14 pm

    You have to be careful about the cloth vs. disposible part. I know there are many people spending a ton more on cloth than they originally intended. There are a lot of cute options but remember, diapers are still just what catches your childs poop and pee. : )

    Reply
  • GSBryce November 12, 2012, 10:30 pm

    I just had my son 3 months ago and luckily have yet to buy any diapers because we received so many at our baby showers. I am definitely not looking forward to the day I have to shell out that cash for that. I recently signed up for Amazon Mom which actually gives you a discount for purchasing diapers as well as some other baby items. You get the first 3 months as a free trial, then I think it costs around 75 yearly to continue the savings.

    One way I have saved money so far is using coupons for items. Whether it’s items for the baby, or for the rest of our family, it saves us money in the end. Therefore, we have the extra cash to buy necessary baby items that we may not have originally planned for. Coupons really do help, especially if there is a store in your area that doubles them. Also, purchase items according to the sale circular and you can save even more!

    Reply

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