Baby on a Budget: Cutting the Costs of Having a Baby

Let’s face it. Babies are expensive. From diapers, to doctor’s appointments, to clothes and pacifiers; the cost of having a baby is enough to make even the most financially well-prepared couples think twice. Having a baby doesn’t have to throw you into the poor house, especially if you plan ahead. Whether you’re considering adding a new addition to your family, or there’s already one on the way, here are some ways to make your cute little bundle of joy a little less pricey.

Shop Second Hand
Shopping second hand will save you bundles of cash. The great part about shopping second hand for a baby is that things can usually be found in pretty good condition because of the short period of time most babies use them. Clothes for example, are only meant to fit for a period of three or so months. As a result, most baby clothes don’t get worn out like the clothes of older children who may wear one size for a year or more. Furniture, such as bouncers, high chairs and cribs can usually be found in good condition too. Be sure to shop thrift stores, yard sales and even Craigslist.

Shop Ahead of Time
If you find a good deal, take advantage of it now. If you see a great sale on 6 month onesies, or find a yard sale with oodles of 12 month clothes, get them! Even if your baby hasn’t even been born yet, it’s a good idea to stock up. Babies outgrow clothes quickly, so stocking up on a variety of sizes, especially when you can get them at a good price, is definitely the way to go.

Cloth Diaper
Cloth diapering can save you even more money. It might seem like a big initial investment ($250-500) but when compared to the long-term cost, cloth diapers will save you a significant amount of money when compared to the cost of disposable diapers. If you can’t afford to drop that much money at once, try buying one cloth diaper a week while you’re pregnant. A decent stash should have between 20 and 30 diapers, and spending $15 a week on diapers towards the latter half of your pregnancy will make the initial investment hurt just a little less.

Breastfeed
Not only is breastfeeding better for the baby, but it cuts the cost of having a baby. You won’t need bottles unless you plan on pumping, and even so, if you’re breastfeeding directly, your bottles won’t wear out so quickly since they aren’t being used to often. Breastfeeding is free and healthy! Formula can cost upwards of $30 a can and some of the ingredients are a little worrisome for parents.

Use a Midwife for the Birth
If you’ll be paying a large portion out of pocket for your birth, try using a midwife rather than an obstetrician. If your pregnancy has been uncomplicated and you’re considered low-risk, using a direct-entry midwife or a certified nurse-midwife could cut your delivery costs significantly.

Health Insurance
If you don’t have health insurance through an employer, start shopping for health insurance prior to becoming pregnant. Make sure to find a policy that covers maternity care. If you’re already pregnant and facing financial difficulty, apply for medicaid. Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify, it’s a good idea to apply anyways just in case.

Skip A Maternity Wardrobe
When you’re pregnant, it can be easy to get sucked into buying an entire wardrobe of maternity clothes. The truth is, these clothes will be worn for only a few short months and when you finally have your baby you’ll despise them because they’ll look like a tent on you. Getting a couple pairs of maternity pants and making use of a belly-band can save you a great deal of money when it comes to maternity clothing. If you don’t work, even yoga pants or sweat pants are great for pregnancy!

Cosleep
Cosleeping has many benefits, but can even save you money and space! Parents who cosleep don’t have to worry about having an extra room for the baby’s nursery (at least not immediately) and don’t have to worry buying a crib. The baby will need it’s own room eventually, but cosleeping will buy parents a couple years time to build up to a bigger home.

Make Things for Your Baby
Instead of buying things for your baby, try your hand at making things from recycled materials. For example, you can easily make a comfortable pair of pants for your baby from the legs of an old pair of jeans you no longer wear. You can also cut down your old shirts to fit a pattern for a baby shirt or onesie. If you’re skilled with a sewing machine, there’s no limit to the items you can make and the money you can save.

Make Your Own Baby Food
If you plan to feed your child baby food, try your hand at making it yourself. You can prepare ahead of time by setting portions of your meals aside to be made into baby food and then frozen. Be sure to mark containers with the date they were frozen to keep foods safe and fresh for your baby! Not only is making your own baby food economic, but it’s healthier too!

Forgo A New Car
You might think you need a new car if you’re having another baby, especially if you have other children in carseats. Instead of buying a new car, look into buying car seats designed to fit with other car seats (such as the Radian XTSL car seat) or car seats that are more compact and fit better into smaller vehicles.