Having a child is a momentous decision every parent makes. It takes a considerable amount of dedication, patience and of course, financial capacity because it doesn't come cheap. A good deal of planning and preparation should be done even before the baby arrives. According to USDA, in 2008, the average family will spend $222,190 raising a child from newborn until the age of 17. But we all know having a child is priceless, no amount of money can compare to the joys and accomplishment a parent feel for their children. So take heart, and follow these budget alternatives so you can raise your child comfortably.
15 Know What to Buy and What Not to Buy
There are a lot of things that are being advertised as baby necessities. We are bombarded with different brands, different shapes and sizes and many other products that can help make our parenting task easier and more convenient, so as they say. But ask any well-experienced parents and they'll tell you there's no difference between a boogie wipe and an ordinary wet wipe. Some of the most overrated baby products are wipe warmers, bottle sterilizers, and diaper pails, to name a few. With that being said, choose baby products wisely. Always ask yourself the question, "Is this really necessary?"
14 Make Baby Food from Scratch
As the saying goes, breastmilk is best for babies. So go ahead and nurse your baby as long as you can. Breastfeeding is the way to go when it comes to saving, it's free after all. And when it's time for your child to take solids, homemade food is your best bet. Preparing baby food yourself doesn't just save you money, it also makes for a healthier meal for your child. Most store-bought, pre packaged baby food contain preservatives and are a lot less nutritious than its freshly made counterpart. So, do your pocket and your baby a favor: go natural!
13 Eco-Friendly and Pocket-Friendly Cloth Diapers
Switching from disposable diapers to cloth diapers may be very daunting for most parents. Some may think of it as ineffective and time-consuming. But not anymore! Cloth diapers have evolved and now functions pretty much like disposable diapers do and it's also more economical. You'll be able to save as much as half the money you'll spend in disposables in three years. Also, in using cloth diapers you are not only saving money, you are also contributing to the preservation of our planet. It only takes a little know-how and the right products to get you started in your cloth diapering journey.
12 DIY Wet Wipes
Why spend so much on something we'll just throw in the trash? Doing something yourself is a sure way to save some bucks. DIY wet wipes are not only good for your pocket, they're also good for your baby's skin. Some store-bought wet wipes contain substances which are harmful to babies.
11 Not Ready to Switch? Buy Bulk
If you still think you are not cut for cloth diapering and just like any on-the-go parents who need the convenience of disposables, there's still hope. To save money in buying disposable diapers, buy in bulk! It is cheaper and it will also save you gas and time. Imagine having to drive to the store every so often to replenish your stock. Not very cost effective, eh?
10 Take the Second Hand Route
Hand me downs are not that bad, especially for things that our babies will only use in a short period of time. Instead of buying newborn baby clothes, ask around, most moms would love to share and give clothes their children no longer need. Garage sales are the way to go when you're looking for costumes and other items that babies will only use once or rarely uses at all.
9 If You Can't Have it Free, Borrow Then
For big purchases and items that have short time usages like high chairs, walkers, changing tables, and other baby gear, borrowing them is far more practical than buying them new. You may ask friends and family who have children if they can lend you their baby gear in the meantime. Just be sure to take good care of it and return it in good condition.
8 Buy a Multitasker
If we really need to buy big-ticket items, it's good to invest in something you can use on several occasions and in multiple functions. There are cribs that turn into playpens, car seats and strollers in one, training chairs into high chairs, and the likes. By splurging on these items once, you'll save more in the long run.
7 Stack Up on Coupons
Coupons, coupons, coupons! They're everywhere, you just have to look. You can find them in your local papers and flyers, on phone apps and on the web. You may want to sign up on online coupon sites to avail of their member only deals. You can use coupons for baby product samples or use them for discounts on your purchases. You'll be surprised at how much you'll save with your accumulated coupons.
6 Hold It! Buy Those Shoes Later
Don't we just love showering our babies with adorable little things? Those cute, little shoes included. But hey, hold it! It's not just a little pricey, it also doesn't serve many purposes. Not until your baby can walk, shoes are practically useless, only purely aesthetic. Our babies' little feet will be more comfortable with booties and socks. Save the shoes for toddlerhood.
5 DIY Babywearing Wrap
A babywearing wrap is good to have, especially for us with babies and toddlers at hand. You can make your own wrap even with zero sewing skills. It is more cost effective and, you get to choose the fabric design you fancy. Just make sure to buy quality fabric which is tested and guaranteed to hold your baby safe and secure.
4 Need Help? Ask Around
Family and friends play a big role in our baby rearing journey. They share our joys and excitement every step of the way. So in times like this, who else should we call for help? We can ask our closest friends, mother-in-law or aunt to babysit for us if they're available. This will help save quite a lot of daycare fees. It will also give our friends and family the opportunity to bond with our little bundle of joy.
3 Stay at Home, Work at Home
Staying at home may seem impractical but when trying to weigh your earnings against your expenses, staying at home really does save money. You don't have to pay a penny by doing everything from babysitting, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and all other housework. And if time permits, having part-time work could give you extra income which means extra budget. Win-win, right?
2 Enroll in Community Classes
As parents, we want our children to accumulate skills and knowledge that will help them be well-rounded individuals. However, most learning institutions and private classes are very costly which may cause big dents on our budget. That's why we need to maximize and make use of community classes. They give us and our children the opportunity to socialize with others, learn, and have fun as well.
1 Stick to Your Budget
There is no other way to save money than having an achievable budget that you'll adhere to and follow strictly. Going over-budget causes a lot of headaches and unnecessary spending. Sometimes, it may be the reason you'll end up in debt instead of saving up. So better steer clear of temptation and stick to your budget. Yes, it is not easy but you'll be proud of yourself in the end.