One of the biggest worries today’s parents face when planning their families is the mounting financial costs of raising children in today’s economy.
Before the age of eighteen, parents will spend an average of $303,48, factoring in inflation. This means that for each child, parents spend $12,000 - $14,000 a year. Considering that the average salary for families with children is between $61,000 and $106,000, with many making much less, the cost of raising a child is a major expense.
Shelter, education and childcare, food, and clothing are the areas where the majority of the money is spent. These factors can vary depending on location, the age of the child, and any special needs that the child may have
Looking at these numbers is enough to send any parent to be into a panic, especially in today’s economy. You can cut costs without sacrificing quality by becoming a budget savvy shopper. All it takes is a little know how and effort for you to save thousands of dollars while bringing up baby.
7 Breastfeeding, the Budget Friendly Choice
There’s no doubt that breastfeeding provides babies and mothers with many physical and emotional benefits,but, for the sake of this article, we will concentrate on the financial benefit of breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding.
One of the first decisions you make as a new parent is whether to breastfeed or bottle feed your baby. The average annual cost of bottle feeding a baby is close to two thousand dollars. This doesn’t include the thousands of babies who require expensive special formulas. Breastfeeding your baby costs you absolutely nothing.
Pumping milk allows you to have the freedom to work, or have some time away while baby is with a caregiver. A good pump costs about $200. Most hospitals offer rentals at a much cheaper price. You can also look for a good used pump, just make sure that you thoroughly sterilize it before using.
Breastfeeding is completely doable for today’s working moms. Employers are legally required to allow a nursing mother to be able to pump milk for her child for up to one year. While they are not required to compensate you for this time, they are required to provide a place for you to do so in privacy and comfort, other than a bathroom.
The La Leche League offers support and advice for breastfeeding mothers from all walks of life. You can also speak with the lactation consultant at your local hospital in regards to any breastfeeding questions or concerns that you may have.
6 DIY Frugal Baby Food
Not only is it cheaper to make your own baby food, it’s healthier too! The little jars of baby food lining the store shelves contain a lot more than just baby food. They are full of pesticides, additives, and toxins that can wreak havoc on your baby’s health.
Turning fresh, organic fruits and veggies into tasty homemade baby food is a snap! Your baby will love all of all of the different combinations that you can come up with, all for a fraction of the cost of commercial baby food.
While there are specialty baby food grinders on the market, you can get the same result with a food processor. You can even vary the ingredients and texture as your baby matures.
Your baby doesn’t really need those spendy baby snacks, simply wait for that until your baby is old enough to eat regular crackers and cereal.
The main source of your baby’s nutrition should come from either formula or breastmilk for the first year.
5 Saving $$$ on Diapers
Diapers are an expensive necessity for your baby’s first two years of life. In an effort to save money, some parents have made the decision to use cloth diapers for their little ones. The reality is, that cloth diapers and disposables cost roughly the same amount, by the time you figure in the cost of buying cloth diapers, covers, detergent, and the water and electricity that you use to keep them clean and fresh.
While there are other benefits to using cloth diapers, the difference in cost doesn’t warrant making the switch to cloth. The only way that cloth is consistently cheaper, is if you receive cloth diapering supplies as a gift, or get them for free from friends or relatives.
Some parents have had luck in getting their cloth diapering supplies on EBay or other online sources of used diapers, but purchasing diapers sight unseen may not be what you expected.
If you decide to go with disposable diapers, here are a few ways to save big bucks on your purchases:
- Couponing is a great way to save money on the top brands of diapers and wipes. You can get coupons in the Sunday paper, online, in magazines, and by asking friends and relatives to save them for you. You can also contact the companies directly for free samples and high dollar coupons.
- Stocking up on sales is another great way to cut your diapering expenses. Better yet, combine sales with coupons to get maximum savings. Keep track of the average cost of your favorite brands at different retailers so that you know when prices hit rock bottom, so that you can stock up.
- Warehouse clubs offer quality diapers and wipes at low prices. Be sure to compare the cost of your warehouse club with the sales flyers to ensure that you are getting the best deal.
- Don’t be afraid to give off brands a try! Buy smaller packages of storebrand and off brand diapers and wipes to see if the quality is comparable to the more popular brands. Sometimes you get lucky and find a store brand or off brand works just as well as the more expensive brands.
- Don’t forget to check out online retailers. Keep an eye out for bargains offered by online retailers. Again, remember to compare your prices to help you scout out the best deals.
- Ask for diapers and wipes for baby shower gifts. People are usually happy to buy something that will be put to good use. You could even specify how many of each size that you would like by registering at WalMart or Target.
4 Cutting Costs on Clothing
Babies grow super fast during the first year. Keeping up with your baby’s ever changing clothing sizes can get spendy. To keep baby’s wardrobe budget friendly, you’ll have to take the time to try out a few of these tips to have your baby winning the honors for best dressed:
●Thrift shops and resale shops are your new best friends. Because babies grow out of their clothes quickly, they generally don’t have time to wear them out. Thrift shops and resale shops get cute, name brand clothes in regularly, and sell them for a fraction of what you would pay retail. Scout out which shops in your area have the best selections and cheapest prices.
