BY SARAH LYONS
Babies cost a lot of money! Diapers, formula, clothes, and baby gear can take a huge chunk out of your monthly budget. Some families find that with the cost of child care or reducing to a single income makes the adjustment even more difficult than expected. Here are some tips to cut down on spending.
Trimming Your Baby Budget
To save on diapers, consider switching to cloth. Modern cloth diapers are easy to use and come in cute designs. The initial cost is typically $10-20 per diaper, but they can be reused for years. If cloth diapers aren’t for your family, there are still ways to save money on disposable diapers. Check manufacturer websites for high dollar coupons and combine with store sales. Generic diapers are another great way to save and they are typically comparable to name brand.
Breastfeeding is not always an option for families for a variety of reasons and formula is pricey. Coupons and rebates are readily available from the manufacturer. Go to the manufacturer’s website and sign up for additional coupons and have friends and family do the same. You can also ask your obstetrician and pediatrician for free formula samples.
Car seat, stroller, high chair, bouncer, swing and more. There sure is a lot of gear for someone so small and it seems each item costs $100, often more. It’s wise to buy a new car seat that meets current safety standards but all the other items can be purchased gently used and later sold again when your family no longer needs them.
Babies grow fast! It doesn’t make sense to spend a lot on several cute baby outfits when your child outgrows them only a few weeks later. Consider buying gently used clothing and/or asking friends for hand me downs. If you want new items, buy less than you think you will need because they are used for only a short time.
To save money on childcare, you have to get creative. Ideas include having a family or friend watch the baby at a lower rate, trading babysitting with another family, or alternating shifts with your partner to reduce time in child care. Some companies offer flexible spending plans to pay for child care with pre-tax money.
Trimming Other Areas
The key to saving money on adult clothing is to shop for versatile pieces that can be worn many different ways. A solid color top can be worn with jeans, slacks, or a skirt and paired with a scarf, necklace, jacket or worn alone for a variety of looks. Once you have your key pieces, only buy clothing when you really need them.
There are several ways to cut costs in this area. Purchasing groceries with coupons, on sale, or generic brands can save money. Also, consider making items from scratch and eating out less to help trim your food budget. A quick google search will provide you with several $5 meals ideas.
Just because a new baby is in the house doesn’t mean that you have to stop enjoying entertainment but you might need to approach a night out in a new way. You do not have to go without movies, concerts, or area attractions but you should check deal sites to see if there are any options available to you. This will require planning ahead to make sure it fits into the budget and that you have childcare covered, if necessary. Also consider if items like cable or streaming subscriptions are necessary. Choose to pay for the entertainment you use and enjoy.
Our homes are filled with items we rarely use. Consider selling these items to put extra cash in your hand that can be used for all those new baby expenses. Have a garage sale, utilize consignment sales, or sell items in online marketplaces.
Look at the family budget and evaluate where you can easily trim expenses. Do you belong to a gym, have club memberships, subscriptions, or other monthly bills that you do not use enough to justify the expense? Discuss with your partner whether some of these items can be cut to free up the money for other expenses.
A simple way to save money is to do things yourself. Cleaning and lawn services are nice but expensive. Taking care of it yourself is free. Instead of paying someone to repair or remodel things around the house, try it yourself first and save the money you would have spent on labor.
Bringing home a new baby is an adjustment in many ways and financial priorities may have shifted in your family. In time, you will adjust to your new lifestyle and budget and you will feel comfortable with budgeting after baby.
Sarah Lyons is a stay at home mom of six children, including two year old triplets. She has learned to cut costs and save money in a variety of ways over the years as they added to their family.