One of the biggest fears people have when expecting a baby is how they will afford everything that comes with them. Babies are expensive! From prenatal care to delivery to the nursery and travel gear, things can really add up but there ways to make a baby easier on your wallet. In a recent exclusive interview with financial experts Julia and Philip Olson, the new parents shared some of their biggest savings tips when having a baby.
Together, they host the PBS digital series Two Cents. Their informative and fun show explains money and personal finance in an easy, understandable way. They take on different topics that appeal to millennials and Gen Z. In the interview, Julia shared some of her expert advice on babies and money. Here are some of her best tips!
Money Should Never Determine Family Size
Wait, what? Aren't babies and children super expensive and shouldn't they be a responsible financial decision timed just right? Ideally, yes but we all know life doesn't work that way. Having a baby is a beautiful and special thing that shouldn't be determined by money. Julia suggests to never hold off on adding to your family
So if you're feeling like you want to start a family, or add another baby, or find yourself unexpectedly expecting, don't let your financial situation influence how you feel about everything. Things can be done to manage any situation.
New Clothes Are A Mistake
We asked Julia what she thought was the biggest waste of money when it came to babies and she quickly answered new clothes. Isn't that the truth? Babies grow so quickly they can be in one size for as little as a month. Why spend $20 or more per outfit when you can get used clothes for less than $3? Or better yet, if you have a friend with a child slightly older and they offer you their gently used baby clothing, take it.
Secondhand stores and huge clothing sales are great places to get quality clothes on the cheap. Of course its perfectly fine and natural to buy some outfits brand new but when you see how much use certain outfits get, you'll be glad and grateful for all the hand me downs.
Think About Cloth Diapering
Early on in her pregnancy and their financial planning process, Julia and Philip decided that for them, cloth diapering was the way to go. Disposal diapers are (you guessed it!) expensive. They're especially expensive for items that you buy solely for the purpose of getting dirty and throwing away. Consistently buying big boxes of diapers or pull-ups for about three years can really add up.
Cloth diapering used to be the only option but faded with the luxury of not having to wash poop by hand but its made a comeback. Cloth diapering moms need to buy as many diapers as they need in their stockpile and rewash them. The initial buy of the diapers can be expensive and you should also consider how much the water will cost you to do extra laundry but mostly it's overall cheaper and better for the environment.
Buy Certain Items Secondhand
Here's another piece of advice from Julia: Buy bigger items secondhand from big sales or online. Things like cribs, dressers, pack and plays, bouncers, and strollers, aren't used for very long and can always be found used in good condition. All the expensive stuff that really lasts forever can be sold for half the prices so let others pay full price and buy it from them when they're looking to get rid of it all two years later. Your baby has no idea what's brand new and what isn't, and they don't care.
A huge source of financial struggle for a family is food. Eating out is expensive and so can cooking at home if you aren't prepared. As we've heard for years meal planning is key and it rings true when expecting a baby. When food can be budgeted well, it makes all other finances easier. Consider joining a big bulk store for family mainstays. Be selective with what meat you buy and look for sales. Getting organized with meals now will save a lot of trouble as your baby grows, or as you have more kids.
Don't Worry About College
Millennial parents grew up with a strong push to go to college no matter. For the most part, parents were expected to have a college fund ready for their child. Well rejoice, Julia and Philip, aren't so sure parents need that pressure. Many couples think that once their baby is born they need to be saving for college. Well, guess what? You don't.
Julia called college a luxury, not a right. She advised to not worry about it when expecting a baby and to simply start planning as baby grows up. Julia's best piece of advice here is to not feel the need to cover tuition because when a college student doesn't have the cushion of money to fall back on they typically earn more responsibility and are more motivated to try to for scholarships. Instead of saving tens of thousands for tuition, consider a smaller fund that would help with general living expenses and books. So, you're still helping but not going broke in the process.
Julia and Phillip's advice come from the mind of financial advisors so they do know what they're talking about. What do you think of these tips? Do you have any to add? Let us know in the comments!