●Garage sales offer great deals! Garage sales are generally even cheaper than thrift and resale shops, and definitely beat paying full price. The advantage of going to garage sales is that dealing directly with the seller gives you room to barter, you will probably find that most sellers are more interested in getting rid of their items than making a dollar.
●Don’t turn down hand me downs from friends and family. Be sure that you ask if they want any of the clothes that they give you back when you’re done using them.
●Keep an eye out when you’re surfing the web for deals and steals on retail sites, as well as Ebay. Online retailers often sell last season’s clothing for rock bottom prices, and that gives you a great opportunity to stock up on clothes for your little one for next year. Ebay is a great place to find bargains, if you know your prices. Local online for sale sites often have lots of baby clothes at super cheap prices.
3 Saving on the Big Ticket Items
Babies require a lot of big ticket items right from the start. Cribs, car seats, strollers, high chairs, and other necessities can really add up.
One thing you can do to lower the costs of these items is to shop the sales. This means scouting out the cheapest retailers and doing some comparison shopping. Keep track of the average price of the items you want, then look for sales in the stores, as well as online. Sometimes retailers sell slightly damaged, or discontinued items cheaply.
Another option is to buy gently used items. So many people don’t have room to store baby items, and opt to sell them after their babies are done with them. This is a great deal for savvy shoppers, as these items are rarely damaged, as babies aren’t too hard on things.
Keep in mind, that rarely someone may be selling an item that has been recalled, past it’s expiration date ( as in the case of car seats), or isn’t made to modern safety standards. It pays to know your products, and do your research to make sure that none of these are an issue.
Here are a few places to that can offer you great baby items at a huge savings:
- Garage sales
- Thrift Stores
- Resale Boutiques
- Local Online Sales Sites
2 Thrifty Baby Care Products
Personal care products that are manufactured for babies can cost several times per ounce more than the same type of products that are geared towards adults. Not to mention the fact that today’s baby care items are full of chemicals and toxins that can cause serious health issues for your baby.
When it comes to choosing personal care products for your baby, a good rule of thumb is not to use anything that you couldn’t safely eat. This quickly rules out many of the products that line the shelves at your favorite retailer. The alternative is to either use natural baby care products, or make your own.
Natural baby care products cost more than their commercial counterparts, and many still have dangerous ingredients in them. Your best bet is to use all natural alternatives that cost way less than retail products.
In fact, you can probably find many of the ingredients in your kitchen! Here are a few frugal, all natural alternatives to expensive retail items:
- Instead of baby wash, use liquid castile soap to wash your baby’s hair and body. You can find castile soap in natural scents, and because it’s concentrated, you only use a little, so the bottles last for months.
- Substitute coconut oil or olive oil for baby oil. Baby oil contains mineral oil, which clogs the pores on baby’s sensitive skin. If you miss the fragrance, add a few drops of lavender essential oil for added soothing benefits.
- Ditch the diaper rash cream. If you keep your baby clean and dry, chances are he or she won’t get a diaper rash. If your baby gets a rash, simply apply some coconut oil to the affected area. Coconut oil in antibacterial and antifungal, and unlike store bought diaper rash creams, it can treat a yeast rash.
- Replace baby powder with some cornstarch or arrowroot powder mixed with a few drops of a soothing essential oil.
- For cradle cap, apply some coconut oil to your baby’s head, let it sit for a few minutes, then gently brush baby’s scalp to loosen the dead skin, then comb out the flakes with a fine toothed comb.
1 Stimulating Your Baby for Free
In an effort to stimulate their babies and give them a head start on learning, many parents sign their babies up for baby themed classes. There’s nothing wrong with wanting your baby to get ahead, but the price of these classes have many parents feeling guilty for not being able to afford these pricey options for their children.
Stimulating your baby and having baby socialize with other little ones doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, here are a few frugal ideas that will give your baby a head start towards becoming a lifelong learner:
- To stimulate your baby visually, hang a mobile over your baby’s crib, or place brightly colored pictures near baby’s changing area, mirrors work well for this, too.
- For tactile stimulation, give baby swatches of different textures of fabric, allow your baby to splash in the water, or let your baby play on different surfaces, such as carpet, wood floors, and even the grass.
- Take baby for walks, wear your baby in a carrier, or play games with your baby to stimulate him or her physically.
- Play soothing music, nature songs, or sing to your baby for auditory stimulation.
- Your public library may offer a baby story hour where your baby can socialize with other babies, and learn fingerplays and songs.
- Join a group such as MOPS. You will get a much needed break to socialize with other moms, and baby will have the opportunity to socialize with other babies, and do activities that are on his or her level.
Having a baby on a budget can be a challenge, but there are plenty of ways to slash your budget without sacrificing quality.