Elle writes over at Couple Money, helping couples to reach financial freedom by living one one income and having fun with the second.
Becoming parents has changed our lives dramatically and so far it’s been a blast. One of the first things we noticed is how our finances have changed with having a little one. The common warning we heard from well meaning friends was that babies will drain your finances like nothing else.
While certain expenses like health insurance premiums can take a big chunk out of our wallets, there are some baby expenses we as parents can reduce (and hopefully redirect towards other future goals).
Baby Expenses That you Can Save Big Money On
During my pregnancy I decided to track our real life baby expenses on our site as a way to give first time parents an idea of what to expect financially. Thankfully other parents have been kind to us and shared some of their tips as we asked both online and offline for their advice.
Over the series I noticed that there a few things that parents can overpay for if they are not careful (which can be done when you’re adjusting to your little one’s sleep schedule).
Feeding your baby is essential, but costs can vary widely. If you’re formula feeding look at buying in bulk (perhaps a warehouse club) or consider a subscription service like Amazon Mom, which offers some pretty competitive discounts on foods.
As your baby gets older and is trying out purees and solid food, you may find it more cost effective to make your own baby food. Some parents have also enjoyed having the freedom to prepare some unique dishes for their little ones to try out.
For us we went with breastfeeding our baby girl and even though it can save you a lot of money, buying a breast pump can be quite expensive. Before you pick up a breast pump ask yourself how you plan on using it. For those who have to go back to work full-time at an office, getting a portable unit that can automatically pump can be worth the money. You can rent a pump from your local hospital to see if you really need the top of the line model.
Thankfully besides the deals offered online for the pumps, there is a tax break that you may want to take advantage of when you file next year.
This was by far the most common expense people warned us about. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a huge money drain. Based on some friends’ recommendations we signed up for a disposable diaper subscription through Amazon, bring our diaper costs to around $20/month. What’s great about going online is that we have it delivered right to our house, which also saves us some time.
A few months ago we also made an adjustment to a hybrid of cloth diapers/disposable diapers. The transition was a bit surprising at first, but it’s a good fit for out routine.
For those who are interested in cloth diapering, there are several great options. For us, we’re using FuzziBunz.
We did not imagine how quickly our baby girl went through clothes the first year. Even with gifts from grandparents and friends, she was outgrowing clothes every week it seemed.
Don’t underestimate the temptation to grab and buy adorable outfits in tiny sizes. It’s amazing how much is out there for baby clothes and it can be very easy to drop a lot of money for outfits that will be worn for a couple of weeks (yes we’ve even had outfits that we were once!).
Save yourself a lot of heart ache by using a baby consignment shop if possible. We have one near our neighborhood and we’ve been able to pick out some awesome clothes there at a fraction of the price you’d see at stores. The quality is fantastic, with tags still on some of the outfits we pick up. When we’re done we can pass it down to friends or family, consign it back and get some credit for future purchases, or save it for future kids.
My recommendation for toys is the same as clothes – look for a consignment store that specializes in baby gear. They tend to check their wares more closely and you can get some fantastic deals with them. Of course like many parents we can’[t resist grabbing some new toys time to time, but it’s great having a cost effective option nearby as well.
Money Saved -> Baby Fund
What’s great with saving money on baby expenses is how you can use that money for bigger financial goals that you may have for your little one. For parents looking at building a college fund, optimizing baby expenses can be a wonderful way to jump-start the fund.
Thoughts on Baby Expenses
I’d love to hear from you about your take on baby expenses. How have you found ways to save on baby and kid expenses? What has been the easiest fix? What has been the hardest? What sites and stores do you use when you shop for baby gear?