It’s no secret that having a child incurs a lot of expenses. A lot of couples who are planning to conceive worry they haven’t saved enough to be “ready” for the baby, whereas other Moms-to-be who are caught by surprise don’t have the luxury of time to build a nest egg before their little one arrives.
As I said before in my previous post, ‘How much does it really cost to have a baby’, it really depends on the individuals involved, their financial means and personalities, how much babies cost. Since my wife and I live fabulously frugal, I want to share how we are saving money now that our bundle of joy is here.
1. Breastfeeding. Not only is human milk the best possible food for human babies, it’s free. Added bonuses: it’s convenient, always with you, and feels great for Mama and Baby (once you get past the initial ouch-ness).
2. Cloth wipes and diapers. Wipes warmers seems to have a bad rap, often listed as the most useless thing you can buy, but I think that’s because people aren’t using them for cloth wipes. We just add some water and a bit of liquid baby soap, place the folded cloth wipes inside, and we have wipes for 4 days. When they are done we do it again with our remaining wipes while the used ones get washed. It’s great! And I’m sure I don’t need to convince anyone that cloth diapers save money, and are easier on the environment too.
3. Second-hand clothes. This one should also be obvious. I mean, they only wear these baby outfits for a few months! Our little guy wore a few of his pajamas only two or three times before he outgrew them. Pretty much his entire wardrobe was given to us and we gladly accepted them; even the larger sizes (we have them stored in bins).
4. Craigslist. If you need anything; crib, stroller, breast pump, Exersaucer; check Craigslist first. We got a fantastic stroller for less than half the price new, and it included the car seat adapter.
5. Accepting the generosity of friends and family. When people find out you’re having a baby, the gifts just start flowing in. Aunts and Grannys start knitting, baby showers and blessing-ways are organized, and even friends of friends and people you don’t know very well suddenly surprise you with a present for the baby. One of our friends set us up with a Meal Train, and that was an incredible help in the first month. When you are adjusting to life with a newborn for the first time, dinner delivery isn’t just welcome, it keeps you alive.
6. Track your spending. As I outlined in my previous post, ‘The Newlyweds Make a Budget’, my wife and I use a budgeting app to track our spending and stay on budget. We find that this helps us manage our money well, avoid splurging, and makes saving easier. This has been even more important since I stopped working- having only one income forces you to ‘tighten your belts’ financially. All I want for Christmas is my EI Maternity benefits…
Everything considered, we are doing pretty well. With the holidays coming we are budgeting for extra expenses, but our families understand that what makes Christmas special isn’t extravagant gifts- it’s thoughtful gestures, homemade treats, and quality time together.
So to all you thrifty parents out there, how do you save money?