When you’re expecting, the anticipation builds up. Meanwhile, you’re prepping everything for baby’s arrival. While of course you want the best and more for your baby, you might be in for a surprise when calculating the total costs. Preparing for a baby doesn’t have to be overly expensive though (or put you in debt), and you don’t have to compromise safety or quality. Here are some tips for saving money while preparing for a baby.
Saving on Baby Clothes
The cost of cloth diapers are usually lower in the long run than disposable ones. If you decide cloth ones aren’t for you, there are some affordable disposable diaper hacks.
There are plenty of adorable clothes to be found at any price point. While designer baby clothes have their appeal, they’re not the most practical for daily wear – babies grow fast! Buying that fancy dress or suit might be best saved for occasions like first birthdays or weddings. It’s also easy to get carried away by all those cute pairs of shoes. But other than party shoes or winter booties, babies don’t need many pairs of shoes at all. Until your baby starts walking, socks will be fine for most days outdoors.
Saving on Baby Toys
If a friend or your family throws you a baby shower, you’ll probably be gifted some toys and outfits. Waiting until after the party to shop can save you some money. You can also find tons of adorable toys on clearance! Just be sure to set a budget beforehand, before every endearing toy clutches your heartstrings. Special note: If you’re in a low-income circumstance, there may be places near you that either sell gently used toys and books for an affordable price (such as Goodwill), or charities that give them away for free.
Use What You Have
With all the buzz around the baby care industry, it’s easy to forget that you don’t have to buy everything. We don’t mean just the ludicrously unnecessary things like a baby food processor – there are more practical things that, surprisingly, you likely don’t need to buy. Take burping cloths. Your towels and wash cloths already make for excellent burping cloths. If you also have a bunch of old t-shirts, they can be used as bibs! Another expense that might not be necessary is a changing table. If you have a wide-enough dresser in your room, it’s cheaper to buy a changing pad to use on it than to buy a changing table. Taking a moment to reconsider what’s “necessary” is a good way of saving money while preparing for a baby. You can also ask friends and family if they have old baby stuff they’re willing to give to you.
Saving Money at Your Pediatrician’s Office
At your next appointment, ask your nurse or doctor if they have free samples. Lots of manufacturers distribute diapers, wipes, and pacifiers to hospitals, so it’s a good way to see what your options are. Also, before the big day arrives, ask about the additional costs at the hospital. Things like a private room, personal toiletries, and sometimes even television usage add up. You can decide what’s worth the cost to you, and find ways to save (like bringing your own toiletries).
If you buy convertible cribs and strollers, you won’t have to buy as much gear. For example, some strollers convert to high chairs. If you’re able to do so, nursing instead of using formula will save you at least $1400 in your baby’s first year. Borrowing a breast pump from someone else will also save you from spending $150 – $800 on a new one – just make sure to buy your own plastic attachments. Or if you’re not able to nurse, there are ways to save on formula.
Finally, an outlined budget is your ultimate guide on saving money while preparing for a baby. With categories such as medical bills, baby stuff, and childcare, you can crunch the numbers and decide where your money will go, and where to save. In some cases, if you find you might have trouble paying for certain things, researching your options might help. For example, if you earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, you can still apply for CHIP, which provides low-cost coverage to children in low-income families. Finding resources will help you save money while preparing for a baby.
If you need help with debt, please contact one of ACCC’s certified credit counselors at 800-769-3571.